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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. Are women more religious than men

    CONTEXT Sociologists related to the work of Miller and Hoffman and, related to the question as to whether women are more religious than men are: Simone De Beauvoir she believed that religion was exploitive and oppressive towards women. She believed religion promoted the idea that if women suffered their reward would be gained in heaven. This is a contextual piece of evidence towards my work because if women have this mindset of a reward in heaven it is likely for them to attend church.

    • Word count: 1850
  2. Assess sociological explanations of the relationship between gender, religious belief and organizations.

    So therefore, they have created a feminine bible, where everything is equal between both sexes. Sociologists such as Stark believe that women are physically deprived as they suffer more life crisis than men; so therefore, women are more likely to turn to God as someone that can help them. DeBeauvoir reinforces this statement by saying that religion gives a divine guardian that they long for and gives them hope for a better future in a sexless heaven. Meaning that religion gives women false consciousnesses by making them believe that women would be rewarded in heaven for their sufferings on earth and a heaven where there's equality.

    • Word count: 1003
  3. To what extent do sociological arguments and evidence support the view of the relationship between beliefs, religious organisations and social groups.

    It is arguable that some people follow a religion as they feel that it provides them with a means of coping with transition and difficulties. Weber claimed that religion appealed to the marginalised groups in society such as ethnic minorities, especially immigrants who feel that they are not accepted in the society they move into, religion therefore acting as a way to assimilate them into society. He also believed that religion deals with the problem of theodicy, and answers questions about underprivileges, illness and so on, which are more satisfying than non religious explanations.

    • Word count: 1274
  4. Globalisation and its effects on society

    The general idea of globalization is quite subjective, as many theorists beg to differ on the different forms of 'social processes' that are at the base of its elaboration, which consequently leads to opinion divergences and heated debate, however, as a result of extensive research, four diverse varieties of globalization have been proposed (Steger, 2003). The first definition states that globalization entails the creation of new social infrastructures, while expanding the already existing frameworks, in order to bypass the confines whether they are economical or cultural.

    • Word count: 1011
  5. 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.

    Politics has its own rituals such as flag waving and parades; these are often seen as new forms in which social solidarity is maintained. Religion also socializes its members into a value consensus by teaching the norms and values that are accepted by society. Religious codes such as the Ten Commandments have influenced the law and moral disapproval so therefore religion isn't promoting change as it teaches the same beliefs, norms and values throughout the whole of society. Religion continues to influence society and prevent it from changing, for example; the fact that many popes were against the use of contraception has restricted the growth of artificial birth control in Roman Catholic countries.

    • Word count: 1467
  6. Assess the Contribution of the Marxist approach to an Understanding of the Family

    The superstructure maintains and legitimises the infrastructure whilst the infrastructure shapes the superstructure. The family (a part of the superstructure) helps to maintain the infrastructure (The ruling classes exploitation of the working class and control over the means of production). Many Marxists have examined the family and have found four key functions that it performs to support and maintain the social infrastructure. Inheritance of property within the nuclear family, socialisation of ruling class ideology, the creation of a unit of consumption for the economy and safety value within which the male workers of the proletariat are given means to express their frustration Engels (1884)

    • Word count: 1192
  7. Evaluate sociological explanations of the relationship between gender and religious belief and practice.

    Durkheim see society as a symbol which Is able to evoke powerful feelings in religious believers; in his view, although sacred symbols vary from religion to religion, they all perform the essential function of uniting believers into a single moral community. Durkheim's study of the Arunta explains the way in which bands of kin come together periodically to perform rituals involving worship of a sacred totem; the totemic rituals venerating it serve to reinforce the group's solidarity and sense of belonging.

    • Word count: 1026
  8. Using sociological theories, e xplain why the modern british family is characterised by diversity

    Reconstructed families-step families, adoptive families. Same s*x families-h********l relationships. The dominant image of family in Britain is the nuclear family. In the late 60's Edmund Leach referred to this commonsense image as a 'cereal packet norm'. A family, parents and children often with clearly defined conjugal roles. He said the nuclear family was the only way the British family was advertised and idealized and was seen as the norm as no other type of family was displayed in the media world.

