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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.

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  1. Examine the disadvantages sociologists may find when using official statistics in their research

    religion & death. Official statistics enable us to do various things, for instance they can compare the levels of ethnic minorities causing disruption within a classroom environment and which group is causing the most; or compare the suicide rate in Britain according to one's economic status. The general use of official statistics is highly supported by Positivists as they believe in the application of science into social life. An example of a positivist using official statistics within their research is Emile Durkheim's work on the relationship between religion and number of suicides within a specific area.

    • Word count: 718
  2. Discuss the Marxist view of education.

    Legitimation performs as a function in which education legitimates class inequality by producing ideologies that disguise its true cause. Education tries to convince people that inequality is inevitable and that failure is the fault of the individual, not the capitalist state. Functionalists disagree however; they believe that Education promotes social solidarity, which without society would fall apart, by sharing society's shared culture, education binds people together and enables them to co-operate. Teaching them a common history and shared rituals, is important to show pupils they share the same past and have a similar purpose.

    • Word count: 970
  3. Outline the different reasons why women and ethnic minorities are more likely to experience poverty than other groups

    Lots of women therefore have to combine paid employment with childcare and would most likely be in low paid and part time work. Another reason is that the majority of homeworkers are women, and these jobs are very low paid. Nurses and Caretakers earn a very little amount. Women are more likely than men to be lone parents with full responsibility for their child. This leads to a reduced chance of being employed and relying on state benefits.

    • Word count: 516
  4. Looking at the Evidence on academic achivement, class size and streaming.

    Moreover, Mosteller (2009) discovered that there is a considerable difference in academic attainment between different sizes classes. Indeed, lower student numbers? classes presented better learning outcome than large sizes classes by 20% marks. In contrast, other evidence shows that the benefits of reduction in student numbers are insignificant. According to NAEP, pupils in small classes do not achieve better scores than those in big classes (Johnson, 2000). In addition, Hanushek (2001) indicated that the benefit is not clear as there is little evidence which show that students? further improvements could be influenced by their small classes? learning experience.

    • Word count: 568
  5. Germaine Greer and her role in the Womens Liberation

    views on the inequality that women were experiencing, this book coincided with the Second Wave of Feminism giving some women and men knowledge of what the Women Liberators were actually protesting for. After the Women?s First Liberation won with the victory of women gaining the right to vote, the Second Wave of Feminism focused on the injustices and the prejudice that women faced in the male dominated world in the late 60?s and the early 70?s, this period was also an era were women challenged their rights in a male dominated world.

    • Word count: 486
  6. Assess the strengths and weaknesses of the functionalist approach to society

    Functionalism is a consensus theory where everyone sees society as fair and just with everyone sharing the same norms and values, but this means they fail to acknowledge inequalities. Other approaches such as Marxism etc acknowledge the inequalities and this makes functionalism seen as less reliable making this another weakness of the functionalist approach to society. Parsons, who elaborated on Durkheim?s work, compared the workings of organs in a body and how they maintain life, to institutions in society such as the family and education which shows how society is maintained.

    • Word count: 568
  7. The Overcrowding Problem in Hong Kong.

    As a result, a lot of poverty and new immigrants from mainland incline to rent a flat in an already-crowded area. The supply of such flats cannot fulfill the demand for it. Illegal and unauthorized structure and buildings are likely to emerge to settle the excessive demand for living space. Gradually, the number of illegal structures reaches the highest. The most frightening is that if there is a fire, the fire will spread rapidly and uncontrollably in the area through illegal structures.

    • Word count: 690
  8. Notes on Socialization and the social construction of self and identity

    Theoretical approaches to the roles of socialization in the formation of culture and identity Structural approaches: Adopt from a macro approach Structural approaches see identities formed by the wider social forces making up social structure of society Individuals are seen like puppets or programmed robot, who are socialized and manipulated by social institutions. Criticisms of structural approaches: Individuals are seen as puppets- this is what Garfinkel (1984) called ?cultural dopes?- controlled by the social structure with little input from the individual.

    • Word count: 777
  9. Examine the Marxist view that the function of the education system is to pass on ideology and reproduce existing class structure

    A way education does this is through the hidden curriculum suggested by Althusser. The hidden curriculum is those things indirectly taught and learned in education outside the overt programme of subjects and courses; in particular values, beliefs and attitudes, for example punctuality, Marxists believe it is the norms and values of obedient workers that are taught in the hidden curriculum. This is evident in the correspondence principle explained by Bowles and Gintis which is the correlation between education and the workplace.

