The Sociology of Work - SOCI6680

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


Work and economic life is one of the central themes of sociology. Work allows us to think about class, gender, race and issues of identity. Work defines how people live their lives and is a major constituting factor in identity formation. In recent years work has changed enormously with the rise of globalisation, of deindustrialisation and the ending of old certainties which used to underpin working lives. This module examines how sociology and sociologists have looked at the issue of work in the past as well as in contemporary societies. It charts the theoretical background to the assumptions sociologists make about work as well as the methods they use to investigate work and employment. The module will focus on issues industrialisation, deindustrialisation, notions of career and identity and places and spaces of work. A major part of this module is the discussion of innovative ways of looking at work including through visual methods and approaches, and in addition it will draw on material from the arts and humanities.


Contact hours

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


BA Sociology and associated programmes
BA Social Policy and associated programmes
Available as a wild module

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

Essay (5000 words) (100%)

Reassessment methods

Reassessment Instrument: 100% coursework

Indicative reading

Strangleman T & Warren T (2008) Work and Society: Sociological Approaches, Themes & Methods. London: Routledge
Terkel S (1972) Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do. New York: Pantheon Books
Theriault R (1995) How to Tell When You're Tired: A Brief Examination of Work. New York: Norton

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

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

8.1 Critically analyse the key debates within the sociology of work.
8.2 Understand the key contribution sociology has made to the academic understanding of work.
8.3 Gain an appreciation of how sociological theory has helped to shape questions around work.
8.4 Be confident in using a range of approaches in order to understand and critique work.
8.5 Demonstrate enhanced understanding of how the sociology of work relates to a more general sociology.
8.6 Demonstrate strengthened awareness of how issues of economic life underpin other aspects of the sociological imagination.

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

9.1 Demonstrate enhanced ability to identify and locate information in printed and electronic formats.
9.2 Develop strategies for working with others through collaborative essay workshops which will feature collective constructive critique of work
of others.
9.3 Develop awareness of the research process and their role in developing their own essay question.
9.4 Communicate information and argument.
9.5 Use and apply sociological theories and concepts in an argument.
9.6 Reformulate social issues from the standpoint of sociological analysis.


  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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