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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

    Examine the weakness of different types of documents used in a sociological research. Examine why positivist prefer quantitative data whilst interpretivists prefer qualitative data.

    4 star(s)

    For example, there was claim that Hitler diaries were fakes. Personal documents may also potentially lack the credibility. Documents may be difficult to believe, when considering the author's sincerity. For example, politicians may write diaries that inflate the own importance. The availability of personal documents may be difficult for researchers to gain access to. For example, private documents such as diaries are becoming less available sociologist. However, a document written for personal purposes has a high degree of validity. It permits the researcher to get close to their social actor's life in giving them a genuine insight through the detailed qualitative data.

    • Word count: 865
  2. Marked by a teacher

    secondary sources of data

    4 star(s)

    comparative study of crime rates in different countries. Positivists favor the use of official statistics, as they are useful for identifying correlations. In Durkheim's study of suicide (1897) he was able to identify religious beliefs as a significant social factor in the explanation of why people committed suicide. Official statistics are very high in terms of reliability and representativeness. Sometimes the entire population is required by law to provide statistical information often relating to demographic and economic trends. As well as this, the government has the necessary resources to carry out this type of sampling.

    • Word count: 993
  3. Peer reviewed

    Assess the functionalist view that religion benefits both society as a whole and its individual members.

    3 star(s)

    While participating in shares rituals binds individuals together reminding them that they are a part of a community which they owe loyalty. The power of society came from these rituals and without them they are nothing, to which they owe everything. The individual see's religion performing a significant function allowing them to feel apart of society and seeing that religion strengthens us to face life's trials and motivates us to overcome obstacles that would otherwise overpower us. Like Durkheim Malinowski sees religion as reinforcing social norms and promoting social solidarity, however, unlike Durkheim he does not see religion as reflecting society as a whole or interpret ritual as the worship of society itself.

    • Word count: 823
  4. Assess the view that the modern education system is meritocratic.

    Parsons and Davis and Moore all saw education as meritocratic. They argue that individuals are not born intellectually equal. The role of the education system is to sift and sort people. This involves selecting the most able for the mot functionally important roles in society. Therefore, doctors and lawyers are naturally more intelligent than cleaners and porters. In Parson's view a meritocratic education system was essential in modern society. He saw the education system as a bridge between home and work. In the family individuals are judged on 'particularistic' values and have ascribed statuses.

    • Word count: 497
  5. Free essay

    Examine the reasons why some sociologists choose not to use experiments when conducting research

    The laboratory experiment has major advantages as the method can be used to establish cause and effect relationships. For this reasons positivist sociologists use laboratory experiments as they favour a more scientific method. Positivist sociologists however also acknowledge the short comings of laboratory experiments, such as, it is often impossible or unethical to control the variables. Also their small scale means that results may not be representative or generalisable to the wider population. On the other hand interpretivists reject the laboratory experiments because it fails to achieve their main goal of validity. It is an artificial environment producing unnatural behavior.

    • Word count: 630
  6. Outline and evaluate the interactionist view of education (40 marks)

    According to Hargreaves Teachers tend to label according to 7 criteria, these being appearance, conforming to discipline, likeability, their relationship with other children, enthusiasm and their individual personality. Teachers who do label can also change them which can also have a good or bad effect on the child depending on the label. Also they do not identify where the label has come from because it would show as unprofessional behaviour, therefore making that teacher less favourable. Marxists argue that labelling is all based around class, therefore upper and middle class students will be seen as better or more intelligent than most working class children.

    • Word count: 811
  7. Feminism focuses on the oppression of women by men. The structure of families is a good example of patriarchy -

    Firestone (1972), a radical feminist, also provides a convincing analysis which helps in our understanding of the position of women in society today. She argues that women's biology is the basis for their inequality and domination by men in all societies. Because women menstruate, give birth and breastfeed, they are sometimes physically dependent on others. This dependency allows men to develop both physical and psychological power and control, and thus men dominate the social world. When giving birth, wives are often accompanied by their husbands who provide support for their wives through the emotional time of child birth.

    • Word count: 983
  8. Similarities and Difference between American and Asian Culture

    "Catholicism is the religious preference in twenty one percent of Asian households" (Para 1). Though I never knew exactly what religious believes were practiced by Asian's, I was very shocked to see that twenty one percent practices Catholicism. The similarity comes from the role that faith plays in our lives gives the American and Asian community a solid family core. Both the American and Asian culture had similarities and differences when it comes to family life. When it comes down to family life, both cultures have strong family believes. Also both cultures view education as important.

