• Created by: ollyb46
  • Created on: 22-09-17 09:23


- the way in which we see an define ourselves in relation to others


refers to a persons subject awareness. can be defined as persons sence of individuality. Shapes how they project personality out of social world 

eg. An individual might regard themselves as a 'shy' individual. Society might decide that such individuals have fialed to achive certain societal norms eg. to be 'assertive'


How person is viewed by others. Refers to how person manages social expectations. Attached to role in society and family

eg. In the UK, Mums and Dads strive to achieve social identity as ' good parent' because society deems the loving and caring of a child to be the norm. Failing to achive this can lead to being labels a 'bad parent' 

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social identity

social identity shaped by eg.

  • ethnicity
  • religion
  • nationality
  • social class


social action theory and postmodenism argue all humans have free will and thus are free to choose aspects of identity

aspects of identity free to choose eg.

  • religion 
  • clothes
  • hair style
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sociological perspectives


consensus theories suggest that some societies work well because they are based upon shared agreements or consensus and cooperation. Its aruged that in these societies it is shared via socialisation. Moreover encourages sence of belonging or social intergration into society the members are happy because they share the same goals, laws and morals and benifit from each other

eg. Trying to achive peace in syria suggests the importance in social harmony


conflict theories think consensus is a myth and that most modern societies are underpined by a sort of conflict eg. class/gender. Other conflict theories claim a result of status inequalities that originate in radical/ ethnic religious views 

eg. In USA the 'Black Loves Matter' campaign suggests radical inequality is a major source of conflict in american societies

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structual theories of society

~ structual theories adopt macro approach- by this we mean that they are interested in how large scale structures such as the economy, education system, the politcal system ect. interact with each other and individuals in society

~ structual theoriests also belive that society is more important than the individual, peoples beghaviour is mainly shaped or determined by society. In other words this apporach beloves that people are just the puppest of society

Both FUNCTIONALISTS and MARXISM   are structural theories

Macro approach= big picture

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social action theories(interpretivism)

social action- rejects idea people called puppets- argues people conscious of whats around them and they posess free will- choose to reject structual influences

social action theory takes macro approach by this we mean that the individual is always more important than society. The micro belives tht peol eare the architects of society

Social action theory prefers to focus on how people interact with each other and how the interpert other peoples actions

Interactionism and labelling theories are examples of SAT

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structuaration theory

socilolgists eg. giddens argue both social structures and interaction are important to shape human behaviour, repition of acts of individuals that creates+ reproduces social structures and instituations

known as Structuation theory


eduaction is created and reproduced by individuals ie. at some pointy in our history, we have decided that we need to be educated. as a result parents sent their children to school from monday to fridayand expect individuals as teachers to turn up and teach the knoledge and skills they need

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is consensus theory

explains why social structures of moder societies like in UK are relativley well orderd and stable ths adopts macro approach

social structures meaning economically, politically and socially organised

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(functionalism) society as a social system

functionalists belive  social structure of societies resembles social system madeup of interdependant social instituations work together + function to produce social order

DURKHEIM- FOUNDING FATHER- saw social order as societys most important functional prerequisite (basic need)- if society achived social order- sablie and harmonious

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(functionalism) functions of social system

if somthing functional- benifits society

social institutions function in 3 ways

  • CONSENSUS( agreement)
  • CONFORMITY( doing as your told)
  • SOCIAL ORDER( social stability)
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(functionalism) functions of social system

functions that brings about value consensus

 members of society are socialised into broad agreements or consensus on values, morality and norms of behaviour

eg. in the UK there is a broad consensus that we should tolerate other peoples views weather we agree with them or not. Freedom of speach is an important british value

functions that bring about social intergration

people need to be encouraged to a community that has somthing in common. a common identity binds individuals together so they experience social solidarity (untiy). This means that they feell they belong to somthing bigger than themselves

eg. 2016 EU referendum- brexit- from of intergration- promoted idea- being british- morimportant than being in EU 

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(functionalism) functions of social system

The funtion to bring about a specialised division of labour

members of a society need to be encouraged to take their place in the economic devision of labour- organisation of jobs into hundreds of thousands of specific tasks+ skills as workers

eg. we are encouraged by family at an early age to pick up skills in a particular area to become productive workers as adults

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functionalisms explain of social system called biologial analogy approach

in simplest sence compare social system to human body

all organs work together- brings good health- all institutions work together- brings social order 

Functionalist: Talcott parsons

viewed society made from 4 sub divisions

  • economic system
  • political system
  • kiship (family)
  • cultural (norms and values)
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critical evaluation

socioligical theories must be criticaly evaluated- some of the main weaknesses in functionalism

  • functionalism doesnt acknowledge dysfunctional or harmful effects of social institutions in society. eg. the family may not provide primary socialisation or th family might be an an abusive place eg domestic abuse
  • functionalism tends to ignore the free will of individuals who can make their own active choices irrespective of the constraints of the social system. this is because functionalism adopts the macro approch
  • functionalism assums everyone benifits equally from stable societies they ignore the inequalities eg power and wealth that exist between people
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MARXISM- conflict and structuralist thoery

structuralism: look at the structure of society

theory looks at work of Karl Marx and essentially is a critique of economic organisation of modern capitalist societies

Marx saw society as divided into 2 sides

  • the INFASTRUCTURE (economic base)
  • the SUPERSTRUCTURE (rest of society)

marxism also concerned about cheif causeof inequaltiy in society- social class divisions - cheifly associated with persons economic status

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Bourgeoisie: known as ruling class (r/c) or capital class

 owns and controls means of production eg. land, labour, factories, tech, buisiness and raw material

Proletariat: known as working class (w/c)

workers provide labour needed by r/c to manufacture goods for wage- won't be paid full value of wage because r/c need profit

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social relations of production

this is the relationshp between these two groups. 

according to Marx these relationsare un- equal and explotive because workers labour is worth less than the value of the products thay are making. These relations also mean that these classes are in conflict with one another eg. workers wan higher wages while employers want more labour for same wage 

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The superstructure

Marxists seen the capitalist systems and being made from 2 parts : the infastructure and the superstructure.

The superstructure is made up of tje social institutions such as family, education ect 

the key role of the supersturcture is to transmit ruling class ideaology

ideaology: set of ideas, norms- benifits one social group

the aim is to:

  • hide, disguise, justify inequality
  • distract working class (w/c) from it by persuading them capitalist system is meritocratic ( reward for ability) and fair
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Feminism: examines society fro point of women- structual theory cos feminist see structure of society as patriarchal

feminists belive females- genrally subordinate in power compared to males

result: feminism also conflict thoery because society based upon conflict of intrest between males and females


  • radical feminism
  • marxist feminism
  • liberal feminism
  • difference feminism
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RADICAL feminism

EXPLOITATION: woman are exploited by and consequently subservant to men

PATRIARCHY: 'male dominance' is a structural feature becasue it is found in all social institutions especially family

BIOLOGICAL DIFFERENCE: inequality between sexes caused by biology

VIOLENCE: men use physical force and sexual violence or the threat of it in often used to opress women in the family and wider society

POWER: men are able to use more power in critical institutions eg. politic/ law thus they pass laws that benifit them more than women

SEPERATE SEX / GENDER CLASSES: men and women constitute seperate and opposing 'sex classes' which is more important than social classes/ radical division


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MARXIST feminists

women oporession caused by structural factors especially capitalism. as women carry out unpaid work they are exploited more than men, and men exploit this fact

unpaided housework maintains the wealth and eficiency of a work force- free of charge. Unpaid childcare ensures the capitalisation has a future workforce raised and socialised for free( mainly by women)

also belive in patriachy as ideaology benifits capitalism cos it legitimises gender inequalities (biological differences)


It underplays the influence of non- economic features eg. cultures and religion oppressing women. marxist feminism ignors ongoing liberation of women- in many modern scoietites- few women are full time housewives (1 in 11)

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LIBERAL feminism

belive that partriarchy is retreat as womens rights + oppitunities haveimproved over past century.

acknowlege inequalities still remain especially childcare and  that popular culture still shows women in steriotypical way 

are optimistic that gender inequalties will disappear


thry have led many campaigns in westen world that have led to new laws and social policies improving womens pisition ion society eg. equal pay act (1970)

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rejects idea women share common interest or that woimens experience can be explained by one single feminist theory- too many divisions between women

not all women are equally exploited or experience patriarchy in same way

approach celebrates differences that exist between women and suggent that there are several parths towards liberation

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Social action theory

Social action theory ( known as interpretivism) rejects determinism of structual theories- stresses individual free will- takes macro approach- focuses on individual

society- millions of people- important- personal interaction with others eg. at school, work

SAT- interested in meaning of interpretations that people apply to behavior of others

Is the constant interaction and intergration and way we must interperate social phenomina that is responsible for social construction of socitey and social reality

Intergrationalists belive individuals- more important than social institutions - society- net result- people choosing to come together in social groups + applying shared understanding- different phenomina in order to sucsessfully interact with each other- therefore society+ everything constructed

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examples of being socialy constructed

CHILDHOOD IN UK : eg. children don't go out to work- dont expect a child to have full financial responsibility

THE ROLE OF PARENTS: eg. parents often expected to look after children without issue- ability to teach right from wrong

PUNISHMENT FOR CRIMINAL BEHAVIOUR: eg. you dont expect a criminal to get away with somthing

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postmodernims dominated by comsumption and mass media and distrust of grand thoeries

emphisise how music choice consumers have which is relevent to society today

HOWEVER  exaggerate how much consumer choice different people have

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Nature vs Nurture- The Big Debate

  • sociology- study of society but conciders people & behaviour.
  • many ways explaining why certain people behave in certain ways 
  • biologist think people behave they way they do cos of nature + act on instinct
  • sociologists think people behave like they do cos they are taught / learn how to behave 
  • michael Haralambos said " human beings learn their behaviour + use their intelligance whereas animals simpley act on instinct
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Nature vs Nurture- The Big Debate

eg. of what we a taught 

  • manners
  • the way we eat
  • religion

sociologists reject nature theory for two reasons

1) HISTORY: people acted differently in past from way they do today- had different ideas + beliefs

2) ANTHROPOLOGY: study of different human societies- people around world act differently to people in UK

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Feral Children

sociology - study of human groups- sociologists know we learn social behaviour- ferel chuldren raises question

Are we born human or do we need society to make us human?

 case studies:

  • Kamala + Amala
  • Shamdev
  • Isabelle
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