Sociology Teaching Staff
- Mr G Whitworth: Curriculum Leader for Humanities
- Miss E Weir
Why Sociology is Important
Sociology is an immensely challenging and exciting discipline. Its aim is to understand how societies work. It investigates the structures and cultures of different societies throughout the world and throughout history.
It observes the day-to-day experiences of people in groups and seeks to explain them. It raises critical philosophical issues about how a society can ever be studied. It also charts social trends that may help us to understand the dilemmas of modern life as in the 21st century. What we take for granted about societies – what might seem obvious – is usually challenged by the sociological imagination. Key Questions Might include:
- Why the family is constructed the way it is?
- Why do some groups do better in education than others?
- Who benefits from politics?
- Why do some people commit more crime than others?
- What influence does religion have on our lives?
You will learn about the different methods of data collection:- experiments, surveys, questionnaires, interviews, observation, pilot studies, and so on – their advantages and disadvantages, and how they have been used in sociological studies.
The Sociological Imagination
Sociology will help you to help make sense of your own experiences in society. It can give you new ways of seeing the world around you. It can provide you with the “tools” which will allow you to become a better-informed and more socially aware member of society.
Teaching and Learning in Sociology
Sociology students will develop the necessary skills which are transferrable to their other subjects:
- The ability to interpret and analyse information; such as making sense of basic social statistics as well as extracting relevant information from books/articles.
- The ability to apply sociological terms and ideas; such as using theories and research findings to explain the social world around you and your experiences within it.
- The ability to evaluate relevant material; such as being able to recognise bias and distortion in material and weighing up strengths and weaknesses of evidence.
- Students are encouraged to work both independently and in groups, giving them the skills and qualities necessary to go to be successful in further and higher education.
Key Stage 4
There are two exam papers at the end of Year 11. These exams are now graded 1-9 and are assessed by examination only.
Studying Society – Looking into the research process and evaluating methods including observations, questionnaires and interviews.
Families & Households – explaining family diversity i.e. couple/lone-parent, heterosexual/gay, extended/nuclear and reconstituted. Sociological approaches to the family – functionalist, Marxist and feminist as well as New Right perspectives. Changes in relationships and roles within the family and explanations of the growth in the divorce rate and its consequences.
Education – explaining variations in achievement according to social class, ethnicity and gender. Influences on achievement including parental values, peer groups, streaming, labelling, teacher expectations, economic circumstances and cultural background. The functions of the educational system and other educational debates.
Crime and Deviance – The social distribution of crime in terms of class, age, gender, ethnicity and locality. Explanations for criminal and deviant behaviour such as sub-cultural theories, labelling theory and relative deprivation. The usefulness of official crime figures, and self-report and victim studies.
The significance of Social Stratification– Explaining the nature of stratification e.g. the unequal distribution of wealth, income, status and power. Stratification systems based on class, gender, ethnicity and religion. Sociological explanations of poverty e.g. the cycle of poverty, the culture of poverty, the culture of dependency and structural explanations. The major debates about inequality including the extent to which modern Britain can be considered a meritocracy and the continued significance of class. The power relationships that exist in society.
Methods in Context – applying the methods learned in unit one to novel stem material associated with areas of the specification.
Links to the GCSE specifications for Sociology can be found below: