SOC20280 Sociology of Family

Academic Year 2023/2024

This module will explore key issues within sociology of family. In particular, it will focus on how perceptions and experiences of family shift over space and time. Students will develop an understanding of key sociological perspectives on the role of the family in society. The module will explore the social construction of family, how the definition of it developed over time. This understanding of diverse family and household structures include topics such as same-sex parents, lone-parents, divorced/step families, adoption and reproductive rights of Irish women. We will consider how these changes impact individual and family relationships.

Within this, the module will develop understandings into concepts of kinship, parenting, ethnicity, diversity, social class, work/family balance among others. This module examines if/how new forms of partnership challenge traditional gendered inequalities that were structural to marriage and parenthood. Throughout the module we will develop an appreciation of how family relationships are constructed in the context of wider changes in social and economic conditions that constrain and shape the apparently individual and private decisions that people make.

Show/hide contentOpenClose All

Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

At the end of the module the student should be able to:
understand key theories and concepts in sociology of family;
understand how and why the organisation of family life has been altering throughout history;
understand the relationship between the organisation of family relationships and wider social change;

Indicative Module Content:

The module content includes (but not limited to) the following topics (in no particular order):

What is a family? Key sociological theories of family
Historical and cultural perspectives on family
Theoretical perspectives on ethnicity and family
Irish family
Adoption, divorce and family
Women's reproductive rights in Ireland

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Autonomous Student Learning






Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Face-to-face lectures (In light of the COVID-19 situation, please stay alert to messages and announcements as this may impact on the usual way that this module is delivered).
In class discussions
Critical thinking and writing
Reflective learning
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Examination: 2 hour end of term exam. 2 hour End of Trimester Exam No Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn Yes - 2 Hour
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Not yet recorded
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 Tues 13:00 - 13:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 32, 33 Wed 13:00 - 13:50