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The Sociology of Urban Life (SO9C5)

More than half of the world’s population is currently living in cities, and most of us have first-hand experience of urban life in different cities. Have you ever wondered why your neighbourhood is changing and what processes are behind it? Would you like to make sense of your own daily observations and understand them in a broader sociological context?

This module will discuss critical theoretical and empirical perspectives in urban sociology. Cities provide important contexts for thinking about the relationships between social processes and spatial forms, as dynamic sites of social inequalities, complex social relations, and socioeconomic change. Globalisation, neoliberalism and immigration are all big social processes affecting and shaping cities and their residents’ everyday lives. Through in-depth readings and lectures, you will explore classic and contemporary theoretical perspectives and issues on the modern and contemporary city, related to global cities and mega-cities as well as smaller cities, social exclusion and difference, community and social relations in the city, gentrification and urban transformation, urban poverty and public space. We will also explore these perspectives and issues with reference to a range of international empirical examples.

All students will be asked to conduct a small-scale empirical research project (observation, interview or visual representation) of their own and theoretically connect it with that week's topic. PGT students will present it in the seminar, while UG students will submit it in written form (500 words). Final marking will be based and the small-scale work (15%) and a critical and theoretical essay of 4,000-word (PGT) / 2,500-word (UG) (85%).

Module Director:

Carrie Benjamin


This module is worth 20 CATS