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Sociology

Welcome to the Sociology subject guide

This guide provides information for resources on Sociology, ranging from books and journals to electronic databases and audio-visual material. It supports the study of Politics and Sociology, Sociology of Childhood, Sociology of Education, and more. 

In this guide you will find information about searching and making the most of library resources and how to access further training on offer at UCL. Please use the menu to see how the library can support your learning and research in Sociology.

You may also find these subject guides useful to you:

Subject Collections

A large number of contemporary resources on sociology can be found online, as e-books or e-journals. Print collections which hold sociology can be found in the IOE, SSEES and Main Libraries, but you can use Click and Collect to pick them up from any other UCL library.

UCL Library Services has many subject-specific databases that will help you find useful resources. Two key databases for Sociology are below.

Latest titles added to the collection

Handbook on Social Innovation and Social Policy

Applying a critical perspective to stimulate dialogue and mutual learning between the interconnected fields of social innovation and social policy analysis, this dynamic Handbook investigates the often-contested relationship between these two areas of enquiry and practice. Bringing together discerning contributions from a diverse team of international scholars and analysts, the Handbook explores key policy insights, practical lessons and advances in theoretical understanding which can be drawn from social innovation and social policy. Chapters examine a comprehensive range of social issues and policy areas including sustainable development, employment, immigration, financial exclusion, digital services, food provision, health and social care, and gender equality.

Schooling Inequality : Aspirations, Opportunities and the Reproduction of Social Class

Despite a mass expansion of the higher education sector in the UK since the 1960s, young people from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds remain less likely to enter university than their advantaged counterparts. Drawing on unique new research gathered from three contrasting secondary schools in England, including interviews with children from three year groups and careers advisors, this book explores the aspirations, opportunities and experiences of young people from different social-class backgrounds against a backdrop of continuing inequalities in education. By focusing both on the stories of young people and the schools themselves, the book sheds light on the institutional structures and practices that render young people more, or less, able to pursue their aspirations.

The Ordinal Society

We now live in an "ordinal society." Nearly every aspect of our lives is measured, ranked, and processed into discrete, standardized units of digital information. Marion Fourcade and Kieran Healy argue that technologies of information management, fueled by the abundance of personal data and the infrastructure of the internet, transform how we relate to ourselves and to each other through the market, the public sphere, and the state. The personal data we give in exchange for convenient tools like Gmail and Instagram provides the raw material for predictions about everything from our purchasing power to our character. The Ordinal Society shows how these algorithmic predictions influence people's life chances and generate new forms of capital and social expectation. Familiar structures of social advantage are recycled into measures of merit that produce insidious kinds of social inequality.

Handbook on Urban Social Movements

Providing an overview of urban social movements from a diverse range of empirical and theoretical perspectives, this Handbook includes not only a critical analysis of the transformations that have occurred in the urban landscape recently, but also sheds light on the strategies implemented by social actors in various socio-political and cultural contexts. It focuses on better understanding how and to what extent collective action around urban issues remains relevant in our modern world.

Unconditional: towards unconditionality in social polic

Can anything ever be truly unconditional? Can public services such as healthcare or education be unconditional? And can an income ever be unconditional? This incisive book responds to these questions with a qualified 'yes,' and considers whether a social policy regime based on unconditionality might ever replace neoliberalism. Beginning with an exploration of the meaning of unconditionality and how the term relates to concepts such as universality and reciprocity, Malcolm Torry lays the foundations for an understanding of what an unconditionality paradigm in social policy might look like.

Handbook of Research Methods and Applications for Social Movements

This cutting-edge and authoritative Handbook covers a broad spectrum of social movement research methodologies, offering expert analysis and detailed accounts of the ways in which research can effectively be carried out on social movements and popular protests. Addressing practice-oriented questions, this Handbook engages with both theoretical and political dimensions, unpacking the multidimensional nature of social movement research. This stimulating Handbook dives deep into discussions relating to the methodological challenges raised by researching social movements, the technical questions of how such research is conducted, and more practical considerations about the uses and applications of movement research. Expert contributors and established researchers utilise real-world examples to explore the methodological challenges from a range of perspectives including classical, engaged, feminist, Black, Indigenous and global Southern viewpoints.

Spatial Inequalities and Wellbeing : a multidisciplinary approach

Spatial Inequalities and Wellbeing represents a timely contribution to the literature tackling one of the most crucial concerns of modern times: the rise of inequalities and its far-reaching implications for individual wellbeing. The book highlights the different types and sources of inequalities and identifies opportunities for policy action to tackle various inequalities at once. This insightful book posits that policies themselves can produce deep inequalities at the spatial level while trying to reduce them and also explores how inequalities and marginalisation depress individual wellbeing and can become a threat to political and institutional stability. Chapters critically analyse the causes of spatial inequalities, ranging from education and housing to location in the largest cities.

A Research Agenda for Ageing and Social Policy

This timely Research Agenda highlights the challenges and opportunities of rising longevity and population ageing for social policy providing clear directions for future research. Divided into five comprehensive parts, this Research Agenda examines research priorities from policy perspectives, the role of social policy research in relation to intergovernmental organisations, and the framework for future-oriented social policies on ageing provided by a life-course approach. It demonstrates that social policy experts must evaluate interests and expectations both qualitatively and quantitatively, and asserts that future research on social policy and ageing will be inspired by a broad range of stakeholders, including non-governmental interest organisations and state actors.

Polish return migration after Brexit : a sociological forecast

This book explores the attitudes of Polish migrants towards the United Kingdom's departure from the European Union and considers possible return migration trajectories that may result. Based on quantitative sociological research conducted in Britain, it investigates the perceptions of Polish people in Britain and asks what they consider the likely consequences of Brexit to be for their personal, family, and professional lives, the central question being the dilemma of whether to remain abroad or return to Poland.

Making Bodies : Sexed and Gendered Bodies as Social Institutions

This book presents a novel theoretical account of the claim that sexed and gendered bodies are socially constructed. It critically reconstructs and combines existing theories of the embodiment of social identity with the constructionist account of the Sociology of Knowledge. This book argues for a view of the body as an 'artificial kind' of entity which is the effect of contingent and localized practices and that incorporates both social and natural determinants. The book reformulates key sociological dichotomies such as nature/society; structure/agency and domination/resistance, critically analysing different structuralist positions and advancing an 'intrinsic' structuralist model which foregrounds the importance of human relations in the constitution of social phenomena.