    • Word count: 791
  10. Sociology - Cultural Factors in Educational Attainment

    He indentified a number of differences between the cultures of the middle classes and the working classes. Firstly, he indentifies that the working class place a lower value on education, secondly, he indentifies that the working class place a lower value on achieving high occupational status and lastly he indentifies that the working classes believe there is little opportunity for personal advancement. However, he also stated that this could not be generalized to all members of the working classes as there are a small minority who do not share these values. On the whole, Hyman argued that the working classes lacked the motivation to achieve.

    • Word count: 868
  11. Poverty and its solutions

    Transparency in Government spending. Where and how a government chooses to spend taxpayers? money and its own revenue should be visible to the media and the common man. This makes governments accountable for their actions and inaction becomes easier to pinpoint and address. It also discourages corruption in government systems. For example, transparency will be especially beneficial to civilians whose government might be allotting money to themselves instead of to its poverty programs.

    • Word count: 524
  12. Using material from Item A and elsewhere assess the contribution of Marxism to our understanding of the role of education.

    the religion and mass media. These two apparatuses reproduce class inequality from generation to generation by failing each successive generation of working class pupils in turn. It also legitimates class inequality by producing ideologies that disguise its true motive. Bowles and Gintis argued that capitalism requires a workforce with the kind of attitudes, behaviour and personality-type suited to their role as alienated and exploited workers willing to accept hard work, low pay and orders. They argue there is a close relationship between the classroom and the work force this is often referred to as the correspondence principle in which it almost mirrors work format.

    • Word count: 748
  13. Evaluating the Canadian Governments Apology for Residential Schools for Native American children.

    Deciding whether or not the Canadian Government has done enough to assist residential school survivors with coping is difficult. Three topics that are relevant in this decision are: the intergenerational effects of residential schools, comparing the residential schools to similar situations in history, and examining Steven Harper's apology. The Canadian Government has not only fulfilled, but exceeded its duty to compensate survivors of residential schools for the legacies they have experienced. Residential schools not only affected survivors of residential schools, but also left legacies for future generations to come. Negative intergenerational effects include alcohol and drug abuse, fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), sexual abuse, physical abuse, low self esteem, dysfunctional families, eating disorders, teen pregnancy, suicide, depression, and others.

    • Word count: 767
  14. Can or should sociology be a science? What are the arguments for and against the idea?

    Positivists would say that society has an objective reality and that our behaviour is subject to external forces. This would suggest that we don?t make our own decisions as we are influenced and socialised throughout our life. Also Sociology relies on cause and effect in which scientists use to make predictions. This would suggest that Sociology is also a science as it is based on the same guidelines. Also, Karl Popper argued that the logic of science is deductive; scientists set up a hypothesis, test it against empirical data and then draw conclusions to the accuracy of the hypothesis (hypothetico-deductive model).

    • Word count: 543
  15. Functionalist view about the role of religion in today society

    On the other hand, the study by Malinowsky focuses on the effect of religion on individual basis. Malinowski agrees with Durkheim in that religion performs the function of promoting social solidarity, however not because religion is the worship of society, but because religion responds to the psychological needs of individuals in time of troubles. Religion provides comfort for people to deal with uncertainty and stress. Sharing the same view with the above fundamentalists, Parsons argues that religion performs two positive functions: promoting social integration and answering life's 'eternal questions'. As religion responds to questions like why some people are poor and others are rich, it helps comfort people and preventing the less-blessed ones from protesting by giving them hope of a better after-life.

    • Word count: 800
  16. Functionalism and Education

    Skills provision is also important: education teaches the skills for the economy. For example, literacy, numeracy and IT for particular occupations. Role allocation is all part of this: education allocates people to the most appropriate jobs for their talents, using examinations and qualifications. 2. Durkheim views education as an entity creating social solidarity: community, cooperation. Education transmits culture: shared beliefs and values. Schools are a miniature society: cooperation, interaction, rules ? universalistic standards.

    • Word count: 440
  17. Sociological research methods - questionnaires

    If a large number of questionnaires are sent out they should produce representative results with a better chance of being truly accurate. Connor and Dewson send out nearly 4000 surveys to 14 higher education institutes around the country which resulted in a large sample size. This method is also favoured more for purposed of educational attitudes than others such as participant observations, which is used to study small groups and produce valid qualitative data. A researcher?s hypothesis should be proven or proven wrong with the results of the questionnaire but this may lead the researcher to produce leading questions, the

    • Word count: 751
  18. Assess sociological explanations of social class differences in health chances.

