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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. Evaluate the View that the Socialisation Process that Produces Gender Inequality Continues both In and Outside the Workplace

    The former excuse can easily be dismissed when comparing examination results of male and female students as girls consistently outperform boys. The principal biological factor which limits women's choices is, quite simply, that only females can have babies. Women have to take time off to give birth and look after their young offspring, women often want to spend time with their children through all stages of their childhood, women generally take a larger slice of the responsibility of looking after their children than their partners; these factors all impact on what can be achieved in terms of career progression.

    • Word count: 2448
  2. How far do you agree Britain today is a child centred society?

    As the 'little adults' were now attending school rather than being an economic asset to the family-by going out to work- they became a financial responsibility, more of an investment for the parents, a view reinforced by recent statistics showing an average child costs �155.60 a week in the UK. Other social policies devised by the government include the factory acts such as the factory and workshop act of 1901 raising minimum working age to 12 and then consequently up to 16.the 1889 prevention of cruelty to children act was another policy, all these with the

    • Word count: 527
  3. Evaluating the need for a junk food tax in America.

    Since people's busy schedule and rapid pace of life they not just missing the exercises furthermore they will not be able to provide themselves a healthy meal. Research shows that people who do not have time and a lower income families tend to purchase more junk foods, since this is the case, it will be harder for them to buy junk foods and turn their heads toward more health choices. Junk foods led to obesity, this is shown in the movie Super Size Me, the man who plays the movie decide to eat junk foods for a month and his health decrease dramatically and doctors even warn him to stop or else will experience very serious consequences, including death.

    • Word count: 937
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. Assess different explanations for the causes of poverty in the United Kingdom

    The poor are forced to work on a very low income, as this is their only option if they want to achieve a standard of living. This is purposely done, as the bourgeoisie know these people need a job in order to survive, and with they're being such a high demand for jobs any income will do. Clearly this results in a problem, as the wages are a bare minimum and it means they can only afford the essentials. This then links in to how we measure poverty, as these people may only be able to afford the basics.

    • Word count: 2168
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. In this essay I am going to assess the Marxist explanation of the role of education in modern society.

    Marxists such as Althuser and Bowles and Gintis refuse completely that capitalist society runs as a meritocracy, Althusers theory is hugely based around ideology which is a set of ideas and that is you win over peoples "hearts and minds" then no force is necessary meaning that some people can be lead to believe things in a different way, simplified as being "brainwashed". According to Althuser the educational system has very much over ruled the church's control, Society use to mainly look upon their religion and accept everything as gods will, however now this acceptance has become based around and experience of education.

    • Word count: 829
  11. Discuss in what ways social class impacts on educational experiences.

    Those that successful passed attended the grammar or technical school. The tripartite system itself established a number of problems. This education based system was a major advantage to those from the middle classes. Sitting a formal assessment was something that the middle classes were more used to or had more experience in as they could afford to get private tutoring to help them gain exam practice. The exams language was middle class, ensuring that the majority of the success was more likely to come from the dominant classes. Between 1965 and 1979 the Labour Government tried to rectify these schooling problems by introducing a comprehensive school (a secondary school)

    • Word count: 2043
  12. Education social policy. Key changes in the development of education; such as the tri-partite system, comprehensive schools and the national curriculum shall be discussed, as well as the particularly significant acts of parliament that have shaped the ed

    and many people of the working class were unhappy with the new legislation. This is because at the time children were an 'economic' asset and could be sent out to work; which provided poorer families with some much needed additional income. Furthermore some employer were opposed to compulsory education also as children were profitable to employ; as they could be paid less. Despite this, the government continued to make provision for education; industrialisation had created the economic need for a more skilled workforce. In 1899 the school leaving age was raised to the age of twelve and the Balfour Education Act, which came in 1902, brought in the provision of secondary education for the 'deserving'.

    • Word count: 2068
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. Summarise and analyse the evidence on patterns of differential achievement for social class, ethnicity and gender. How strong is the evidence presented?

    Up until the 1980's males were outperforming females according to statistics, but was said to have been difficult to pin point evidence to show that females were under achieving. Since 1990 statistics have shown clearly that females tend to over achieve compared to males in education. "On the whole girls continue to outperform boys at all levels of education in the UK from Key Stage 1 to higher education." http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=1892 Ethnicity: 'The overwhelming evidence is that the British education system, like that of many other countries, favours those who are already privileged, and puts further obstacles in the path of those who are disadvantaged.'

    • Word count: 898
  16. 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
  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. 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
  20. Using information from Item A and elsewhere assess the view that poverty is the main cause of social-class differences in achievement.

    Little or no income at all sums up the above mentioned factors that affect a pupil's achievement level. Having a low income affects educational achievement in several ways e.g. lack of educational materials such as books and computers with internet access, lack of the appropriate uniform, and inability to afford school trips that develop a pupil's achievement positively. Cultural deprivation and material deprivation are different; however, they have a common link that explains how they affect educational achievement. Item A indicates that children of parents in the higher social classes are already further up the scale of educational development from as early as 22 months.

    • Word count: 790
  21. Examine the reasons why some sociologists choose to use structured interviews when conducting their research.

    is allowed to explain things the interviewee (or "respondent" - the person responding to the questions) does not understand or finds confusing. Moreover structured interviews are like questionnaires; the interviewer is given strict instructions on how to ask the questions. The interview is conducted in the same way each time, asking each interviewee precisely the same questions, word for word, in the same order and tone of voice. Both a questionnaire and structured interviews involve asking people a set of prepared questions. In both cases, the questions are usually closed-ended with pre-coded answers.

    • Word count: 499
  22. Assess the strengths and limitations of using official statistics for investigating the effects of material deprivation on educational achievement.

    However, these areas are personal, intricate issues. 'Soft' statistics are unclear and interpretivists claim that they are social constructs reflecting the ideologies of those conducting the research, rather than valid studies of poverty and its complex, interrelated issues. On the other hand, official statistics can be useful in providing relevant statistics in areas such as household income. They cover large populations and are therefore representative, which is useful when conducting a large, quantitative study. This information can be linked to educational achievement by studying income alongside pass rates in schools in poor/wealthy areas.

    • Word count: 762
  23. According to Item A, Wright argues that teachers may affect the achievement of ethnic minority groups, compared to white pupils. One explanation for this is labelling.

    Also there is an idea that teachers form racial stereotypes of black students as they associate them with gangs and crime. This can lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy in which black students internalise these negative views and consequently behave negatively. Another reason is that the school curriculum has been criticised for being ethnocentric. This means that it excludes knowledge of different cultures and concentrates only on White British events.

    • Word count: 460
  24. 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
  25. Free essay

    Discuss official statistics with regard to how useful one might find them when conducting sociological research

    Marxists take yet another view. They believe that official statistics are tools created by the bourgeoisie to enforce their ideology onto the proletariat. These tools can be used to mask the true inequalities of society and capitalism. They will take note of Conservative governments switching the methods use to measure unemployment over 30 times, in most cases resulting in a fall in unemployment. Using official statistics is good for the sociologist as they cost very little to use whilst being readily available.

    • Word count: 596

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