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Sociology

Sociology

Department staff.

Mr T. Finn-Kelcey - Head of Faculty
Mrs Emily Coleman

Sociology Introduction

  • Sociology is the scientific study of society and human social life. It studies human behaviour in social situations. It focuses on how we organise life together.
  • Sociology is rigorous and systematic in its approach and its claims are based on sound research evidence from sociological studies, theories and perspectives, instead of relying on opinions and anecdote.
  • Have you ever considered why we develop a personal, social, national and cultural identity? and, why do some individuals strive for power, or, why some commit crime or ‘drop-out’ of school or become benefit recipients?  Many, many more questions and topics are debated in sociology where we use informed evidence (gleaned from research studies, theories, perspectives) to support our reasoning and ideas. 
  • A sociological background and understanding will be very useful in any career in which you are dealing with people. It can play a specific part in the training in the caring professions, human resources management, journalism and media production, administration and management, social work, research, teaching and lecturing. A wide number of other professions are also available for successful sociology graduates such as in law, police, forensic criminology, politics, accountancy.

Year 12 and 13

This A level is a linear course and is studied over the two years. There are 3 units, each culminating in a two-hour exam at the end of year 13.

UNIT 1- EDUCATION AND SOCIOLOGICAL METHODS.

Education.

  • the role and functions of the education system, including its relationship to the economy and to class structure.
  • differential educational achievement of social groups by social class, gender and ethnicity in contemporary society
  • relationships and processes within schools, with particular reference to teacher/pupil relationships, pupil identities and subcultures, the hidden curriculum, and the organisation of teaching and learning
  • the significance of educational policies, including policies of selection, marketisation and privatisation, and policies to achieve greater equality of opportunity or outcome, for an understanding of the structure, role, impact and experience of and access to education;. the impact of globalisation on educational policy.

Methods.

  • quantitative and qualitative methods of research; research design
  • sources of data, including questionnaires, interviews, participant and non-participant observation, experiments, documents and official statistics
  • the distinction between primary and secondary data, and between quantitative and qualitative data
  • the theoretical, practical and ethical considerations influencing choice of topic, choice of method(s) and the conduct of research

UNIT 2- TOPICS IN SOCIOLOGY

Part 1- FAMILIES AND HOUSEHOLDS.

  • the relationship of the family to the social structure and social change, with particular reference to the economy and to state policies
  • changing patterns of marriage, cohabitation, separation, divorce, childbearing and the life course, including the sociology of personal life, and the diversity of contemporary family and household structures
  • gender roles, domestic labour and power relationships within the family in contemporary society
  • the nature of childhood, and changes in the status of children in the family and society
  • demographic trends in the United Kingdom since 1900: birth rates, death rates, family size, life expectancy, ageing population, and migration and globalisation.

Part 2- GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT.

  • development, underdevelopment and global inequality
  • globalisation and its influence on the cultural, political and economic relationships between societies
  • the role of transnational corporations, non-governmental organisations and international agencies in local and global strategies for development
  • development in relation to aid and trade, industrialisation, urbanisation, the environment, and war and conflict
  • employment, education, health, demographic change and gender as aspects of development.

UNIT 3- CRIME AND DEVIANCE WITH THEORY AND METHODS.

Crime and Deviance.

  • crime, deviance, social order and social control.
  • the social distribution of crime and deviance by ethnicity, gender and social class, including recent patterns and trends in crime.
  • globalisation and crime in contemporary society; the media and crime; green crime; human rights and state crimes.
  • crime control, surveillance, prevention and punishment, victims, and the role of the criminal justice system and other agencies.

Theory and Methods.

  • the relationship between positivism, interpretivism and sociological methods; the nature of ‘social facts’
  • consensus, conflict, structural and social action theories
  • the concepts of modernity and post-modernity in relation to sociological theory
  • the nature of science and the extent to which Sociology can be regarded as scientific
  • debates about subjectivity, objectivity and value freedom
  • the relationship between Sociology and social policy.