Work, Employment and Society

Module code: SY2089

This module explores the meaning of work in industrial societies, the changing nature of employment relations and the connections between employment and other aspects of society like the family, education, politics and the welfare system.

Despite changes in the attention paid to work by sociology, it remains a fundamentally important social activity in which the majority of citizens will spend at least half their waking lives for nearly fifty years. It is the centrality of work that explains the significant impact it has on people’s opportunities, beliefs, choices and actions in many other areas of their lives. In addition to this, the course encourages you to consider the connections between shifting attitudes towards work, employment, unemployment and political and ideological trends.

Topics covered

  • What is Work?
  • Industrialisation, Class and Gender
  • Emotional Labour and Managerial Discipline
  • Unions, Power and Collective Action
  • Ethnicity and Racism in Labour Markets
  • Neoliberalism, Welfare and Unemployment
  • Work, Identity and Consumption
  • Globalisation, Migration and Inequality
  • Precarity, Technology and the Future of Work


  • 20 hours of lectures
  • 9 hours of seminars
  • 2 hours of tutorials
  • 119 hours of guided independent study


  • Examination, 2 hours (100%)