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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 the claim that voters are rational consumers

    This is supported by the idea of embourgeoisement that argues classes are merging in terms of their lifestyle, attitude and voting behaviour. Therefore, voters now look beyond class lines when choosing who to vote for, meaning they are rational consumers. McKenzie and Silver?s theory of secular voters also supports the rational voter thesis. They argue that voters, young people in particular, weigh up political policies, decide which will benefit their lives the most, and cast their vote accordingly. Goldthorpe and Lockwood?s view of instrumental voters also states that the electorate vote for the party that will bring them most gains, regardless of their social class.

    • Word count: 948
  2. Outline and evaluate the view that the role of youth culture is to assist in the transition from childhood to adulthood

    Another argument against functionalism would the focus on age specific groups which misses an opportunity to look at youth as a state of mind able to be felt by anyone regardless of age. Marxists pay more attention to subcultures than functionalists and their theories are associated with the CCCS. The CCCS is considered neo-Marxist and their view of youth subcultures is that they are a product of structural explanations such as the economy and social class rather than general explanations such as age. Hall and Jefferson (1976) believed youth subcultures are a form of resistance to the ?crisis of capitalism?.

    • Word count: 793
  3. Assess sociological explanations for suicide

    Atkinson states the official statistics that classify deaths as suicides are neither right nor wrong but just interpretations, but they can never be valid as the person is not there. However Ethnomethodologists point out that it will never be valid as there is no other way to study suicide. A coroner is an appointed expert in medicine and law who investigates any sudden, unexplained death. A coroner must be satisfied that the person killed themselves and intended to and then the verdict is recorded.

    • Word count: 895
  4. Claims that the UK is now a secular society are wrong. Both religious activity and religious belief are flourishing. To what extent do sociological arguments and evidence support this view?

    Furthermore in support of the view that we are becoming secular is Heelas and Woodhead who conducted a study. Heelas and Woodhead found that the majority of people who did go to a church weren?t there for religious reasons but there instead to conduct in spiritual stuff. This further supports the evidence that the UK is becoming secular. An alternative theory put forward Davie suggests that we still like to practice religion; we just don?t see the need to belong to an institution.

    • Word count: 631
  5. Assess the functionalist view that religion benefits both society as a whole and its individual members

    in Muslim countries who are part of the faith of Islam, understand it is normal to stop and pray 5 times a day and also that no-one should work on Friday however people in Christian countries understand the day of rest to be Sunday. Functionalist therefore claim members of a society have a collective conscience, they think in the same way, due to their shared norms and values. Functionalists also believe that religion unifies people; the functionalist Emile Durkheim studied an aboriginal tribe the Arunta.

    • Word count: 861
  6. Using the material from item A and elsewhere access the contribution of Marxism to our understanding of the role of education.

    Pupils learn that failure in school is their own fault. Bowles and Gintis argue that the main function of education is to produce an obedient workforce which will accept the inequality. They also argue that the pupils that had the best obedience and are punctual tend to get the best grades, whilst the pupils that are creative and independent tend to get bad grades. They argue that there are parallels between school and work, they call this the correspondence principle, and these are the things in school that correspond to things in work.

    • Word count: 917
  7. Critically examine the relationship between gender, religious participation and religious organisation

    Miller and Hoffman argue that females are more religious than men. They put this down to two reasons, socialisation and roles. Miller and Hoffman argue that women are more nurturing than men and that the roles they play in society ? lower rates of paid work mean that they have more time to do other things, like help out with church activities. Holm continues this argument and says that even though men occupy powerful positions in the public sphere that females do the majority of the behind the scenes work.

    • Word count: 601
  8. Feral children

    Another example of this is Victor ? The wild boy of Aveyron ? , Victor was one of the first studied feral children , he was found in france 1799 whilst foraging for roots in the woods. Victor was taken to Paris and taken into the care of Dr . Itard . Like Oxana , Victor behaved like the animals which he was adopted by and spoke only in large shrill cries and often tried to escape. These cases are proof that our parents/guardians play a major role during the crucial learning stages in a persons childhood, as they teach primary socialisation which includes complicated skills which many people would take for granted such as language / speech .

