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GCSE: Sociology

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  1. Comparisons and contrasts between the theories of Karl Marx and Max Weber on social class.

    The idea of class has long been a central concept in sociology. It is to the work of Karl Marx (1818-1883) that we should turn, in order to discover the origins of the contemporary debate about class in contemporary sociology. For Marx developed the idea of class into 'the class-struggle'. Such a social process of the class struggle, argues Marx, constrains and shapes the lives of all individuals in a society (Haralambos and Holborn, 1995:35). This social process of the class struggle determines the personal and social identities of all individuals in a society.

    • Word count: 2032
  2. What do you understand by the term 'patriarchy'? Is the concept still relevant to the study of gender and geography?

    The Oxford English Dictionary (1993) defines patriarchy as the 'manifestation and institutionalisation of male dominance over women in the family and the extension of male dominance over women in society in general'. These definitions suggest that patriarchy is a concept which has become so ingrained in society and accepted as a biological given, with the result that throughout the centuries it has succeeded in reinforcing male dominance and women's inferiority and this is reflected in many societal structures. It is important to recognise that these definitions see women as deprived of access to the power their male counterparts have but they do not imply that women are either totally powerless or totally deprived of rights.

    • Word count: 2801
  3. The issues of ethnicity and race is so pervasive in our world that they cannot go overlooked,especially from an anthropological standpoint.

    There are no hard-and-fast rules in Anthropology, making it almost an art instead of a science. However, there are some focal points for the studies, and some arguments that can be made from the data and observations gathered. One argument that I find most debatable is the concept of social race. This is a concept from anthropologist Charles Wegley that holds that races are not biologically based, but instead ascribed by culture. I personally disagreed with this at first, because it goes against the obvious-people with fair skin are white, people with black skin are black, people with brown skin are Indian, Hispanic, or Asian.

    • Word count: 2632
  4. It is the aim of this piece of work to investigate the claim that a lower class person is more likely to be observed and detected than those from other classes and that a lower class person is more likely to be arrested if discovered.

    It is however specific actions, which break the law and as a result are punishable by the state i.e. police, courts, prison etc). Deviance is defined by (McLaughlin, Muncie, 2001) as "a twentieth-century sociological concept intended to designate the aggregate of social behaviours, practices, acts, demeanours, attitudes, beliefs, styles or statuses which are culturally believed to deviate significantly from the norms, ethics, standards and expectations of society." In general it refers to acts which are disapproved of in society and do not meet the norms and values of society. We have to remember however that not every deviant act is necessarily a criminal one, merely unacceptable by society not necessarily law breaking.

    • Word count: 2812
  5. 'There's no such thing as society - merely individuals and their families'. (Margaret Thatcher). Assess the validity of this statement.

    They're casting their problem on society. And, you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first. It's our duty to look after ourselves and then, also to look after our neighbour. People have got the entitlements too much in mind, without the obligations. There's no such thing as entitlement, unless someone has first met an obligation. Margaret Thatcher "Aids, Education and the Year 2000," Woman's Own, 3 October 1987, pp.

    • Word count: 2237
  6. Shakespeare.

    His audience was comprised of the three-tiered social structure and there had to be something in each play to charm them all. Class and economics determined the set-up of the theaters in that time, so it is not an issue that could be ignored by this playwright; rather he echoes it in his works. Separation from the masses was assured by the seating arrangements. The top tiers were reserved for royalty and the middle areas were for the landed gentry, while the floor seats where the "groundlings" viewed the proceedings resemble our modern-day mosh pits.

    • Word count: 2969
  7. Were the asylums of the nineteenth century intended to incarcerate dangerous elements of society or treat unfortunate sufferers?

    These asylums were opened to cure the mad and return them to society However the records show that the 'cure rate' of asylums across Europe was nothing short of abysmal and an anti-history of psychiatry emerged during the 1960's. Michel Foucault has been particularly influential, claiming that the asylums of the nineteenth century were an extension of political control aimed at removing 'dangerous elements' from society and attempting to reform them2. The two views are not mutually exclusive, it is my belief that asylums were established with the belief that the 'mad' could be cured yet by institutionalising madness it was hidden from society and control could be exercised.

    • Word count: 2385
  8. How Can Crime Be Related To Social Inequality? Discuss In Relation To Inequalities of Either Race, Gender or Social Class.

    However, this is not to say that these statistics reflect crime, there is a possibility that women may not be convicted as often as men due to chivalry in court, therefore they only show numbers convicted. Despite this, from these statistics, it is clear that sex is a contributing factor to crime. Men and women do not commit the same types of crime. According to Wilson and Herrnstein (1985) in 1997 in the USA men are the clear majority of offenders in areas such as burglary, drunkenness, auto theft, robbery, driving under the influence, possession of weapons and sex offences.

