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Critical Social Geographies


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 7
  • Convenor: William Ackah
  • Assessment: a 4000-word literature review (50%) and a 4000-word fieldwork report (50%)

Module description

This course examines power, identity, difference and inequality in the contemporary world using critical social geographical analysis. Analytical tools and research skills are used to explore a series of case studies, from the local to the global, to examine the relationship between individuals and society, and how institutions such as local authorities and governments reproduce and attempt to manage difference and inequality. You will focus on developing an understanding of key concepts and critical theory in social geography, including neo-liberalism, and social categories such as class, race and gender. We pay particular attention to the city as a site where these categories intersect, and where themes of identity, difference and inequality are played out in our everyday lives, including forms of dissent and the contestation of power.

Using a variety of teaching tools, including audio-visual and fieldwork, we will aim to provide you with the ability to analyse contemporary social phenomena, and develop research skills such as critical thinking, evaluating different sources of information, writing extended arguments and applying analytical tools to relevant case studies from your own experience.

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you should be:

  • familiar with key writers in the field of social geography
  • able to understand identity formation and its relationship with forms of power and social structure, including an examination of class, race and gender
  • able to analyse the spatiality of power and social inequalities
  • able to recognise how power, identity, difference and inequalities impact on everyday practices, policy and political outcomes
  • familiar with forms of dissent - from riots to creative practices - that seek to challenge or maintain particular social forms.