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AS and A Level: Sociological Differentiation & Stratification

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UK trends - gender

  1. 1 Men tend to outperform women in terms of income, wealth, promotion at work; they are more likely to have full time and /or permanent contracts.
  2. 2 In the home men do less housework than women and are much less likely to suffer domestic violence than women. Men are more likely to have control of finances and power in decision making in the family.
  3. 3 Women have better life chances in terms of life expectancy, preferential treatment by courts when awarding custody of children, some evidence of greater leniency in sentencing, more time off paid work with their children, lower suicide rates and are doing better in schools.

Key UK trends - social class

  1. 1 At work, those in the working class are more likely to have a below average paid job, a temporary contract and work part time.
  2. 2 In terms of policing and the criminal justice system, the working class are more likely to be stopped and searched by the police and to be arrested.
  3. 3 In the family people from working class backgrounds are more likely to marry younger and to get divorced.
  4. 4 In terms of health the working class are more likely, more likely to smoke, to miscarry their baby, to die of an accident at work and to die before their first birthday.
  5. 5 In education the working class are more likely to be placed in lower streams or sets at school, to leave school with fewer educational qualifications, and much less likely than the middle class to go to university.

Key UK trends - ethnicity

  1. 1 African Caribbean Britons are at high risk of being stopped and searched, getting longer custodial sentences, being excluded from school, being unemployed, living in a single parent family and achieving the lowest average GCSE scores.
  2. 2 British Bangladeshis and Pakistanis have the highest rates of poverty, living in cramped housing and female unemployment.
  3. 3 British Indians and British Chinese have higher than average educational success rates.
  4. 4 White Britons have better life chances than ethnic minorities in nearly all areas, with the exception of the British Indians and British Chinese.
  5. 5 There are significant differences WITHIN ethnic groups, so men and women, people from different social classes and ages have significantly different life chances.

  • Marked by Teachers essays 8
  • Peer Reviewed essays 5
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  1. Marked by a teacher

    Outline and asses sociological explanations for workplace inequalities between men and women

    5 star(s)

    Lastly, women are said to suffer from horizontal segregation which is the idea of gendered jobs. Women are more likely to have certain occupations which often reflect the "expressive" role outlined by Parsons in which women are claimed to be more caring, therefore women are highly concentrated in jobs such as nurses for example. These are often lower status professions than that of traditional male occupations. Marxist Feminists argue that the cause of gender inequalities in the workplace is not the result of men exploiting women but the exploitation caused by the capitalist system. Marx argued that a reserve army of labour was necessary within the capitalist system, a pool of potential recruits that could be used in times of economic boom then dropped during times of economic slumps.

    • Word count: 1553
  2. Marked by a teacher

    Outline and assess Functionalist explanations of the role of the education system.

    4 star(s)

    As put forward by Durkheim, the education system helps to achieve this through the National Curriculum, brought in by the Education Reform Act 1988, which helps to create shared values amongst all pupils throughout the country. Furthermore, Durkheim suggests that subjects made compulsory through the National Curriculum such as History and Religious studies help to enhance cohesion and social stability, minimising conflict within society through value consensus,- keeping social order. In this sense, Functionalism places significant emphasis upon the education system as an institution which contributes to the wellbeing of society.

    • Word count: 1589
  3. Marked by a teacher

    Assess the usefulness of feminist contributions to our understanding of society today

    4 star(s)

    Sexist attitudes and stereotypical beliefs about gender are culturally constructed and transmitted through socialisation, meaning in order to achieve gender equality, liberal feminists must change society's socialisation patterns. Liberal feminism is an optimistic theory, very much in keeping with the Enlightenment project and its faith in progress. They believe that political action to introduce anti-discriminatory laws and policies is steadily bringing about progress to a fairer society. They also believe changes in socialisation and culture are gradually leading to more rational attitudes to gender and overcoming injustice and ignorance.

    • Word count: 1502
  4. Marked by a teacher

    Examine the weakness of different types of documents used in a sociological research. Examine why positivist prefer quantitative data whilst interpretivists prefer qualitative data.

    4 star(s)

    For example, there was claim that Hitler diaries were fakes. Personal documents may also potentially lack the credibility. Documents may be difficult to believe, when considering the author's sincerity. For example, politicians may write diaries that inflate the own importance. The availability of personal documents may be difficult for researchers to gain access to. For example, private documents such as diaries are becoming less available sociologist. However, a document written for personal purposes has a high degree of validity. It permits the researcher to get close to their social actor's life in giving them a genuine insight through the detailed qualitative data.

