studying society



power and politics

crime and deviance

mass media

social inequalities

  • Created by: lauren
  • Created on: 07-05-11 11:01

studying society

Studying society

Sociology and psychology

-sociology focuses on group behavior, psychology focuses on individual behavior

Sociology and biology

-Sociologists view behavior as social/cultural, Biologists look for characteristica when studying human behavior

Sociology and journalism

-sociologists research is selected with evidence, journalists research is biased

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studying society

Random- everyone has an equal chance of being picked

Systematic- regular pattern (1 out of every 10)

Stratified- divide between boys and girls/ age

Snowball- find a respondant and they put you in touch with several more

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studying society

Social surveys

postal questionaires- questionaires sent by post/e mail to complete and then sent back to the researcher

hand delivered questionaires- researcher hands questionaires, so respondant can complete

structured interveiws- has a set of questions, records answers, face to face/ phone

unstructured interveiws- guided conversation

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studying society


primary- collected by researcher using structured interviews/ observations

secondary- statistics are put together by other people/ organisations

quantitative secondary data- statistic information

qualitative secondary data- word information

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studying society

Ethical issues

informed consent- by agreeing to take part, the participant has to be told all info that is involved

anoymity- participants should not be identified by name

confidentuality- personal information kept quiet

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formal education- takes place in schools where people learn from a range of subjects

informal education- takes place where people learn from observing what is happening around them in everyday life

sociologists disagree about formal education 

marxists beleive that education only benefits privileged groups (middle class)

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1-pre school

2-primary education

3-secondary education

4-further education

5-higher education

debates about the structure of education

different types of schools, testing in primary schools, home schooling.

education as political issues

education reform act 1988 introduced SATS for 7-11+14 year olds. critics argued-too much formal testing in schools... testing is ended in England for 14year olds

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differential educational acheivement- variations in education between students according to their social class, gender and ethnicity

middle class backgrounds tend to acheive better then working class backgrounds

students from some minority ethnic groups (chinese) tend to perform better then others (african)

1970-1980 subject choice was gendered. e.g girls chose biology and boys chose physics

traditionally boys got better results then girls. towards 1980's this gender gap in acheivement began to narrow

in the 2000's girls were doing better then boys in GCSE

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influences on educational acheivement

home factors

parental values and expectations- parents in proffessional occupations have high expectations of their children

parents educational backgrounds- if parents have a degree, they are more likely to help with homework

economic circumstances- students from a well-off background are more likely to have facilities, such as a PC to help them study

cultural backgrounds- british chinese parents value education and that in chinese culture children respect older people. so british chinese pupils develop high educational ambitions

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school factors

school based resources- school factors include how well resourced the school is, private schools have better facilities then state schools

the school curriculum- school curriculum can be seen as biased. critics argue that african carribean cultures and histories should be included

teacher expectations+labelling- some teachers may have lower expectations of students from working class backgrounds

pupil cultures and school ethics- some pupils may experiance peer pressure to conform to the norm of a culture that does not value education. school ethos refers to the character/culture of a school

institutional racism- for example a high rate of exclusion of students from african carribean backgrounds, has lead to no schools wanting them

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government policies

specialist school programme- help to tackle low acheivement and raise standards in schools

schools admission policies- some policies can work against students from disadvantaged backgrounds

marketisation, competition and league tables- parental choice and competition between schools to raise standards may have made life more difficault for urban schools have an incline of working class students

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different types of families in the UK today

nuclear, extended, lone parent, reconstituated, gay/lesbian

non family household- household containing a group of people who are not related

family household- household containing a nuclear family

nuclear family- married couple containing their children

extended family- group of relatives living together

reconstituated- family in which 1 or both partners have a child from previous relationship

beanpole family- family where each generation has 1 or few members

lone parent- each parent lives alone with their children

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approaches to families

functionalist approach- viewed the nuclear family as a possitive approach

reproduction- nuclear family produces the next generation of societies members

primary socialisation- nuclear family is the socialisation of which young children learn the basic behavior

emotional support- nuclear family provides for its members emotional well-being

economic support- nuclear family provides its members with financial support

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new right approach- suggests women should have the caring role with nuclear families, husbands should have the breadwinner role

marxist approach- nuclear family... supports the capitalist by supplying future generations of workers, socialises working class children to accept their lower position 

feminist approach- they are critical of the nuclear family and its role in society, many feminists see society as based on patriarchy, or on male power and dominance over women. Living in a nuclear family is seen as more beneficial to man then women, women have the housework role and childcare and the man is just the breadwinner. 

