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University Degree: Social Theory

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  1. Make brief notes on one social science explanation of crime that emphasises structure, and one that emphasises agency.Describe some of the types of evidence that support structural and agency based approaches

    Agency explanation of crime = rational choice theory. Phelan- Crime = career decision, personal choice. Criminals- normal, reasoning, rational people. Calculate costs and benefits, if benefits outweigh costs, they do it. If crime seems most favourable option, person turns to crime. Are all criminals rational? What about emotional impulses? Violent crimes? How much freedom do people really have within society? (214 words) b) Describe some of the types of evidence that support structural and agency based approaches. 600-700 words Evidence is needed within the social sciences to support or reject a theory or claim.

    • Word count: 1043
  2. To what extent does Turgenev's Fathers and Sons truthfully represent the splitbetween the two generations of the Russian intelligentsia?

    Alexander II, although it must be said was much more reform minded than his predecessor, Nicholas I, still failed to adhere to the more radical requests of the young revolutionaries. These young radicals largely as a result of their education and increasing exposure to intellectuals had recently emerged as large protesters to the conditions of the peasants and promoted the need to alleviate the physical and emotional anguish that the peasantry had been forced to endure because of their economic position.

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  3. Critically discuss with special reference to social dumping, the case for and against social charter.

    States must also take measures to ensure health and safety at work and supervise their application. The revised Charter lays emphasis on occupational risk and accident prevention. 3) The right to education The Charter prohibits work for children less than sixteen years of age, particularly in order for them to complete their education. It obliges states to provide free vocational guidance services and a system of both initial and further vocational training. States must make sure that training programs are designed to give everyone access to the labour market. The Charter also states that individual aptitude should be the only condition for access to higher and university education.

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  4. An account of the Uncertainty Anxiety Management, Communication Accommodation, Intercultural Adaptation and Network Analysis theories of intercultural communication

    Uncertainty Anxiety Management (UAM) Theory Uncertainty Anxiety Management (UAM) theory was developed by Gudykunst (1985) who extended Berger and Calabrese's (1975) uncertainty reduction theory (Gudykunst 2003:169). The theory incorporates objectivist and subjectivist factors that influence intercultural communication. Examples of subjectivist factors are the communicator's self-concept and ability to empathize with strangers (Gudykunst 2003:170). Objectivist factors include situational conditions such as normative support for dealing with strangers and complexity of scripts governing interaction with strangers (Gudykunst 2003:170). According to Gudykunst (2003:168)

    • Word count: 3419
  5. Critical Theory

    Then, critical theory looks at the possibility of political action against this process (Nowlan, 2000). The ideas, methods, and texts of the critical theorists have influenced the ways that many of us continue to view the interplay of theory, culture, and society (Kellner, 2001). Due to this reason, it is imperative for this paper to include at least two critical theorists to substantiate this impact. The first one will be Michel Foucalt, who was a French philosopher. His work is often described as postmordenist.

    • Word count: 6014
  6. Discuss some of the ways in which English has been shaped as a tool for work.

    Discourse communities The concept of discourse community is very important for understanding how English is used as a working language. It was developed principally by the linguist John Swales who observed that particular types of communities exist in which people do not necessarily live close together or even have personal contact, nonetheless they use a common spoken or written language to achieve a shared objective. In the words of Neil Mercer the notion of this type of community Professional discourses are not static but change and develop naturally to adapt to the needs of people working in a specialised field of work.

    • Word count: 3049
  7. Describe and criticize an intelligence theory and an intelligence test that you prefer.

    Theories of Intelligence Scholars have tried to understand the nature of intelligence for many years, but they still do not agree on a single theory or definition. Some theorists try to understand intelligence by analyzing the results of intelligence tests and identifying clusters of abilities. Other theorists believe that intelligence encompasses many abilities not captured by tests. In recent years, some psychologists have tried to explain intelligence from a biological standpoint. The below table illustrates briefly the various theories formed in time: Theory Theorist Date Proposed Description General intelligence Charles Spearman 1904 Intelligence is one general mental capability represented as g.

    • Word count: 2281
  8. Analyse the construction of femininity in the text(s) of your choice.

    Thirdly, the theories focus on sexual difference and sexual politics. There are key assumptions of feminist criticism. It believes all literature, dramatises implicitly or explicitly the difference between the masculine and the feminine. It assumes all literature, records the struggle of women and men with the social forces of patriarchy. It also criticises functions, to facilitate the awakening of human consciousness to the gender-delimiting elements of human experience. The use of these assumptions usually fall into three broad feminist approaches; The Socio-Political approach, The Socio-Psychological approach and The Fe(Male) approach. In my essay I will be looking at the feminist literary theory with relation to Salman Rushdie's, 'Haroun and the Sea of Stories'.