    • Word count: 865
  5. Marked by a teacher

    'Assess sociological explanations of changes to the class structure

    4 star(s)

    According to Scott (1991) the upper class maintains their "ruling" position through part taking in the Old Boy Network. This is a type of social exclusion which ensures that high status jobs (according to the National Statistics Socio-Economic Classification (NSSEC) scheme these are jobs like large employers or high managerial occupations) are "banked" for other upper class-men. This could also be called "Elite Self-Recruitment. Next is the middle class who typically included populace with professional occupation, for example teachers. They are the second-smallest, they don't have as much power as the upper class-men, and however they still have high-status occupation which provides generous incomes, usually in the non-manual (tertiary)

    • Word count: 1407
  6. Marked by a teacher

    secondary sources of data

    4 star(s)

    comparative study of crime rates in different countries. Positivists favor the use of official statistics, as they are useful for identifying correlations. In Durkheim's study of suicide (1897) he was able to identify religious beliefs as a significant social factor in the explanation of why people committed suicide. Official statistics are very high in terms of reliability and representativeness. Sometimes the entire population is required by law to provide statistical information often relating to demographic and economic trends. As well as this, the government has the necessary resources to carry out this type of sampling.

    • Word count: 993
  7. Marked by a teacher

    Education is the main agent of secondary socialisation. How do schools prepare us for social life?

    3 star(s)

    Durkheim argues that education prepares young children to be able to conform to social life. By teaching the children values, norms and to obey authority and understand their role in society, education fulfils the needs of society. School can be viewed as a miniature model of the social system whereby children are given their first doses of interaction with different people and start to understand how society works; Durkheim states that this would develop a sense of self discipline in the children.

    • Word count: 1105
  8. Free essay

    Assess the contribution of functionalism to our understanding of society

    3 star(s)

    Functionalism is a macro structural theory, which focuses on the needs of the social system as a whole. It is a modern theory and shares the goals of the Enlightenment project. For Parsons, the central question sociology tries to answer is "How is social order possible?" Parsons would argue it is achieved through the existence of a shared culture, or in his own words, a central value system. This provides a framework of what is socially acceptable. Social order is only possible if members of society are on these norms and values, this is what Parsons calls, a value consensus.

    • Word count: 1844
  9. Peer reviewed

    Produce an essay identifying the different sociological approaches to secularisation with reference to Marxism, Webber and Durkheim.

    4 star(s)

    The Education System can place religion where it wants on the time table, not religion dictating to the Education System. This in itself shows how it would lead to a reduction in religion. If religion is given less time in people's everyday life, whereas before, in pre-industrial society people would spend as long as they needed practicing and reading religious literature. The average 9-5 job and school timetable does not allow this. Durkheim, however, did not believe religion is condemned.

    • Word count: 1909
  10. Peer reviewed

    Evaluate Sociological Explanations of the Relationship between Religion & Social Change

    4 star(s)

    However some sociologists disagree that religion can change society. Functionalists such as Durkheim argue religion is a conservative force which promotes the 'collective conscience'; the morals and values a society abides by. Functionalists see religion as the 'social cement' which is needed for society to stay healthy and bind the masses together. There are examples to support this view. Firstly, the Ten Commandments which are heavily tied to our legal system are used as the moral guidelines and values to live by.

    • Word count: 1029
  11. Peer reviewed

    Using material from item A and elsewhere, assess the contribution of religion to social change (18 marks)

    3 star(s)

    Again preparing people of life under capitalism as it requires hard work. Weber did not say that Calvinism was the cause of modern capitalism, but that it was one of the causes. Weber's theory is often seen as a direct assault on Marx's theory. Bruce was interested in the relationship between religion and social change he compaired two examples of religiously inspired protests movements in the USA, the civil rights movement and the new Christian right. According to Bruce the black civil rights movement in the 1950's and 1960's was an example of religiously motivated social change.

    • Word count: 1338
  12. Peer reviewed

    Assess the functionalist view that religion benefits both society as a whole and its individual members.

    3 star(s)

    While participating in shares rituals binds individuals together reminding them that they are a part of a community which they owe loyalty. The power of society came from these rituals and without them they are nothing, to which they owe everything. The individual see's religion performing a significant function allowing them to feel apart of society and seeing that religion strengthens us to face life's trials and motivates us to overcome obstacles that would otherwise overpower us. Like Durkheim Malinowski sees religion as reinforcing social norms and promoting social solidarity, however, unlike Durkheim he does not see religion as reflecting society as a whole or interpret ritual as the worship of society itself.

