Ethnicity and Society

Module code: SY1015

Module co-ordinator: Dr Pierre Monforte

Please note that from 2016 this will be a second-year module.

Questions related to ethnicity are among the most topical in the world today. We hear about ethnic relations, race, migration, citizenship, or nationalism on a daily basis. To make sense of these questions and to develop a critical perspective on the information presented to us, it is necessary to gain a sociological understanding of the topic of ethnicity.

This module provides an introduction to the sociological study of ethnicity in British and European societies. We will explore the themes of ethnic relations, racism, discrimination, nationalism, citizenship, cultural identities, multiculturalism, and migration -- as well as how these themes relate to each other. While the focus will be primarily on the United Kingdom and the European Union, we will make many comparisons with other regions of the world.

We will analyse and discuss theoretical, empirical, and policy issues including:

  • Park and Burgess's theory on the 'race relation cycle'
  • Contemporary theories on the emergence of 'hybrid identities'
  • Ethnic relations in ethnically diverse cities such as Leicester
  • The experience of migrants and minorities in Britain
  • The 'citizenship test' in the UK and in other countries (see The UK Citizenship Process: Exploring Immigrants' Experiences for research conducted by Dr Monforte and his colleagues)
  • The census in the UK and in other countries

Topics covered

  • Classical and contemporary sociological theories of ethnicity
  • The history of racism
  • The construction of nationalism
  • Public policies on race and ethnicity
  • The representation of minorities in mass media


  • Eighteen one-hour lectures
  • Eight one-hour seminars


  • One essay of 2,000 words (50%)
  • One exam, two hours (50%)