    • Word count: 2256
  9. Discuss the view that the family in modern Britain is an institution that functions for the benefit of its members, and for society as a whole.

    The third attitude comes from the Marxist and the Marxist-feminists and they argue that the family is relatively strong and this is bad. However the fourth attitude is associated with the functionalists who claim that the family is thriving and that this is good. It is also this view that 'march of progress' theorists put forward throughout the first few decades of the post war period. They claimed that the family was a thriving institution in modern society, and that this was good.

    • Word count: 2110
  10. Explain Marx's theory of social change and its relevance of the increasing global nature of today's society

    Capitalism is defined as an economic system in which the means of production are privately owned and organised to accumulate profits within a market framework, in which labour is provided by waged workers, (Fowler 1990). According to Marx it is not the values or ideas of humans that lead to social change. Marx thought that change was driven by economic influences. He saw class conflict, between rich and poor, as the drive for historical change and development. (Marx & Engles 1968) Marx was seen by some, as a humanist who was keen to rid of capitalism (Ritzer and Goodman 2003).

    • Word count: 1887
  11. Housing associations have become increasingly

    The increase in their importance has its bases in Conservative spending plans, in their last term in power. During this time the efforts made by the Tories to lower tax, resulted in cut backs in pubic expenditure. The implications of this were dramatic reductions of government spending in housing. In an effort to try and lessen the effects of this the government strategy was to strengthen housing associations at the expense of Local Authorities. One of the effects of the governments increased support for housing associations was the transfer of housing stock from local authorities to housing associations.

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  12. Have conjugal roles become more symmetrical?

    The extended family however is said to incorporate other family members and may contain three or four generations who all take care of each other. Talcott Parsons a functionalist sociologist believed that the extended family existed in pre-industrial times. In this extended family, members worked on the land and were responsible for all duties within the family. The social status of the family was ascribed by birth, there was no social mobility as no movement outside the family was possible.

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  13. This essay will use examples from contemporary sport, to critically analyse the potential of Marxist and Neo Marxist perspectives in comparison with functionalism in explaining social inequalities in contemporary sport

    Boxing was promoted by the US in Cuba; it became popular in cities where the media met the masses. The elite sports such as sailing, polo, equestrianism etc were played white middle-class men of Hispanic decent. It was very much a capitalist country in which the rich got richer and the poor got poorer. In 1957 and 58 the Cuban Government only 0.5% of the budget to sport and physical education, equality was almost non-existent in society let alone sport, so Cuba had limited facilities that were only available to a small rich, white, male section of the Cuban population.(Petavino&Pye 1996)

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  14. Understanding advanced industrial societies means acknowledging that the social realm is presently highly fluid and fragmentary. Discuss

    The analysis of change and its effect on social order can be said to be a foundational concern for sociology. The early attempts to challenge the economic concept of marginal utility produced a cadre of theories that focused on the maintenance of social solidarity. Certainly Functionalism has been the perspective, most explicitly concerned with this problem. Building on Hobbes' 'Social Contract', Durkheim and later Parsons underpinned the 'Non-contractual Element' i.e. culture, values, norms, etc. Durkheim's concern with the shift from mechanic to organic solidarity can be construed in terms of the threat offered by differentiation and urban anomie to the conscience collective.

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  15. Outline and assess critically the contribution that positivist criminology have made to the understanding of the causes of crime. First of all this essay will briefly outline the main assumption and methodology

    Positivist criminology is divided into two different perspectives; individual and sociological positivism, these analyse social behaviour on different levels. Individual positivism is a very micro to meso level of analysis, which analyses people on an individual or small group level. The perspective views crime as being generated by forces located within the individual, such as biological and psychological drives i.e. personality theories. Biological positivism examines genetic and hereditary factors which may cause a predisposition towards criminal behaviour, an individual pathology. Lambroso was one of the first to try and identify the distinguishing features of criminals; he noted such things as large jaws and cheekbones, long arms, protruding lips etc.

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  16. How Does Anthony Giddens Attempt to Reconcile 'Structure' and 'Agency' in His Sociological Theory?

    They merely react to pressure exerted upon them by structures; therefore, society creates the individual. Social Action/Interpretivist sociologists on the other hand, Max Weber (1864-1920) and George Herbert Mead (1863-1931) for example, wanted to show how human thought, experience and conduct are essentially social. In other words, they believe that the individual creates society (Haralambos & Holborn 1997:903). In terms of their central concepts of system (structure and determinism) and action (agency and will) the different opinions, between Structural Functionalist theories and Interpretivist Interactionist theories, can be usefully seen below; System Action * Social structures are the basic elements in social life.

