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Sociology Revision 3. Exam tips. Use items- read, underline, link them to your knowledge Use the item – if you don’t you cant get the top marks. Check when it should be used and when not. Make a brief plan –stick to it & refer back to it A-d – start each point on new line

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Sociology Revision 3


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    1. Sociology Revision 3

    2. Exam tips • Use items- read, underline, link them to your knowledge • Use the item – if you don’t you cant get the top marks. Check when it should be used and when not. • Make a brief plan –stick to it & refer back to it • A-d – start each point on new line • Know the meaning of command words

    3. Command words • ‘Explain what is meant by’ = define the concept giving different words from the question and usually give an example. • ‘Identify’ = show you recognise an argument/ viewpoint etc and briefly explain it to show you understand it. • ‘Explain’= show detailed knowledge and apply it in a relevant way to the question, you often need to know ‘why’ aswell. • ‘Examine’= consider in detail the relevant points • ‘using material from item B’= there may be more than one point to use. • ‘Assess’ = requires evaluation of one perspective/ idea against another and draw a conclusion

    4. How to use an item According to some Sociologists children in today’s supposedly child centred society lead lives that are segregated and controlled., but childhood was not always like this. Nor is it yet the case for many children in the Third world. For example, Aries describes a medieval world in which, if children were not actually the equals of adults, they nevertheless mixed freely with adults in both work and leisure. Little distinction was drawn between adults and children. According to this view however, industrialisation brought major changes to the position of children. The developments of industrial society meant that their lives were increasingly confined, disciplined and regulated by adults. This was done on the grounds that children were innocent, vulnerable and in of protection from the dangers of adult society. The result is that in the west today, adults exercise a control over children’s time, space and bodies that would have been unimaginable to medieval society. On this view, children today are victims of adult oppression. Not all sociologists share this view of modern childhood, however. Some argue that the distinction between childhood and adulthood is once again becoming blurred, and some even go as far as to argue that childhood is disappearing.

    5. Using material from Item A and elsewhere, assess the view that children today are the victims of adult oppression (20) • Supposedly child centred What does this mean? In what ways are we? Examples. • Differences between western and Third world children? • What else do you know about Aries’ work? Medieval world, work and leisure. Why was there little distinction? What evidence is there for this? • Why might industrialisation changed children’s position? Mention laws, policies, new ideas about children and their rights and needs. Why have they some to be seen as innocent, vulnerable and in need of protection? Link this to the march of progress view.

    6. Item cont. • Give examples of how children are segregated and controlled …confined, disciplined, and regulated… and of adults’ control over children’s time , space and bodies. • Link the ideas that children are the victims of adult oppression to the concept of age patriarchy and the child liberationist view. Why are children in this position today? Is the control really the same thing as oppression? • Not all sociologists share this view … blurred … disappearing. Us this to introduce contrasting views eg) Postman. Explain why he thinks the distinction is blurred or disappearing.

    7. Perspectives on the family • Functionalist • Interactionism • New Right • Post modernists • Feminisms • Radical • Marxist • Liberal

    8. Functionalist • Believe that the family plays an important part in maintaining social stability by performing vital functions. Murdock argues that in all societies the family provides four basic functions. • These are table satisfaction of the sex drive, reproduction, socialisation of young and the satisfaction of economic needs. • Parsons argues that he modern nuclear family performs two essential functions; primary socialisation and stabilisation of adult personalities.

    9. Interactionists • Focus on the meaning people give to their own and other’s actions, including the way they construct and respond to family life. Cooper describes cases where individuals have withdrawn into mental illness rather than accept the narrow that their families demand. Berger and Kellner see the family as an institution that offers scope for people to achieve fulfilment by creating the relationships they want.

