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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. Asses the contribution of functionalists views to understand society.

    This view is held by sociologists such as Davies and Moore (1967) and Murdock (1949). However this does not show how many these basics can differ between societies and satisfy a different need. Opposing this is the functionalist Marion Levy (1952) she offers a different definition of a social prerequisite. She believes that they are the factors that keep society in existence and without them society will no longer exist due to something like a world war where society is destroyed.

    • Word count: 1520
  2. Is Religion Important to people in society

    My aim is to find out how important is religion to people in today's society. This is because religion affects different societies in different ways and different forms, causing the forms of society to change. Religion can be a driving force in society, but as a reactionary rather than a radical way. So I am going to find out how different people from different cultures react to religion under different circumstances. CONTEXT In 'The Elementary Forms of the Religious life' first published in 1912, Emile Durkhiem, a functionalist, presented what is probably the mist influential interpretations of religion.

    • Word count: 2222
  3. Religion can be both a conservative force and an initiator of social change- To what extent do sociological arguments and evidence support this view of religion?

    In this respect, religion serves as a conservative force. Alternative Marxists, such as Engels, recognised that some religious movements demand change for example; he saw aspects of communism in early Christianity. However, because of religion's emphasis on the supernatural, Engels felt these movements were doomed to failure- they would not lead to political revolution. Other Marxists such as, Gramsci and Maduro claim that at certain times and places, religion can directly support the liberation of the subject class and help them to become aware of their true situation.

    • Word count: 1390
  4. Assess the usefulness of Postal Questionnaires

    In addition, the respondent, not the researcher does the time consuming part of completing the questionnaire. The researcher can be sure that everyone in the sample answers exactly the same questions, which makes this a very reliable method of research. Questionnaires can be used to explore potentially embarrassing areas (such as sexual and criminal matters) more easily than other methods. The postal questionnaire can be both anonymous and completed in privacy, increasing the chances of people answering questions honestly because they are not intimidated by the presence of a researcher.

    • Word count: 1224
  5. How do issues of inequality inform analyses of women(TM)s position in the labour market?

    Minimising gender divisions at an early age will minimise the future gendered division of labour. Generally, the issues of inequality brought up by feminists' movement drew attention to the fact that women are being left out from the labour market. As a result, many sociological researches were being done on this topic. Despite the improvement in the labour force towards equal opportunities and pay for females in many countries, evidences show that these changes are slowly taking place and inequality still exists. Gendered division of labour is apparent in today's society and can be proven.

    • Word count: 1067
  6. Using information from the items and elsewhere, assess the extent to which pupil subcultures are the cause of failure at school(TM)

    However, according to Hargreaves (1967), anti-school working class subcultures are mainly the result streaming and labelling in secondary schools, the pupils who were lower streamed or labelled as ?failure? would be more likely to form their own subculture in order to achieve success in the eyes of their peers, as they were unable to achieve status in terms of the mainstream values of the school. I personally agree with Hargreaves in that anti-school subcultures can be formed as a result of teacher labelling and streaming, because students may be made to feel as ?failures? and see no hope of improvement

    • Word count: 1338
  7. Using information from items A and B and elsewhere, asses the view that the education system serves to maintain capitalist society

    On the other hand Functionalist argue that education has three broad functions in society; socialisation (education is said to help maintain society by socialising young people into key cultural values); skill provision (Education teaches the skills required by a modern industrial society); and role allocation (Education allocates people to the most appropriate job for their talents, using examinations and qualifications). Althusser (1971) believes that education is an ideological state apparatus (ISA) and disagrees that the main function of education is the transmission of common values.

    • Word count: 1141
  8. Outline and assess the view that processes within schools may lead to gender differences in educational achievement.

    Some argue that the structure and settings of schools, generally creates gender differences in educational achievement, for example the socialisation aspect is that the students are socialised into tolerable forms of behaviour 'pupils are given drill in how to move about the school, sit in desk, raise hands...the puritan of hard work, sober living and good manners is continuously urged upon them.' This socialisation naturally created gender differences as males are seen or expected to behave in classrooms in the manner of 'masculine' while females are seen or expected to behave in 'feminine' behaviour or otherwise it could be considered odd, and therefore the students who do behave odd are looked at differently or called 'deviant'.