    • Word count: 823
  13. Peer reviewed

    Evaluate the Contribution Marxists Have made in Understanding the Role religion plays in Society

    3 star(s)

    Marx comments on religion disguising the true nature of exploitation, they see religion as a means to justify economic and social inequality in supernatural terms. Marxist theory on religion, like all sociological theories, can be highly criticized. As such by functionalists who see religion as the 'social cement' which holds society together and which promotes a 'collective conscience'. For example the Ten Commandments are used as the societal rules to live and abide by. Primarily functionalists see religion as a positive influence on society whereas Marxists see it only positive to the dominant, capitalist ruling classes.

    • Word count: 1066
  14. Explain and briefly evaluate the view that education is the most important agent in shaping class identity

    An individual which has private education or attends private school would be surrounded by cultural signs showing that they are in a high social class position. The crest of their school, the sports which they participate in as well as the school trips all indicate their social class. An example would be and individual which attends a public state school which provides free, paid for education would most likely take part in sport activities such as; football and cricket these are popular culture based activities which are associated with the working class families.

    • Word count: 890
  15. The Bad Side of Feminists. Nowadays, fewer women want to claim themselves as a feminist, there must be a reason why.

    I also see them as annoying, as often the cause that they are fighting for were silly, over exaggerated. They are starting to lose the meaning of gender equality. In addition, most feminists now seemed like they have two faces. Basically, my views for the feminists I see nowadays are mostly negative. When I compare them to the feminists in the olden days, they are so much different. I used to have a big respect towards feminists, but now. The bad images of feminists now is certainly the reason why the number of women that wants to be a feminist decreases. As certainly the actions of the current feminists tends to upset a lot of people, men and women.

    • Word count: 1924
  16. Assess the importance of school factors such as racism and pupils responses to racism in creating ethnic differences in educational achievement

    Among mostly all ethnic groups girls perform better than boys. Similarly, within each ethnic group, middle class children do better than working class. However, although this data provided by the government may seem useful, the governments definition of ethnicity may be different from that of the sociologists and so in that way the official data may not be useful. Gillborn and Youdell (2000), in one local education authority found that African Caribbean children were the highest achievers on entry to primary school, yet by the time it came to GCSE, they had the worst results of any ethnic group.

    • Word count: 1083
  17. Use sociological terminology to describe the principal sociological perspective

    A person is exploited if he or she performs more labour than necessary to product the goods society consumes. The power of one social class to control the means of production enables it explanation of other classes. Marx uses the term ideology for the production of images of social reality. Ideology is a process accomplished by the so called thinker consciously it is true but with a false conscience. The real motive forces impelling him otherwise it simply would not be an ideological determined by the best interest of the ruling class.

    • Word count: 1165
  18. Sex is biologically determined, however, is gender the product of social construction or predetermined?

    He explained this division of labour in terms of men's greater physical strength, which was genetically based, and in terms of women's role in reproduction. This is not entirely true since in the modern society roles are switched where men are responsible for domestic tasks and childcare in some societies. Talcott Parsons saw that women have an instinct to nurture as a result of their biologically-based role in reproduction, which makes them ideally suited for an 'expressive' role in the nuclear family.

    • Word count: 1294
  19. Advantages and disadvantages of covert and overt participation

    Covert participant observation means that the researcher may gain access into social groups who would otherwise not consent to being studied. R. Burgess Study of city Technology College allowed him to have empathy i.e. to discover the nature of social reality by understanding the school children's behaviour thus adding more validity to his work.

    • Word count: 480
  20. Can and should sociology be a science?

    Human behavior like the melting of rocks is seen to be caused and predictable. Scientists assume that all events are caused, or determined by an external factor. Positivists believe that 'social facts' interact with other social facts in ways which can be observed and measured. Other than that, science itself is empirical, which means that it is based on observation. Scientists much be able to demonstrate that what they claim to be true can actually be observed in reality. Posistivists argue that sociology similar to natural science can apply the concept of empiricism.

    • Word count: 2272
  21. Is social change evolutionary or revolutionary?

    Parson argued that, in practice there is no social system in a perfect state of equilibrium. Social change can be pictured as a 'moving equilibrium'. The organic analogy explains that each part of the society like an organism has its role to play in order to maintain social order. To Parsons, social problems bring about anomie which is the state of normless ness when social order is absent. This he explained is a temporary rift which is similar to the organism falling ill.

