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March newsletter

teodora.jpgTeodora Todorova, Teaching Fellow

I am a Teaching Fellow in Sociology and the Department Co-ordinator of the 2+2 Social Studies Programme. My favourite part of the job is working with students from diverse backgrounds who come to understand sociology as the theory behind their lived experience. I’ve been teaching Sociology and Cultural Studies for the past eight years. Previously I worked at the University of Nottingham in the School of Sociology and Social Policy, and the Department of Culture, Film and Media where I also completed my PhD in Critical Theory.

We have passionate staff and students who are just as engaged in their local community, and on campus, as they are in the classroom. Many of our students are active community volunteers and student society campaigners against sexism and racism. Their passion outside the classroom is reflected in the high quality classroom discussions and students’ well-informed essays.

We have a broad range of optional modules available which means that students can shape their degree programme to their own interests. In the first year, all of our students take modules which cover the big social issues of class, gender, and race. Many of our optional modules in year two and three link to our degree specialisms in Gender Studies, Race and Global Politics, Social Inequalities and Public Policy, Social and Political Thought, Research Methods, and Technologies and Markets.

I teach on two UG modules. The core first year SO126 Class and Capitalism in the Neoliberal World, and the optional SO336 Social Movements and Political Action which is part of the Race and Global Politics Specialism. My favourite module is Class and Capitalism. In this module we explore the social consequences of the economic and political transformations that have taken place in recent decades. We ask why these changes might be responsible for the global rise in urban unrest and dissatisfaction. Topics include growing inequality and elite power, militant policing, consumerism, anxiety, debt, the destruction of industrial communities, class identity, the marketization of education, and the diminishing spaces of ‘public’ life. Through these related topics we explore how neoliberalism as the marketization of everyday life can be understood through sociological attention to the historical processes which inform contemporary political decisions and protests.

Students tend to enjoy the weeks on education and consumerism the most, because they begin to see and theorise neoliberalism as an everyday force which shapes the way they see themselves and others around them. Closely linked to the delivery of this module is the Sociology Film Club where we watch documentaries and feature films which give substance to the theories we learn in class. Students really enjoy the film club and it gives us something concrete to discuss in class.