    • Word count: 874
  9. Analyse and evaluate the relationship between religion and social change

    The Calvinists also believed that they were the chosen and elect ones who believed they were the only ones going to heaven. Weber called this the spirit of capitalism. However Karl Marx argues against Weber and instead says that religion is a conservative ideology that prevents social change. Weber says that religion disguises inequality and creates a false sense consciousness for the working class.

    • Word count: 466
  10. Modern Britain is now a secular society. To what extent do sociological arguments and evidence agree with this view?

    However Davie argues that people privatise their religion by separating their belief from the need to express it by belonging to an institution. However Davie says that people aren?t secular as they still experience religion as a lot of people attend religious ceremonies to celebrate marriages and births and attend funerals at churches. Davie likes to call this believing without belonging ? meaning that people aren?t becoming less religious they just like to believe without having to attend an institution.

    • Word count: 445
  11. Assess the strengths and limitations of using interviews for the study of educational achievement and material deprivation

    From this, interpretivists can formulate reasons why poorer and materially deprived students do less well. Obviously, this form of research will be met less well by positivists who believe that quantitative data is needed to work out patterns and trends. They believe that official statistics or other forms of quantitative data are needed as they will provide vital statistics showing how poverty and material deprivation could affect results. In terms of practicality, it will be very time-consuming. As item B suggests, Harker (2006)

    • Word count: 680
  12. Examine the disadvantages of longitudinal studies

    The researcher must still have interest on the subject otherwise the research will become unrepresentative. Furthermore, since it?s a very long study some participants may want to opt out of the research especially if they started when they were young since they could have been forced in. This is called subject attrition and this affects the reliability and representativeness of the research as less people will share their opinions. This is seen in Douglas? study where more than 500 participants decided to drop out of the research. Another disadvantage is a possible chance of the Hawthorne effect.

    • Word count: 578
  13. Social inequality in schools: how can teachers redress the balance?

    The exploration of the great British class system is central to 7 Up: this, and the knock on effect it has on children's education and aspirations. Almond set out to give us a snap shot of the year 2000, realising that the seven year olds in the first film would end up as the "union leader and the business executive of the year 2000". Through the course of the 7 Up series we discover that the movers and shakers of 2000 turn out to be - unsurprisingly ? not the boys from the children home, or the girls from East end primary school, or the middle class boys from Liverpool.

    • Word count: 779
  14. Newspaper article to evaluate and review the purpose of faith schools in multi-faith and multicultural Britain.

    In 2006, 197 faith schools made up the 209 primary schools in the UK that achieved ?perfect? results in that year?s league tables. All students reached the expected standard for 11 year olds in English, maths and science. The best school in the tables was North Cheshire Jewish primary school which offers ?a traditional Jewish education?. The most improved school was St Anne?s Roman Catholic primary school whose results tripled within three years. Some would say that faith schools create a ?social sorting? of children according to class, ability, religion and academics.

    • Word count: 621
  15. The Latinos/as in the United States have been oppressed in many different ways through internal colonialism.

    Mario Barrera states in, The Barrio as an Internal Colony, that, ??the dominant society has largely destroyed Chicano economic organization, severely limited political organization, and waged a constant attack on Chicano values and other cultural traits through the schools, the media, and other institutions? (Barrera, 484). Chicanos/as are underrepresented politically in the United States because of Anglo dominance. Barrera examines mechanisms of internal colonialism that repress Chicano/a involvement in politics. These include: disenfranchising Chicanos/as using poll taxes and literacy tests, and gerrymandering.

    • Word count: 968
  16. Using material from Item A and elsewhere, assess the functionalist view that religion benefits both society as a whole and its individual members

    The sacred are things set apart and forbidden which inspire feelings of awe and wonder. By contrast, the profane are things that have no special significance, things that are ordinary and mundane. Durkheim believed that the essence of all religion could be found by studying it?s simplest form, in the simplest type of society. He studied totems, which he said was a society worshipping sacred symbols and rituals which were meant to symbolize all of society.

    • Word count: 402
  17. Assess the strengths and limitations of unstructured interviews for the study of boys underachievement at school

    A few advantages of using unstructured interviews when studying the underachievement of boys are that the informality of the interview allows the interviewer to gain the trust of the interviewee which is important in this example. Boys at school will not feel comfortable explaining their time at school and why they do/don?t enjoy school if the interviewer is very formal and makes them feel intimidated whereas by using an unstructured interview it allows the boys being interviewed and the interviewee feel more comfortable around each other meaning the boys will be more open and truthful allowing the researcher to gain more and to collect more accurate and in depth data.

