Precisely mapped to the AQA specification and offering the depth and detail you need to analyse and evaluate at the highest levels. Up-to-date coverage of the latest research, theory and government policy, with Contemporary issues case studies asking you to apply sociological ideas to contemporary society. Summary and Key terms boxes recap the main points and terminology for each section to support understanding and revision. Specially commissioned Then and now features revisit landmark sociological studies and evaluate their relevance to society today, often in the sociologistsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; own words.
AQA A-LEVEL Sociology
Provides in-depth coverage of AQAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 2015 specification, with chapters on Education, Research Methods, Methods in Context and Families and Households.
Themes and Perspectives
The most up-to-date coverage and in-depth exam support for AQA A-level Sociology, from the bestselling authors of Sociology: Themes and Perspectives.
Haralambos & Holborn
Themes and Perspectives Year 1 and AS
Build the skills for exam success with AS and A-level exam practice questions for each topic, sample responses for each question and detailed examiner guidance.
Year 1 and AS Haralambos & Holborn
Authors: Michael Haralambos, Martin Holborn and Pauline Wilson
Michael Haralambos Martin Holborn Pauline Wilson
Contributing authors: Judith Copeland and Matthew Wilkin
Sociology complete cover artworks_3B.indd 1
TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction iv
Chapter 1 Introducing sociology
(Michael Haralambos) Part 1 Culture and society Part 2 Social groups and social inequality Part 3 Sociological theories Part 4 Views of society
Chapter 2 Education
2 8 10 16
(Michael Haralambos) Part 1 Education and society Part 2 Educational policy in the UK Part 3 Class and educational attainment Part 4 Gender and education Part 5 Ethnicity and education Part 6 Relationships and processes in schools Exam practice questions
Chapter 3 Research methods
21 43 67 94 107 118 130
(Michael Haralambos) Part 1 Starting research Part 2 Observation Part 3 Interviews Part 4 Social surveys and questionnaires Part 5 Further research methods Part 6 Secondary sources Part 7 Mixed methods and triangulation Exam practice questions
Chapter 4 Methods in context
134 142 151 159 168 175 186 189
(Pauline Wilson) Part 1 Carrying out research in the context of education Part 2 Observation in sociological research on education
Part 3 Interviews in sociological research on education 209 Part 4 Social surveys and questionnaires in sociological research on education 216 Part 5 Further methods used in sociological research on education 220 Part 6 S econdary sources in sociological research on education 224 Exam practice questions 231
Chapter 5 F amilies and households 232 (Martin Holborn) Part 1 Classic perspectives on the role of the family and social change: Functionalism, Marxism and Feminism
Part 2 Contemporary perspectives on the role of the family and social change: modernity, postmodernity and interpretivist perspectives 250 Part 3 Families and social policy
Part 4 Changing family patterns
Part 5 Gender roles, domestic labour and power relationships within the family
Part 6 Childhood
Part 7 Demography
Exam practice questions
Chapter 6 E xam preparation and practice 356 (Matthew Wilkin and Judith Copeland) Bibliography/list of references
Glossary of key terms
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Introduction Welcome to sociology and welcome to this book. Sociology is about you and the society you live in. As such it is important and exciting. And it can also be fun. This book is full of entertaining and amusing cartoons illustrating key points. It is also full of interesting photographs and case studies reflecting issues of the day – 1.1 Culture and soCiety Donald Trump laying down the law on how women should behave, a transgender community in India, and a little boy pushing a baby doll in a toy pram. The book has been specially written for AQA sociology and contains a chapter on how to do well in the exam. But there’s a lot more to sociology than passing exams. If we’ve done our job properly, sociology will open your eyes to all sorts of new ideas. It will help you to see the world and yourself from a variety of different perspectives. It will encourage you to question everything you’re told and to criticise politicians of every political party. We hope you’ll enjoy the book and do well in the exam.
How to use this book The book contains a number of features to help you to understand and enjoy sociology and to develop your skills for examination success. They include the following.
Key terms and summary boxes 3.4 social sURVeys and QUestionnaiRes Each chapter is divided into parts and units. Each unit ends with a key terms box which defines the key terms used in the unit, and a summary box which recaps the main points covered in the unit. The summary boxes Sioux Native American boys as they entered Carlisle The same boys three years later. gender, ethnicity and class groups. For instance, if sampling unit – that is a member of the population Indian School in 1883. the sample frame is based on women in the UK, to be are studied. Dentists, males between 30 and 40 provide short and straightforward outlines. They ideal for revision.
Key terms Culture The learned, shared behaviour of members of society. Norm A guide to appropriate behaviour for particular people in particular situations. Value A belief that something is important and worthwhile, right or wrong.
years of age, females who own their own businesses, people with one or more A levels, can be defined
Instinct Behaviour directed by genes. without too many problems. However, other groups
not soThe easymethods – how would you define a semi-skilled Social are control designed to ensure manual worker or a person living in poverty? that members of society conform to approved ways Sampling frame Once the research population of behaving.
Social solidarity Social unity, social cohesion, sticking together.
Status A position in society.
Role A set of norms which defines appropriate behaviour for a particular status.
Socialisation The process by which culture is learned. Primary socialisation The earliest and probably the most important part of socialisation.
has been defined, the sample is selected from a sampling frame – a list of members of the population to be studied. In some cases, an appropriate sampling frame is readily available – for example, the Electoral Register (a list of people Norms provide orderforinasociety. registered to vote) study of They votingmake behaviour. social life predictable and comprehensible. In other cases, researchers may have to rely on listings, such as the Postcode Address Finder (a list Shared values produce social solidarity and of addresses complied by the Post Office – used social cohesion. by the British Social Attitudes survey) or telephone directories, which may or may not be suitable for Statuses and roles define who a person is and their purposes. And all listings have drawbacks – orders their behaviour. not everyone is included, they are often out of date, certain groups are likely for to be under-represented Socialisation is essential individuals to learn – for example, the poor are less likely to appear the culture of their society. in telephone directories, and younger people on Electoral Registers as theypeople are lesstolikely Social control encourages act to in have terms registered to vote.
5. Secondary socialisation The socialisation received Cartoons, photographs and activities of society’s norms and values. in later life.
the researcher might divide the women into ethnic and class groups and then draw a random sample from each of these groups. This will be more likely to provide a representative sample of women. In practice, researchers will add strata they think are important to their research. The annual Crime Survey for England and Wales provides an example of a stratified random sample. It is a nationally representative sample of around 35,000 adults and 3,000 children aged 10 to 15. The strata are age, gender, and region ‘to ensure the sample reflects the profile of the general population’ (Crime in England and Wales, ONS, 2016). Quota samples A market researcher stands on a street corner looking for people to fill her quota. She has to find 20 women between the ages of 30 and 45 to answer a questionnaire on magazine readership. She fills her quota with the first 20 women passing by who 1) fit the required age group and 2) agree to answer her questions. The sample selection is not random – it is not randomly selected from a sampling frame. The researcher simply fills their quota from the first available bodies. This method is known as quota sampling.
The design and composition of the sample will partly The book contains many specially drawn cartoons. Cartoons areused. fun. They 6. Culture provides individuals a Some sense Peer group A group in which members share depend on the type of samplewith of the more common types are outlined below. similar circumstances. of identity. are also important. They provide entertaining and memorable snapshots of key ideas. They can add clarity and understanding at a glance.
types of sample
Random samples A random sample gives every member of the sampling frame an equal chance of being selected. Every name is given a number and then a list of random numbers is used to select a sample. This avoids bias in selection. It prevents the researcher from selecting a sample which provides a result which fits their theory, supports their hypothesis, that gives them what they expect and what they hope to find. 245152 A-level Sociology Year 1_CH01.indd 7
11/14/17 Random samples are not necessarily representative. For example, if the sample is intended to represent college students, it might include mostly female students. This can happen when the sample is randomly drawn even though females might make up only half the student population.
Stratified random sampling offers a possible solution to the problem of representativeness. The sample frame is divided into groups or strata which reflect the general population – for example age,
Selecting people for a quota sample.
activity With some reference to the picture, suggest why quota sampling is unlikely to produce a sample which is representative of the research population.
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Statuses and roles are culturally defined and vary from society to society. Take the example of gender statuses. In Western societies most people recognise only two gender statuses – male and female. Some other cultures identify three or more gender statuses.
