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Unit information: Intimacy, Families and Personal Life in 2016/17

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Unit name Intimacy, Families and Personal Life
Unit code SOCI30076
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Dermott
Open unit status Not open
Pre-requisites

none

Co-requisites

none

School/department School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description

Given current interest around diversity and change in both family form and the 'doing' of personal life, and with the alleged democratisation of interpersonal relationships, this unit will explore evidence for, and debates about, the nature of contemporary personal relationships. The unit will cover debates around parenting and family life, the rituals of intimacy, and rights and responsibilities in personal relationships. It will address questions such as - how can changing rates of marriage and cohabitation be explained? what are the similarities and differences between fathering and mothering? how does the state influence the organisation of intimate relationships? why is family change routinely greeted as a crises? how can we study intimate life?

Aims:

  • To introduce and discuss evidence on social change personal relationships
  • To discuss sociological studies of intimacy and personal life
  • To explore theories of intimacy and family
  • To examine the cultural and historical context for the discussions of intimacy
  • To introduce students to the main issues and problems involved in studying personal life

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to: Level 6 (third years)show knowledge of and critically discuss patterns of household formation,fertility, parenting, and personal relationships

  • use a wide range of appropriate evidence from empirical research to illustrate current debates around intimate relations and family life
  • critically evaluate competing theories of intimacy situate discussions of family, intimacy and personal relationships in cultural and historical context
  • demonstrate nuanced understanding of the range of methods used in researching personal life including their strengths and limitations

Teaching details

3hr seminar.

Assessment Details

Summative: Presentation or equivalent.

This will assess the following learning outcomes:

  • use a wide range of appropriate evidence from empirical research to illustrate current debates around intimate relations and family life
  • demonstrate nuanced understanding of the range of methods used in researching personal life including their strengths and limitations

Summative: 3000 word essay or equivalent.

This will assess the following learning outcomes:

  • show knowledge of and critically discuss patterns of household formation, fertility, parenting, and personal relationships
  • critically evaluate competing theories of intimacy situate discussions of family, intimacy and personal relationships in cultural and historical context
  • use a wide range of appropriate evidence from empirical research to illustrate current debates around intimate relations and family life

Reading and References

  • Dermott, E. and Seymour, J. (eds) (2011) Displaying Families. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Gabb, J. (2008) Researching Intimacy in Families. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Jamieson, L. (1998) Intimacy: Personal Relationships in Modern Societies, Cambridge: Polity Press.
  • Morgan, D.H.J. (2011) Rethinking Family Practices. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Scott, J, Treas, J, and Richards, M. (2004) (eds) The Blackwell Companion to the Sociology of Families. Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Smart, C. (2007) Personal Life. Cambridge: Polity.

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