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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 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. How to Do Qualitative Research. Do the Olympics cause their audience to act differently than when they are watching any other popular TV show? This question was chosen to clearly outline the process of ethnography, and how it is useful in f

    The other type is covert. This is where the researcher is unknown by the participants (Savage 10).The ethnography done about whether the Olympics change the way an audience acts is a covert ethnography. The subjects were unaware of the researcher and the fact that they were being studied and just watched TV as they normally would. Although this study was in a closed setting, there is always a chance of a risk when doing a covert study, because one of the participants may not want to be studied (Savage 9-10). Another important aspect of doing an ethnography is gaining access.

    • Word count: 1329
  8. Examine Recent Trends in Gender Attainment

    This isn't because women are taking men's jobs, but because of the changes in the economy with a shift from manufacturing to service industries. Because of years of discrimination, manufacturing jobs have been the preserve of men. They have been the car workers, aerospace workers and engineers. Women on the other hand, have been and still are the secretaries, clerical workers, shop assistants, cleaners and cater. It is precisely in these areas of 'women's work' that a growth in jobs has been taking place.

    • Word count: 1323
  9. Examine the ways in which state policy may affect families and households.

    Many of their tax and welfare policies were favourable to heterosexual couples. Graham Allan (1985) went as far to suggest that the policies actually went out of their way to work against single parent families. Item B describes how state policy can be there to keep traditional values alive within the family, this policy of the then conservative government is evident of that. As we can see form item C Dr Adrian Rogers from the pressure group family focus is very much in favour of the traditional heterosexual family and against homosexual partners being called a family.

    • Word count: 1374
  10. Using material from Item A and elsewhere, assess the view that working-class underachievement in education is the result of home circumstances and family background

    Through their study of child-rearing practices, they found that parental skills found within working-class families were poor in comparison with those that were evident within middle-class families were child-centeredness is apparent. They found that middle-class parents got more involved in learning through play, monitoring educational progress and encouragement through visits to the library, museums and galleries etc. They believe that this places middle-class kids at an advantage when it comes around the time for them to start school. Again it is possible to say that it may well perhaps be down to the fact that money may be restricting them

    • Word count: 1467
  11. Assess the view that religious beliefs and practices are changing to reflect a new era of diversity and choice

    Despite this fall in institutional religion, religion is self has not declined. Instead the concept of individual consumerism has replaced collective tradition. People today now feel that they have a choice as consumers of religion, they have become according to Hervieu-Leger "spiritual shoppers". Religion is now individualized, we have now developed our own "do it yourself" beliefs that give meaning to our lives and correspond to our own interests and aspirations. Religion has become more of a personal journey, in which we choose or own personal elements that we want to explore.

    • Word count: 1407
  12. Assess sociological explanations for the increasing number of religious and spiritual organizations and movements in society today.

    Although it can be difficult to classify these movements, there have been numerous attempts to classify them. With the number of new religious movements present in the 1970s, Wallis classified these movements into three types according to their relationships to the outside world. The first type which is world-rejecting new religious movements is similar to sects as described by Troeltsch. Most movements of this type are not traditional and want a change in the world which seems to be evil or corrupt. The members have to obey strict rules and have to leave their social life behind them.

    • Word count: 1460
  13. Assess the claim that the main function of education is to maintain a value consensus in society

    He believed that for society to operate effectively they have to develop a sense of belonging to something, becoming 'social beings' with a loyalty and commitment to society as a whole. The education system creates this effectively by teaching subjects such as history, which enables children to see the link between themselves and wider society. He argues that one of the two main functions of education is creating social solidarity. Social solidarity means individual members feel themselves to be a part of a single community or group.

    • Word count: 1112
  14. Interview is a form of research method which involves interaction between interviewer and respondents working through standardized questionnaires referring to structured interview favored by positivists or through informal conversation which refers to uns

    This in turn will lower the representativeness and generalizability of the data collected, despite its high validity. On the other hand, although group interviews are not suitable for research of sensitive topics, it however allows research topic which is carried out in a group context to be studied. For example, Paul Willis adopted group interview in his study of education, and he found that lads felt more at ease when their peers are around and more willing to participate in interviews than when talking alone to an older and middle-class interviewer. As such, group interview would usually obtain higher response rate than in individual interview.

    • Word count: 1128
  15. Choice of research method. here are various types of research methods available, such as questionnaires, participant observation, longitudinal studies and interviews.

    As such, structuralist sees quantitative research method as being the most appropriate way of research. Through quantitative method, by using statistical data and being able to manipulate variables, the causal and correlation relationship between external social forces and human consciousness as well as laws of human behavior can be revealed. For example, in Emile Durkheim's study of suicide, Durkheim found suicide rate rises during economic booms or slumps as they brought the uncertainty of anomie which led Durkheim to conclude that the act of suicide is the result of human's reaction towards external stimuli.

    • Word count: 1162
  16. Can and should sociology be science?

