Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2005-2006 (archived)




Type Open Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2005/06 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • Satisfactory completion of preliminary honours.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • The module aims to introduce to level 2 students a range of sociological studies that offer understandings of the relationship between individuals, groups and social institutions.
  • Particular attention will be given to contrasting conceptions of 'self' and 'identity' within such understandings.


  • Part One - Conceptualizing 'self' and 'identity': some major traditions and figures.
  • This part of the module introduces students to the major conceptual resources and issues in the area.
  • It considers the development of the field through analyses of the traditions through which the study of the self and identity have progressed.
  • Part Two - Self, identity and society: issues and applications.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • At the end of this module, students will:
  • Have knowledge of the range of meanings attached to concepts of self and identity in sociology.
  • Be able to identify different understandings of self and identity used in different sociological accounts.
  • Be familiar with specific theoretical and empirical studies in sociology which have had a central concern with issues of self and identity.
  • Know how issues of self and identity may be investigated sociologically.
  • Understand the significance of concepts of the self identity for wider social theory.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of the module students will be able to:
  • Evaluate sociological arguments and evidence.
  • Use abstract sociological concepts with confidence,
  • Undertake and present sociological work in a scholarly manner.
  • Apply theoretical and /or empirical knowledge to an appropriate sociological question.
  • Convey in writing the meaning of abstract theoretical concepts in ways that are understandable to others
Key Skills:
  • By the end of the module students will be able to:
  • Demonstrate a range of communication skills including the ability to: evaluate and synthesize information obtained from a variety of written sources; communicate relevant information in different ways.
  • Demonstrate competence in the use of IT resources, including the ability to word-process, and use web-based resources (DUO).
  • Demonstrate a capacity to improve own learning and performance, including the specific ability to manage time effectively, work to prescribed deadlines, engage in different ways of learning including both independent and directed forms of learning, gather necessary information from a range of bibliographic sources, seek and use feedback from academic staff, and monitor and critically reflect on the learning process.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Lectures provide students with substantive information, indicate the main issues to be considered and introduce the main themes, interpretations and arguments of the subject material.
  • They encourage students to develop skills in listening, selective note-taking and an appreciation of how information may be structured and presented to others.
  • Seminars will be organised around themes for discussion and will have designated reading.
  • Seminars provide the opportunity for students to present and develop their own understanding of relevant materials, encourage them to develop transferable skills (e.g. oral communication, group work skills, information retrieval skills), subject-specific skills (e.g. competence in using theoretical perspectives and concepts in Sociology and Social Policy, the ability to formulate sociologically informed questions) and general skills (e.g. judging and evaluating evidence, assessing the merits of competing arguments and explanations, making reasoned arguments).
  • Students will also spend time in self-directed study, individually (and occasionally in groups) as they prepare for specific seminar and essay assignments.
  • Formative essays require students to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of module topics and provide the opportunity of feedback on such knowledge and understanding.
  • A summative assessed essay requires students to demonstrate more detailed and extended knowledge of one particular study of self and identity as well as the ability to situate that study in a wider disciplinary context.
  • A summative examination tests students abilities to collate, integrate, summarise and express their knowledge and understanding of a range of module materials.
  • Formative and summative assessment requires students to demonstrate the skills outlined above.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Total 200
Lectures 22 1 Per Week 1 Hour 22
Seminars 11 Fortnightly 1 Hour 11
Preparation and Reading 167

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
1500-3000 word essay 100%
Component: Examination Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
one two-hour unseen examination 100%

Formative Assessment:

Two 1000-1500 word essays.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University