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School of Environment, Education and Development

Student in The Atrium at The University of Manchester
BA Geography
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BA Geography

Year of entry: 2018

Course unit details:
Everyday Geographies: Social and Cultural Concepts and Methods

Unit code GEOG21422
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Geography
Available as a free choice unit? Yes

Overview

Everyday life is characterised ‘by ambiguities, instabilities and equivocation’ (Highmore 2002, 17), and geographers have a long interest in the spaces, relationships and practices that configure and are configured by the everyday. Everyday geographies is a field of exciting and innovative literatures and methodologies, whereby the mundane, the familiar and the ordinary are an area of significant geographical debate. Indeed, it is in everyday life that issues of power, inequality, and inter-sectionality are played out, lived and experienced - and contested. In particular, the course will explore issues such as gender, sexuality, class, ethnicity and age, as just some of the ways in which to understand and unpack everyday geographies. We'll be looking at the spatial, relational, material, enacted and emotional elements of everyday life, as well as how to study and interpret everyday geographies. To do this, we will draw on ideas, concepts and critiques from social and cultural theory, and from feminist, queer, post-structural and post-colonial geographies. As well as exploring academic ways of thinking about and studying the everyday, there will also be many moments when you’ll be encouraged to reflect on your own everyday lives. 

Aims

  • To introduce ways of studying everyday geographies through social and cultural concepts and methods

  • To explore a range of everyday spaces, practices and relationships from a geographical perspective

  • To provide opportunities to link theoretical debates with real life examples

  • To encourage critical reflection on your own everyday geographies

  • To provide an opportunity to learn about and experiment with social and cultural methods and analysis as preparation for dissertation research

  • To develop a range of transferable skills including problem solving, the ability to critique ideas and debates presented in classes, discussions and in academic literature, and analytical skills

Learning outcomes

By the end of this module and the assessment you should:

  • Be able to identify the value of everyday life as a field of geographical interest and research
  • Understand the nature of the sub-disciplines of social and cultural geographies and the main theoretical debates and methodological approaches within the field
  • Have an awareness of the diversity of societies and how different social groups experience and construct everyday spaces, relationships and practices in a range of ways
  • Have developed skills in researching the real world, and in linking theoretical debates to the real world, including your own everyday lives

Syllabus

Course Structure:

Week

Topic

1

Seminar: Welcome workshop: Boys from the Blackstuff

Lecture: An Introduction to Everyday Geographies

2

Seminar: Representing everyday geographies: Lowry visit and guided talk

Lecture: Everyday spaces, relationships and practices: ideas and approaches

3

Seminar: Everyday geographies: key concepts and literatures

Lecture: Methods for researching everyday life

4

Seminar: Auto-ethnography workshop - method

Lecture: Everyday spaces: home and work

5

Seminar: Auto-ethnography workshop - theory

Lecture: Everyday spaces: the street and the neighbourhood

6

Study Week

7

Seminar: Reading group: key concepts so far

Lecture: Everyday relationships: families and kinship     

8

Seminar: Coursework drop-in [optional]

Lecture:  Everyday relationships: friendships and encounters *essays due*

9

Study Week

10

Seminar: Social relationships, participatory methods?

Lecture: Everyday practices: cooking, cleaning and caring

11

Seminar: Policy in practice: the Chancellor's Budget

Lecture: Everyday practices: the personal is the political

12

Seminar: Exam practice workshop

Lecture: Concluding, recapping and revision

 

Teaching and learning methods

Everyday Geographies will be delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars. Each of the teaching weeks will involve both a two hour lecture and a one hour seminar, including discussion, debates, role playing, trying and testing methods, films and an on-campus tour.

 You will be required to undertake work in both peer study groups and individually outside of lectures. Lecture slides, reading lists and other materials to support the course will be available through the Blackboard pages. You will be expected to contribute fully to lecture and seminar discussions and activities, to online discussions via Blackboard, and to read articles and chapters. 

Transferable skills and personal qualities

This course will provide you with skills in:

·   Critical thinking and reflection

·   Self awareness and a sense of responsibility

·   Motivation and self-directed learning

·   Awareness of the issues facing contemporary societies

·   An ability to plan, carry out and reflect on fieldwork

·   An ability to assess the merits of contrasting theories and approaches

·   An ability to assess the merits of different methodologies

·   An ability to relate theoretical arguments with empirical research and real-life examples

·   Reflection upon personal experiences and their significance to the task in hand

·   Information handling skills, evaluation and analysis of different kinds of evidence

Assessment methods

You will be assessed by a two-hour exam paper (worth 60%) and one piece of individual coursework, a 2000 word essay (40%).

 

Coursework assignment: submission – by 2pm on Friday of Week 8.

For the coursework you will be required to write up an ethnographic diary of your experience of an everyday space. You are then required to analyse this diary entry in essay format, using literature on everyday geographies theories and methods. You will be required to submit both your diary entry and your analytical essay. Only the text of the analytical essay will contribute to the 2000 max word count.

Please note: the timing of the coursework submission has been arranged so that you have time to speak to the course leader over the first few weeks of the course and to have the first study week (in week 6) to work on your coursework. You will also have attended the necessary lectures (in weeks 1-5) to complete the coursework. It also means that you will receive feedback on your essay before sitting the exam, and you can spend the weeks after coursework submission preparing for the exam.

Feedback methods

Feedback will be provided in the following ways during this course unit:

  • extensive verbal feedback through Q&A, discussion and interaction within lectures and seminars
  • verbal feedback on any course unit issue through consultation hours
  • on-going peer feedback through seminar participation
  • detailed written feedback on the coursework assignment

Recommended reading

This course encourages you to think and read in an interdisciplinary way and to use ideas, materials and methods from a wide variety of disciplines. This includes books such as:

Bennett, T. and Watson, D. (eds.) (2002) Understanding Everyday Life, Blackwell: Oxford.

Blunt, A. and Dowling, R. (2006) Home, Oxon: Routledge.

Crang, M. and Cook, I. (2007) Doing Ethnographies, London: Sage.

Devault, M. (1991) Feeding the family: the social organisation of caring as gendered work, London: The University of Chicago Press.

Highmore, B. (2002) Everyday Life and Cultural Theory: An Introduction, London: Routledge.

Highmore, B. (2010) Ordinary Lives: Studies in the Everyday, Routledge: London.

Holloway, L. and Hubbard, P. (2000) People and Place: The Extraordinary Geographies of Everyday Life, Routledge: London

Holdsworth, C. (2013) Families and Intimate Mobilities, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Miller, D. (1998) A Theory of Shopping, Cambridge: Polity Press.

Pink, S. (2012) Situating Everyday Life, Sage: London.

Rose, G. (1993) Feminism and Geography: the limits of geographical knowledge, Cambridge: Polity                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Press.

Scott, S. (2009) Making Sense of Everyday Life, Polity Press: Cambridge

Shurmer-Smith, P. (Ed.) Doing Cultural Geography, London: Sage

Valentine, G. (2001) Social Geographies: Space and Society, Harlow: Prentice Hall.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20
Seminars 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 170

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Sarah Hall Unit coordinator

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