CP0120 - Society, Diversity and Planning

SchoolCardiff School of Planning and Geography
Department CodeCPLAN0
Module CodeCP0120
External Subject CodeK400
Number of Credits20
Language of DeliveryEnglish
Module Leader Dr Craig Gurney
SemesterSpring Semester
Academic Year2013/4

Outline Description of Module

This module introduces students to key aspects of inequality in contemporary British society and considers contrasting theoretical perspectives to explain these.  Sociological theories are used to make sense of contemporary social change.  The lecture programme reflects current policy and academic debates which allows for a consideration of, amongst other topics, social mobility, riots and civic unrest, racial discrimination, social capital and the “Big Society”, consumption, identity and cultural capital.  It provides a context for planners and geographers to understand the spatial consequences of social change.

On completion of the module a student should be able to

1.    Describe and explain key forms of structural inequality in contemporary British society.

2.    Describe and explain the patterning, including the spatial dimensions, of these inequalities.

3.    Describe and explain the processes which lead to these inequalities

4.    Use official government statistics to describe and explain aspects of inequality

5.    Use appropriate sociological theories to explain patterns and trends in published data

6.    Recognise the importance of understanding contrasting theoretical accounts of social change

How the module will be delivered

The module will be delivered through a combination of lectures and workshops.  Lectures will include, where appropriate videos, whilst workshops will focus upon the provision of skills (for example report writing and referencing sources).


Skills that will be practised and developed

1.    The application of sociological ideas to learning other modules.

2.    Use of statistical data and official sources.

3.    Analysis and presentation of secondary data

4.    Report writing and essay writing skills.

How the module will be assessed

Coursework: Report


An evaluation of indicators used in an published survey



Coursework: Essay


A choice of essay questions



Students are permitted to be reassessed in a module which they have failed, in line with the course regulations. The reassessment will usually take place during the summer.

Assessment Breakdown

Type % Title Duration(hrs) Period Week
Written Assessment 50
Coursework 1 - Report
N/A 1 N/A
Written Assessment 50
Coursework 2 - Essay
N/A 1 N/A

Syllabus content

This module draws upon the social science discipline of sociology but it is not a “dry” theory module.  It makes no assumptions about prior learning and presents theories as practical tools to explain the world “out there”.  It starts with an introduction to the sociological imagination; the way in which sociologists view the world and then moves on to apply this perspective to a range of contemporary social issues with which geographers and planners will have a keen interest.  These will include; ways of thinking about social class, gendered inequalities, ‘racial’ inequalities, consumption sector cleavages, social capital, networks and community, cultural capital, identity and consumption, geodemographics and the mapping of class, professional power, representations of urban life in contemporary film and fiction, embodiment and disability, riots and civic unrest.

Essential Reading and Resource List

Aldridge, H. et al (2011) Monitoring Poverty and Social Exclusion 2011.  York.  Joseph Rowntree Foundation. 


Bevan Foundation (2010) Poverty and Social Exclusion in Wales.  Ebbw Vale.  The Bevan Foundation.


Devine, F. et al (eds) (2004) Rethinking Class: Cultures, Identities and Lifestyles. Basingstoke. Palgrave Macmillan.


Fulcher, J. and Scott, J. (2011) Sociology (4e).  Oxford.  OUP.


Giddens, A, (2009) Sociology (6e). Cambridge.  Polity.


Macionis, J. (2012) Sociology: A Global Introduction (5e).  Harlow.  Perason Prentice Hall.


Office for National Statistics (2011) Social Trends 41 http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/social-trends-rd/social-trends/social-trends-41/index.html


Saunders, P. (2010) Social Mobility Myths.  London. Civitas.


Sociological Research Online (1999) Rapid Response/Sociology Online: The Stephen Lawrence Murder and the Macpherson Inquiry and Report.  http://www.socresonline.org.uk/4/1/lawrence.html.


Sociological Research Online (2011) Refereed Rapid Response Section: Recent Social Unrest In England.  http://www.socresonline.org.uk/16/4/contents.html


Wilkinson, R and Pickett, K. (2010) The Spirit Level: Why equality is better for everyone.  London. Penguin.

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