    • Word count: 1396
  22. Assess the view that feminist research requires its own specific methodology

    committed and is open about its commitment which is known as the female standpoint where the researcher takes the side of the women being researched. Feminist researchers prefer to use research methods which will give qualitiative data which enables them to reach 'verstehen'(Weber). Feminists tend to favour particular methods such as focus groups. Focus groups consists of a relatively small number of people who are asked to discuss a specific topic Focus groups would give the feminist researcher the opportunity to hear an issue being discussed, with women being able to discuss and challenge each other's views however they are not very representative as only a small sample is used.

    • Word count: 1127
  23. Concept of freedom - Is it possible to measure if anyone is free to any degree? Can freedom be proven?

    Therefore, we can never measure the extremity of freedom. Be that as it may, freedom can still be proved and measured in relative terms by comparing the indicators of political rights, economic rights, and civil liberties of different societies as they shows the controls over choices and directions that one can have under social constraints. The more control one has, the more freedom one gets in general. Let's take China and Hong Kong as example. China has a relatively stricter norm in terms of freedom of speech when comparing to Hong Kong, hence we can say that people in China have less freedom of expression compared to those in Hong Kong.

    • Word count: 829
  24. Sociological Perspectives - there are three major categories in which people might go about and choose how to approach a certain topic. The approaches are known today as sociological perspectives and are the structural functionalism, conflict theory, and

    These perspectives name diverse ways in which different people decide how to analyze a subject, and how they look and feel about society as a whole. In this paper, I will compare and contrast the three perspectives, and identify major characteristics of each one. Structural functionalists, or just functionalists, believe that society functions as a whole object that has multiple structures that govern all of its actions and stability (Ferris 44). This perspective looks at a society in a positive approach and sees it as stable, with all of its structures working in unity (Ferris 44).

    • Word count: 1184
  25. Using material from item B and elsewhere assess the strengths and limitations of non-participant observation for investigating anti-school subcultures.

    It allows researchers to see how pupils actually behave, rather than simply hearing how they claim to behave. However, it may be particularly difficult for researchers to observe pupil behaviour in a covert manner. There are also particular ethical problems associated with observing pupils, especially younger ones. Non-participant observation is when a researcher observes the participants but doesn't join in with the group's activities. It can be unstructured, meaning the researcher observes and records everything they think is relevant or structured, meaning the researcher draws up an observation schedule. This is usually conducted in an overt manner, where participants are aware that they are being observed as part of a study.

    • Word count: 819

Conclusion analysis

Good conclusions usually refer back to the question or title and address it directly - for example by using key words from the title.
How well do you think these conclusions address the title or question? Answering these questions should help you find out.

  1. Do they use key words from the title or question?
  2. Do they answer the question directly?
  3. Can you work out the question or title just by reading the conclusion?
  • Assess the extent to which religion produces social change. Many sociologists such as functionalists and Marxists would argue that religion doesnt affect social change and is a conservative force.

    "In conclusion, many sociologists such as functionalists and Marxists would argue that religion doesn't affect social change and is a conservative force. Functionalists would say religious does this by keeping social solidarity in tact which prevents people needing a change; they also describe people of having a value consensus which is the shared beliefs in society which prevent social change. Marxists would argue that religion is ideological apparatus which distracts the working class from oppression and distracts people from seeing a need for social change. However internationalists would disagree as they see religion as causing radical changes such as the Calvinists being a major factor of the industrial revolution due to their similar ethics. Other sociologists would also argue that religion causes social change such as Neo-Marxist Gramsci, who claims religion is a relative autonomy and allows change to take place."

  • Identify & Discuss The Factors Which Will Influence A Researchers Choice Of Methods

    "In conclusion, there are many different viewpoints on how researchers should choose their methods when studying a topic. While both sides have their pro's and cons, either way can be used. Some circumstances call for one type of view to be used, for example Positivists, while another may need an Interpretivist viewpoint. Maybe a combination of the both can allow better results (triangulation)."

  • Discuss the view that conjugal roles are becoming joint in families.

    "In conclusion time provides the evidence in the last century that there has been a change in the conjugal roles meaning that they have become more equal which could be argued that this is due to the fact that more women are now in paid employment this has made a significant contribution to the way in which women are now portrayed as. They are seen to have a more equal status to men which has changed their position in the family. However this is debate is a complex one and it can also be argued that the equality of these conjugal roles depends a lot on age, class and ethnicity. Paman Sidhu"

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