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joint conjugal roles- husband and wife sharing housework and looking after the children

changing parent-child relationships

relationships are less authoritarian- there is less emphasis on parental authority and discipline. there is more emphasis on child rights and individual freedom.

relationships are more child-centred- there is more focus on childrens interests and needs, so children are now getting more individual attention from parents.

young people are now financially dependent on their families and for a longer time compared with the past.

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changing patterns of fertility

changing attitudes to family size- in the past poor families relied on their childrens income from paid work to survive, having a large family meant more income. today it is different it is more expensive to have a lot of children

later marriage- in the 1970's people were marrying younger then they are today. now women will marry later and delay having children until they are older.

womens increased participation in education and paid employment- this means women have more options open for them in addition to motherhood

the availability of effective birth control methods- contraception gives women more control over their fertility. 

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changing patterns of life expectancy

increased life expectancy is linked to:

the decrease in infant mortality rates

welfare state provisions-free health care

improvements in public health

advances in medican and surgey

healthier life styles- diets and nutrition

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the ageing population

longer life expectancy and an ageing population may lead to changes in families and households such as:

an increase in one-person households

and increase in beanpole familes

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marriage, cohabitation and divorce

cohabitation- living with a partner, but not marride

the marriage rate has dropped since 1970- then it was seen wrong for women to be unmarried and sexually active. nowadays it has changed- now not a lot of women are getting married 

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marriage, cohabitation and divorce

changing patterns of divorce

number of divorces per year has increased since the 1940's

divorce is nowadays more socially acceptable

legal changes have made divorce easier, quicker and cheaper

the divorce act was introduced in 1969- this allowed people to get divorced after one year of marriage rather then three years

media is a big influence on divorce- the media encourages couples to have a high expectations of marriage, if these expectations dont match the reality of married life this could end up in divorce

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marriage, cohabitation and divorce

the consequences of divorce

rise in divorces has increased some household family types like one-person households, long-parent and reconstituated families

living in reconstituated families may cause problems for individual family members who have to adjust to diffferent expectations of behavior

some children may loose contact with their father following their parents divorce

conflict between the former husband and wife may continue after they divorce because of parenting and property issues

divorce can lead to a loss of income for the former partners

divorced people particually men may experiance a loss of emotional support

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crime and deviance

defining crime and deviance

a crime is an illegal act that is punishable by law- examples include robbery

deviance refers to behavior that does not conform to a societys norms or social rules- examples include talking loudly in a library

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crime and deviance

formal and informal social control

formal social control is based on formal written rules that are set out in laws. for example school rules, you have to obey or there will be a consequence

informal social control is based on unwritten rules and is enforced through social pressure from groups such as families, friends or peers. parents will use informal social control to their children- for example their child will have a treat if they follow the parents instructions

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crime and deviance

official statistics of crimes recorded by the police

some crimes are not witnessed or discovered so they cant be reported to the police

less serious crimes such as theft arent always reported to the police because of insurance reasons

the victim might not report crimes such as sexual assult because they think that the police will handle it insensitively

the police dont necessarily record all the crimes that are reported to them

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crime and deviance

victim surveys

victim surveys ask people about their experiances of crime

the british crime survey interviews people about whether they have been a victim of particualr offences during the last year, and if so, whether they reported the crimes to the police

victim surveys indicated that many victims do not report crimes to the police

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crime and deviance

self report studies

self report studies ask people to reveal offences they have commited.

its a longitudinal study which measures the extent of self-reported offending, drug use and antisocial behaviour in england and wales, particually among 10-25 year olds.

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crime and deviance

age and crime- official statistics indicate that younger people, particually young men are more likely to engage in crime then older people. Explanations for this include peer pressure.

gender and crime- official statistics suggest that, in generalm more men then women commit crime. possible explanations for this include gender socialisation processes, gender differences in opportunities to become involved in crime. 

the number of female offenders in crime appears to be increasing. this may be because women now are having the same oppurtunities to men.

ethnicity and crime- black people are about 5 times more likely to be in prism then white people

social class and crime- working class have fewer oppurtunities to succeed, as a result they are more likely then middle class to resort to crime. 

locality and crime- in general the crime rate in urban areas is higher then rural.

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crime and deviance

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