    • Word count: 1349
  9. The functionalistic view of the family

    There should be a complementary role in the family. This includes two roles, the female expressive role and the male instrumental role, because it is seen as beneficial to society and economy. The male works whilst the female gives emotional support and cares for the husband and children. This may seem like sexiest view but in the majority of nuclear families, the complementary role is applied. The whole idea of the nuclear family benefiting society is on the adult personality being stable and educating children into society's norms and values.

    • Word count: 1982
  10. Examine the usefulness of Social Surveys as a research method.

    They are usually used for reaching large numbers of people and consist of two questions: open and closed questions. Closed questions have a fixed response that the respondent must choose allowing for a limited range of answers and therefore quantitative, reliable data. Open questions have no fixed response like the closed questions do meaning that the respondent can answer in whatever way they want and even offer their view of an issue. This allows for a whole range of potential responses therefore producing qualitative, valid data. The majority of the time, questionnaires consists mainly of closed question as they are easy to assess/understand and therefore make questionnaires a useful research method.

    • Word count: 1537
  11. Claims that the United Kingdom is now a secular society are wrong. Both religious activities and religious beliefs are flourishing. To what extent do sociological arguments and evidence support this view?

    Moreover religion should not influence public and political areas whereby an excuse for conflict may arise and hence, result inequality and injustice. In other circumstances, religion influences a secular society by providing morals which can be used. For example, in Christianity, the Bible tells that one should not steal or murder and those religious morals have been applied to the rules of society, known as the Laws of Parliament. These laws are used daily in order to protect society harming each other, and therefore, it is a must for religion to be attached to a secular society.

    • Word count: 1123
  12. Critically assess the view that social stratification benefits the powerful groups in society

    This in itself meant that these two groups were dependent upon each other. However, from a Marxist perspective the ruling class (Capitalists) seek to exploit and oppress the proletariat and as result of this a conflict of interest arises, and only when the means of production are communally owned can this exploitation and oppression be brought to an end (Haralambos & Holborn, 1995). In contrast, functionalists view society as a social system made up of interdependent social institutions such as education, law, and the family (Giddens, 2006).

    • Word count: 1403
  13. Assess the view that we are now living in a secular society.

    Item A agrees with the views of Gilles Kepel and is critical of the secularization thesis. It cites the popularity of churchgoing in the USA (40% of US adults attend church on a Sunday compared to 10% in England), New Age Movements in Western Europe, the growth in fundamentalist movements and the evangelical revival in Latin America as examples of 'religious health and vitality'. It also mentions the 'upsurge of ethno-religious conflict in international affairs', with all recent conflicts such as the Jews and Arabs in the Middle East, the Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland and the Muslims, Serbs and Croats in Bosnia all being based on religion.

    • Word count: 1045
  14. Discuss the relationship between the role of social worker and the core value base. Consider changing the role of social worker in today(TM)s society.

    There are many things that have to be considered, for example, legal implications, there are many laws and regulations that are statutory and have to followed. Then there are the ever changing minor regulations that change from time to time. Whether it the colour of paperclips or the new terminology that is changing. For example, the use of citizen instead of client or service user. Then you also have the moral and ethical implications which you could be faced with.

    • Word count: 1143
  15. Social research

    E.g. engineers, technicians, assembly line workers, graduates. Jones and Rugg noted that all the people in their study faced problems relating to employment and housing and most solved this problem by staying in the family home for longer than they would have liked. Almost all of the young people said that the limited availability of affordable housing was a major factor in why they didn't leave the parental home. As the study was based on the countryside, many of the graduates said even if they wanted to stay in the countryside they were still constrained even more.

    • Word count: 1748
  16. Sociological Theories

    These are examples of both formal and informal sanctions. The functionalist perception of religion is that it gives its' followers a basic set of shared beliefs, traditions, values and norms, this is otherwise known as a collective consciousness which make social life possible as without it a society cannot continue. Durkheim went on to explain that collective ritual and worship reinforce the collective consciousness and unifies a group of individuals. Durkheim had linked the worshipping of sacred things binding a group together resulting in the promotion of social solidarity this link was the main importance to the social functions of religion.

