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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. Critically compare cultural and structural theories of the social patterning of health and illness.

    The formation of functionalism was leaded by Emile Durkheim (1858 ? 1917) it can be view as, socialization that is paramount to predict and understand behavioural patterns in social structures. Parson (1902 -79) idealises the imprortance of Nuclear Family and the hierarchy to enforce a consensus and social society. Parsons state that the use of social institutions such as the government, law, church, and mass media to deliver a society that behaves in a socially accepted way to prevent conflict and disorder. This is key to society socializing people. Modern society is influences by specialized social order it falls under division of labour how jobs are organised in which a dependant society is created and forms a continuous generation to generation.

    • Word count: 1890
  2. Outline and assess the view that processes within school results in differences in educational achievement between ethnic groups

    Teachers would confront their behaviour which would cause problems. Therefore they were labelled by teachers as students who didn?t want to do well. This leads to the self-fulfilling prophecy and accounts for why Afro-Caribbean?s underachieve. In a report in 2007, channel four use the Freedom of Information Act to uncover the extent of r****t attacks in schools. It found that over 100,000 incidents had been documented and that there had been a significant increase recently. Mirza argued that this clearly indicated that there was a significant problem within schools and that the figures were an underestimation of the problem.

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  3. With reference to sociological theories and concepts, assess the view that the main feature of society is consensus.

    They believe that consensus creates the basic principle in society. If members have a shared set of values, they will have similar identities which therefore will reduce conflict and increase cooperation to order. One of the mechanisms is socialisation; the social system can ensure its needs are met by teaching individuals to want to do what is required of them. Through the socialisation process, individuals commit to the systems norms and values so that society becomes part of their personality.

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  4. In his article, "Mixed Blood", Jeffery M. Fish examines the cultural foundation of racial differentiation and claims race to be a myth.

    Since racial classification primarily focuses on skin color, people with "compact" or "lanky" body types are merely variants of white, black, or other "racial" groups. A different choice of characteristics would categorize people into different ?races? and the choice of which characteristics are significant is an arbitrary cultural construct.

    • Word count: 346
  5. How is Webers view of the class structure different to Marxist theory?

    The owners of production (bourgeoisie) use the workers (proletariat) as manual labour and excessively use them. Sequentially, they wage their workers the smallest sum possible (Contemporary Example: Minimum Wage Act) in order to make the highest potential sum in return for themselves, hence are manipulating the working class. An evaluation upon Bilton?s concept (1996) would be that the Haralambos and Holborn (2002) approve of his conception however they introduce the contradictory concept called ?Mutual dependence and conflicts?. The Marxist theory also suggested that within a society administrated by capitalists, bourgeoisie and the proletariat, they are both dependent upon on one another.

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    and that universal proficiency in the English language must be part of the One Nation ideal, and called for a comprehensive strategy for integration, as has been adopted in many other European countries. Tolerance: The Queen has appealed for tolerance and understanding between cultural and religious groups in Britain's diverse society. She said religions were often in the news as "sources of difference and conflict", whereas they all bore messages of tolerance and respect. She also pointed out that diversity was strength, not a threat".

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  7. Outline and discuss the contribution made by Marxism to our understanding of society

    He argued that the role of the family changed with the mode of production. He also suggested that during the primitive communism era, the means of production were commonly owned and the family structure which existed was in the form of society itself. Engels also stated that the monogamous nuclear family was constructed with the introduction of capitalism. The aim of this institution was to solve the problem of inheritance such as the ownership of private property and the means of production. Zaretsky (1976), agrees with this theory and sees the family as an essential tool of capitalism.

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  8. Assess the reasons why young people seem to participate in religious activity less than older generations

    Similarly, Bruce argues that there has been a decline in religious education through Sunday schools and because they aren?t learning about religion within education, then they are unlikely to participate in religious activities. Therefore, there are less young people participating in religious activity because they haven?t grown up with religious socialisation or education. Whereas, the older generation have grown up with religion because it has a greater emphasis and it was more popular when they were younger. Another reason why young people seem to participate less in religious activity is because of the declining attraction of religion to the younger generation, as religion isn?t as desirable as it used to be.

