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Unit information: Sociology in a Global Context in 2018/19

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Unit name Sociology in a Global Context
Unit code SOCI10008
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Morgan
Open unit status Not open




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


The contemporary world is characterised by both interconnectedness and disconnectedness. Some people, ideas and capital move between different parts of the world with ease, speed and frequency: companies exist in multiple countries simultaneously; new technologies enable us to connect with people all around the world; environmental change creates new challenges to be faced by all. Other people, ideas, and cultures are entrenched in their own isolation, shut off from these global flows: people find comfort in local attachments, political space is increasingly fragmented, and cultural boundaries reinforced. How do academics understand these experiences, and how might they challenge some of the core assumptions of sociology? This unit examines some of the key ways in which the contemporary world is evolving. By investigating specific social spheres such as migration, religion, culture and risk, the unit considers the both the potential and limits of globalisation.


  • To understand globalisation and its sometimes contradictory effects;
  • To gain an awareness of global trends outside of the UK and how they impact the UK;
  • To explore and critically assess the way people, ideas, and capital are connected, or not connected, with respect to specific social phenomena;
  • To appreciate the empirical specificity and historical contingency of globalisation.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of the unit, students will be able to:

  • Critically engage with both the theory and empirical reality of globalisation, appreciating its strengths and weaknesses in different contexts;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of global trends and international sociology outside, but often impacting upon, Britain;
  • Connect theories of globalisation (and its opposite) to concrete things happening in the world.

Teaching details

2 hours of lectures and a one hour seminar per week

Assessment Details

1,500 word essay (25%)

2 hour exam (75%)

Both assessments assess all learning outcomes

Reading and References

Castles, Stephen, and Miller, Mark J. 2009. The Age of Migration: International Population Movements in th Modern World. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Cohen, Robin, and Kennedy, Paul. 2007. Global Sociology. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Lash, Scott, and Lury, Celia. 2007. Global Culture Industries: The Mediation of Things. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Martell, Luke. 2010. The Sociology of Globalization. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Massey, Douglas S., Arango, Joaquin, and Hugo, Graeme. 2005. Worlds in Motion: Understanding International Migration at the End of the Millennium. Oxford: Oxford University Press.