Sociological Perspectives for Social Workers - SOCI3110

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Spring Term 4 15 (7.5) Robin Rose Breetveld checkmark-circle


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.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 22
Private study hours: 128
Total study hours: 150


BA (Hons) Social Work

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

Coursework – essay (3000 words) – 100%

Reassessment methods


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
Heraud, B.J. (2016), Sociology and social work: perspectives and problems. Elsevier.
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., & Gibson, A. (2010). Sociology for Social Work: An Introduction. Sage Publications

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

8.1 Understand key concepts and theories in sociology and their relevance for recognising and responding to the needs of service users in
contemporary social work practice.
8.2 Recognise and explain social processes and factors associated with poverty, racism, disabling attitudes and environments, sexism, lack of
educational opportunity, and other sources of disadvantage that lead to marginalisation, oppression and social exclusion.
8.3 Understand how social locations such as social class, gender, 'race' and ethnicity, age, disability and sexuality are defined and
constructed and how they intersect with one another.
8.4 Appreciate the relevance of sociological perspectives and the application of research and empirical evidence from sociology to
understanding the relationship between structural factors, human agency and behaviour at individual, group and community levels
8.5 Describe and analyse the role of (the) social work(er) in a plural society, with particular reference to inter-personal, institutional and
structural discrimination, empowerment and anti-discriminatory practices.
8.6 Analyse the nature and validity of different definitions of, and explanations for, the characteristics and circumstances of service users and
the services required by them.
8.7 Develop the capacity to analyse the complex relationships between social and political philosophies, public policies and priorities, the
organisation and practice of social work, including the contested nature of all of these in an environment of change

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

9.1 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.
9.2 Demonstrate analytic thinking and skills in relation to problem-solving, evaluation, reflection and writing.
9.3 Take personal responsibility for their own learning and the continuing acquisition of knowledge and skills relating to sociological


  1. Credit level 4. Certificate level module usually taken in the first stage of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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