The School of Geography


GEG5110 Society, Culture and Space

Rating: 30 credits


Lectures: 4 per week semester A
Seminars: Occasional
Practicals: -
Fieldwork: Self-guided fieldwork


  • 2.5 hour exam (two unseen questions) 50%
  • 2 x 1500 word interpretative exercises 50%

Module convenors: Professor Jon May and Professor Miles Ogborn

Module aims:
The module aims to introduce students to the core concerns of contemporary social and cultural geography: its substantive concerns, theoretical perspectives, and methodological innovations. It centres upon an understanding of societies and cultures as products of uneven and always negotiated relations of power. It shows that social experience, cultural meaning and identities are differentiated according to the social constructions of class and gender, race and ethnicity, age and sexuality and that, rather than simply varying across space, geography itself is central to the construction of social and cultural difference. The module also aims to develop skills of critical social and cultural interpretation on the part of students. Topics include: the regional geographies of gender and of a gendered division of labour; counterurbanisation; rural poverty and homelessness; geographies of race and ethnicity; race, class and inequality in the global city; gentrification; the politics of public space; the gendering of urban space; geographies of sexuality; children’s geographies; depicting landscape; making national identity; Orientalism; cultures of travel; cultural geographies of food; performing identity; geographies of music; the geographies of objects, culture and nature.

Learning outcomes:

  • a firm understanding of the main issues of concern to, and approaches of, contemporary social and cultural geography
  • an understanding of the main features of the social and cultural geographies of race and class, gender, sexuality and age as articulated at a variety of scales
  • an understanding of the role of meaning and power in people’s relationships to space, place and landscape


  • the ability to critically evaluate and deploy a range of material and approaches, including urban observational fieldwork and the interpretation of visual representations
  • to synthesise and communicate complex theoretical and empirical material in written work

Preliminary reading:

  • Blunt, A., Gruffudd, P., May, J., Ogborn, M., and Pinder, D. (eds) (2003) Cultural Geography in Practice London: Arnold
  • Crang, M (2002) Cultural Geography London: Routledge
  • Jackson, P (1989) Maps of Meaning London: Routledge
  • Longhurst, B, Smith, G, Bagnall, G, Crawford, G and M Ogborn. (2008) Introducing Cultural Studies London: Prentice Hall. Chapter 5. Topographies of Culture
  • Pain, R, Barke, M, Gough, J, MacFarlane, R Mowl, G and Fuller, D (2001) Introducing Social Geographies London: Arnold
  • Valentine, G (2001) Social Geographies: Space and Society London: Prentice Hall.
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