    • Word count: 2303
  9. With reference to the sociological literature on youth, discuss Davis' (1990) claim that the continuing "scrutiny of adolescence rests on a generalised image that constructs them as a social problem".

    All in all, most people emerge from adolescence fairly unscathed, and go on to lead normal lives. "Adolescence is the age of the final establishment of a dominant positive ego identity. It is then that a future within reach becomes part of the conscious life plan." (Erikson, 63, p306) Adolescence is a watershed, after which the future is redirected and confirmed. It would seem reasonable that much thought would be given to how to use this critical period to reinforce the positive self-image so important for growth and development.

    • Word count: 2379
  10. In what sense is Burke the founder of modern British Conservative thought?

    The major brunt of Burkes writings consists of speeches and political tracts written for some particular occasion. He was not a systematic theorist in the sense of contemporaries like Hobbes and Locke. Nevertheless, Burke wrote the most coherent articulation of conservative philosophy in his Reflections of the French Revolution. In it, he attacked the principles of the rights of man as being dangerous to the status quo - to the social order present in Europe. He asserted that effective constitutions could not be written down from first principles, but needed to evolve, slowly and cautiously in the light of experience.

    • Word count: 2657
  11. Steel Toed Stilettos.

    The agents, rarely female, must find a new club for the woman to work in every week and for this, they receive a fifteen percent commission. Agents have contracts with the dancers as well as the clubs. When and if any dancers complain about dirty working conditions and unfair labour practices, the agents quickly attempt to stop the denouncing. If a dancer wanted to sue a club for breach of contract, for instance, and the agents did not persuade her to stop, the treatment upon her return would be a sign that she was done in the strip clubs.

    • Word count: 2278
  12. Marxism and Functionalism and their contribution to sport.

    Karl Marx wanted to understand the politics, culture and economics of the newly emerging nations within Europe. He emphasised the leading role of the economy in society as a whole as well as in societal parts, known as superstructures. These superstructures are non-economic aspects of society, i.e. culture, religion, social life, education, religion, politics and social institutions. Marx identified society as consisting of two classes: The so-called Bourgeoisie and the so-called Proletariat. The Bourgeoisie is a capitalistic, wealthy and powerful minority consisting of aristocracy and upper class members meanwhile the Proletariat, also known as working-class, holds the majority of societal members who are poor, semi- or unskilled workers.

    • Word count: 2502
  13. How Would You Define the Working Class in Nineteenth Century Britain? When and why did it come in to being?

    In the early nineteenth century, the term 'class' became a well-known concept used to describe the actions of the different social groups in society. However this term also became very controversial as it caused political discontent as well as class conflicts due to incomes determining an individuals status. Nineteenth century historians believe classes were formed by occupation in which the source of income divides the society in to different categories, however each historian and sociologist explored the concept in a different way.

    • Word count: 2116
  14. Scholarly detachment in scientific research.

    This is necessary because people who do the research and who are reading the research want to know if what they are reading is true and is biased. "That the worry affects both readers and researchers indicates that it lies deeper than the superficial differences that divide sociological schools of thought, and that its roots must be sought in characteristics of society that affect us all, whatever our methodological or theoretical persuasion." (Becker 239). The interference of biasness would interfere with the value of the work.

    • Word count: 2120
  15. Comparing and contrasting the methodologies of the two core texts Surviving Sexual Violence by Liz Kelly and The Sociology of Housework byAnne Oakley.

    The focus on the research was to recognise the events of sexual violence and show that the women are survivors not victims of abuse. Feminism has become a worldwide establishment to encourage women to come forth and speak openly about their experiences. The topic of feminism and the whole situation of women on the whole was the main aim towards the comparison of Surviving Sexual Violence by Liz Kelly with The Sociology of Housework by Anne Oakley. Both texts discuss the topic of women in general which establishes the atmosphere of the women and the image they are given by the male population.

    • Word count: 2528
  16. Traffic analysis.

    The Mexican police officers Javier Rodriguez (Benicio Del Toro) and Manolo Sanchez (Jacob Vargas), borrow the essence of dishonesty from their real life reputation. The film clearly shows the differences between how the Mexican officials act towards their criminals, and how the American officials behave with their criminals. Corruption in Mexico can immediately be seen in one of the first scenes of the movie where a woman loses her car and has to pay off the Mexicans in order to get it back.

    • Word count: 2396
  17. Definitions of"Social exclusion" in the New Labour years have involved a denial ofstructural inequalities' - Assess the validity of this judgement.

    The expression is so widely engaged in debates about social politics that accepting one definition would not provide the justice required nor the insight of its use and in turn its deployment in policies and hence initiatives. The term social inclusion seeks to be a more comprehensive and holistic in addressing social disadvantage, it is multi dimensional and hence can be flexible. Although flexibility can be advantageous, there are clearly opportunities for those who desire to manipulate to their own advantage.

    • Word count: 2238
  18. Sociology – The Family.

    Extended families can be described as a family unit where more than two generations of relatives may all live together, this type of family seems to be quite different from the nuclear family in the sense that the parenting of children is more of a communal role, "than is the case with the isolated nuclear family" (Bilton, Bonnett, Jones, Stanworth, Sheard & Webster, 1987a). Another type of family is the Reconstituted family, where a man and a women bring together children from both of their perhaps failed marriages and combine them with the children that they have together as a new couple.

    • Word count: 2287
  19. Outline Marx's view of class in capitalist society, and explain what you see as the major problems with this approach?

    From this an increasingly powerful few owned the land and property and the rest worked for them. With the Industrial Revolution, the ownership of agricultural land became less important then the ownership of business and industry. This "capitalist" society was based on the few owners who obtained the majority of the wealth relying on the workers to produce the goods that made the profits. Marx uses the term "bourgeoisie" or "capitalists" when referring to the owners and "proletariat" for the workers. However, Marx's model has altered dramatically with the appearance of a vast range of new occupations and the fragmentation of ownership.

    • Word count: 2128
  20. As society has become more industrial, the family has changed structurally along withit and due to it.

    Although the family has become more specialized to satisfy it's industrial requirements, institutions such as schools and health service providers are increasingly carrying out roles that the family once provided in pre-industrial society, it is still responsible for what Parsons describes as a few 'essential functions'. He states these to be the primary socialisation of children, and the stabilization of adult personalities. Firstly, it is the role of the family to rear their offspring to fit in, and meet, their societal needs and culture.

    • Word count: 2186
  21. How do feminists explain inequality between the sexes and how do they seek to remedy it?

    Liberal feminism emerged in the 1850's and was the school of thought that dominated first wave feminism. Liberal feminism is the belief that focussed on woman enjoying the same rights as men, and for this reason first wave feminism focussed on the public sphere of politics. Liberal feminists believed that the problem was in the political sphere of life, as woman at the time were literally not allowed in the public sphere of life. The British suffrage movement lead by mother and daughter Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst in the 1903 organised many forms of protest that were aimed at achieving the goal of the female vote.

    • Word count: 2022
  22. To what extent did life improve between 1949 and the early 1960s in Communist China?

    Urban areas were also improved and the infrastructure and a lot of industry were modernised. However the Communists didn't have the same attitude towards businessmen and landlords. They saw them as reactionaries and they were viewed as an enemy to the revolution. The first reform to affect landlords was the Agrarian Law Reform and 'Speak bitterness' campaign in 1950. Between 1950 and 1952, 47 million hectares was taken from landlords and shared out to around 300 million peasants. This economic change was a huge loss for landlords who had lived in KMT areas, who before 1949 had been rich due to their land.

    • Word count: 2099
  23. A little bit of respect towards Woman.

    Even nowadays, there are still women, who have to die because their husband has died, there are ten years old girls who are pushed to marry with very old men because of cultural causes. So this is underlining the importance of a movement: feminism. Women, who became aware of these injustices and their power, gradually started some actions. One of them is feminism; a movement which defends the belief that woman should have at least the same opportunities as man and which tries to increase the rights that a woman can profit, in a society.

    • Word count: 2419
  24. “WhiteTeeth successfully satirizes the contrasts and relationships between different cultures” - How far do you agree with this statement?

    This is mocks by Samad highlighting his frustration towards Archie, as he finds that "there is only so much of that eyeballing that a man can countenance" and asks him if he is "in a passion over my arse?" This fascination could be interpreted as Archie's curiosity towards Samad maybe due to his "poncey-radio-operator-ways" or just his lack of multicultural knowledge resulting in his fixation on Samad. The contrasts between Archie and Samad's characters are evident in their distinct views of death.

    • Word count: 2607
  25. Discuss with special reference to culture, how Mark Tully and Amrita Pritam portray the curse of barrenness in 'A Stench of Kerosene', and 'The Barren Women of Balramgaon'.

    In a place where society and community is given so much importance, social stratification finds its way in. Indians take pride in everything they do and everything they possess. This need for superiority is the reason for the caste system in India, which is still prevalent in the villages. The principal criterion on which the caste system is based is the principle of natural superiority and sometimes, religious beliefs. Natural superiority in this case is not physical prowess or intelligence, but bodily purity.

    • Word count: 2036

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