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  17. New Social Movements most effectively describe a specific movement-type emerging in the late 1970s; principally the peace, women's, ecological and local-autonomy

    However, their heterogeneous nature has been central to all approaches, exemplified by their abandonment of both class-differentiated politics and strictly delineated modus operandi. Contemporary movements have also been understood in terms of an hermeneutic approach which places emphasis on the self-understanding or reflexivity of collective actors (Touraine, 1985). In sum, NSMs have been aptly described by Jean Cohen (1985: 664) as: "...a self-understanding that abandons revolutionary dreams in favour of the idea of structural reform, along with a defense of civil society that does not seek to abandon the autonomous functioning of political and economic systems - in a phrase, self-limiting radicalism."

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  18. Courtship in the Victorian Era.

    This is one of the reasons why every Victorian young middle or upper class girl for the first few years of her social life was under her mother's wings or that of another female relative, who also served as her chaperone. The role of such chaperone was not only to protect the girl's reputation but also to make sure she was introduced to the right men. From the early years all Victorian women were groomed for this role in life - dutiful wife and mother.

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  19. To what extent has housing policy contributed to social exclusion?

    Social exclusion is a term that is seen by some social analysis's as vague, so debate still remains on what it is and how it is interoperated. The current interpretation which the UK governments adopt seems to stem from research from the European anti-poverty programs, especially in the early 1990's where the concept was looked and developed. According to the Scottish Executives web site (www.scotland.gov.uk), social exclusion is a shorthand term for what can happen when people or areas suffer from a combination of linked problems such as unemployment, poor skills, low incomes, poor housing, high crime environments, bad health and family breakdown.

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    On second thoughts he may realise he wasn't looking where he was going and apologise to the two women for spilling beer on them and maybe try to help them. If he feels the women were in his way he may scold the women for being careless and clumsy. If the women feel responsible for the accident they will apologise and the man will probably accept their apology and maybe even apologise himself. If the women do not feel responsible they will argue with the man about whose fault it was for the whole incident.

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  21. Outline the main arguments of Rostow and state whether his theory remains useful for guiding Caribbean countries.

    That is, they need to immitate the cultures of the countries in the West in order to become developed. A theoretical perspective such as this has its roots in classical sociology. It is particularly influenced by social evolutionary theory, the diffusionist perspective, and structural functionalism. During the eighteeth century, Social evolutionary theory was used to explain the evolution of human society including the changes which occur within the society. Like modernisation theory, Social Evolutionary theory assumes that it is possible to keep track of socities and their performance over time having made a distinct ranking of social systems based on the level of advancement.

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  22. Why are men from lower socio-economic backgrounds more likely to go to prison ?

    originates from. As 'they' (the employers) the people who impose on 'us' (the workers) what they would not consider reasonable for themselves to carry out. And over the next century the experience of the two major world wars helped to consolidate the 'us' and 'them' mentality. This partnership within the workforce also overflowed into their out-of-work life in that most of the workers tended to live very close by to each other and so enjoyed social activities together such as the working men's clubs, pubs and chapels which were set for them.

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  23. The issue of corporate crime i.e. why businessmen as opposed to the working class commit crime has been a largely ignored area by criminologist researchers who have instead preferred to focus on crimes committed by the least powerful in society..

    working class, needed to be looked at6. For example, many white-collar criminals are not motivated by poverty; Sutherland's example for this was that white-collar crime was at its peak during the 'boom period' of the twenties. Furthermore, the idea that "the criminals of today was the problem child of yesterday"7 a theory which was advocated by other theorists at the time who studied delinquent crime8 was invalid as many of the businessmen who become white-collar criminals were not brought up in poverty. Finally, Sutherland believe that a theory should be developed which would not only explain white-collar criminality and lower class criminality simultaneously and, that previous theorists

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    These are also substances on which users can become dependent. Every day the news has stories related to some form of substance dependence, making the issue an important one in today's society. A theoretical understanding of addiction is of crucial importance in developing effective methods of intervention to control and prevent addictive behaviours and reduce the associated problems. This essay will look at the psychological perspectives of behaviourism, and social learning, as well as the biological approach, with relation to drug use and addiction, and the implications that exist within their application to the issue of substance dependence.

    • Word count: 2787
  25. Psychological research on identity has used both an 'insider viewpoint' and an 'outsider viewpoint'. Illustrate this statement by giving an account of two theories of identity together with the research studies that support them.

    Having such questions in mind, researchers would like to use qualitative methods like interviews capture the personal experience of the participants. Therefore, data collected are coming from the inner of participants, namely "inner experience". For instance, information like a person's own feeling, beliefs and motives, which are not observable from the outside, are collected from personal expression by means of language, and hence usually descriptive. Introspection, interviews, analysis of personal expression in verbal or written form some are common research methods.

    • Word count: 1344

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