For example, some Native American tribes traditionally recognised a third gender – a ‘two-spirit’ person who is doubly blessed with the spirit of a man and a woman. The picture shows We’wha, a two-spirited person from the Zuñi tribe of New Mexico (Williams, 1991).
contemporary issues 1.1: How many genders? In 2011, Australian passports changed to three gender options – male, female and There are lots of carefully selected photographs inAccording the book. indeterminate. to the Australian government this was to remove discrimination Photographs bring the real world into sociology. They show the against transgender people and intersex people – relevance of sociology to today’s society.those [Activities] born with a sexual anatomy which does not fit the standard definitions of male and female. This was an important step for travellers at airports Each cartoon and photograph is accompanied by an activity – one or who are questioned or detained because their more questions which ask you to think about and comment thegender appearance does not seem to on fit their status. The option of a third gender follows similar picture with reference to the preceding text. These activities give you decisions in Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
the opportunity to apply what you’ve just learned. In 2014, the Hijras, India’s transgender minority,
finally achieved full legal recognition as a third gender. This means for the first time there are quotas of government jobs and college places for Hijras (The Guardian, 16.04.2014). 2 Education In the UK Maria Miller, who chairs the Women and Equalities Committee, says that passports and driving licences should be gender neutral – they should not mention gender (The Guardian, 02.01.2016).
Members of the Hijra community in India.
› › › › › research gave
1. Should we legally recognise additional genders? 2. If so, why and how many more genders? If not, why not?
contemporary issues 4.1: Gendered toys
Contemporary issues are another type of activity. They ask you to apply sociological ideas to issues of the day. This shows the socialisation and social control relevance of sociology to you and the society you live in. Socialisation is the process by which people learn For example, do we live in a fair and just Issociety. thereThe most important part the society? culture of their of this process equality of opportunity? Does everybody have anprobably equaltakes place during a person’s early years. Known as primary socialisation it usually chance to succeed in the education system? These arefamily. By responding to the takes place within the andwith disapproval fundamental questions which we hope approval will stay you of family members and copying their example, the child learns the language long after your A-level exams. and many of the basic behaviour patterns of their society.
later life. And in their adult occupations young people soon learn the rules of the game and the A mother and son tricks of the trade.
in a toy shop
Without socialisation, an individual would bear little saw the looks you resemblance to a Ihuman being defined as gave normal by the standards of their society. can be seen from me and myThis three-year-old the example of Ssabunnya who spent part of his early son today. I saw the way life with a troupe of colobus monkeys, as described in you watched him pick the following activity.
out the pink dolls pram and push it round the culture and instinct shop with pure joy. I saw To what extent is the the behaviour living over creatures way you ofcame directed by instinct and to what extent is it directed frowning at a child simply by learning? enjoying a toy. I listened The behaviour of some creatures is based on instinct – as you tried to belittle my it is directed by their genes. Bees provide an example. for his choice of toy. The closer we getson to human beings, the less important
Secondary socialisation is the socialisation received in later life. In peer groups – groups whose members share similar circumstances and are often the same age – children play games and learn that social life is based on rules and norms of behaviour. At school they learn lessons for life and more specialised aspects of culture such as maths and science (see the next chapter). The mass media and social media can provide role models instincts are for directing behaviour and the more ‘Oh, want that, it’sbecomes. just forFor girls, not boys. and ways of communicating which continue intoyou don’t important learning example, studies of
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whose packagi on stereotypes with household C toy G shown with twice as likely t toys and 16On tim and soldiers (L
Similar finding Institution An for found that 31 bro technology, en listed for boys retailers’ webs
It’s all pink and girly. There’s cars and dinosaurs over there, why would you want that girly thing.’ I was about to have a go at you but my boy got there first and answered you so much better than I could’ve: ’Cos I like it’.
Th aw no 11/14/17 8:56 PM
Now and then This is a feature which revisits ground-breaking sociological studies from the last fifty years. Usually written by the original authors, Now and then features assess the significance of these classic studies to today’s society. They also give you an insight into how sociologists think and carry out their research, and what motivates them to do so.
