Module code: SOC2078

Module provider


Module Leader

MEADOWS RA Dr (Sociology)

Number of Credits


ECT Credits



FHEQ Level 5

JACs code


Module cap (Maximum number of students)


Module Availability

Semester 1

Overall student workload

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Oral exam or presentation GROUP PRESENTATION 30
Coursework 2500 WORD ESSAY 70

Alternative Assessment


Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module overview

This module explores the relationship between drugs and wider society. We focus on four core areas; First, what constitutes a ‘drug’ and how this is socio-culturally variable. Second, trends and patterns in drug use over time and how these may be explained through different sociological perspectives: Third, the module looks at market, dealers and shifting regulatory reactions to drug use.  Finally, the module explores the boundaries between health and illness and drugs and society.  We look at shifting models of ‘addiction’ and ‘recovery’; as well micro approaches which explore the everyday worlds of users.

Module aims

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Module content

Indicative content includes:


Defining drugs
Functional intoxication, pharmaceuticals and ‘enhancement’

Use and users

Drugs and alcohol in historical perspective
Contemporary prevalence and patterns
Sociological perspectives on drug use/The normalisation thesis


Markets, dealers and social supply
Governing drugs and their users
Drug Scares and Moral Panics

Health, illness, ‘addiction’ and ‘recovery’

Changing meanings of medical approaches and biopolitics
Harm reduction
Drug use in everyday life
Narratives of recovery

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

Present key information to students supported by weekly required reading/exercises; and provide the opportunity for students to discuss the ideas presented in more depth.

The learning and teaching methods include:

11 x 2 hour sessions consisting of both lecture and seminar discussion
Weekly reading and seminar preparation
Formative discussion priort to group presentation
Formative essay plan

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate

Learning Outcome

Assessed by

Demonstrate an understanding of key debates about what a ‘drug’ is (C/K);
Critically evaluate a wide range of theoretical perspectives, which seek to explain drug use in contemporary society (C,K)
Analyse current debates licit and ilicit drugs (C, K, T)


Formatively through class discussions. Summatively by group presentation

Demonstrate an understanding of how constructions of ‘drugs’ and ‘drug users’ shape our responses to them (C/K)
Demonstrate a sociological understanding of medical approaches to ‘addiction’ and ‘recovery; as well as the everyday life of drug users (C,K)


Formatively through class discussions.

Summatively through essay


Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

A Group Presentation. Students will be asked to select a ‘drug’ and then present a critical evaluation of definition, trends and use
2500 Word Essay submitted at the end of the course

Formative assessment & Feedback

Students are encouraged to undertake preparatory reading for each session and to engage in peer review and feedback during classroom discussion. All questions are then discussed in formative group feedback between lecturer and students.

Students also have the opportunity to produce a formative plan prior to submission of each assessment component and to discuss this plan with the lecturer. Classroom time is devoted to discussion and feedback concerning presentation and essay techniques.

Reading list

Reading list for DRUGS AND SOCIETY : http://aspire.surrey.ac.uk/modules/soc2078

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Sociology BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Criminology and Sociology BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Sociology with Psychology BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2017/8 academic year.