I have so far outlined the modules I completed in my first year at university and those in the first semester of second year. I will now outline the modules that I took in the second semester of second year. We had some element of choice in this semester as there were 4 modules from which we chose to take 3.
- Japan: Culture, History and Power: I chose this because I thought it would be interesting to learn more about a country I knew very little about. And it was very interesting! In the lectures we learnt about the development of Japanese society and Japanese religion, family, gender, education, employment, crime and warfare. The assessment involved writing a 4,000 word essay which focused on one of these topics. I chose to answer the question on Japanese religion where I outlined the main stages in the development of religions in Japan from feudal times to the present day. I learnt about the functions of Shinto, Buddhism and Confucianism and discussed how these have influenced and have been influenced by the Japanese state.
- The Global Sex Trade: This module highlights some of the key issues surrounding prostitution by looking at how the global sex industry is organised and regulated. Moral debates about sex work are considered- is it unfair that women must sell their bodies in order to make money or is it a passage for women to become independent? And so too are political debates- should sex work be legal or illegal? Is it the customer or the sex worker who should be punished? Issues such as sex tourism and trafficking are also discussed and the representation of prostitution in the media is a prominent theme throughout. For the essay I chose to answer the question on the legalisation debate. This was a really interesting topic as there are so many considerations to sex work which go beyond our everyday understandings. With these considerations in mind it is evident that the criminalisation of prostitution can in fact be very harmful to sex workers and that perhaps prostitution should to some extent be legalised.
- Youth Culture and Politics: I won’t spend too much time explaining this module because I don’t think it is run anymore which is a shame because I really liked it and I actually got my highest module grade in it. The assessment was 100% exam which was all about how youth culture, particularly subcultures, has changed over time. I focused my revision on subcultures by examining the effectiveness of moral panic theory for explaining the nature of subcultures. I looked at how certain concepts, like class, are no longer appropriate for defining youth subcultures but rather concepts like neo-tribes are more effective. I also looked at the role of girls in subcultures.
The other module option was the Sociology of Fashion which many of my friends really enjoyed. If you want to find out more about this as well as the module which has replaced Youth Culture and Politics then visit the Sociology page.