Sociological Perspectives for Social Workers - SO311

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2018-19
(version 2)
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4 15 (7.5) DR JN Warner







The module will introduce students to the three main theoretical perspectives in sociology: functionalism, symbolic interactionism & conflict theories; the role of sociological theory in social work practice; and putting theory into reflexive social work practice. Students will explore theories of power, including the distribution and production of power, how power works, and Weberian and Foucauldian theory.

The social locations of gender, ethnicity, social class, disability, sexuality and age will be examined. Students will consider formations of identity, recognising and respecting difference in relation to race and ethnicity, social divisions, social class and stratification, and ‘difference as a deficit’.

The module will also explore contemporary theories of the ‘family’, households and domestic life; themes and perspectives relating to community, and community work and social work; the sociology of childhood in relation to social work; the sociology of health and illness, and mental health and illness; crime and deviance and the dilemmas of caring and controlling; modern organisations, power, authority and the role of social work in a changing professional and policy environment; and the sociology of ‘risk’ as a unit idea in sociology and its importance in understanding the focus on risk in social work practice.

Method of assessment

The module will be assessed by 100% coursework comprising of one long essay of 4,000 words. Students will need to demonstrate their understanding of how sociological concepts and theories are relevant for social work practice and, specifically, how they are essential for understanding the experiences of service users.

Indicative reading

Cuff E C Sharrock W W, Francis D.W. (4th Ed) (2000) Perspectives In Sociology. Routledge

Cree V.E. (2010) (2nd Ed) Sociology for Social Workers & Probation Officers. Routledge

Jones P (2003) Introducing Social Theory Blackwell/Polity Press

Giddens A (2010 ) Sociology (6th Ed) Cambridge: Polity

Hamilton P & Thompson K (2002) The Uses of Sociology. Blackwell

Llewellyn A, Agu L, Mercer D. (2008) Sociology for social Workers Polity.

Sullivan J. J. (2007) Sociology: Concepts and Application in a Diverse World. Pearson

Yuill C (2010) Sociology for Social Workers: an Introduction. Sage

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing this module, students will be able to:

12.1 Gather and evaluate information from a range of sources, including knowledge derived from sociological perspectives, and assimilate this information into their seminar discussions and written work.

12.2 Demonstrate analytic thinking and skills in relation to problem-solving, evaluation, reflection and writing.

12.3 Take personal responsibility for their own learning and the continuing acquisition of knowledge and skills relating to sociological perspectives.

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