What you will study
The module is organised into a number of blocks that combine sociological study with teaching material that aims to develop your transferable skills.
The introductory block, Passports: registering the individual, acts as a taster of the themes and concerns around which the sociological components of the module are structured. Through comparative and historical study the block introduces you to the ways in which some individuals have been ‘recognised’ and others excluded in different social orders. This block features key political figures discussing questions of citizenship, a documentary exploring the passbook regime which helped support apartheid in South Africa, film examining how airports operate, and discussion by leading academics on the use of documents, badges and clothing in controlling movement in early modern Europe.
A second block focuses in greater depth on questions of security. Security is a key component of modern societies. This is not only the case in the heightened climate of ‘the war on terror’, but is also reflected in such things as fear of crime, panics over the risks presented by toxins in food and global panics over disease pandemics. Security is not solely a concern for political science but is crucial to the operation of a range of social and cultural phenomena. The block features a range of case studies designed to explore the role of security in the making of social worlds and stretches from children’s novels to health and disease, urban safety, asylum and immigration. Throughout the case studies the aim is to establish how security operates across different social settings from the psychic to the geo-political; how a sense of security and safety is created out of material practices and through the type of ‘stories’ told in the media and other cultural institutions.
In the third block of sociological study, the focus shifts to attachment. This block is concerned with the ways in which the fabric of the social world – the attachments between people and between people and things – is constantly made and remade through human activity and the interaction between people. In the process of making such attachments, it is not only social worlds that are made but the individuals who inhabit these worlds. The block examines how attachments are made, and sometimes broken, by paying careful attention both to the emotions and feelings as well as the material, technical arrangements involved. These processes are illuminated by a number of case studies including reality television, marketing and family intimacy.
In the final block of sociological study, Conduct, the focus is on how individual behaviour is shaped and regulated in social worlds. This block retains a focus on the material world and the role of culture in ‘mediating’ or making sense of social experience to explore how behaviour is shaped by, among other things, habit, knowledge and example, legislation, advice books and self-help reality television shows. The social processes involved are explored in the context of examples including self-service shopping, personal finance, crime, war and extreme situations, all of which are designed to explore how social worlds work and how they sometimes fail.
The teaching material aims to develop skills that will not only help you complete the module and prepare for the final project-based assessment, but are also transferable to a range of different employment settings.
Making social worlds has relevance to a wide range of employment situations including public administration, health and social services, education, business, and other private and public sector organisations. It offers students the opportunity to develop transferable skills, such as the ability to gather, analyse and present written information to audiences, present reasoned arguments, and write reports, and it will help you plan and design your own work.