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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Postgrad (School of Social and Political Studies)

Postgraduate Course: Intimate Relationships (PGSP11229)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course fosters informed debate about intimate relationships, personal life, family and intimate practices and social change, using sociological concepts and the evidence of social research. In addition to research on the UK, the syllabus provides access to research within and across a number of national contexts in Europe, North America, Asia and Africa. There is leeway concerning the national context on which students choose to focus their reading. The extent to which concepts are ethnocentric is a question addressed within the course. The course activities include a number of small-scale research tasks.
Course description The academic course aims include:
- To engage with theoretical debate about the significance of personal and intimate relationships in the shaping of selves and social worlds and in processes of social change.
- To critically assess competing claims about intimate relationships and aspects of globalisation
- To provide insight into the patterning of and variation in intimate relationships across place and time.
- To provide modest hands-on engagement with the ethical and practical issues involved in researching personal life

The syllabus critically examines a series of claims and counter claims about personal life and social change Such as:
- A global trend of seeking more democratic and intimate couple relationships?
- A trend towards gender convergence in aspects of personal life such as men's and women's friendships, sexual relationships and parenting?
- A trend of towards more individualised ways of living that are detrimental to strong ties of family and kinship and filial responsibility?

It is also organised by examining evidence of the dynamic of personal life as impacted by and impacting on aspects of globalisation and the vagaries of global capitalism, including

- the 'electronic revolution', internet and mobile phone technologies,
- rapid transport and new patterns of mass mobility,
- advancing frontiers of commercialisation and commodification.
- environmental issues and climate change.

Student learning is encouraged by combinations of preparatory reading and practical exercises prior to class; group work and peer review within class.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  50
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 196 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 25% 1000 words fieldwork notes
10% a peer assessed blog post of no more than 300 words
65% A 4000 word essay
Feedback The field work notes and essay will be electronically marked and moderated, and given feedback comments. Student are invited to submit a one-or-two-page essay abstract and outline by week 8 to receive feedback in advance of writing their essay.
Fieldwork notes will be judged by the clarity of description, ability to explain why the topic was worth investigating, including formulating questions and connections with an existing piece of sociological literature in the topic area, understanding and reflection on limitations.
Blog posts will be judged by information content, clear accessible language that can be understood by all, and a lively style that is likely to get the reader interested and leave them thinking.
Essays are judged by the standard criteria used across the school of Social and Political Science and feedback is structured accordingly.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand sociological uses of intimacy, family practices, relationality, and personal life and be able to use these concepts sociologically and/or critically reflect on their use.
  2. Critically assess the standard of argument and conceptual thinking in debates about globalisation, social change and familial and personal relationships
  3. Weigh up the evidence in debates about differences, variation and social change in intimate and personal relationships.
  4. Understand the ethical issues raised in researching families, personal relationships and be aware of good ethical practice
  5. Strengthen their prior research methods training by participating in a number of practical exercises using a range of techniques of collecting data on personal life.
Reading List
Baldassar, L., & Merla, L. (2014). Locating transnational care circulation in migration and family studies: Routledge: London
Blum-Ross, A. and Livingstone, S. 2016. 'Sharenting: parent blogging and the boundaries of the digital self'. Popular Communication.
Jackson, S. and Ho, P.S.Y. 2014. 'Mothers, daughters and sex: the negotiation of young women's sexuality in Britain and Hong Kong'. Families, Relationships and Societies 3: 387-403.
Jamieson, L. (2011). Intimacy as a Concept: Explaining Social Change in the Context of Globalisation or Another Form of Ethnocentricism? Sociological Research Online, 16, 13.
Gabb, J., & Fink, J. (2015). Couple Relationships in the 21st Century: Palgrave Macmillan.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserProf Lynn Jamieson
Tel: (0131 6)50 4002
Course secretaryMs Emilia Czatkowska
Tel: (0131 6)51 3244
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