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  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 6
  • Convenor: Ben Gidley
  • Assessment: a 3000-word essay (100%) and a 1000-word piece of descriptive writing

Module description

This module will explore class from a psychosocial perspective. It will introduce you to literatures from a range of disciplines, including psychosocial studies, anthropology, geography and sociology, as well as critical race theory and feminist and queer theory.

Key questions will include how class has been theorised in different social science traditions, how class can be understood to intersect with other forms of difference and oppression, and how class has changed as social structure and culture has changed.

The focus will primarily be on the UK, although there will also be discussion of what a global account of class would look like. There will be a particular emphasis on research on working-class culture and experience, but with sessions too on middle-class lives and on the 'super-rich'. You will be encouraged to bring your own experiences and perspectives on your social locations to bear in the course discussion and essays.

The main aims of the course are to:

  • explore key theories and concepts in the study of class from a psychosocial perspective
  • introduce the approaches taken to class by a range of adjacent disciplines, interrogating these approaches from a psychosocial perspective
  • develop your critical reading abilities and understanding of literatures from different disciplinary perspectives
  • develop your ability to write in different forms about psychosocial life, evidenced through assessed written work
  • develop your research skills by building their understanding of different methodological approaches for the study of class, as well as the epistemological, ethical and political stakes of these different approaches.

Indicative module content

  • Class and the classing gaze
  • Objective antagonism: labour and capital
  • Distinction: social and cultural capital
  • Seeing class: from poverty maps to the Great Class Survey
  • Race and class: intersections of oppressions and identities
  • Hidden injuries of class: narrative and auto-ethnography
  • Mapping class: spatial injustice and psychosocial approaches
  • The likes of us: class and whiteness
  • Shameless: chavs and pikeys
  • Studying up: life in the alpha territories
  • Gender and queer perspectives will be integrated into all of these sessions

Learning objectives

On successful completion of this module, you will be expected to be able to:

  • demonstrate an understanding of the key literatures around class, especially from a psychosocial perspective
  • demonstrate an understanding of the value of different methodological perspectives for researching class
  • relate the theoretical literatures on class both to personal experiences and to political and social debates.