    The Artefact explanation for the health inequalities state that the patterns shown are an illusion created by statistics and do not really exist. Illsley says that we cannot social class categories because the sizes of the groups have changed. The Working Class is constantly shrinking so comparing them to the ever-expanding upper class is pointless. He also states that the people left in the lower classes are older and so their health is expected to be poorer. The biological explanation states that groups in society are biologically different and so experience different standards of health as a natural process.

    • Word count: 819
  19. Society has now entered a new post-modern age and we need new theories to understand it, assess this view

    The nation state is also an important source of identity for citizens, who identify with its symbols such as the flag. Modern societies run off a capitalist economy. Capitalism brought about the industrialisation of modern society and with it the massive wealth modern nation-states now possess. However the wealth distribution within modern societies is unequal, resulting in class conflict according to the Marxist theology. The nation-state is important in regulating capitalism resulting in something Lash and Urry call 'organised capitalism'.

    • Word count: 786
  20. Critically examine the Marxist perspective on today's society

    However, many sociologists disagree with Marxism and Marx?s ideas of the capitalist system, this is due to the fact that in today?s society, there has been a massive growth in a third class ? the middle class. This was growth of the middle class was not predicted by Marx, therefore leaving many sociologists to question whether other ideas suggested by Marx and elaborated by Marxism are valid and true to today?s society. Therefore the Marxist perspective cannot be applied to today?s society.

    • Word count: 738
  21. Assess the strengths and limitations of experiments for the study of labelling in schools.

    Teachers were then asked to rate the children on their performance, parental attitudes to education, aspirations and so on. The results have shown that lower-class students were rated less favorably. An advantage to this study is that there is less ethical issues as no real pupils have been used therefore no child has suffered any negative effects. However a disadvantage is that lab experiments are artificial which means that they tell us little about the world of education. In this study photographs have been used which means teachers had to base their opinion only on the appearance of the children whereas teachers also judge the behavior, accent and impressions of parents and this was not included.

    • Word count: 660
  22. What is sociology?

    Sociologists have advanced theories about how society works, this is due to the fact that it is a controversial issue where sociologists have different opinions and so different perspectives about how society works. Sociology involves looking at social trends and patterns of behavior e.g. different behavior?s in a classroom and different explanations for things. Within sociology, there are many different theories created by sociologists such as Max Weber, Emile Durkheim and Karl Marx, who all worked in the 19th / early 20th centuries.

    • Word count: 499
  23. Assess the view that gender differences in achievement are largely the result of changes in the education system

    Gorard found that the gender gap in achievement was stable from 1975 up until 1988 when it increased rapidly. This was when GCSE and with it coursework was introduced. Mitsos and Browne support the view that GCSE?s favoured girls as they were more successful in coursework due to the fact that girls are seen to be more careful with their work, more likely to spend longer on their work and meet deadlines. However, Ellwood argues that although coursework has had some influence, exams themselves have a greater influence in the final grade. Therefore this does not create a significant gap between gender differences.

    • Word count: 823
  24. Assess the strengths and limitations of using questionnaires to investigate how cultural and material factors affect educational attainment.

    Positivists see this as useful because they want to be able to make generalisation by using a representative group. It can be particularly useful when researching sensitive issues. Their anonymity may overcome pupils' embarrassment such as questions about financial support etc. As a result, the response may be more likely to be higher to reveal details of their experience. However, it depends on whether the pupils and parents are reassured that their anonymity will be safeguarded. Yet this reassurance may be difficult to achieve because a questionnaire is a detached method, where there is little or no personal contact with the researcher.

    • Word count: 594
  25. Paul Krugman in Confronting Inequality tries to explain how bad inequality is

    This quote is stating that middle class is very important to a state. ?High Inequality?Nation much weakened middle class, has a corrosive effect on social relations and politics?America has moved deeper into a new Gilded Age? (323). Krugman says, ?One of the best arguments I?ve ever seen for the social costs of inequality came from a movement conservative trying to argue the opposite? (323). He then quotes the conservative Kristol ?We shouldn?t worry about income inequality, because whatever the numbers say, class distinctions are, in reality, all but gone? (323).

    • Word count: 859

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