Sociology Revision

Full notes on AS Sociology. including culture and social structure, theories of society, gender identities, national identities, ethnic identities and official statistics.

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Sociology Revision
Topic 1 = Culture and Social Structure
Three main Definitions of Culture
1. High Art: People who enjoy artistic work of agreed quality. E.g. Shakespeare and Van Gogh.
2. Shared Values: People who see similar things as important. E.g. Politics, honesty, justice and
3. Whole Way of life: Peoples routines, customs and rituals. The skills they use to make a living,
common lifestyles and patterns of behaviour.
Elias's Work
Elias work provides evidence that cultural attitudes towards the body change. As in the 16th century
people were not ashamed of their body of behaviours. They would happily wipe snot on their sleeve
or tablecloth, ate with their hands and would freely burp in public. Whereas in later centuries people
have gradually become more aware and embarrassed about bodily functions, and now control their
bodies to behave in civilised ways, i.e. good manners.
Definition Example
`Norms' Expectations about how people Violence is not seen as acceptable.
should or should not behave in
Values Standards or principles people Religion, honesty, justice and
see as important fairness.
Subculture A large society that shares the Britain ­ Many groups share the
same culture, but also has same mainstream culture but also
individual groups that have have attitudes and ways of behaving
certain beliefs and ways of on their own.
behaving that not everyone
Social Roles Set expectations applied to a A soldier is expected to be brave
particular social status and disciplined
Social Institutions When social roles group together The roles of patients, nurses, G.Ps
and hospital consultants
Social Structure The collection of social The education system trains people in
institutions within society literacy, innumeracy and knowledge,
providing a supply of educated
workers, which in turn creates
wealth, some of which is used to
finance the education system.
Main Methods of Social Control
Formal Social Control ­ specific responsibilities. E.g. Police, the army, teachers and social workers.
Informal Social Control ­ Positive and negative attitudes E.g. encouragement VS negative

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Peter Berger Identified the Common Methods
Physical Violence ­ Used by police of in selfdefence. Can also just be used as a threat to make
people to abide by the law
Economic Pressure. E.g. workers that misbehave may be sacked and people who refuse to take
jobs will have their benefits withdrawn.
Social Acceptance ­ People may not do things as they might worry what people in the society
around them would think.…read more

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Adler and Adler's Research
Adler and Adler (1998) studied a group of white middle class children in the United States. They found that
peer group was v a very important thing within the lives of these children, Certain members of the individual
groups have more power and influence than others, and within each group friends are expected to be loyal
to their peer values. This research shows us that peoples peer groups play a huge part in socialisation.…read more

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Marxism ­ Conflict Theory
Karl Marx (1818 1883) argues that it is a capitalist society
A capitalist society generates conflict between the rich ruling class and the exploited
workers. These groups will always be locked in conflict as they have opposing interests.
Formal social control the ruling class use the police and military to threaten `rebels' with
A second strategy is to win the hearts and minds or people.…read more

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They believe that instead of dominant or mainstream culture there is a wide diversity of
lifestyles. They believe people choose their own cultural values and lifestyles rather than
simply following the cultural traditions of their society.
Postmodernists believe that a persons identity is also based / determined on choice rather
than tradition or birth.
Criticism of Postmodernism
Many sociologists believe postmodernists have overstated the sociological changes.…read more

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She said they
gentleness, kindness and are taught to control and
vulnerability. Emma Renold again discipline their bodies. I.e. they
studies and proves this theory in must act modestly, sit with their
2001. legs firmly together and not take
up to much space.
Secondary Socialisation Ferguson conducted a study of Tunstall researched gender
Mass Media young women's magazines over representation in the media
a thirty year period (1949 through the 1960's and 70's.…read more

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He started by saying that most British men were socialised into being hegemonic masculine expected
to be financial providers, authority figures, aggressive, risk taking and ambitious, they were not expected to
do any domestic work or show their emotions. He now sees that there are other forms of masculinity.
Although Connell accepts that there are other forms of masculinity he still strongly believes that
hegemonic masculinity is still the strongest form.…read more

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Royal weddings and funerals.
The Queens televised Christmas speech.
Bonfire Night
Guibernau and Goldblatt argue that symbols are powerful indicators of national
identity. These might include styles of dress, uniforms, passports, styles of music, national
anthems, and particularly flags. E.g. The Union Jack is a symbol for Britishness.
The Mass Media
On the whole television, magazines and newspapers encourage people to identify
with national symbols. I.e. the royal family by taking a keen interest in their activities.…read more

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Ghuman's Study
Ghuman (1999) outlined some of the socialisation practices of first generation of Asian parents.
Children were brought up to be obedient, loyal to and respectful of their elders and the
community around them. Social conformity was demanded and children learned to be
interdependant rather than individualistic which was seen as less of a threat to the head to
the family.
The choice of education was left to the parents.
The choice of marriage partner was thought to be best left to the parents.…read more

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Charlotte Butler (1995)
Charlotte Butler studied thirdgeneration of young Muslim women. She found that they choose from a
variety of possible identities. Some choose to reflect their ascribed position through the wearing of
traditional dress, while others may take a more `negotiated' position. This may mean adopting Western
ideas about education and careers whilst retaining some respect for traditional religious ideas about the role
of women.…read more


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