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[SI0235] - Migration, Race and Ethnic Relations

Module Code: SI0235
Module Leader: Sin Yi Cheung
Year: 2
Semester: Both
Number of Credits: 20

Teaching Method: Lectures and seminars. Seminars will involve group work, critical reading and discussion, student presentation and debates. Students are also expected to engage in private study
Assessment: Written examination 2 hours (50%) - Autumn Semester; Coursework total 3500 words (two short papers based on seminar tasks (20%); research paper (30%)) - Spring Semester
Degree Schemes: Education, Social Science, Sociology, BPS Social Science


Module Aims

This module aims to introduce students to debates in the sociology of migration, ‘race’ and ethnicity focusing primarily on the experiences of immigrants and ethnic minorities in Britain. It examines competing theoretical explanations of the ways in which international migration, assimilation, integration, ‘race’/ethnic relations are constructed. It also examines the social, political and historical conditions under which racial and ethnic hierarchies and boundaries emerge and how they are reproduced over time and why they continue to be central to the organization of contemporary societies.


Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Comprehension

  • Define and use the key concepts and theories in the study of race, ethnicity, faith and religion, migration, racism, identity-formation, assimilation and integration.
  • Describe the ways in which race and ethnicity structure social relations and identities, from the historical origins of race and ethnicity.
  • Identify and analyze the historical trajectories of racial and ethnic groups in Britain, taking into account political, economic, social, and cultural factors that contribute to understanding of their present day experiences and in the global economy.
  • Discuss the way in which race and ethnicity interacts with other forms of social divisions (class, gender), and the impact of ethnicity and faith on different social spheres, e.g. education, employment, housing, immigration and criminal justice

Skills (Application and Analysis)

  • Explain and summarise key theoretical approaches and concepts utilised in sociological analyses of race and ethnicity.
  • Summarise and evaluate empirical findings from sociological research on race and ethnic studies
  • Apply in writing and verbally sociological theories and concepts in the studies of race and ethnicity to settings other than those dealt with directly in the module

Understanding (Synthesis and Evaluation)

  • Critically assess and evaluate key issues in integration policies and practices in the light of findings from sociological research.
  • Critically assess and evaluate conceptual and policy debates and practices in racial equality in the light of different theoretical interpretations.

Transferable Skills

The module will contribute to the development of the following transferable skills:

  • The ability to analyse and evaluate key texts in relation to their theoretical assumptions and empirical findings
  • Distinguish opinions from evidence; think analytically in selecting information and presenting arguments; communicate clearly and thoughtfully in discussing theoretical constructs.
  • Use bibliographic databases and information technology, practice information gathering using libraries and online resources, conduct a literature search; retrieve and use statistical data and interpret them accurately
  • Identify appropriate secondary data sources for statistical analysis, conduct simple data analysis using a statistical software
  • Convey concise and persuasive arguments in oral presentation, participate in group discussions and team work, take initiative and negotiate within a framework and carried out agreed tasks.
  • Complete assignments that are well-constructed, coherent, properly referenced and grammatical.

Synopsis of Module Content

This module covers three main areas:

  • Theoretical approaches to Race and Ethnic Studies - Major sociological theoretical approaches to migration, and ethnic relations focusing on social and political contexts, the construction of group boundaries and identity.
  • Migration, Immigration and Integration - Historical trajectories of migration patterns and diaspora of different ethnic minorities, contexts of reception, immigration and integration policies; theories of classic and segmented assimilation and their limitations.
  • Diversity and Ethnic Stratification - Ethnic inequalities in education and the labour market, health, housing and residential segregation, ethnic enclave economy, ethnic entrepreneurship, and generational change.

Arrangements for Feedback on Work

Regular feedback on students’ progress is provided through discussion and commentary on work prepared for seminars. Formal, written feedback is provided on assignments individually and for the group as a whole (the latter via Learning Central and lectures). Written feedback on examinations is provided to the group as a whole via Learning Central.


Indicative Reading

Castles, S. and Miller, M. (2009) The Age of Migration. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Finney, N. and Simpson (2009) Sleepwalking to Segregation. Bristol: Polity Press.

Pilkington, A. (2003) Racial Disadvantage and Ethnic Diversity in Britain. Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Ratcliffe, P. (2004)  ‘Race’, Ethnicity and Difference: Imagining the Inclusive Society. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Solomos, J. (2003) Race and Racism in Britain. Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Spencer, S. (2011)  The Migration Debate. Bristol: The Polity Press.