G671 - Exploring socialisation, culture and identity

Unit 1 of the OCR sociology exam, 90 mins, 4 questions (8, 16,24 and 52 marks)

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  • Created by: Kelleigh
  • Created on: 02-01-14 14:01

The formation of culture - concepts

Norms: They are a form of behaviour which most people in dociety follow (the unwritten rules).

Values: They are general priniciples/beliefs which everyone agrees on.

Status: It is a social standing in society (social differences)

Culture: It is used to describe the beliefs/customs and ways of life of a society or group within society.

Roles: A pattern of behaviour and routine acted out in everyday life.

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The formation of culture - cultures

High culture

  • Mainly associated with upper/higher class
  • People who have a particular education - generally private education
  • Usually involves arts, sculpture, classical music, opera, ballet, shakespeare, poetry, plays and sports (e.g. polo, lacrosse, hunting and shooting.)
  • Marxists see this as part of the ruling class ideology - knowledge of what they like is superior
  • Leaves proletariat 'cut-off' from society/cultural achievements

Popular culture

  • Accessed by the masses
  • Associated with entertainment (e.g. TV, cinema, pop music and magazines)
  • Manufactured by media conglomerates - to make a profit
  • Marxist (Clarke and Critcher (1995)) - popular culture is shaped by advertising and global corporations
  • Ideology - dominant ideas in society are formulated by the bourgeoisie and dominant proletariat = false class conciousness - form of control - ultimately no control
  • Post modernists - provides choice
  • Candyfloss culture = inferior - dumming of intelligence and critical thinking
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The formation of culture - cultures continued

Consumer culture

  • Consumption of goods and services - developed over the past 30 years
  • Lury (1996): - availability of a wide range of consumer goods - shopping has become a leisure pursuit - different forms of shopping - debt is socially exceptable (credit cards and loans) - packaging and promotion of goods is now a large business
  • Post modernist = more choice in constructing our identities and lifestyles
  • Personal identities are influenced in a positive way

Global culture

  • Emerged due to patterns of migration, international travel and the spread of the media (small world)
  • Globalisation = the process by events in one part of the world influences elsewhere in the world = interconnected
  • Marsh and Keating (2006) - British = globalised people
  • Post modernists = more choice in constructing our identities and lifestyles
  • MEDC's are exploiting LEDC's - global scale
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The formation of culture - cultures continued 2

Subcultures and cultural diversity

  • Smaller social groups who are commited to wider community but have different and unique norms, values, customs and lifestyles
  • UK = Multicultural society
  • Post modernists = more choice
  • Functionalist = different norms and values but common goals in achievement and hard work
  • Marxist = Question subcultures, one ideology - ruling class = myth, controlled and decieved
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The process of socialisation - concepts

Nature = Behaviour determined by inherited factors

Nurture = Behaviour determined by experiences

Primary socialisation = Through the family, (through intimate and prolonged contact with parents), this is one of the most important learning processes. Parents have a large influence on children and children care about their judgement, they teach children the basic norms and values.

Secondary socialisation = Through the media, education, peers, religion, the workplace and the family - from a wide range of people. They can play a supportive role and can teach people new skills and complex issues.

Formal social control = Written rules/codes within formal agents of socialisation. If somone breaks the rules, they will be punished (e.g. school rules)

Informal social control = Rules/codes that are not written down. When someone breaks these rules the punishment is different - made to feel bad or losing social acceptance

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The process of socialisation - secondary agents of

Functionalist view = consensus

  • Education is essential - they provide shared cultural values = conformity and consensus
  • Durkheim believed that history, language and religion link individuals to society past and present by encouraging pride in achievements of the nation = sense of belonging in society
  • Parsons believed that the main function of education is a social bridge between family and wider society
  • Education socialises childre to have important values - achievement, competition and individualism = these values are seen as essential for preparing the youth for the world of work

Marxist view = conflict

  • Althusser (1971) thought that education is dominated by the 'hidden curriculum' of the ruling class ideology - which encourages conformity and unquestionaing acceptance of the organisation of the capitalist system
  • Also, he thought that few students accessed educational knowledge  - challenges capitalist exsistence
  • In 1988 the national curriculum was introduced, subjects such as sociology, economics and politics were excluded  - ruling class believed that socialisation into commonly taught subjects = students too critical of capitalist inequality
  • Schools socialise pupils into uncritical acceptance of hierchy, obedience and failure
  • Working class failure = own fault and deserved rather than capitalisms need for uneducated manual labour force
  • Schools = agents of social control
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The process of socialisation - secondary agents of

Functionalist view

  • Durkheim (1912) - main function is to socialise society into value consensus by investing certain values with a sacred quality (e.g. infusing people with religious symbols)
  • Moral codes - beliefs that society agress to revere and socialise into children - socially control our behaviour (e.g. crime, sex, obligation to others)
  • E.g. the ten commandments = moral codes that influence formal controls (laws) - 'thou shalt not kill' - as well as informal controls (moral disapproval) - thou shalt not commit adultery'

Marxist view

  • Religion = ideological apparatus that serves to reflect ruling class ideas and interests
  • Religion socialises the working class into 3 sets of false ideas: 1. promotes idea that material success is a sign of God's favour, whereas poverty is interpreted as caused by wickedness, sin and immorality, 2. Religious teachings and the emphasis on blind faith to serve to distract the poor and powerless from the true extent of their exploitation by the ruling class, 3. Religion makes exploitation, poverty and inequality bearable by promising a reward in the afterlife for those who accept without question their suffering/poverty here and now.
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The process of socialisation - secondary agents of

Sociologists view:

  • most significant socialisation - influences norms and values, particularly of young people.
  • Many people use mass media to make sense of the world - the wider world provides lots of info required to make sense of everyday occurances
  • Media provides role models and designs for living - e.g. fashion identities
  • All points of view are objected and neutral - media has power over what we think and do

Functionalist and post modernist view:

  • Postman - media exposes children to adult world of sex and violence too soon
  • Palmer - parents in modern times substitute mass media for quality parenting and this leads to antil - social behaviour.
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The process of socialisation - secondary agents of

Marxist view

  • Mass media = mainly responsable for mass culture
  • marcuse - popular culture = negative on culture because (Marsh and Keating (2006)) 'popular culture is a false culture devised and packaged by capitalism to keep the masses content' - function = encourage false needs (non-essential consumer goods) and to discourage critical thought  - especially relating to the inequalities caused by capitalism
  • Steve Barnett - media output in UK once encouraged critical outlook (e.g. quality drama, documentaries and news) replaced with light entertainment (e.g. soaps, reality tv) - transmitting superficial, mindless entertainment (Barnett and Curry (1994) = we are socialised into not being able to think for ourselves
  • Although different people interpret different messages in different ways. No evidence that audiences accept what is being fed to them
  • Manipulation = doesn't recognise the ways in which they actively and critically use the media to enhance their lives and identities.
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The process of socialisation - secondary agents of

Peer group:

  • People of similar status who come into regular contact (either social or work related)
  • E.g. social subcultures, friendship networks, occupational subcultures (work mates)
  • Have a strong influence over adolescent behaviour and attitudes
  • Teenagers may feel tension between parental controls and have a desire for more responsibilities and independence = conflict with parents
  • Common problems friendship choices and choice of girl/boy friend.

Peer pressure:

  • Deal of peer pressure to fit in with their friends - radical changes in identities (e.g. image and behaviour)
  • Pressured into 'deviant' behaviour (e.g. drug taking, delinquency and sex) = accepted
  • Networks pressure of teenagers to conform - may use negative sanctions (e.g. gossiping and bullying) to control the behaviour of fellow adolescents
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