1 Introduction to the course

Y157: Understanding society

Understanding society is a wide-ranging course that looks at the subject as part of a journey that starts with family life in the UK and ends with worldwide social movements. It introduces key social science concepts and develops your knowledge of the way social scientists work, through the use of case studies and activities. Whether you’re thinking of further study in the social sciences, or are simply interested in finding out about some of the profound changes that society is experiencing, this course has much to offer.

“A great course. I’ve not studied or written essays in many years and this course really did make the journey smooth. It made study an addiction and I’ve just moved on to another course (DD100) which I’m also enjoying. Y157 has made the transition to this new course really easy!”

Openings student

The course is built around six key questions. ‘Who does the work in the home?’ looks at the way housework is shared with UK families, and at how the work of women in the home had developed and changed. ‘What makes us the same – what makes us different?’ explores how a sense of belonging is developed which links us to some people but separates us from others, and what happens when there is a meeting of different cultures. ‘Why can we buy goods from all over the world?’ explains globalisation and examines how and why this has happened. ‘Why do people travel to other countries for work?’ investigates why people move and the effects of migration. People have always moved for work but migrant labour has recently become a particularly sensitive issue. ‘Why does where we live matter?’ will explore the importance of 'place' for our life chances and look at how we feel about where we live. Finally, in ‘How do we bring about change?’ we see how people can bring about or resist change, looking at a range of social movements from the suffragettes to the more recent protests against genetically modified crops.

The course will also give you the opportunity to develop and practise a number of learning skills such as effective note taking, essay writing, using evidence and reflection on your own learning.

This Openings course would be useful if you are interested in going on to either An introduction to the social sciences: understanding social change (DD100) or An introduction to the social sciences: understanding social change part 1 (DD121).

What is the course Understanding society about?

Y157 is a level 1 short introductory course designed to help develop the skills needed for higher level study, while also developing knowledge and understanding about society.

Y157 is a course that develops your knowledge of society through looking at some of the key issues that social scientists believe are central to an understanding of our lives and the lives of the people around us, as well as to how society develops and changes.

Y157 is built around six key questions:

There are no entry requirements for this course. The course is designed for students who have not studied before or who may have studied a long time ago. It takes most students about 4–6 hours per week over 20 weeks to complete the course. You can earn 10 points towards a degree through the successful completion of this course.