The Sociological Imagination

The details
Colchester Campus
Full Year
Undergraduate: Level 4
Thursday 07 October 2021
Friday 01 July 2022
07 October 2021


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA M900 Criminology,
BA M901 Criminology (Including Year Abroad),
BA M903 Criminology (Including Foundation Year),
BA M904 Criminology (Including Placement Year),
MSOCM999 Criminology,
MSOCMX98 Criminology (Including Placement Year),
MSOCMX99 Criminology (Including Year Abroad),
BA L3C8 Criminology with Social Psychology,
BA L3H8 Criminology with Social Psychology (Including Placement Year),
BA LHC8 Criminology with Social Psychology (Including Year Abroad),
BA LV31 History and Sociology,
BA LV32 History and Sociology (Including Placement Year),
BA LV38 History and Sociology (Including Foundation Year),
BA LV3C History and Sociology (Including Year Abroad),
BA LQ32 Literature and Sociology,
BA LQ33 Literature and Sociology (Including Placement Year),
BA LQ38 Literature and Sociology (Including Foundation Year),
BA QL23 Literature and Sociology (Including Year Abroad),
BA LP33 Communications and Digital Culture,
BA LP34 Communications and Digital Culture (Including Placement Year),
BA P300 Communications and Digital Culture (Including Foundation Year),
BA PL33 Communications and Digital Culture (Including Year Abroad),
BA LV35 Philosophy and Sociology,
BA LV36 Philosophy and Sociology (Including Placement Year),
BA LV83 Philosophy and Sociology (Including Foundation Year),
BA VL53 Philosophy and Sociology (Including Year Abroad),
BA VL58 Philosophy and Sociology (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad),
BA CL83 Sociology with Social Psychology,
BA CL93 Sociology with Social Psychology (Including Placement Year),
BA CLV3 Sociology with Social Psychology (Including Year Abroad),
BA L2CH Social Sciences,
BA LFCH Social Sciences,
BA L300 Sociology,
BA L301 Sociology (Including Year Abroad),
BA L304 Sociology (Including Foundation Year),
BA L306 Sociology (Including Placement Year),
MSOCL399 Sociology,
MSOCLA40 Sociology (Including Placement Year),
MSOCLA41 Sociology (Including Year Abroad),
BA LM38 Sociology and Criminology (Including Placement Year),
BA LM39 Sociology and Criminology,
BA LMH9 Sociology and Criminology (Including Year Abroad),
BA LMHX Sociology and Criminology (Including Foundation Year),
BA LL23 Sociology and Politics (Including Year Abroad),
BA LL24 Sociology and Politics (Including Placement Year),
BA LL32 Sociology and Politics,
BA L3J9 Sociology with Human Rights (Including Placement Year),
BA L3M9 Sociology with Human Rights,
BA LMJ9 Sociology with Human Rights (Including Year Abroad),
BA P540 Journalism and Sociology,
BA P541 Journalism and Sociology (Including Placement Year),
BA P542 Journalism and Sociology (Including Year Abroad),
BSC L315 Sociology (Applied Quantitative Research),
BSC L316 Sociology (Applied Quantitative Research) (Including Year Abroad),
BSC L317 Sociology (Applied Quantitative Research) (Including Placement Year),
BA L333 Criminology with Counselling Skills,
BA L334 Criminology with Counselling Skills (Including Year Abroad),
BA L335 Criminology with Counselling Skills (Including Placement Year),
BSC L310 Sociology with Data Science,
BSC L311 Sociology with Data Science (including Year Abroad),
BSC L312 Sociology with Data Science (including Placement Year),
BSC L313 Sociology with Data Science (including foundation Year),
BA L400 Social Change,
BA L400PT Social Change,
BA L401 Social Change (including Foundation Year,
BA L402 Social Change (including Placement Year),
BA L403 Social Change (including Year Abroad),
BA LY10 Social Sciences,
BA LY11 Social Sciences (Including Placement Year),
BA LY12 Social Sciences (Including Year Abroad),
BA LY13 Social Sciences (Including Foundation Year)

Module description

Sociology is the critical study of society and SC111, The Sociological Imagination, offers an introduction to sociological analysis and argument about key features of society. The module is organised around substantive topics of current interest and importance in Sociology.

The Autumn term will provide a general intellectual and historical framework to the rise of sociology as a discipline, will examine the notion of the Sociological Imagination, and will explore three key concepts in sociology: race, class and gender. The Spring term will highlight and focus on the empirical research being conducted in the Department of Sociology, ranging from ethical consumption, gendered labour, and migration to the context and impacts of science and technology on societies, the activities of multinational corporations and capitalist markets, as well as gender and reproductive rights.

The module provides a foundation for our second and third year modules where many of these areas and the sociological thinking about them are explored more fully. SC111 also incorporates additional teaching on writing and academic skills, including essay writing, citation, referencing, and the use of the internet as a research tool.

Module aims

The aims of the module are:

• to introduce you to the systematic examination of empirical data about British society and other societies across the world, including some of the major changes that are occurring and their implications

• to critically discuss sociology as a discipline within the framework of modernity and colonialism

• to show you how sociological concepts and theories can help you to understand and explain empirical data.

Module learning outcomes

The module examines some key aspects of present-day society and social changes and considers how sociology can provide us with tools (concepts and theories) to assist us in understanding them. In the process, students will, we hope, develop their own sociological imagination and understanding of some of the challenges and struggles of contemporary societies.

By the end of the module, we will have:
1. Examined some important features of present-day society
2. Acquired an understanding of key sociological concepts
3. Explored how sociological concepts and theories can assist in understanding these features
4. Started to develop a sociological imagination
5. Learned the importance of backing up arguments with evidence
6. Learned how to research available data on a topic
7. Improved your writing and study skills

Module information

Autumn Term

Week 2 Sociology and Modernity
Week 3 Decolonizing Sociology
Week 4 The Sociological Imagination I
Week 5 The Sociological Imagination II
Week 6 Race and Racism I
Week 7 Race and Racism II
Week 8 Class and Social Mobility I
Week 9 Class and Social Mobility II
Week 10 Gender and Feminism I
Week 11 Gender and Feminism II

Spring Term

Week 16 Sociology in Practice
Week 17 Ethical Consumption
Week 18 Gender, Work and Global Hierarchies
Week 19 International Migration
Week 21 Science, Technology and Society
Week 22 Multinational Corporations: The pharmaceutical industry
Week 23 Capitalism and Local Markets
Week 24 Gender and Reproductive Rights
Week 25 Future Directions in Sociology

Summer Term

Week 31 Revision Session I
Week 32 Revision Session II

Learning and teaching methods

Teaching approach As there are still restrictions related to COVID-19 in place, some of the teaching on most modules will take place online. Most modules in Sociology are divided into lectures of around 50 minutes and a class of around 50 minutes. Some are taught as a 2hr seminar, and others via a 50-minute lecture and 2-hr lab. For the majority of modules the lecture-type content will be delivered online – either timetabled as a live online session or available on Moodle in the form of pre-recorded videos. You will be expected to watch this material and engage with any suggested activities before your class each week. Most classes labs and seminars will be taught face-to-face (assuming social distancing allows this). Please note that you should be spending up to eight hours per week undertaking your own private study (reading, preparing for classes or assignments, etc.) on each of your modules (e.g. 32 hours in total for four 30-credit modules). The lectures provide an overview of the substantive debates around the topic of the week, while the classes will give you the opportunity to reflect on your learning and actively engage with your peers to develop your understanding further. The weekly classes will take place face-to-face (unless there is a change in the current COVID safety measures). You are strongly encouraged to attend the classes as they provide an opportunity to talk with your class teacher and other students. The classes will be captured and available via Listen Again. However, if you want to gain the most you can from these classes it is very important that you attend and engage. Please note that the recording of classes is at the discretion of the teacher.


  • Gukurume, Simbarashe; Maringira, Godfrey. (2020-03-03) 'Decolonising sociology: perspectives from two Zimbabwean universities', in Third World Thematics: A TWQ Journal. vol. 5 (1-2) , pp.60-78
  • Matthewman, Steve; Huppatz, Kate. (2020-06-30) 'A sociology of Covid-19', in Journal of Sociology., pp.144078332093941-
  • Bryan S. Turner. (2006) The Cambridge dictionary of sociology, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Anthony Giddens; Philip W. Sutton. (2017) Sociology, Cambridge: Polity Press.
  • Mills, C. Wright; Gitlin, Todd. (2000) 'The Promise', in The sociological imagination, Oxford: Oxford University Press., pp.3-13
  • Mckenzie, Lisa. (2015) 'Introduction', in Getting by: estates, class and culture in austerity Britain, Bristol: Policy Press., pp.1-18
  • Ritzer, George. (2016) 'The Weberian Theory of Rationalization and the McDonaldization of Contemporary Society', in Illuminating Social Life: Classical and Contemporary Theory Revisited, Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc., pp.29-50
  • Social Mobility in Great Britain,
  • Stanfield, John H. (c2011) Historical foundations of Black reflective sociology, Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press.
  • Anthony Giddens; Philip W. Sutton. (2017) Essential concepts in sociology, Cambridge: Polity.
  • Johanna Hanefeld. (2015) Globalization and health, Maidenhead: McGraw Hill Education. vol. Understanding public health
  • Yudell, M.; Roberts, D.; DeSalle, R.; Tishkoff, S. (2016-02-05) 'Taking race out of human genetics', in Science. vol. 351 (6273) , pp.564-565
  • Kenneth Plummer. (2016) Sociology: the basics, London: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group. vol. The basics
  • Gutiérrez Rodríguez, Encarnación; Boatca, Manuela; Costa, Sérgio. (c2010) Decolonizing European sociology: transdisciplinary approaches, Farnham: Ashgate Pub.
  • Lynne Pettinger. (2016) Work, consumption and capitalism, London: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Mike Savage et al. (2013) 'A New Model of Social Class? Findings from the BBC's Great British Class Survey Experiment', in Sociology. vol. 47 (2) , pp.219-250
  • Miriam Glucksmann. (2006) 'Division of labour', in Sociology: the key concepts, New York: Routledge., pp.59-63
  • GRAEBER, David. (2012-09) 'Dead zones of the imagination', in HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory. vol. 2 (2) , pp.105-128
  • Platt, Lucinda. (©2019) 'Class', in Understanding inequalities: stratification and difference, Cambridge, UK: Polity., pp.31-57
  • Fulcher, James; Scott, John. (c2011) Sociology, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Almeling, Rene. (2019) 'Paid to Donate: Egg Donors, Sperm Donors, and Gendered Experiences of Bodily Commodification', in Transnationalising reproduction: third party conception in a globalised world, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge., pp.73-84
  • John Scott. (2006) Sociology: the key concepts, New York: Routledge.
  • Meloni, Francesca. (2020-01-25) 'The limits of freedom: migration as a space of freedom and loneliness among Afghan unaccompanied migrant youth', in Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. vol. 46 (2) , pp.423-438
  • Free to stitch, or starve: capitalism and unfreedom in the global garment industry | openDemocracy,
  • (2014) A dictionary of sociology, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Michael Mann. (1986-2013) The sources of social power, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Bonilla-Silva, Eduardo. (2018) 'The Central Frames of Color-Blind Racism', in Racism without racists: color-blind racism and the persistence of racial inequality in America, Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield., pp.53-76
  • John J. Macionis; Kenneth Plummer. (2012) Sociology: a global introduction, Harlow: Pearson/Prentice Hall.
  • (2017) Unmaking the global sweatshop: health and safety of the world's garment workers, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. vol. Pennsylvania studies in human rights
  • Morris, Jonathan. (2013) 'Why espresso? Explaining changes in European coffee preferences from a production of culture perspective', in European Review of History: Revue européenne d'histoire. vol. 20 (5) , pp.881-901
  • Plummer, Ken. (2016) 'Questions: Cultivating Sociological Imaginations', in Sociology: the basics, London: Routledge. vol. The basics, pp.123-151
  • Abercrombie, Nicholas; Hill, Stephen; Turner, Bryan S. (2006) The Penguin dictionary of sociology, London: Penguin.
  • Miriam Glucksmann. (2009) Women on the line, New York, NY: Routledge.
  • Eduardo Bonilla-Silva. (2001) White supremacy and racism in the post-civil rights era, Boulder, Colo: L. Rienner.
  • George Ritzer. (2018) Introduction to sociology, Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
  • Stanley, Liz. (1990) Feminist praxis: research, theory and epistemology in feminist sociology, London: Routledge.
  • You Can't Handle the (Algorithmic) Truth,

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Moodle Quiz (Week 20)    10% 
Coursework   Formative Assignment   02/11/2021  0% 
Coursework   Critical Review  10/12/2021  40% 
Coursework   Essay   28/04/2022  50% 
Exam  1440 minutes during Summer (Main Period) (Main) 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
50% 50%


Coursework Exam
50% 50%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Carlos Gigoux Gramegna, email:
Dr Tara Mahfoud, email:
Dr Carlos Gigoux Gramegna, Dr Tara Mahfoud
email: socugrad (Non essex users should add to create the full email address)



External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
Of 2535 hours, 266 (10.5%) hours available to students:
2269 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

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