Sociology Unit 1: Culture and Identity



  • MACRO- individual is product of economic forces and economy (infrastructure) of society determines beliefs and values of society (superstructure)
    • class conflict is most important force in society
    • Relations of Production- alienation and exploitation= can lead to becoming wage slave- Surplus Value for Bourgeoisie
    • Proletariat is brainwashed into FCC
    • Althusser divided Marx's superstructure into ISA (ideological state apparatus) and RSA (repressive state apparatus)
    • Marx's 4 Eco Stages:
      • Primative Communism
      • Slavery
      • Feudalism
      • Capitalism

Marxist Criticisms

  • Func- Marx put too much emphasis on role of eco structure in shaping ideas and beliefs
  • Post- social class doesn't have such importance on identity any more
  • Inter- MArx put too much emphasis on class- not enough on individuals


  • MACRO- society is system made up of interrelated and interdependet parts held together by a shared culture or value consensus
    • individual is the product of society and structure of society are set up to run as smoothly as possible
    • Durkheim's Organic Analogy

Functionalist Criticisms

  • macro theory- ignores influence of individual and free will
  • cultural diversity and no dominant culturee
  • social conflicts in society and within groups is not accounted for


  • micro- focus on actions and thoughts of individuals, believe culture comes from people's own ideas of how to interact
    • Becker's Labelling Theory
    • Goffman's Dramaturgical Analogy
    • George Herbert Mead 'I' and 'Me'
    • Cooley and the Looking-Glass Self

Interactionist Criticisms

  • Marx- doesn't pay attention to conflict
  • Func- doesn't acknowledge importance of socialisation


  •  micro
    • media saturated culture
    • people construct identity through consumption + material goods creating 'lifestyle choice
    • Stuart Hall- diversity results in fragmented identities and people can construct identity from diff cultures
    • Zygmunt Bauman-identity has ceased to have stable base and has become matter of choice
    • the way people use clture reflects their fragmented identity

Postmodernist Criticisms

  • aspects are exaggerated
  • consumption has increased in importance but does not exist in a vacuum
  • ability to make choices is contrained by gender, ethnicity, class etc


    • production is industrial + eco relationships are capitalist
    • early modernity was associated with urbanisation
    • Marx + Dirkheim- social structures control individuals
    • tradition, religion + superstition provided basic views of world before industrialisation- now shaped by science + fact
    • gov is bureacratic state that takes responsibility for eco + welfare of citizens

Gender & Identity

  • Gender Codes
    • colour
    • appearance
    • toy
    • play
    • control
  • Family
    • manipulation
    • canalisation
    • verbal appellations
    • domestic activities
  • School
    • ed passes on gender stereotyped assumptions about how males + females behave
    • feminist studies in 7-s suggest females underachieve b/c their ed regarded as less important than boys- left at 16
    • Shapre's early 70s survey of w/class girls= female identity revolved more around relationships with mean and maternal roles than ed + careers
    • Skelton- school creates gender stereotypes + maintains those learnt at home
  • Media
    • mass helps build gender roles
    • McRobbie- teen mags reinforce conventional notions of feminity
    • Wolf- advertising presents unobtainable 'ideal image' for women
    • Joan Smith "Diff for Girls' book- culture creates + perpetuates gender diff
    • Billington- mass media traditionally portarys masculinity as dominant + feminity as subordinate
  • Criticisms
    • huge diff


No comments have yet been made

Similar Sociology resources:

See all Sociology resources »See all Entire Syllabus resources »