Walking on Sunshine

Norma Sherratt et al – Understanding Society – 2010/014

The Back of the Book: Understanding society is a short course aimed at anyone who is interested in the connections between their life and the lives of people around the world, and in how society is changing.  Using case studies and activities, the course introduces key social science concepts.  No previous knowledge of the subject is needed.  Understanding society will be particularly useful to those interested in the Open University‘s course, An introduction to the social sciences:  Understanding social change (DD100).

Understanding society is built around six key questions:

  • Who does the work in the home?  Chapter 2 looks at family life in the UK, and particularly at how women’s work in ad beyond the home has changed.
  • What makes people the same; what makes them different?  Chapter 3 explores ow we develop a sense of belonging which links us to some people but separates us from others, and discusses what happens when different cultures meet.
  • Why can we buy good from all over the world?  In the UK today we are surrounded by goods made in other countries.  Chapter 4 investigates why this has happened and what globalisation means.
  • Why do people travel to other countries for work?  Migrant labour has become an important issue in recent years.  Chapter 5 explores why people move, and some of the effects of migration.
  • Why does where we live matter?  Our health, jobs and education are all related to where we live.  Chapter 6 looks at the importance of place for our life chances, and at how we feel about where we live.
  • How do we bring about change?  People can bring about or resist change.  Chapter 7 looks at a range of social movements, from the Suffragettes to recent protests against genetically modified crops.

NotJustLaura’s Review: I’ve worked my way through this book while studying the Open University’s course Understanding Society (Y157).  I found the book very easy to read and use.  The authors have used a welcoming, friendly tone throughout and the book is clearly aimed at those who are returning to study or studying at University level for the first time.  Personally, I would have enjoyed some more depth to the discussion as I feel they have only touched upon the issues raised.  All the same, this was an enjoyable read with some interesting activities for the new student.


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