    • Word count: 1588
  9. Outline and evaluate Functionalism view of education

    The education system helps to create this social solidarity by transmitting society's ideas from one generation to the next. For example, Durkheim argues that teaching of a countries history instil a sense of a shared heritage and commitment to the wider social group. However Marxists argue this social solidarity is just brainwashing students into thinking that everyone in society today is equal and that we are all part of society, while we are really just getting exploited by the bourgeoisie.

    • Word count: 1241
  10. Religion is more a cause of conflict than of harmony in society(TM)

    Religion also makes poverty more tolerable by offering a reward in promising compensation in the afterlife. Marx also argued that religion acts as a mechanism of social control maintaining the existing system of exploitation and reinforcing class relationships. By offering an illusion of hope it prevents thoughts of revolution. By providing explanations and justifications it distorts reality and produces a false class consciousness. In this way religion diverts people's attention from the real source of their oppression and so helps to maintain ruling class power.

    • Word count: 1374
  11. why do boys underachive in education compared to girls

    and it is headlined 'Girls are A-Level stars', it states various reasons why girls are out performing boys. One of the main issues outlined is the attitude girls have towards education. It says that girls are more focussed and are more serious towards educational attainment compared to boys because they feel they have to try harder in order to get in the same position as boys. The article says that girls encounter sexism and have to try harder to achieve a better job. The article also states that girls have better role models to look up whereas boys have fewer successful role models who took a less educated route to fame.

    • Word count: 1541
  12. Assess the usefulness of structural approaches to our understanding of society.

    For example dysfunctional families have been connected to crime, mental illness and low levels of educational achievement. In this way social order and stability are threatened. Where socialisation is inadequate or aspects of society become dysfunctional, or where social change is rapid, anomie can occur. According to Durkheim this means a state of normlessness, where society is unsure of what social norms are. Functionalists maintain that social inequality in society is both inevitable and functional, so acts as a motivator for people to strive for high social positions.

    • Word count: 1328
  13. 2.Critically examine the relationship between gender, religious participation and religious organisation. (40 marks)

    Due to things such as gendered language and subjects at schools e.g. child care women are warmed into the traditional nuclear family ideologies and acting as mechanism of Parsons 'warm bath' theory taking on the expressive role. Another reason is a biological reason due to male's higher testosterone levels religion doesn't provide them with satisfactory answers during times when they require salvation e.g. absolute poverty therefore their more likely to take a pro-active approach such as crime. A second reason mentioned by Miller and Hoffman id differential roles and that's the fact women have different positions to men in society, women in paid work are given a 'second-class status' even after the women's liberation movements in the 1970's, prejudice is still strong within rationalised culture of paid work e.g.

    • Word count: 1166
  14. Assess the extent to which Marxist and Feminist theories help our understanding of religion in society today.

    Religion therefore offers and illusion for the followers as they believe they will be compensated for their suffering in the next life e.g. Hindu caste system places the 'untouchables' at the bottom of the society. Also because of the ruling classes religious beliefs they don't see this unfair exploitation as their position is justified to them. However this Marxist view is anachronistic as people no longer see their position in society as divine. Marx sees religion as the 'opium for the masses' as it obscures the true nature of society.

    • Word count: 969
  15. Religious organisationsQ 6. To what extent do sociological arguments & evidence support this view of the relationship between religious beliefs, religious organisations & social groups?

    Durkheim evaluates these points and claims that the paramount role of religion is to create a community; this point is evidence for Durkheim's claim that through worshipping a god (scared being) people are in fact worshipping society which is also unconsciously seen as sacred. All of these help to create a collective conscience which can aid us during crisis of life situations (Malinowski). However these points were criticised by Glock and Stark who believe that it ignores religious conflict and can't be used to generalise to a pluralistic society.

    • Word count: 1299
  16. Critically evaluate the functionlists aproach on Education

    Thus shared values usually result in people cooperating and pulling together in the same direction. Functionalism is no longer fashionable, however functionalist ideas on the role of education in society still influence some researchers. Emily Durkheim argued that social solidarity is essential for the survival of society. Social solidarity is based on 'essential similarities' between members of society. According to Durkheim, one of the main functions of education is to develop these similarities and so bind members of society together. Durkheim sees a common history as vital for uniting members of society. American school children grow up with stories about their county's founders e.g.

