Sociology Of Gender SOCIO4040

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2 (Alternate Years)
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

Despite claims to improved gender equality, gender remains an organising principle of social relations and gender politics are still an area of contestation and debate in contemporary societies. The way in which we organise everyday life around dierences between women and men draws on particular understandings about sexed bodies and produces gendered outcomes.


While social structures and institutions are organised around gender, the course will focus predominantly on everyday life: we will look at how gender inequalities are embedded, negotiated and challenged in everyday life, and through this we will examine the connections between personal experience and larger social and political structures. We will consider how gender relations are enmeshed with practices of power, and how a critical examination of power dynamics can unlock the potential for social change.


How do sociologists understand gender? How does gender shape the functioning of social structures and institutions? How are structural inequalities reflected in gender relations, and how are these relations negotiated in everyday interactions? How do gender divisions articulate with other types of social divisions? These are some of the questions we will address. 


20 contact hours over the course of a single semester. This will normally consist of 2 hours per week and may be a combination of lectures and seminars/workshops.

Requirements of Entry

Mandatory Entry Requirements

Entry to Honours Sociology requires a grade point average of 12 (Grade C) over Sociology 2A and Sociology 2B as a first attempt.

Excluded Courses





This course is assessed through a mid-term reflective writing assignment on gender and everyday life (1000-1,500 words, 30%) and a summative essay (3,000 words, 70%).

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable


Course Aims

The aims of this course follow from the department's aims of developing a sound knowledge and critical understanding of the academic disciplines of sociology and social anthropology, and of producing graduates with independent and critical minds. These are also consistent with the general aims of the department's Honours programme.


More particularly, the aims are to:

■ build on the work of the Level 1 and Level 2 Sociology classes on the topic of gender divisions;

■ prepare students for further study and research in the field of sociology, with particular reference to gender divisions;

■ deepen students' understanding of concepts, theories and debates relating to gender, patriarchy and the sexual division of labour;

■ introduce new material relating, for example, to historical and comparative data, relevant to such debates;

■ develop an awareness of the ethical implications of carrying out sociological research;

■ provide students with a wide range of transferable skills, particularly those entailed in communication (both written and oral) and group work, that will meet the demands of the contemporary labour market;

■ train students to recognize and argue for the relevance of sociological knowledge to social policy and to non-academic situations, and to engage with issues of gender inequalities in their professional and personal lives, whether entering upon an academic career or not.

■ Enable you to enhance your transferable and inter-personal skills, particularly in communication, time management, individual and group research work, and critical appraisal of social issues.


■ Enable you to continue to develop a wide range of skills that will meet the demands of the modern labour market.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this programme students will be able to:

■ demonstrate an understanding of the historical and theoretical roots of the sociology of gender;

■ identify and evaluate key concepts relating to debates about the development of the sociology of gender, such as the public/private divide, the sexual division of labour and patriarchy;

■ discuss the social construction of femininities and masculinities, and their relation to differences of class and "race";

■  document persistent inequalities of gender in a number of key areas, such as employment;

■ critically assess the competing sociological theories relating to the points above;

■ deploy appropriate historical and cross-cultural evidence in the assessment of theoretical, social and public policy arguments;

■ explain processes of social change, to assess the merits of competing theories and explanations, and to structure and communicate ideas effectively both orally and in a variety of written forms.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits