What you will study
This module is an ideal introduction to the social sciences – psychology, social policy and criminology, geography and environment, politics and international studies, economics and sociology – through study of contemporary UK society. Using a blend of text, audio, DVD and online materials, you’ll explore a wide range of topics, including questions of society’s relationship to the environment, questions of identity and issues of social order and governance – all considered in their national and international contexts – that will equip you with a range of skills for independent study and for your personal and working life.
The module-wide questions are: How is society made and repaired? How are differences and inequalities produced? How do we know? Social sciences answers to these questions are explored by looking at three strands of study materials called: Material Lives, Connected Lives and Ordered Lives. The module is introduced by a DVD and has an integral virtual learning environment (VLE) throughout that complements the text-based materials.
Material Lives considers how the making of society involves not only relations between people, but also relations between people and things and their environments; how society shapes and is shaped not just by humans but by material objects and the environment; and some of the consequences of the fact that our lives are influenced by both the human and material worlds. This strand is developed through an examination of consumption and consumer society, questions of power and markets, and issues of waste and sustainability.
Connected Lives also considers people’s connections to material places but the focus is on the people themselves and how they are connected and disconnected from one another, how they see themselves and others, where they live and the mobility of things and people involved in making and breaking connections. This strand is developed through examining questions of identity in relation to personal and social lives, issues around our connections to place and the natural and built environment, and the social life of neighbourhoods or communities.
Ordered Lives explores some of the different ways in which social life is ordered and governed through the rules, norms and expectations people have of one another in day-to-day interaction, and how these arise and are sustained; how social order and ordering vary in time and place; and how social order is contested, challenged, sometimes broken and repaired, including by institutions that claim various kinds of expertise and authority. This strand is developed by an examination of day-to-day ordering in daily lives, through the issue of the anti-social as a certain kind of challenge to normal ways of ordering and by looking at aspects of how governments seek to assemble and regulate their populations.
You will learn
You will learn about the nature of social sciences and the ways they develop through a process of questions, arguments, evidence and evaluation. You will also learn about some key issues and debates at the centre of life in the contemporary UK. You’ll develop an awareness of a range of different disciplinary approaches in the social sciences. You will gain confidence and skills in studying and accessing information from a range of sources; constructing arguments; reading, interpreting and evaluating evidence; and presenting and communicating ideas and information in a variety of formats. You will also practice how to:
manage your time effectively
organise and complete a programme of work
learn from feedback and reflect on your own learning, and be given an opportunity to plan a study pathway leading to personal and/or career goals.
After this module, further study in the social sciences could open up employment opportunities in a wide range of occupations in business, banking, insurance, education, health professions, administration, law, social services, voluntary and campaigning organisations, the media, public relations, public service organisations and government (national and local), planning and environmental management, criminal justice system, and social welfare organisations. The module builds a strong basis of vocationally orientated skills that are transferable to the job market: clarity of written communication; critical thinking; ability to analyse, reflect on and present arguments, evidence and theories; problem-solving; evaluating issues; time-management; self-motivation; and basic numerical skills.