    • Word count: 1318
  17. Social policy

    Many people consider large families as a blessing for social and cultural reasons. This in turn increases the burden on government resources, since this increase the dependency ratio and creates additional demands for health care and education. (c). Explain how some groups may benefit from having the power to define what is considered a social problem. (8) Ans. (c) Sociologists have argued that 'experts' or those in professional positions have access to knowledge and power, as a result of which certain groups may be in a strong position to establish what is considered a social problem.

    • Word count: 1147
  18. Assess the importance of evidence from studies of social mobility for the main theoretical debates about social class

    Saunders found that the rate of absolute mobility according to this study was 52%. This means that 52% of children in the study were in a different social class to their parents. He also found that in relation to relative mobility, those that were born in the middle class were twice as likely to end up in the middle class than those born in working class were. Due to this evidence Saunders concludes that Britian is a meritocracy as there are high levels of upward mobility between generations due to children acheiving qualifications.

    • Word count: 1562
  19. Crisis of Masculinity

    Why do British boys consistently underachieve academically in contrast to British girls in all subjects in education? In 1977, a school in Birmingham was subjected to an investigation by Marxist sociologist Paul Willis, the discoveries made would be of great importance. Willis wanted to discover why 'working class boys get working class jobs'. He concentrating on one group of boys in particular, these where white males, and referred to themselves as 'the lads', Willis realised that' the lads' fought the system rather than worked within it. These males that achieving academic success and paying attention in class, had no future bearing on the work that they would end up doing in the future.

    • Word count: 1247
  20. Assess the reasons for gender differences in Educational Achievement

    Until recent years, the acceptance of these biological theories lead to a gender differentiated curriculum. The next possible idea is Culture. These explanations suggest that the stereotyped gender roles are promoted by the culture of society. Sue Sharpe carried out research in the 1970s, which supported this view. She interviewed working class children, and found that the vast majority of them valued marriage and a family, more than they valued a career. They also indicated that in front of their male counterparts, the females did not want to be seen as intelligent, as they believed that this was an unattractive quality in a female.

    • Word count: 1055
  21. Examine the reasons why sociologists choose to use secondary sources when conducting research.

    If a sociologist was studying children and how well they are doing in certain schools he/she could find league tables published by the government on the internet or elsewhere very easily. Another reason why sociologists are much more likely to use secondary data could be due to the fact that it is much cheaper and less time consuming to do so. For example say a sociologist wanted to collect data on primary schools it would cost the sociologist a lot of money to do a longitudinal study into finding out what they really wanted.

    • Word count: 1330
  22. Compare and contrast Marxist and functionalist views of religion.

    Parsons sees religion as being address to particular problems that occur in all societies. He argues that in everyday life people go about their business without particular strain but if life was always like this then religion would most definitely not have the significance that it does. Religion helps to deal with life crises such as death. In this way religion maintains social stability by relieving the tension and frustration that could disrupt social order. Malinowski, a third functionalist, sees religion reinforcing social norms and values and promoting social solidarity. However he does not, like Durkheim, see religion as reflecting society as a whole, nor does he see religious ritual as the worship of society itself.

    • Word count: 1912
  23. Culture & Identity

    Functionalists argue that the value consensus is subject to adaptation and changes. There exists social organisation's which primes society for change. For example education and economic organisations. For functionalists, culture is a product of the social system whereas identity is shaped by social groups , ideas and life styles. A study which contributes to the functionalist perspective of culture is that of Durkheim and Mauss : Primitive Classification (1903). This study makes an attempt to go back to the origins of culture. According to their idea's of culture , it only becomes probable once us as human beings develop the ability to make distinctions amid things and categorize them.

    • Word count: 1831
  24. Evaluate the view that sociological arguments and research findings generally have little influence on the social problems of governments

    He believed it shouldn't remain in the universities and it should be applied to wider society. Comte believed in order and progress, and saw sociology as supplying the ideas to reinforce order in society and direct social progress. Durkheim also focused on the question of order in society. He was concerned with the upheaval he believed resulted from industrialisation and the breakdown of value consensus. He saw sociology as a way of restoring order and strengthening social integration by making people aware of the breakdown. While Durkheim saw sociologists as working with governments to improve existing societies, Marx looked forward to the overthrow of governments and their replacement with communist societies.

    • Word count: 1066

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