AQA Sociology Unit 1 Studying Society

Flashcards for the studying society section. I did not come up with these, they are from a booklet, I'm just typing them up for revision purposes. If there are any errors, let me know so I can fix them. :)

Agents/Agencies Of Socialisation
The people and/or institutions which teach us norms and values. This comes in two stages eg.primary socialisation happens in the family home, secondary socialisation happens when the child has contact with other agencies,eg. teachers,peers, the media
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The act of following social control: following the dominant norms and values of society, as prescribed by agencies of social control. This is opposite of deviance.
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Conflict Theory
Theoretical perspectives which argue that society is organised around disagreement, inequality and lack of unity. Marxism and Feminism are conflict perspectives
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Consensus Theory
Theoretical perspectives which argue that society is organised around cooperation, agreement and shared values. Functionalism is a consensus perspective.
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Systems of language and behaviour which give meaning to the lives of social groups, eg. different ethnic groups have different languages and traditions and these help to define these different groups. Culture is what makes us human.
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Traditions which people of the same nationality or social group take part in and are recognised as being part of their culture. For example, British people shake hands when they greet each other and talk about the weather, this is a custom.
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Actively disadvantaging another individual or members of a social group because of personal dislike of them, or prejudicial views held against them. For example, racism, sexism and homophobia can be turned into discriminatory actions.
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Ethnic group/Ethnicity
A group who have a shared cultural background. This can often be connected to the country of your birth and religion. Ethnicity is closely connected to skin colour, but refers to cultural differences between people of different groups.
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A conflict perspective which argues that society is patriarchal, dominated by men, and based on gender inequality. Feminists argue that men and women should be equal, that no gender should dominate over the other.
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A consensus perspective which argues that society is based on shared values and social cohesion. Functionalists use the organic analogy to explain that society is like a human body: all the organs of the body work in harmony so the whole body works.
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'Sex' refers to the biological differences between males and females, sucha as different reproductive organs and chromosomes. 'Gender' is a sociological concept which refers tot he social and cultural differences between males and females.
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This refers to how we see ourselves in society, both as individuals and as members of social groups, eg. 'I am Paula, I am a white girl, I come from a working class family'...
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A conflict perspective which argues that society is based on class inequality. Ruling class ideology, the dominant ideas of the ruling class, are fed to us through socialisation. This influences our consciousness.
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Multicultural Society
A society which is made up of people from many different ethnicities, social classes, ages, abilities and sexualities. London is a multicultural society, 55% of the population are non-white British. However, Britain overall is 90% white British.
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The argument that human qualities, such as academic ability or criminal behaviour, are learned and therefore a result of the way people are raised.
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The argument that qualities, such as academic ability, are born in people, they exist regardless of how they are raised.
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Expected and accepted types of behaviour in specific circumstances. For example, it is the norm for teachers to wear a shirt and tie when they are at work, however, this outfit is not the norm for them in all circumstances.
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Roles are the specific behaviours associated with one's social status, for example, one role for teachers is marking pupils' homework; other adults who aren't teachers won't have this role.
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Multiple Roles
Most statuses have more than one role, for example, teachers plan and teach lessons, as well as marking pupils' work.
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Role Conflict
We have more than one status and the different roles connected to these statuses can clash, for example, a teacher's role, such as planning and marking, may clash with their role as a parent.
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Role Models
People in positions of authority, leadership or seniority whom others 'look up' to. Role models are often significant for younger people, for example, parents are gender role models for their children.
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Peer group
This can simply mean one's friends, or, people in a similar age and status group. For example, your classmates are your peers, whether they are your friends, or not.
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Holding ideas of inferitory/superiority against members of other social groups. E.g. racism, sexism and homophobia. This can lead to discrimination, or can be kept at the level of prejudice.
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The biological differences between people of different countries and skin colours. For example, facial features, hair type and skin colour are all different examples of racial difference.
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The prejudicial belief that one's own ethnic group is superior to all others. This can be expressed through racist language or membership of racist organisations, it can lead to discriminatory behaviour.
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Rewards or punishments, used as consequences for good or bad behaviour. Positive and negative sanctions are used by agencies of socialisation, such as parents or teachers, to ensure conformity.
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Social control
The process of making members of society follow the dominant norms and values of society. Agencies of social control use sanctions to achieve this. Formal and Informal social control can be combined.
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Formal Social Control
Formal social control is the official side of the process, represented by the police, prisons and judges, formal sanctions include being arrested and being sent to prison.
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Informal Social Control
Informal social control is performed by other agencies, such as schools and families, they support the mainstream norms and values and can use sanctions, but can't use official punishments, e.g. your parents can't send you to prison.
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Social Deprivation
This is another way of describing poverty. People who experience social deprivation tend to have poorer educational outcomes, be more likely to be victims of crime and may even have lower life expectancies than other sections of society.
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The 'underclass' is a controversial term which describes the lower working class. The social group are characterised by long term unemployment, low educational outcomes and dependency on benefits.
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Social Issues
These are the things which Sociologists research. positive and negative occurrences in society, which Sociologists seek to explain, e.g. why do middle class children do well at school?
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Social Mobility
The process of moving up or down the social class hierarchy. This is possible in open societies, such as the UK, but not in closed societies, such as those that practice slavery. It can be achieved through education, promotion at work and marriage.
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Social Policies
Government legislation designed to address ease and solve social issues.
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Social Processes
Systems in society, such as socialisation, which social actors progress through.
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Social Structures
A permanent feature of society eg. social class structure
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The lifelong process of teaching and learning norms and values.
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Primary Socialisation
Happens within the family home.
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Secondary Socialisation
Happens when a young person has contact with the wider world.
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Refers to one's position within society.
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Ascribed Status
We are born with certain statuses, for example our ethnicity; this means they are ascribed to us.
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Achieved Status
There are statuses which we earn, such as our position at work, these statuses are achieved.
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The distribution of statuses within the social hierarchy. There are different layers of people within society, who have different statuses.
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This refers to groups who have norms and values which are different from the mainstream norms and values of society.
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A popular, or well known, exaggerated representation of a social group.
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Widely held cultural beliefs about what is right and wrong. Values underpin norms, e.g. 'It is wrong to steal'.
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Welfare State
When taxation pays for social services such as education, hospitals or benefits for the unemployed.
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Case Study
A research method which focuses on an individual case, rather than a representative sample. This allows the researcher to make a detailed observation which is strong in validity.
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Content Analysis
A quantitative method, used to study mass media. This can include keeping a tally of representations.
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Covert Observtion
A research method where participants haven't given their consent and therefore don't realise they are taking part in a research project,
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Closed Questions
Questions with a set range of answers eg. 'Yes' or 'No'.
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Ethical Considerations
Acting ethically means causing no harm through conducting research, physical, mental, or emotional, to researcher and participant.
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Keeping the identities of participants secret by not revealing their names.
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Protecting the identity of participants by not revealing any personal information, such as their age, address, school etc.
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Informed Consent
Ensuring that participants understand what the research project is about and that they willingly agree to take part.
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Making sure questions are phrased in ways which won't cause offence.
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A research method where the researcher is testing a specific hypothesis, by controlling certain social conditions, such as light, or range of information, these are variables.
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Field Experiments
Field experiments take place in the participants' natural environment.
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Laboratory Experiments
Laboratory Experiments take place n a controlled, laboratory setting, the researcher can control all variables.
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When research is conducted with a representative sample, the researcher can make accurate statements about the whole group.
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Interviewer Bias
Refers to a flaw in interviews: when participants respond to the interviewer's personal characteristics as much as the questions they ask.
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Longitudinal Study
Research conducted on the same sample over an extended period of time, at regular intervals.
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Non-participant Observation
Observation where the researcher is purely watching the behaviour of the sample, not taking part in their activities at all.
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Official Statistics
Numerical data collected by the government and made available to the public.
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Open-ended Questions
Refers to questions where participant can expand upon their answer.
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Overt Observation
Refers to observation where the participant has give informed consent, they know what the research is about and agree to take part.
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Participant Observation
Where the researchers take part in the activity of their sample, whether the researcher is covert or overt.
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Personal Documents
A source of qualitative, secondary data. This can include diary entries, suicide notes, letters.
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Pilot Study
A trial research project, used by researchers to test their primary method, in order to make improvements.
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The total number of people that you could research for your project.
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Primary Data
Data that you as a researcher collect through conducting your own research.
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Qualitative Data
Written data
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Quantitative Data
Numerical Data
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Refers to whether a research project can be repeated and the same results gained by the researcher who repeats this research.
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Refers to research which uses a sample which bears an accurate resemblance to the people in the population.
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Research Aims
The stated intentions of the researcher at the beginning of their research project; the things they intend to find out.
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Research Methods
A researcher's chosen tool for collecting data, the main primary methods are surveys, interviews, observations and questionnaires.
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The specific word for 'participant' in a survey: the person who responds to questions.
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The number of people a researcher selects from their population to conduct their research on.
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Sampling Frame
The list of names of all the people in a researcher's population, whom they can conduct on.
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Sampling Types
The techniques researchers use to select their sample.
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Random Sampling
Every member of the population has an equal chance of being chosen. Eg. Taking names from a hat.
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Systematic Sampling
Selecting every nth name from the sampling frame.
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Stratified Sampling
Similar to systematic, but the sampling frame is broken down into social groups.
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Quota Sampling
You decide you will interview certain numbers of people from different social groups.
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Opportunity Sampling
You make use of the people you know and grab people to interview when you have the opportunity.
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Snowball Sampling
You find one person to interview then ask them to suggest others who you could also interview.
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Secondary Data
Data that has been collected by other researchers that is used on a researcher's project.
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When a researcher combines qualitative and quantitativeVmethods.
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Refers to how true to life research findings are.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


The act of following social control: following the dominant norms and values of society, as prescribed by agencies of social control. This is opposite of deviance.



Card 3


Theoretical perspectives which argue that society is organised around disagreement, inequality and lack of unity. Marxism and Feminism are conflict perspectives


Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4


Theoretical perspectives which argue that society is organised around cooperation, agreement and shared values. Functionalism is a consensus perspective.


Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5


Systems of language and behaviour which give meaning to the lives of social groups, eg. different ethnic groups have different languages and traditions and these help to define these different groups. Culture is what makes us human.


Preview of the back of card 5
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A really good resource for recapping the keywords

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