    Unlike inanimate objects, both sociologist and subject matters are human with consciousness. They tend to lie, manipulate or distort data. This can be well illustrated in Elton Mayo's Hawthorne experiment demonstrating the researcher's effect where the workers were conscious that an experiment was taking place causing them to stop behaving naturally. As such, it appears that even though scientific methodology like experiment is conducted in the study of social world, the data collected might not be objective and valid. Therefore, phenomenologist sees scientific methodology as inappropriate to sociology. Even so, positivists would argue that social facts are like facts in natural science which can be objectively observed and measured.

    • Word count: 1351
  17. Assess the view that the welfare state is the cause of poverty rather than the solution

    Entrepreneurs are mainly motivated by money, and therefore if they are to be well rewarded they want taxation to be kept low. This then creates the problem in which the welfare state is seen as an indirect cause of poverty, because taxation is made so high it decreases the height of success within companies by burdening them with taxes. This then also discourages entrepreneurs to start up big businesses, which would create jobs for the unemployed who are in poverty.

    • Word count: 1193
  18. Examine the reasons for the increase in family and household diversity in the last 40 years.

    The growing impact of the feminist view that marriage is an oppressive patriarchal institution may also dissuade some women from marrying. Another change in the patterns of marriage is that two fifths of all marriages are remarriages, in which one or both partners have been divorced. For many people, this leads to serial monogamy: a pattern of marriage-divorce-remarriage. The main reason for the increase in re-marriages is because of the rise in divorce due to the decreasing stigma, secularisation, rising expectations of marriage and the changing position of women.

    • Word count: 1347
  19. Population Trends -Aging ans society.

    The multitude of third-agers may be new but longevity itself is not. Health, clearly, is the single most important ingredient of a good old age. Research proves that lifestyle is more influential than genes in avoiding age-related health collapse. Most of the vibrant older people are at least conscious of diet and exercise. Unfortunately in most societies aging is treated a little bit like disability. People may have slightly more or different needs as they get older, but the key thing is to keep people as human beings, functioning as fully as possible.

    • Word count: 1000
  20. Free essay

    Is religion a conservative force or a force for social change?

    This idea was proposed by Malinowski. Religion helps people cope during times of crisis such as death or puberty by having rituals to surround these events to help people cope, which in turn helps prevent radical change. Religion provided support through the death of Princess Diana with the ritual of the funeral. Following on from this, Functionalist Parsons supports the idea that religion is a conservative force because it maintains social order. Individuals are hit by events that they cannot control or foresee therefore religion helps to maintain the social order through these times.

    • Word count: 1313
  21. Religion can be both conservative force and an initiator of social change

    It is usually used to refer to religion as preventing change and maintaining the status quo. However, it can also refer to promoting traditional beliefs and customs that can bring out social change. Theories from both Functionalism and Marxism have put forward the view that religion acts as a conservative force. They both see religion as facilitating the existence of society in its current form, although their views do differ significantly. For Durkheim, religion, like many other social institutions, acts in the same way as one of the body's vital organs, in that it "keeps society alive". In other words, religion has a number of functions that serve the purpose of maintaining social stability and harmony.

    • Word count: 1281
  22. Critically assess the view that religion opresses women (33 marks)

    They also believe that the rise of monotheism is a problem due to the fact that it is hard to find a religion where their one and only supreme being is female. In the same light, Marxist feminists also take a very direct method to approach women's oppression. They say that religion is a tool of compensation for women while exploiting them doubly if they are of a lower class and female. As with all Marxist ideologies, their ultimate aim would be revolution.

    • Word count: 1143
  23. Sociology cannot and should not be a science To what extent do sociological arguments and evidence support this view?

    They believe that reality is a separate thing existing outside of the mind, so society can be studied objectively as factual reality. A positivist sociologist would use scientific methods such as observations to study the patterns of society, in order to discover the laws that determine how society works. These cause and effect laws can then be used to predict future events and guide social policies made as a result of these predictions and past events. A good example of one such study would be the study that Durkheim carried out on 'Suicide as a Social Fact' in which he used official statistics to investigate what causes a person to commit suicide.

    • Word count: 1307
  24. Cultural hyrbidity

    points out that "no serious scholar today believes that hereditary characteristics explain cultural variations."3 Patterson (1965) also states "the incoming group as a whole ... adapts itself to permanent membership of the receiving society in certain major spheres notably economic and civil life."4 Patterson's final stage of adaption is assimilation, where migrants or minority groups achieve complete acceptance in society. Patterson observed that physical amalgamation may lead to distinctive features of migrant groups and that of their hosts to be lost. Patterson found the progress of the West Indian migrants in Britain was limited, "there was still opposition to the employment of West Indians by white workers."5 Nick names and jocular references resulted in conflict.

    • Word count: 1682
  25. Discuss the proportion that whilst class may have lost its force in the collective sense nevertheless class remains fundamental both to culture and perceptions of individual human identity

    For instance human body grows and develops, the same process they found in society: society also develops and changes. The main idea of functionalism was that the different parts of society are seen to be linked and taken together, because they are form of complete organism. For instance economic system, political system, family and cultural system all have their portion in keeping up a stable and strong society from generation to generation. According to functionalism, a major function of social institutions is to socialize everyone into a complex of norms and values that will lead their future behavior and thinking.

    • Word count: 1786

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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