    • Word count: 716
  18. In the chapter entitled Bodies, sexuality and the city written by Knox and Pinch, societies view of the body formed by the surrounding urban area is discussed

    Every person has their own unique body form and body shape. However, society has many different aspects that influence how people feel their individual body should be. Movies, television, ads and magazines amongst other things pressure people to conform to those who are portrayed in them. For example, a slim fit body is considered ideal in the world and those who do not meet those expectations are looked at in a different light.There are many aspects of the body on which people are judged such as age, dress, ethnicity and most importantly gender.

    • Word count: 702
  19. Outline and explain two ways in which gender identity is created and reinforced through the socialisation process

    The family begin the process of socialisation, and therefore create gender identity. They do this predominantly through use of gender scripts; from the beginning of a baby?s life, it is normal for parents to paint a child?s room either blue or pink, depending on whether they are a boy or a girl?this is one of the first things that create gender identity. Gender identity can also be created through the process of imitation. If a boy sees his father going out to work and being the main breadwinner, this is how he will believe that males should act and will there behave similarly.

    • Word count: 521
  20. Discuss the bio-medical model of health.

    One of these cases would be like an evil spirit taking over a person?s body and making them mentally abnormal, no medicine would be able to cure that individual except a spiritual means by which the illness had come from. Taylor and Field (2007) argued that those in the medical profession use the bio-medical model to help diagnosis the body and to help in intervening the body from getting diseases. Furthermore Sheeran (1995) says that there has been an increasingly successful practical application of the principles of medical knowledge in the West, where the bio-medical figure is mostly upheld.

    • Word count: 947

    You can score evaluation marks by pointing out that practical issues such as the preferences of funding bodies for quantitative data play a part, as do ethical considerations and the nature of the topic being studied. Phrases which might help you in the essay: Positivists emphasize the importance of representativeness, because they wish to discover general patterns and make general cause-and-effect statements about social behaviour. For a method to be reliable, it must be replicable i.e. exactly repeatable to obtain the same results, regardless of who actually carries out the research.

    • Word count: 603
  22. Evaluate feminist views on the role and functions of religion in society today.

    The church also commands women to take obedient roles through their scriptures by saying ?He is in the glory of God; but woman is in the glory of the man?, this maintains male dominance and oppresses women even further as they are seen as the men?s possession, justified by religion as it says it in the bible. Judaism also instils gender inequality as Women who are menstruating should stay away from men, children and the community showing that women are inferior to men.

    • Word count: 978
  23. Assess the extent to which Marxist and Feminist theories help our understanding of society today - 33 marks SCLY3 BELIEFS IN SOCIETY.

    The working class are brought into a false consciousness. Whilst they are beating exploited, I they are compensated with after life, they believe that if they work hard they will have a good after life. Feminists help our understanding of society because they argue that religion benefits men and maintains women's subordination. They argue that institutions are male dominated such as Orthodox Judaism, Armstrong argues that this is a form of marginalization. Feminist Sadaawi argues that the reason religion is male dominated it because society is.

    • Word count: 673
  24. Assess the view that whilst the Church of England is declining, other religious and spiritual movements are flourishing - 18 marks

    Whereas, in the USA there is a healthy religious market as the growth and decline of religion fits around customer demand. The introduction of spiritual shopping has allowed people to find a religion that suited their needs. People now 'shop' around for a new religion that they feel will benefit them. This wouldn't of happened 60 years ago as people were born into their families religion and therefore maintained it. This is another reason for the decline in the Church of England.

    • Word count: 558
  25. Assess the argument that social class difference in educational attainment are the result of processes within school

    In 1971, he argued that teachers hold an image of an ideal pupil in their mind and compares them to their actual pupils. The one most alike to the ideal pupil is then most loved by the teacher. It?s noted that the attributes of the ideal pupil are most likely found in pupils from the middle class. Evidently, students in the working class aren?t as close to the ideal pupil since they suffer from material and cultural deprivation. This attitude can affect the academic progress of the pupils since they are labelled into groups according to their ability.

    • Word count: 873

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