module specification

SS4007 - Social Problems and Social Issues (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Social Problems and Social Issues
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Social Sciences
Total study hours 300
81 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
219 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 25%   Short answer questions (500 words)
Coursework 25%   Literature review (1500 words)
Coursework 50%   Analysis of a social problem (2000 words)
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Thursday Morning

Module summary

To examine how social problems become conceived as such by the media, government and civil society and to analyse the impact of particular social problems on society. We shall also reflect on the location of particular social problems in different spaces: global, regional, national, local and examine policy responses to particular social problems

Module aims

- Analyse the social construction of a social problem

- Collate information on the location and scale of a social problem

- Reflect upon sociological interpretations of a particular social problem

- Outline policy responses to a particular social problem


Week 1-3:       Introduction to social problems; competing explainations; common sense & social problems; the social construction of social problems
Week 4-5:       Study Skills
Weeks 6-10:  Migration; asylum seekers; multiculturalism and anti-racism
Weeks 11/12: Study Skills
Weeks 13-17: Work: Unemployment;The Future Labour Market
Weeks18/19:  Study Skills
Weeks 20-25: Social Exclusion, Poverty, Childhood Poverty, Homelessness, Poor Neighbourhoods
Weeks 26/27:  Study Skills
Weeks 28-30:  Ideologies & social problems; revisting the construction of social problems; the institutionalisation of discourses, power & social problems

Learning and teaching

The teaching and learning strategies are situated around the acquisition by students of analytical tools that can help them unpack social problems in the context of policy responses. To do this teaching takes places along the lines of examining and evaluating social problems  in terms of relevant modes of explanation, research and policy analysis. The module is delivered using a strategy of blended learning i.e. a mixture of traditional and online methods are used. Basic content is typically delivered via lectures, but students are expected to read relevant material before and/or after the lecture which is available via Weblearn.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:
(1)          Identify an area or theme around the general terrain of social problems
(2)          Use theoretical and empirical knowledge, in an appropriate way for analysis
(3)          understand the key social problems associated with the restructuring of contemporary society
(4)          appreciate differing definitions and perspectives concerning social problems and the policy implications
(5)          evaluate differing perspectives
(6)          utilise a range of information retrieval, research and communication skills in individual and group work. present findings in report and essay format.

Assessment strategy

1. Short answer questions (500 words), due in Week 8
2. Literature review (1500 words), due Week 21
3. Analysis of a social problem (2000 words), due in Week 28


Geddes, A. (2003) Politics of Migration...In Europe, London: Sage.
George, V. (2002) Globalization & Human Welfare, Basingstoke: Palgrave.
May, M., Page, R. & Brunsdon, E. (Eds) (2001) Understanding Social Problems: Issues in Social Policy, Oxford: Blackwell.
Modood, T. (2005) Multicultural Politics: Racism, Ethnicity and Muslims in Britain, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Pilkington, A. (2003) Racial Disadvantage & Ethnic Diversity in Britain, Basingstoke: Palgrave.
Reich, R. (2001) The Future of Success: Work and Life in the New Economy, London: Heinemann.
Ward, I. (2006) Shabina Begum and the Headscarf Girls, IN Journal of gender studies., 15(2), 119-131.