    • Word count: 943
  17. Poverty and the welfare state

    An absolute standard of means is defined by reference to the actual needs of the poor and not by reference to the expenditure of those who are not poor. A measure of absolute poverty quantifies the number of people below a poverty threshold, and this poverty threshold is independent of time and place. For the measure to be absolute, the line must be the same in all aspects. The intuition behind an absolute measure of poverty is that survival takes essentially the same amount of resources across the world and that everybody should be subject to the same standards if meaningful progress is to be made.

    • Word count: 1531

    Although each individuals class is determined by the class they are born into, in the U.K it is possible for individuals to move up and down the social ladder (moving between classes). This is known as social mobility and we can describe the U.K to some extent as a 'meritocracy' society, where a position in the hierarchy is determined by the individuals merit (compared to the caste system of India which is a closed society). This theory still causes some debate between sociologists about how effectively the meritocracy scale works in the U.K.

    • Word count: 1104
  19. Outline and assess sociological explanations of social class inequalities in educational attainment

    However narrowing this gap not been completed but increasing the numbers gaining five or more GCSE's has occurred. In 2000, the percentage of pupils from professional backgrounds gained an increase to 69% gaining five or more GCSE's and pupils from unskilled manual jobs increased from 12% to 30%; these increases are still overshadowed by the huge gap created between classes and I will look onto how this gap may of occurred. Certain groups have less money than others and so are not able to make the most of their educational opportunities.

    • Word count: 1163
  20. Should African Americans Receive Reparations Because of Slavery?

    Going though times where prisoners were forced to fight in coliseums for the sheer entertainment of rulers and emperors. And even some countries today still have forms of slavery. Yes all horrible and dramatic instances in which races, and even counties suffered through. However on one of the most monumental and harshest of these included slavery during the United States Civil War. This background information is often times looked over but the African Americans went though a lot more than serving their masters and picking cotton. We, as Americans, went into another country and forced Africans on ships packed away in quarters much like the Jews went though during the Holocaust during World War II.

    • Word count: 1409
  21. Differences between sex and gender

    In contrast to sex, the concept of 'gender' is not viewed as an inbuilt trait. Instead gender refers to the behaviours and attitudes a group consider appropriate for its males and females. Subsequently, gender is not fixed at any one time; it is susceptible to change over time and is culturally variable. Whereas sex refers to male or female, gender is associated with masculinity or femininity. Thus, this implies that our gender is learnt because we are socialized by our culture to assert certain behaviours and attitudes which are suitable for our sex.

    • Word count: 1564
  22. Examine the main trends in births and deaths in the United Kingdom since 1900

    The rate rose during the 1980s, before falling again after the early 1990s. Sociologists have identified a number of reasons for the decline of birth rate since 1900. The reasons consist of social, economic, cultural, legal, political and technological factors Firstly the women position in society has changed. They have become more equal to men by able to work and have more choices. Many women are choosing to delay child birth, or not have children at all, this is so they can concentrate more upon there career along with there social life. For example in 2006, on in five women aged 45 was childless.

    • Word count: 1011
  23. Outline the reasons for gender differences in subject choices

    Children are more confident when engaging in tasks that they see as part of their own gender domain. Secondly the gendered subject images gear the different in subject choices this is as some subjects are seen as boys' or girls' subjects. For example � Anne Colley (1998) notes that computer studies are seen as a masculine subject for two reasons: it involves working with machines - part of the male gender domain and the way it is taught is off-putting to females. Tasks tend to be abstract and teaching styles formal, with few opportunities for group work which, as we saw earlier, girls tend to favour.

    • Word count: 1188
  24. Examine the different functions that the education system may perform for individuals

    Another reason was to re-socialize the 'feckless' and teaching them to change there lives from drinking too much and living immorally to leading a more responsible and more respectable life. Compulsory education was a plan to also help reduce the level of crime, by making young pickpockets' go into schooling, cutting down therefore on petty crimes. The education system also performed well for middle class and upper class students because they were well nourished and lived in warm heated homes, their general health was better those students from a lower class background, this is important because without good attendance those

    • Word count: 606
  25. Discuss the usefulness of Quantative and Qualitative Methods in study of Suicide.

    Functionalists are structuralist and so Durkheim's look into suicide takes on the structuralist approach. The opposite of positivists are usually referred to as anti-positivists. They are often sociologists who base themselves on interpretive mythology and use qualitative methods in order to understand the meanings. Interpretivists concentrate on how people interact in small settings. They are interested in how people define themselves each other and their situation. This is an important approach on suicide for some sociologists such as Douglas who believe meaning behind suicide is very important.

    • Word count: 1875

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