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  9. Outline and evaluate the view that religion is losing its significance in the contemporary UK. [33mk]

    Statistics collected pertaining to drop in Church attendance and memberships have been popular evidence for secularisation. Wilson (2005) reported as against about 13% church attendance of adult population in the 60s it fell to 6.3% in 2005. Gill et al (1998) in a survey found that as against 23% in 1950, 43% in 1996 responded that they were not part of a religion. Young and Wilmott in another research reported that a survey result indicated only 15% of respondents spent their leisure in attending church as against 52% spending such time in a pub.

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  10. Assess the view that the education system exists mainly to select and prepare young people for their future roles?

    Functionalists argue this has led to a more meritocratic society where role allocation is based on merit however this has come under attack in the 21st century where social class has been identified as perhaps the most influential factor in educational achievement of young people and contributing massively to constitutional r****m. All the criticisms highlighted the educational system as a filter sieve where talent is selected and sorted out leading to roles been given according as part of the division of labour allowing society to function efficiently.

    • Word count: 901
  11. Outline and a***s the view that new social movements express cultural values rather than economic interets

    NSMs are focused on identity, with many sociologists stating their claim to NSMs. Touraine, for one, who sees NSMs as looking towards the cultural aspect of people and Inglehart who believes that identity is at the forefront of the NSMs agenda. Aside from these two, the sociologist who I agree with most is Crooke, who views the change to ?new politics? and the decline of political parties as crucial to the rise of NSMs. This is supported by the change in the political voting, where people are no longer voting along class lines.

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  12. Biological and Social Constructionist explanations of Gender development

    Through the process of socialisation parents, teachers, peers, movies, television, music, books, and religion teach and reinforce gender roles throughout the lifespan, parents probably exert the greatest influence, especially on their very young offspring. Fathers teach boys how to fix and build things encourage them to play sport while mothers teach girls how to cook, sew, and keep house. Children then receive parental approval when they conform to gender expectations and adopt culturally accepted and conventional roles. Learning gender roles always occurs within a social context, the values of the parents and society being passed along to the children of successive generations.

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  13. Assess the relation between sociology and social policy

    However, there is no guarantee that policy makers will study their findings ? or that even any solution will find its way into social policies. Factors such as electrical (electoral) popularity ? policies unpopular with voters) and globalisation (international organisations such as the EU and IMF which may influence the social policies of individual governments) may affect whether or not sociological research succeeds in influencing policy. Functionalist Durkheim, highlights sociology is a science which will discover the cause of social problems and scientific solution for them.

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  14. Feminism: A Sociological Overview

    Three main understandings of gender have emerged from the engagement of feminism and sociology: gender as a role performance across institutions (and as an institution in its own right, as a product of on-going individual activities in which social actors hold each other accountable for ??doing gender?? (West and Zimmerman 1987), and as a stratificational category or an arrangement of gender classes. Central to all three approaches is the study of gender socialization, of how a person learns to conduct themselves and to configure their identities around the socially constructed categories of masculine and feminine.

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  15. Gender and Stratification

    It is now agreed that women?s position in society, and in the labor force, should be studied separately from class analysis. Empirical research has shown that the s*x segregation of occupations, and the pay gap between men and women, cut across social classes in ways that vary from one society to another, and vary across time. Occupational segregation and the pay gap develop and change independently within labor markets due to variations in female employment, anti-discrimination policies and other social policies ? including family-friendly policies that have been counter-productive in their effects.

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  16. Class differences in educational attainment.

    - They have more money and are not deprived of material things. This will make them more likely to get in because they will be able to pay for the course more easily and pay for everything that is needed for the course. Therefore there will be nothing that the university will need to do for the student and are more likely to accept them than someone who is from a lower social class because they may have to get resources for that person.

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  17. Using material from item A and elsewhere, assess the extent to which material deprivation is the most important home factor affecting social class differences in educational achievement.

    This causes working class pupils to underachieve in education compared to middle class pupils because if working class children are materially deprived, they won?t have the advantage provided by materials that a middle class child might have, such as revision guides, or basic equipment such as a pen, pencil and a ruler. Meaning that whilst a middle class child has this equipment to use at their leisure, a working class child will always have to spend time requesting these valuable items, and often can engage in tasks such as homework out side of school.

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  18. Discuss the similarities and differences between conflict of Marxist theories and functionalist theories in sociology.

