Worlds of Work - SOCI8860

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2021 to 2022
Spring Term 7 20 (10) Tim Strangleman checkmark-circle


This module examines the way work shapes society and in turn how society shapes work. Drawing on the fields of sociology, cultural sociology, social policy as well as other disciplines this module explores work in a variety of competing and complementing ways and in doing so offers students a chance to appreciate different themes, issues, methodologies and approaches. These include work identity and meaning; age, generation and class; visual methods and approaches; the cultures of work; work/life balance and the end of work.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 22
Private study hours: 180
Total study hours: 200

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods
Coursework - essay 1 (2000 words) - 40%
Coursework – essay 2 (2500 words) - 40%
Seminar presentation - 20%

Reassessment methods
100% coursework

Indicative reading

Strangleman, T. & Warren, T. (2008) Work and Society: Sociological approaches, themes and methods, London, Routledge – Chapters 1 & 3
Cowie, J. (2016) The Great Exception: The New Deal & the Limits of American Politics, Princeton, Princeton University Press.
Cowie, J. & Salvator (2008) 'The Long Exception: Rethinking the Place of the New Deal in American History', ILWCH, 74, 1-32.
Tomlinson, J. (2016) ‘De-industrialization not decline: a new meta-narrative for post-war British History’, Twentieth-Century British History, 27(1), pp. 76-99
British Journal of Sociology, Special Issue: Piketty Symposium, December 2014, Volume 65, Issue 4, Pages ii–ii, 589–747
Strangleman, T. (2016) ‘Deindustrialisation and the Historical Sociological Imagination: Making Sense of Work and Industrial Change’, Sociology
Hall, D. (2012) Working Lives: The forgotton voices of Britain’s post-war working class, London, Bantam Press.
Edwards, P. & Wajcman, J. (2005) The Politics of Working Life, Oxford, Oxford University Press – Chapter 1
Anthony, P. Ideology of Work, London, Routledge.
Joyce, P. (ed.) The Historical Meanings of Work, Cambridge, CUP – Chapter 1
Theriault, R (1995) How to tell when you’re tired: A brief examination of work, New York, Norton.
Terkel, S. (1972) Working: People talk about what they do all day and how they feel about what they do, New York: Pantheon Books. Especially Introduction
Budd, J. W. (2011) The Thought of Work, Cornell: Cornell University Press

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes are as follows. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
1.Identify the debates and theoretical problems when looking at work over historical time, including the meanings attached to the process of industrial change.
2.Identify the debates and theoretical problems when looking at work across individuals' life courses, including group differences in access to and returns from paid work and participation in and responsibility for unpaid work.
3.Discuss the role of the state in shaping work, both the labour market as well as for individuals.
4.Identify the range of ways in which work is experienced by individuals and social groups and how in turn they make sense of work in their lives.
5.Discuss the ways in which work is simultaneously global, local and idiosyncratic.
6.Debate a range of inter-disciplinary research evidence used to explicate the theoretical concepts, including noting the strengths and weaknesses of different methodological approaches as well as proposing areas for future research that add to the body of knowledge.
7.Discuss the limitations of present sociological understandings of work and identify matters requiring further research.
8.Present findings to academic and non-academic audiences.

The intended generic learning outcomes are as follows. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
1.Communicate research results to academic and general audiences in both written and oral media.
2.Manage their time, prioritise workloads and manage stress as well as taking responsibility for their learning and professional development.
3.Undertake desk-based research, access and evaluate ICT and library based resources appropriate for postgraduate study; make critical judgments about their merits and use the available evidence to construct a developed argument to be presented orally or in writing.


  1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
  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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