    • Word count: 555
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. 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
  18. Bernstein Speech patterns and intelligence

    "She saw it". * Elaborated code - this code is characteristic of the middle classes. It fills in the detail and provides the explanations omitted by restricted codes. Anyone can understand elaborated code users in any situation E.G. "The young girl saw the ball". Bernstein explained the origins of these speech codes in terms of class differences in the family and the work situations of the working and middle classes: * In middle class families and in non manual work, relationships

    • Word count: 473
  19. Assess the usefulness of official statistics as a source of secondary data in sociological research.

    However, Atkinson has criticized the validity of suicide statistics by claiming that the commonsense theories held by coroners influence the way they categorise sudden death. For example, death by gunshot is more likely to be defined as suicide if it took place in the countryside during an organized shoot. It is possible that some suicide cases are not recorded due to the coroners wrongly assume that it is a sudden death instead of suicide.

    • Word count: 493
  20. Discrimination. There are six types of discrimination excluding discrimination known as, nonprejudiced nondiscriminators, nonprejudiced discriminators, prejudiced nondiscriminators, prejudiced discriminators, and dindividual discrimination. I am only goin

    In our society, sometimes there are people that are too stereotypical. An example of it is when an employee at a retail store see a color person that dress up poorly or ghetto, that employee will think that the color person is stealing or doing bad things. Then there is also the people who are disable too that other peoples will discriminate against too. Those who get target against most often are a person of different skin color, disabled people, abnormal people, and religious people. According to Joan Ferrante, discrimination (p 255)

    • Word count: 730
  21. Evaluation of Functionalism and Marxism

    Major functionalist influences including Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) and Robert K. Merton (1910-2003) believe that society is made up of different interrelating systems, all of which have their own vital purposes and functions, which depend upon one another. An organic analogy is often used to liken the operation of society to that of the human body - The human body is also dependent on its various systems working together to keep it alive and well. As discussed before, functionalists believe that society is based around consensus, agreement and harmony amongst the people, and that order and balance are regarded as the normal state of society.

    • Word count: 972
  22. The effect of government laws and social policies on family life.

    Also as women now had the choice of having children it changed their rights which also had an impact on the men as they didn't have all of the power. Following this the abortion act was legalised in 1967 under the labour government. This meant that even if women did become pregnant they to some extent still had the choice of whether they actually had the child. This had basically the same affects on the family as the contraceptive pill becoming available did because it gave women a choice which gave them more power both in society and the family.

    • Word count: 814
  23. How can the activities illustrated in Items A and B be seen as religious? Item A depicts President Clinton flanked by athletes saluting the American flag, Item B is similar, showing Catholics carrying a statue of their neighbourhoods patron saint in Ha

    Weber explains that a belief in a power above the forces of nature is supernatural, which fits the definition. Durkheim's part of this definition, relation to things of a sacred nature can also be seen, the obvious sacred item is the American flag, it is, as Durkheim said, something that is " set apart and forbidden... evokes strong emotions of awe, respect and deference. " Nearly every American respects their flag, and would thus consider it sacred. Item A also fits the functional definition of religion, Durkheim says religious beliefs and practices "unite into one single moral community...

    • Word count: 953
  24. Assess the view that the main aim of social policy has been to reduce social class inequality in education

    By 1944 it had become obvious that the state education system was failing the working classes and something had to be done. The war had brought different classes together somewhat and it was realised that a fairer education system was needed to provide social justice and reduce class inequality. The Act introduced the 11+, an exam sat by 11 year old children to determine the secondary school they went to. Three types of schools were available; grammar schools (for those who passed the 11+), secondary moderns (for those who failed the 11+)

    • Word count: 814
  25. Examine the Main Trends in Births and Deaths in the United Kingdom Since 1900

    Although these factors have been proven by sociologists to have caused a decline in birth rates, there has been a slight increase since 2001 due to immigration, as mothers from outside the UK have a higher fertility rate. Another reason for the decline in the birth rate is that women are now more independent and focusing on pursuing a career rather than having children and starting a family. This is mainly due to more educational opportunities open to women.

    • Word count: 513

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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