University of Surrey - Guildford

Registry > Module Catalogue
View Module List by A.O.U. and Level  Alphabetical Module Code List  Alphabetical Module Title List  Alphabetical Old Short Name List  View Menu 
2010/1 Module Catalogue
 Module Code: SOC3005 Module Title: SOCIOLOGY OF SEXUALITIES
Module Provider: Sociology Short Name: SOC332
Level: HE3 Module Co-ordinator: CRONIN AC Dr (Sociology)
Number of credits: 20 Number of ECTS credits: 10
Module Availability
Assessment Pattern
Two essays of 2000 words (25% each) and an  examination (50%)
Module Overview

Traditionally medical discourses have subscribed to the view that sexuality is dependent on an underlying biological instinct.  However, sociology disputes this claim, suggesting instead that sexuality is a social construct embedded in specific historical, social and political practices. This module, through the analysis of empirical data and relevant theoretical debates will examine the sociological understanding of human sexuality and its relationship to gender. It begins with a critical analysis of the various theoretical approaches to the study of sexuality, and the implications they contain for our understanding of the origin, nature and regulation of human sexuality.



Building on this theoretical understanding the second part of this module examines the physical, societal and interpersonal dimensions of human sexuality. This involves an exploration of the culturally and socially varied ways in which sexual desire and its resultant identities have been conceptualised, deployed and regulated in a variety of social institutions and practices. While a primary focus of the module is the relationship between sexuality and gender close attention is paid to the way in which social class, race, ethnicity, age, and sexual orientation influence sexual identities, relationships and communities. The use of cross-cultural and historical materials will challenge our assumptions of what is “natural” about sexuality, and highlight the processes of change and development of sexuality in society.



Module Aims
Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module students should:



1)      Have a critical understanding of a wide range of theoretical perspectives, which seek to explain the origins, nature and regulation of human sexuality.



2)      Will understand the way in which sexuality interacts with other social divisions.



3)      Have an understanding of the socio-historic dimensions of sexuality and the contribution it makes to the maintenance of social order.



Module Content
Methods of Teaching/Learning
Selected Texts/Journals

Foucault, M., (1979) The History of Sexuality: An Introduction, Penguin Books.


Gagnon, J. H. & Simon, W. S., (1973) Sexual Conduct: The Social Sources of Human Sexuality, Aldine.


Hawkes, G., (1998) The Sociology of Sexuality, Macmillan.


Horrocks, R.  (1997) An Introduction to the Study of Sexuality, Macmillan.


Katz, J. N., (1996) The Invention of Heterosexuality, Plume Penguin.


Nardi, P. M. & Schneider, B. E., (eds.) (1998) Social Perspectives in Lesbian and Gay Studies, Routledge.


Plummer, K., (1995) Telling Sexual Stories: Power, Change and Social Worlds, Routledge.


Richardson D.  (ed.) (1996) Theorizing Heterosexuality, Open University Press.


Weeks, J. (1989) Sex, Politics and Society, 2nd edition, Longman.



Last Updated
September 2010