Doing Sociology Through Film and Literature

Doing Sociology Through Film and Literature

Imaginings of the Social World

By John Goodwin & Laurie Parsons

Anthem Impact

This book is primarily a research-informed textbook aimed at any reader with an interest in using film and literature in sociological and social science research.

Paperback, 250 Pages


January 2024

£20.99, $24.95

  • About This Book
  • Reviews
  • Author Information
  • Series
  • Table of Contents
  • Links
  • Podcasts

About This Book

This book offers an exploration of key sociological themes and debates via film and literature. Film and literature (fiction, not fiction and poetry) capture and reflect long-term social processes, document social transformation and change and, as such, offer sociologists and researchers an alternative data source when exploring the social world – a data source which does not often feature in sociological research or in the sociology curriculum. Literature can be used to challenge us to think sociologically via 'real-world' application. The sociological imagination can be stimulated by film as sociologists can 'use films as a lens for exploring the complexities of social class, race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, and to propel our analysis of these inequalities in the past and in contemporary life' (Higgenbotham, 2013). Focusing on a wide range of films and texts, this book will (re-) position such forms of writing/film as referents of social change and transformation and explore the extent to which these materials can be used as an evidential base for contemporary sociological analysis. The book will include links to further reading and reflective activities for the reader to self-evaluate understanding and to begin to apply their learning. 

After reading this book, the reader should be able to:

  • critically evaluate the sociological relevance of literature and film and select film and literature appropriately for sociological analysis; 
  • develop a critical knowledge of textual and thematic analysis through the close reading or viewing of literature and film – thus being able to offer a depth analysis and extract key sociological themes; 
  • critically examine themes such as 'genre' and 'representation' in literature and film as aspects of social change and transformation; 
  • demonstrate a critical knowledge of the nature of the changing nature of literature and film; 
  • explain and explore the interchanging disciplinary boundaries between sociology and literary and film criticism; 
  • understand sociological use of literature and film in the context of sociological, literary, psychoanalytic and realist perspectives.


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Author Information

Laurie Parsons is a teaching fellow and PhD researcher in sociology at the University of Leicester.

John Goodwin is a professor of sociology and sociological practice at the University of Leicester.


Anthem Impact

Table of Contents

Introduction: Imaginings of the Social World; Chapter 1 – Storytelling and the Sociological Imagination; Chapter 2 – The Practise of Interpretation and Analysis; Chapter 3 – Cinematic and Literary Representations; Chapter 4 - Myth; Chapter 5 – Realism; Chapter 6 – Speculation; Conclusion: Using Film and Literature as a Sociological Lens.


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