PO1BRI-British Society

Module Provider: School of Politics, Economics and International Relations
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring / Summer module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Dr Dawn Clarke

Email: d.clarke@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:
The module draws on theories and approaches from Politics, Sociology, Psychology, History and Philosophy to consider some of the main contours of contemporary British Society. The module will explore a number of images of Britain including: Britain as a Welfare State, Multicultural Britain and Britain as a Class Society. It will also explore crime and deviance in Britain, the role of the mass media and the increasing power of the food industry.

•To acquire a critical understanding of some key changes in British society since the Second World War and the reasons for them.
•To understand and analyse the changing relationship between the state, social institutions and citizens and their behaviour.
•To understand how these changes are influenced by factors both at home and globally.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module students will be able to:
•Have a good knowledge and understanding of the key trends in Britain since 1945.
•Be able to make a critical analysis of secondary texts.
•Be able to effectively use empirical data such as official statistics, official documents, and research studies to develop theoretically informed, evidence-based arguments.
•Be able to conduct an analysis of media sources, such as newspapers, advertisements, film, and visual imagery.
•Be able to use these skills in seminar discussions, essays and examinations.

Additional outcomes:

Outline content:
The following module content is indicative and may be subject to change:
The module examines social and political changes in Britain from the end of the Second World War to the present day. It examines the historical background to these changes and sets them into a wider global perspective. The module begins by looking at the changing nature of British culture since 1945 and shows the significance of a number of cultural revolutions including the sexual revolution and the relationship between law and social change, with reference to abortion and divorce. The module examines the power of the mass media in Britain and the relationship between censorship, freedom and control. Crime and deviance have played a large part in the development of modern Britain so we shall be looking at the relationship between crime, inequality and society and also how moral panics are constructed. The module concludes by looking at Britain in postmodernity, with an emphasis on the power of the food industry, and the increasingly important issues of consumerism, identity and risk.

Global context:
Compares Britain to Europe, USA and other countries where necessary.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The module uses a combination of lectures and seminar discussions. In addition students are expected to read books and articles and participate in class discussions.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 8 8
Seminars 5 5 1
Supervised time in studio/workshop 5 5
Guided independent study 81 82
Total hours by term 99.00 100.00 1.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 60
Written assignment including essay 40

Other information on summative assessment:
Students will write one c1500 word essay in each of the Autumn and Spring terms. The coursework mark will be the average of the two essay marks. The coursework mark will constitute 40% of the overall assessment.

Visiting students: will follow the same assessments and if enrolled for the full year will also sit the examination. Those visiting students who are here for Autumn and Spring terms only but wish to gain full credits will also write a 3000 word essay in place of the examination, to be submitted by the first day of term following their leaving date. Visiting students who are only studying for half credits in Autumn and Spring terms will submit one 1500 word essay per term and if here for only one term should submit one 3000 word essay in total.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:
    One three-hour examination.

    Requirements for a pass:
    40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    If a student fails to pass the year at the first attempt there is an opportunity to be re-assessed on one further occasion at the next opportunity in those modules achieving a mark of less than 40%. Students who are eligible for re-assessment have the right to re-assessment in all elements even if they have previously passed one of those elements. It is expected, however, that the majority of students would probably elect not to repeat an element in which they had already passed, in which case the confirmed marks would be carried forward.

    Coursework: Failed or missing coursework should be re-submitted by 1st August, emailed directly to politics@reading.ac.uk, AND submitted on Blackboard.

    Examination: Re-examination takes place in August/September of the same year.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding: There may be optional costs associated with photocopying or printing sources listed on the reading list relating to this module. Please note that the Library charges approximately 5p per photocopy.
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 31 March 2017

    Things to do now