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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. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. Evaluate the view that class is the most important source of an individuals identity.

    The children of upper class families are usually educated in top public schools and many go on to the most prestigious universities. Throughout their education valuable social contacts are made with each other and with other young people likely to end up in positions of power and influence. Public schools also socialise their pupils into high levels of self-confidence and an keen sense of social superiority. The exclusive lifestyle and experiences of the upper class mean that its young members tend to socialise with other members of the same class.

    • Word count: 1078
  5. Examine the view that differences in educational achievement amongst ethnic minorities is a result of an ethnocentric curriculum. (20 marks)

    However, there are certain ethnic groups such as Afro-Caribbean and Pakistani children which are clearly underachieving. Although these statistics are very useful, as Drew identifies this kind of data comes from small sample sizes from local authorities and they do not take into account the influence of social class and we know that social class is a very important factor in determining educational achievement due to material and cultural deprivation. The statistics do not necessarily tell us the true picture; there is some evidence to suggest that schools sometimes do not allow ethnic minority students to sit certain exams, for example English GCSE.

    • Word count: 1108
  6. Assess the importance of school factors such as racism in creating ethnic differences in educational achievement

    The first factor I would like to examine is Labelling and Teacher racism. The definition of labelling is to attach a meaning or definition to someone. Often teachers label pupils as trouble makers or cooperative. Interactionist sociologists study the face to face interactions when labels are placed upon pupils. When interactionist sociologists look at ethnic differences in achievement they focus on the labels teachers give to pupils from different ethnic backgrounds. Their studies show that teachers label black and Asian children far from the ideal pupil. Often black children are seen as disruptive and the Asian children as passive.

    • Word count: 1141
  7. State measures have fostered racial harmony in Singapore Discuss policies used to foster racial harmony and discourage intolerance.

    Once that limit has been reached, no further sale of HDB flats to that ethnic group will be allowed. This would ensure a balanced mix of ethnic groups in public housing estates. For the majority of Singaporeans, the HDB?s housing estates are more than mere spaces for raised flats that shelter us. It is in these estates that we interact with other Singaporeans from various backgrounds and communities and enjoy a collective experience of interacting with one another. An example would be in the past, there was little or even no interaction between the different races as they would keep within their own race.

    • Word count: 1373
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. Nature vs. Nurture Feral Children

    These traits can be genetically explained and affect aspects of our physical appearance such as our skin colour, muscle structure, bone structure, and even features like the shape of a nose. These traits cannot be changed, for example, an individual can?t alter the natural colour of their skin, hair or eyes. Although the supporting evidence is less strong, there are also certain elements of personality that are believed to be genetically passed down. Some believe that a person is born with an inherited level of intelligence, social nature and mood that is unaffected by the environment.

    • Word count: 1444
  11. Education and the theories of Marxism

    However Functionalists would agree with this point and say that the education system does not have class divisions and that education is meritocratic. Whereas this juxtaposes Bowles and Gintis?s view that the mass education system is preparing low skilled workers willing to put up with alienation and repetitive work. They argue that the economy has shifted away from mass production is now based on ?flexible specialisation? where production is customised for small specialist markets. They believe that this post fordist system requires a skilled, adaptable workforce able to use advanced technology and transfer their skills from one specialist task to another.

    • Word count: 1310
  12. The Origins of Sociology. History and Major Figures.

    Industrial Revolution accelerated the process of urbanization. Urbanization, in its turn, created many social problems. French Revolution led to rethinking about the form of government and practice of democracy. Thus changes were all around in economy, polity and social spheres of living. The industrialization, urbanization and capitalism and the attendant consequences began transforming the societies of Europe. The Enlightenment It refers to that period in European history (late 17th and 18th centuries) which put human being at the centre of the universe and rational thought as the central feature of the human being. The ability to think rationally and critically transformed the individual human being into both the producer and user of all knowledge.

    • Word count: 1209
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. 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
  16. OUTLINE AND ASSESS THE VIEW THAT CLASS DIFFERENCES IN EDUCATION ARE DUE TO THE CULTURE OF THE HOME.

    In addition to the work of Bourdieu, is the work of internationalist Douglas. Douglas concluded that a key factor in differences between classes is as a result of parental interest, - similarly to Bourdieu, due to the culture of the home. Douglas however observed that it was middle class parents who showed a greater interest in their child?s education and where most likely to attend parents evenings, which in combination with the convergence of class achievement at GCSE level provides a compelling case for home culture influencing most, the difference in educational achievement between classes.

    • Word count: 2315
  17. Identify and briefly describe the discriminatory practices for each case study

    It?s important that everyone gets to choose what they do so they can fulfil theirs need. Also in the case study it states that A dietician advises the centre on meals, and everyone eats the same so that they have a balanced diet. This may not be satisfactory for some individuals as they may be either, vegetarians, vegans, lactose intolerant or may even have an allergic reaction to certain products of foods, it is important that the dietician includes the needs of others. Also in the case study there is a man that the staff have nicknamed ART as they cant pronounce his name and he doesn?t speak much English, they say that they have learnt his needs so need little communication.

    • Word count: 2203

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