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Making social worlds

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In order to survive, human beings live in social worlds which create security, foster stable attachment between individuals and things, and regulate behaviour. This accessible, vocationally relevant course demonstrates how sociological approaches can be applied to make sense of these processes – investigating how they work and how they sometimes fail. Through topics such as immigration, medicine, family, money and reality television, you will explore how social experience is shaped by nature and the material world, and made meaningful through culture and the media. The course is ideal if you have previously studied the social sciences or arts and want to consolidate your understanding of sociology.

Modules at Level 3 assume that you are suitably prepared for study at this level. If you want to take a single module to satisfy your career development needs or pursue particular interests, you don’t need to start at Level 1 but you do need to have adequately prepared yourself for OU study in some other way. Check with our Student Registration & Enquiry Service to make sure that you are sufficiently prepared.

Register for the course


Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£775.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2017.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£775.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2017.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1625.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2017.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£775.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2017.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£775.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2017.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1465.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2017.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£2632.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2017.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£2632.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2017.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£775.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2017.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£2632.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

See below for information about part time tuition fee loans available for study towards a qualification.

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2017.

*Fees may vary by country.

What you will study

The course is organised into a number of blocks that combine sociological study with teaching material that aims to develop your transferable skills.

The introductory block, Passports: registering the individual, acts as a taster of the themes and concerns around which the sociological components of the course are structured. Through comparative and historical study the block introduces you to the ways in which some individuals have been ‘recognised’ and others excluded in different social orders. This block features key political figures discussing questions of citizenship, a documentary exploring the passbook regime which helped support apartheid in South Africa, film examining how airports operate, and discussion by leading academics on the use of documents, badges and clothing in controlling movement in early modern Europe.

A second block focuses in greater depth on questions of security. Security is a key component of modern societies. This is not only the case in the heightened climate of ‘the war on terror’, but is also reflected in such things as fear of crime, panics over the risks presented by toxins in food and global panics over disease pandemics. Security is not solely a concern for political science but is crucial to the operation of a range of social and cultural phenomena. The block features a range of case studies designed to explore the role of security in the making of social worlds and stretches from children’s novels to health and disease, urban safety, asylum and immigration. Throughout the case studies the aim is to establish how security operates across different social settings from the psychic to the geo-political; how a sense of security and safety is created out of material practices and through the type of ‘stories’ told in the media and other cultural institutions.

In the third block of sociological study, the focus shifts to attachment. This block is concerned with the ways in which the fabric of the social world – the attachments between people and between people and things – is constantly made and remade through human activity and the interaction between people. In the process of making such attachments, it is not only social worlds that are made but the individuals who inhabit these worlds. The block examines how attachments are made, and sometimes broken, by paying careful attention both to the emotions and feelings as well as the material, technical arrangements involved. These processes are illuminated by a number of case studies including reality television, marketing and family intimacy.

In the final block of sociological study, Conduct, the focus is on how individual behaviour is shaped and regulated in social worlds. This block retains a focus on the material world and the role of culture in ‘mediating’ or making sense of social experience to explore how behaviour is shaped by, among other things, habit, knowledge and example, legislation, advice books and self-help reality television shows. The social processes involved are explored in the context of examples including self-service shopping, personal finance, crime, war and extreme situations, all of which are designed to explore how social worlds work and how they sometimes fail.

The teaching material aims to develop skills that will not only help you complete the course and prepare for the final project-based assessment, but are also transferable to a range of different employment settings.

Vocational relevance

Making social worlds has relevance to a wide range of employment situations including public administration, health and social services, education, business, and other private and public sector organisations. It offers students the opportunity to develop transferable skills, such as the ability to gather, analyse and present written information to audiences, present reasoned arguments, and write reports, and it will help you plan and design your own work.

Entry

This is a Level 3 course. Level 3 courses build on study skills and subject knowledge acquired from previous studies at Levels 1 and 2. They are intended only for students who have recent experience of higher education in a related subject.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the course, please contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the Module Regulations and the Student Regulations which are available on our Essential documents website.

If you have a disability

You will need to spend considerable amounts of time using a personal computer and the internet during some sections of the course. Written transcripts of any audio components and Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) versions of printed material are available. Some Adobe PDF components may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader and musical notation and mathematical, scientific, and foreign language materials may be particularly difficult to read in this way. Other alternative formats of the study materials may be available in the future. Our Services for disabled students website has the latest information about availability.

If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Visit our Services for disabled students website for more information, including:

  • help to determine your study requirements and how to request the support that you need  
  • Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs)
  • using a computer for OU study
  • equipment and other support services that we offer
  • examination arrangements
  • how to contact us for advice and support both before you register and while you are studying.

Study materials

What's included

Study books and website.

Computing requirements

You will need a computer with internet access to study this course as it includes online activities, which you can access using a web browser.

  • If you have purchased a new desktop or laptop computer since 2007 you should have no problems completing the online activities.
  • If you’ve got a netbook, tablet or other mobile computing device check our Technical requirements section.
  • If you use an Apple Mac you will need OS X 10.6 or later.

You can also visit the Technical requirements section for further computing information including the details of the support we provide.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will help you with the study material, mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. We may also be able to offer group tutorials or day schools that you are encouraged, but not obliged, to attend. Where your tutorials are held will depend on the distribution of students taking the course.

Contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.

Assessment

The assessment details for this course can be found in the facts box above.

You will be expected to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) online through the eTMA system unless there are some difficulties which prevent you from doing so. In these circumstances, you must negotiate with your tutor to get their agreement to submit your assignment on paper.

The end-of-module assessment (EMA) is a project that takes the place of an examination. 

Future availability

The details given here are for the course that starts in October 2014. We expect it to be available once a year.

How to register

To register a place on this course return to the top of the page and use the Click to register button.

Student Reviews

“This was the last module for my BSc honours. Overall I found it very enjoyable and I got my best ...”
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“I found this an excellent course, which really challenged my taken-for-granted views of how society is made up. Like the ...”
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Distance learning

The Open University is the world’s leading provider of flexible, high quality distance learning. Unlike other universities we are not campus based. You will study in a flexible way that works for you whether you’re at home, at work or on the move. As an OU student you’ll be supported throughout your studies – your tutor or study adviser will guide and advise you, offer detailed feedback on your assignments, and help with any study issues. Tuition might be in face-to-face groups, via online tutorials, or by phone.

For more information read Distance learning explained.

Are you already an OU student ? Go to StudentHome for information on choosing your next module.
Course facts
About this course:
Course code DD308
Credits 60
OU Level 3
SCQF level 10
FHEQ level 6
Course work includes:
6 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school

Course satisfaction survey

See the satisfaction survey results for this course.

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