AS Sociology Study Guide-3 Topics

Covers all three topics in AS Sociology (Perspectives, Methods, and Inequality and Stratification & Socialisation)

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Sociology Study Guide AS Level
Topic 1-Perspectives:
sees society working as a whole and each individual part played is important to the functions of
Advantages-looks at society as a whole (macro view) which is what sociology is supposed to see,
quantitative data, can be generalized because it looks at society as a whole.
Disadvantages-no qualitative data, doesn't see how individuals act in society
1. Durkheim
Topic- Socialization
Conclusion-says socialization is a one way process. Institutions (school, family, religion, etc.) shape
children in society.
Strength- secondary information
Weakness-only a theory
2. Murdock
Conclusion-says social order is maintained by individuals learning to desire what culture wants
Strength-secondary information
Weakness-only a theory. No females
3. Goldthorpe
Conclusion-said that society is a meritocracy (reaching goals by the way of merit and talent)
Strength-based on official statistics
Weakness- not everyone has an equal chance. Only a theory.
4. Parsons
Topic- stratification
Conclusion- consensus of value in society where everyone is society agrees that some positions are
more important than others
Strength-based on literature and official statistics
Weakness-only a theory. No females or ethnicity accounted for
5. Goldthorpe
Topic- Stratification
Conclusion-The Affluent Worker (work harder and you get a higher status). Found no evidence of
embourgeoisement (working class becoming like upper class; no class distinctions)
Strength- did an actual study using quantitative and primary data
Weakness- may not be representable outside of England. More than 7 classes in society. Sample only
6. Parsons

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Topic- Family
Conclusion- says the nuclear family carries out two functions: primary socialization and stabilization of
adult personalities.
Strength-validity (family is the primary socialization)
Weakness-no study so cannot be proven, nuclear families are in decline, focused on middle class white
7. Murdock
Conclusion-says the family has 4 basic functions: sexual, primary socialization, economic, and
Strength-empirical evidence, reliable data, secondary data
Weakness-western perspective, research outdated, gay families cannot reproduce.
8.…read more

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Marcuse- society has been hypnotized to believe that capitalism is the only way to go (why
there hasn't been a revolution)
2. Althusser (Neo-Marxist)- rejected the idea that social relations are determined by economics
only. He argued that there are three levels: economic, political, and ideological social classes.
Conflict between bourgeoisie and proletariat is often mitigated by political reforms, trade unions,
or collective bargaining; not a revolution
3. Poulantzas (Neo-Marxist)- argued that all workers are not proletariat, especially white collar
workers.…read more

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Disadvantages- cannot be studied because they think every method is wrong, therefore it cannot
be proven.
1.Lyotard- challenges metanarratives
2.Bauldrillard- mass media; loss of history
New Right
sees problems in society as being a result from a deviation from the nuclear family.
Advantages- uses government statistics (easy to compare), validity (majority of dysfunction is
caused from deviation of nuclear family)
Disadvantages- doesn't account for nuclear families that are dysfunctional or non-nuclear families
that are successful. Other factors can cause dysfunction.
1.…read more

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open-ended and closed ended
structured(same questions for everyone) and unstructured
Advantages: It can be repeated and replicated, obtains quantitative data (positivism),
interviewers can clarify questions, higher response rate.
Disadvantages: It is more expensive (paying interviewers), interviewers have to stick to the
questions, no qualitative data is obtained (validity)
Advantages: Builds experiment-participant relationship, increases validity because interviewers
understand their feelings, qualitative data is obtained
Disadvantages: takes more time, smaller sample size because of this, not generalizable, demand
characteristics (Hawthorne effect)
1.…read more

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1.Goldthorpe(1970) ­looked at government statistics to compare blue and white collar workers
2.Deregowski- did a review article to see if picture perception is a universal language
Advantages: The experiment offers a high degree of exactness because one can control
everything in a laboratory setting. Variables can be precisely studied. Natural science uses this
approach most often. So does psychology. It is easier to determine cause and effect relationships.…read more

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McRobbie- looked at glossy magazines to see how women are portrayed (feminist)
2.David Morley(1980)- observed 3 different groups of people and how they interpreted television
programs (functionalist)
3.Lyotard and Bauldrillard- looked at mass media and used his research to challenge
Topic 3-Inequality and Stratification, Socialization:
Stratification- Wealth, power, and prestige based on gender, social class, ethnicity, and age
Socialization- Socialization is the process where by people acquire personality and learn the way
of life of their society.…read more

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Those who only have their labor to sell (the proletariat) make up the lower
social class. According to Marx, when a "class consciousness" develops among the working class (
a task of politically active Marxist socialists) they will recognize their potential and rise up and
overthrow the capitalists (bourgeoisie) and set up a socialist economy with a communist
government. Marxists look for evidence of this kind of economically based conflict in all areas of
society ( family, religion, government, education, etc.…read more

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View- sees inequality and how it affects the individual
1.Cooley- poverty classes do not move up because of the image they have of themselves and how
they feel others see them in society. (Looking Glass Self)
View- sees how individuals respond to society and how it socializes them; individuals are seen as
active in this process
1.Cooley-Looking Glass Self (socialization is a product of social interactions)
2.Goffman- rules in society are seen as "performed" in a play.…read more

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Charles Murray- suggests that nuclear families are the number one force in socializing children.
When dysfunction happens in a family, the socialization process will be hindered.
View- socialization in society through mass media doesn't allow for people to know what's real or
unreal. Children are taught shallow ideas.
1.Lyotard and Bauldrillard- did content analysis of mass media and challenges meteranaratives.
Said that children are raised by mass media and are shown shallow ideas and don't know what's
real or unreal in society.…read more


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