    10. New Right • These believe that the ‘traditional’ patriarchal nuclear family with a breadwinner husband and homemaker wife in the kind best equipped to be self reliant rather than depending on the welfare state. Murray argues that the welfare provision has created a dependency culture. However, he has been strongly criticised by Dean and Taylor-Gooby

    11. Post modernists • These argue that the family no longer conforms to a single type. Stacey believes that it no longer makes sense to see the nuclear family as the dominant family structure. Different kinds of household no co-exist. Family structure is in a constant state of change and families are fashioned and refashioned to meet changing needs. • Giddens sees these changes as part of a transformation of intimacy, a move away from tradition, giving couples much more choice about personal relationships.

    12. Feminists • Marixist Fems argue that women’s oppression benefits capitalism. Bruegal argues that women’s unpaid domestic labour helps to maintain capitalist exploitation by reproducing the labour force at no cost to the employer, by servicing the present generation of workers, and by rearing the next generation of workers. Revolutionary change and the abolition of the family are needed to end women’s oppression. • Liberal fems: Women’s oppression can be gradually overcome argues this perspective. It can be done through reforms such as divorce and equal pay and the changing attitudes and socialisation patterns of males and females. They believe that we are moving towards greater equality in the family. • Rad fems: The family oppresses women argue these theorists. Men benefit from this oppression. They highlight the effects of Patriarchy , a system where male power over women based on patriarchal ideology and the threat of violence.

    13. Perspectives on education • Functionalist • Marxist • New Right • Post modernists

    14. Functionalist • Believe that education performs functions to maintain society as a whole. They are argue that education creates social solidarity. Durkheimargues that education creates this by integrating individuals in a shared culture. It also prepares them for their position in the division of labour by teaching the skills required in work and industry. • Parsons identifies socialisation and social integration as key functions but puts more emphasis on the need for social selection and role allocation. Schools are agencies of secondary socialisation that transmit skills and values. • Davis and Moore also argue that the system in Meritocratic, where rewards and selection are based on ability and effort

    15. Marxist • These understand education in relation to the workings of the economy. Bowles and Gintis argues educationlegitimises and reproduces social inequality. Schools reproduce a workforce with a range of skills needed and they make inequality seem natural and fair. • They put forward the correspondence principle, and claim there is hierarchical division of labour, and the myth of meritocracy. • Willis studied ‘lads’. He stressed the importance of their counter school culture which they used to resist the dominant ideology but ironically it ensured they ended up where the system needed them! • Bourdieu attaches central importance to cultural capital. He claims that education assumes all pupils have cultural capital but in reality only the MC possess it. Therefore the wc are eliminated from the system. It legitmises inequality as it makes it seem that success is based on individual ability.

    16. New Right • These believe that education can be summarised as • Greater diversity of types of schools • Freedom of choice based on rights of parents as consumers • Local control of schools without interference from state • Excellence based on competition. • Chubb and Moe argue that parent power and community control will make schools more efficient.

    17. Post modernists • These argue that society has become so fragmented that the old hierarchies have brokendown. There are lots of sources of identity and one is not more important than the other. • Usher and Edwards argue that education is becoming more diverse and tailored to the needs of particular communities and groups. And no longer performs functions for society as a whole. • Whitty argues we need to recognise continuity and change in education. He agrees with Giddens who uses the term latemodern to describe our society. He argues that education continues to legitimise social inequality but in less obvious ways. • Ball argues that although it appeared that schools had more power, the NC and league tables etc actually gave new subtler forms of control. These encourage schools to be selective and concentrate on high flyers therefore reproducing their advantages. • Walford states that consumer choice acts as a new form of legitimation, hiding the processes of selection and obscuring the real reasons for educational failure, blaming bad parenting when its really social depravity.

    18. Feminists • These argue that women are still sidelined in educational issues. There was no big fuss when boys were doing better than girls!! Through the hidden curriculum we learnt that girls and boys are different and in what domain we belong. MacDonald argues that schools reproduce patriarchy and schools correspond to gender divisions in employment. The school hierarchy mirrors the control of women my male managers

    19. Education Question • (a) Explain what is meant by ‘legitimation’ (ItemA line 7)(2) • (b) Identify two criticisms of the Marxist view of the role of education (4) (Item A) • (c ) Suggest three functions that the education system may perform apart from those referred to in Item A. (6) • (d) Identify and briefly explain two ways in which the education system mirrors the world of work.(8) • (e) Examine the ways in which educational policies reproduce social inequalities. (20) • (f) Using material from Item B and elsewhere, assess explanations of differences between males and females in education. (20)

    20. Examiners comments • (a) Correct – a good clear explanation of legitimation. The second sentence is of course what the ‘myth of meritocracy’ argues – that education fosters the myth that no everyone has an equal chance of success, so if they fail its their own fault, not that of the capitalist system. • (b) Two criticisms accurately identified.

    21. Examiners comments cont • (c )Correct – 3 relevant functions, all from a functionalist perspective. Note that you don’t have to adopt a functionalist approach, you could include non functionalist functions such a a baby sitting service and that education is a form of social control by keeping young people off the streets where they might misbehave. • (d) Both are correct and explained clearly andaccurately. As the second paragraph indicates, B&G are a good source for this answer . You could use other aspects of their correspondence principle here. EG) there are similarities that offer extrinsic rather than intrinsic satisfaction, both produce alienation and involve competition between individuals.

    22. cont • (e)A very thorough and detailed knowledge of a range of policies and how they help produce inequalities. Theanswer focuses on the three most important policies since WW2- tripartite system, comprehensives and marketisation- showing how they have in general led to wc kids ending up with fewer qualifications and a future in manual work. The answer uses Marxism and Functionalism to give a theoretical context. Finally it introduces evaluation by noting that some policies in fact reduce social inequality.

    23. Cont! • (f) The question is about gender differences in education, which includes not just achievement but also other issues such as subject choice.The answer takes up both these topics showing a range of detailed knowledge. On achievement the answer is well organised in terms of factors inside school and outside school. Note the answer focuses on explaining the changes that have occurred and avoids using old material about why boys used to be better. On subject choice several explanations are considered. Although the main focus in the answer is on girls, it also deals with boys. The item is used and there is good analysis and evaluation of possible explanations, which are spelt out, developed and linked where appropriate.

    24. Family Question • (a) Explain what is meant by household (item B, line 10) (2) • (b) Suggest two other features of the typical ‘cereal packet family’ apart from those described by Oakley (item B lines 1-3) (4) • (c ) Suggest three government economic or social policies which might influence the structure of the family or the roles and relationships of its members (item a lines 3-5) (6) • (d) Identify and briefly describe two ways in which the family might be ‘shaped by the needs of capitalism’ (Item A lines 7-8) (8) • (e) Examine the effects of urbanisation and industrialisation on the family and household structure (20) • (f) Using material from Item B and elsewhere assess sociological contributions to an understanding of the diversity of family forms found in society today. (20)

    25. Examiners Comments • (a) A good explanation. You could add that one person living alone is also a household. • (b) More than two features are given. All appropriate. • (c ) All 3 are suitable, as are many others like taxation policies, education policies etc • (d) The answer identifies and clearly describes 2 appropriate ways. Both come from a Marxist perspectives – the one most closely associated with the idea that the family serves the interest of capitalism.

    26. Examiners comments (e) • This is a well organised answer that takes us through a number of possible effects. It focuses on industrialisation, but also looks briefly at the impact of urbanisation (and suburbanisation).It covers both family structures, through the debate with Parsons and household structures through Laslett. Also important is what it doesn’tdo. In a question of this kind, its essential to avoid going off into a long account of the symmetrical family. Instead this answer uses the really relevant part of Young & Willmott’s work – the stage 2 extended family, not the stage 3 symmetrical one. This answer shows a good knowledge of studies, clear analysis of the different views and evaluation through debate with Parsons, and gives a good conclusion to round it off.

    27. Examiners comments (f) • This answer uses the item very effectively to illustrate the idea of the conventional family and the types and extent of diversity. It outlines a range of contributions , such as functionalist, feminist, Marxists, pluralist, new right and post –modernist. It evaluates the contribution of some of these approaches in terms of how far they help us to understand particular trends or are backed up by evidence. Finally there is a brief but relevant conclusion.