    Functionalists believe all parts of society all work together to maintain the functional equilibrium of the society, viewing each part as a ?functional clog?. It also touches on functional prerequisites for the survival of a society and anomie, an idea by Durkheim which describes a ?normless? state in society. Also, Functionalism gained popularity in the 1940s and 1950s and is the study of society as a functioning system. It explains how direction is kept among parts of society and is commonly referred to as the consensus theory because it doesn't address the issue of conflict in society.

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  19. Sociological Theories and Educational Achievement

    The founder of functionalism, Durkheim, argues that the function of school is to 'sift and sort' people into allocated roles based on their ability. It is also said that education plays a part in socialising children, teaching them core values which they may either resist or embrace (Parsons, 2004, p.54). However, the functionalist theory can be critised by looking at different ideas, such as those of the Marxist theory. Bowles and Gintis (1976) say that meritocracy is in fact a myth, as some people start education with benefits such being born into a middle-class family with educated parents, private schooling and material advantages.

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  20. Analyse the effect of two socio-economic factors on educational achievement

    The teachers are also thought to spend more quality time with the girls in the classroom, using this time to help with work progression whereas any time spent with boys may be focused more on behaviour management (Swann & Graddol 1993). Some argue that in cases such as GCSE coursework, it may be that females are at an advantage thanks to their superior organization skills and levels of concentration, allowing them to complete the work to a higher standard. Jackson (1998), says that boys may be automatically given a negative label at school through the belief that boys are associated with bad behaviour.

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  21. Outline and assess the view that ethnic inequalities in educational achievement are caused by teachers and process inside school themselves.

    in Afro-Caribbean culture there is a high rate of male desertion which creates a barrier for education. In this essay I will outline whether processes within school i.e. ethnic inequalities influence the failure of educational achievement or would be the factors at home which influence this. There is much evidence which supports the view that ethnic inequalities in educational achievement are caused by teachers, as mentioned the study by Wright (1992). He had acknowledged that teachers had held r****t labels for students of an Asian background, as they believed that Asian students had a poor knowledge of the English language

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  22. Participant observation studies have little value in sociological research because they are too subjective. Explain and assess this claim

    Hence, their method has high objectivity and high representativeness rather than compared to qualitative method. This is evidence in Emile Durkheim in his suicide study by using the quantitative methods. He conducted a study on suicide in European countries and he recorded them in a form of statistics. Some of the results he found are suicide rates were higher in predominantly Protestant countries than in Catholic ones and married people were more prone to suicide than those who were single. Hence we can see that through the use of quantitative methods, we can obtain useful information with high objectivity, reliability and representativeness.

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  23. Explain and briefly evaluate how class influences an individuals age identity? [24 mk]

    This negative identity weakens as one moves upwards in the class hierarchy. Old age is seen as a social problem in many ways. The stereotype of old people as a social problem however, is more pronounced in case of working class. This is socialised mostly through family (pg 71 Waugh et al, OCR 2008). In working class families members assume that older relative will need and want more care than they actually do. Often, retirement starts early and working class men rarely remain in employment after 65. This class confirms more closely to the official view of old age in terms of different benefits and concessions (pg 69 Waugh et al, OCR 2008).

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  24. Explain and evaluate the use of unstructured interviews/qualitative data to research the lifestyle choices (identity) of retired senior managers/old people. [52 mk]

    The subject matter of this type certainly poses challenges in terms of selection of suitable research methods. A methodology premised on positivist persuasion would be hamstrung on several counts. If the ?social world? is to be perceived as an ?interpreted world? and ?social actions? as ?interpreted facts?, a quantitative method would have serious limitations in generating the data the researchers require. The researchers therefore, have depended upon interactionism/social-action theory which focuses on the ways in which people give meaning to their own and others? action.

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  25. Sociological models of health

    The biomedical model of health on which contemporary medical practice is based has four core elements, Mind-body dualism, Specific aetiology, Mechanical metaphor and objective science. (Haralambos, 2008) Mind-body dualism is the concept that the mind and our way of thinking can be separated from the body and in the long term it states that disease is the outcome of a malfunction in the body, while wider social factors such as environment and social statues care seen as irrelevant. Specific aetiology assumes there is a specific cause for disease such as a virus or bacteria.

    • Word count: 1678

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