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Unit information: Class and Social Divisions in 2018/19

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Unit name Class and Social Divisions
Unit code SOCI20045
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Will Atkinson
Open unit status Not open




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


While postmodern sociology celebrates the 'death of class', empirical research continues to demonstrate its major influence in a wide variety of domains. Theoretically there has always been controversy about the nature of class and its basis, about the boundaries between classes, about the experience of class and how it relates to politics. The unit explores these debates in relation to contemporary theories of class analysis. And it examines current thinking and research on the relationship between class and other social divisions and on class identities and cultures in late modern societies.


  • To present the latest theoretical and empirical developments in the study of class
  • To explain the relevance of class as both a sociological concept and as an explanatory concept
  • To explore the social location of class in relation to other aspects of social division

Intended learning outcomes

Level 5

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

  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of the major contemporary theoretical perspectives on class
  • Evaluate the key current challenges to the concept of class
  • Critically assess the empirical impact of class on a range of outcomes

Teaching details

1 hr lecture and 2 hr seminar per week.

Assessment Details

(a) 1,500 word essay(25%)

(b) 2,500 word essay (75%)

Both assessments test all of the Learning Outcomes listed above.

Reading and References

  • F. Devine Social Class in America and Britain Edinburgh University Press 1997
  • M. Savage Class Analysis & Social Transformation Open University Press 2000
  • H. Bradley Fractured Identities Polity Press 1996
  • G. Payne et al Social Divisions Macmillan 2000
  • B. Skeggs Formations of Class and Gender Sage 1997
  • S. Charlesworth A Phenomenology of Working Class Experience 2000