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Unit information: Introduction to the Sociology of Culture in 2018/19

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Unit name Introduction to the Sociology of Culture
Unit code SOCI10009
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Jo Haynes
Open unit status Not open




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


Culture is a crucial aspect of contemporary life and has become an increasingly important area of sociological study. This unit will critically explore some of the key ways that culture has been understood and its significance for contemporary social and political life. The unit draws on debates in sociology and cultural studies, considering a number of theoretical approaches to the meaning and construction of culture, representation, popular and mass culture, consumer society and postmodernism. By exploring substantive topics such as digitisation, social media, cultural authenticity and racial stereotyping, this unit will introduce the key aspects and dynamics of culture and the relationship between culture and other forms of social power.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of the unit, students should be able to:

  • Show an understanding of the socially constructed nature of culture
  • Evaluate different sociological approaches to culture
  • Critically discuss the relationship between cultural production and consumption
  • Apply sociological insights to contemporary issues in culture

Teaching details

Two hours of lectures and one hour of seminars per week

Assessment Details

Formative assessment: 1200 word essay

Summative assessment: 2000 word essay (assesses all learning outcomes)

Reading and References

Bennett, A. (2005) Culture and Everyday Life London: Sage Publications

Gray, A. and Mc Guigan, J. (eds) Studying Culture: an Introductory Reader London: Edward Arnold.

Hesmondhalgh, D. (2007) The Cultural Industries (second edition) London: Sage Publications.

Jenkins, H. (2006) Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide New York University Press

Strinati, D. (2004) An Introduction to Theories of Popular Culture (second edition) London: Routledge.