Ethnicity and Identity in Multi-ethnic Societies - SOCI6012

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


This module aims to get students to think about their place in their social worlds, and in particular the importance of our ethnic and racial backgrounds and identities in shaping this sense of belonging. What is the nature of ethnic ties and membership? How do understanding of ethnic group identity and membership influence our interactions with one another, and structure our opportunities in the wider society? How do our ethnic backgrounds intersect with our gender, religion, and sexuality? These issues are now critical in multi-ethnic societies such as Britain, where our use of ethnic categories and terms are central to societal organization and function, whether in the census or in everyday interactions. But given the dizzying speed with which our societies are become super-diverse, via various forms of migration, and interracial and interethnic unions, the terms and categories we use are much less 'obvious' than they may have been in the past. Membership in ethnic groups themselves is now increasingly contested, and we also question what we mean by terms such as ‘minority’ or ‘BME’.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 22
Private Study Hours: 128
Total Study hours: 150


All BA Sociology programmes
All BA Cultural Studies and Media programmes
All BA Criminology programmes
It is also available as a 'wild module' for students in other Schools

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

Coursework - essay (2500 words) - 50%
Examination (2 hours) – 50%

Reassessment methods

100% coursework

Indicative reading

S. Cornell 2007 Ethnicity and Race: making identities in a changing world, Pine Forge Press, London
Barth, F. 1969. 'Introduction' in Ethnic groups and boundaries, the social organisation of cultural difference. London: Allen & Unwin
M. Song, 2003, Choosing Ethnic Identity, Polity, Cambridge
R. Jenkins,2014, Social Identity 4th edition, Taylor and Francis, Hoboken
M.C. Waters, 1990, Ethnic Options: choosing identities in America, University of California Press, Berkeley
S. Hall, 2013, Representation Second edition, Open University Press
A. Wimmer, 2013, Ethnic Boundary Making: institutions, power, networks, Oxford University Press, New York:
M. Tuan, 1998, Forever Foreigners or Honorary Whites: the Asian ethnic experience today, Rutgers University Press
M. Song 2017 Multiracial Parents: Mixed Families, Generational Change, and the Future of Race, New York University Press, New York

Key journals: Ethnic and Racial Studies, Ethnicities, Journal of Ethnic and Migrant Studies, Identities

Learning outcomes

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

8.1 Critically analyse the different theories and arguments made about the nature of ethnicity and ethnic ties.
8.2 Demonstrate and apply their knowledge of contemporary debates and theories about our membership in ethnic groups and the formation
of our identities more generally.
8.3 Articulate the relationships between identity formation, discourses about ethnic and racial difference, and the dynamics of social inclusion
and exclusion.
8.4 Demonstrate their knowledge of historical and recent streams of immigration and their implications for multi-ethnic Britain, the USA, and
8.5 Understand the intersectional dimensions of people's identities, including gender, class, ethnicity, religion, sexuality.

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

9.1 Critically evaluate varied multidisciplinary theoretical and analytical approaches
9.2 Analyse and critically evaluate competing theories about ethnicity, based on both theoretical and empirical assessments
9.3 Draw on relevant materials and analytical tools to develop considered arguments and evaluations
9.4 Effectively articulate complex arguments in written form, including the ability to structure information in a coherent manner


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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