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Sociology Revision 3


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. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Sociology Revision 3

Sociology Revision 3
Exam tips
  • Use items- read, underline, link them to your
  • Use the item if you dont 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

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

How to use an item
According to some Sociologists children in
todays 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 childrens 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
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
  • 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 childrens
    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.

Item cont.
  • Give examples of how children are segregated and
    controlled confined, disciplined, and regulated
    and of adults control over childrens 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.

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

  • 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
  • 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

  • Focus on the meaning people give to their own and
    others 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.

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

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.

  • Marixist Fems argue that womens oppression
    benefits capitalism. Bruegal argues that womens
    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 womens oppression.
  • Liberal fems Womens 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.

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

  • Believe that education performs functions to
    maintain society as a whole. They are argue that
    education creates social solidarity. Durkheim
    argues 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
  • 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
  • Davis and Moore also argue that the system in
    Meritocratic, where rewards and selection are
    based on ability and effort

  • These understand education in relation to the
    workings of the economy. Bowles and Gintis argues
    education legitimises 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
  • 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.

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
  • 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

Post modernists
  • These argue that society has become so fragmented
    that the old hierarchies have broken down. 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 late modern to describe our
    society. He argues that education continues to
    legitimise social inequality but in less obvious
  • 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.

  • 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

Education Question
  • (a) Explain what is meant by legitimation (Item
    A 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
  • (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)

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
  • (b) Two criticisms accurately identified.

Examiners comments cont
  • (c )Correct 3 relevant functions, all from a
    functionalist perspective. Note that you dont
    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 and
    accurately. As the second paragraph indicates,
    BG 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.

  • (e)A very thorough and detailed knowledge of a
    range of policies and how they help produce
    inequalities. The answer 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.

  • (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

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)

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
  • (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.

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 doesnt do. 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 Willmotts 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.

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.