Let Toys Be Toys is an organisation which campaigns to stop manufacturers and retailers from promoting some toys and books as only suitable for girls and others for boys. Their 2012 survey showed that My Research Question has always been as much to 50 per cent of shops used signs for ‘Boys’ toys’ and do with the ‘How’ of it as with the ‘Why’ of it. Hence ‘Girls’ toys’. Their 2016 survey showed that these the subtitle of my book: How working class kids get signs had ‘pretty much disappeared’. However, their working class jobs. When I did the research in the 1970s, there were many ideas about why working class students so often ‘failed’ in education, ideas which were usually very insulting of them. But there Key term were very few ideas concerning the ‘how’. I wanted Gendered learning styles The idea that males and to fill this gap with a detailed account of their ‘lived females have different styles of learning. culture’, the meanings they gave to the context in which they lived, how they came to accept a future of manual labour, how it seemed natural to them.
On QuestionsWo gro 1. Grown-ups approach whi
then and now: Paul Willis
What do yo social group.
2. What effecc I have been to subject chog view’ of class,
economic cha ho often seems t › Differen has largely di subject This greatly o gender is undoubted › Differen complex ways Thin result working-class for girls industrial, ex con following mor find intermitt ‘parked’ for lo government s and ‘mental w working-class This unit begin ethnographic 366 underachieving
To this are I chose ethnography as my research 1. do There still important differences in gender method studying behaviour in the situationare in Each chapter ends with exam-practice questions for AS and A-level. Insubject the– final chapter, these questions choice. it occurs and discovering the meanings used explored in detail with examiner guidance and sample answers at which Grade A and Grade C. 2. The following reasons have been suggested for to make sense of the present and future. This type these differences: of research requires a specific focus – in this case a focus on class and gender in order to understand › Gender differences in early socialisation. the experience of ‘the lads’.
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Let Toys Be Toys
I believe that this approach is essential for an in-depth understanding of the ‘meanings world’, 104 08/12/17 the ‘social grammar’ and the ‘structure of feeling’
4.5 Expla unde
explanations f My main hope book is to rem 9:25‘how’ PM question
2.1 Education and Society
Evaluation of Bowles and Gintis According to David L. Swartz (2003), Schooling in Capitalist America is undoubtedly one of the classics in the sociology of education ‘having had a major impact on education theory and research’. As a result, it has had both widespread support and criticism. The main criticism is that the argument is too deterministic – it sees education as determined by the economy. As such, it ignores the possible effects of other aspects of society. And it gives too much emphasis to capitalism. For example, Karabel and Halsey (1977) maintain that education in communist Cuba placed ‘heavy reliance on grades and exams as sources of student motivation’ and teaching is based on a ‘generally authoritarian and teacher-centred method of instruction’. Critics have also argued that Bowles and Gintis largely ignored resistance in schools and in the wider society to the type of education they describe. Numerous studies show that many students have scant regard for school rules and little respect for the authority of teachers as the following section shows. And, as Henry Giroux (1984) argues, schools can be seen as sites of ideological struggle – clashes based on conflicting views within and between various groups such as teachers, school managers, parents, students, school inspectors, school governors, local authorities and the ministry of education.
Key terms Ruling class ideology A system of ideas which justifies the position of the ruling class (the bourgeoisie). False class consciousness A false picture of society which disguises the exploitation of the subject class (proletariat). Ideological State Apparatuses Institutions, including the education system, which transmit ruling class ideology. Repressive State Apparatuses Institutions, such as the army and the police, which keep the subject class in its place. Hidden curriculum A curriculum apart from the subjects taught that is hidden from teachers and students. Correspondence theory A theory that states that there is a similarity between two things. Alienation Cut off from, unable to find satisfaction from. Sites of ideological struggle Places where there are conflicts based on different beliefs and values.
Summary 1. According to Althusser, education, as part of the Ideological State Apparatuses, transmits ruling class ideology. 2. Critics say that Althusser:
››provides only a general framework with little evidence to support his views
››treats people as ‘cultural dopes’ who passively accept ruling class ideology.
3. According to Bowles and Gintis, education in capitalist society reproduces labour power. It does this by:
››rewarding discipline ››legitimating inequality and disguising
exploitation by promoting the myth of a meritocracy.
4. Critics argue that Bowles and Gintis:
››give a deterministic view seeing education shaped by the economy
››ignore resistance to and conflict within the education system.
Paul Willis – Learning to Labour In an important study titled Learning to Labour: How Working Class Kids get Working-Class Jobs, Paul Willis (1977) developed a distinctive, neo-Marxist (new Marxist) approach to education. Willis studied a Midlands school in England in the 1970s. He used a variety of methods – ‘observation and participant observation in class, around the school and during leisure activities, regular recorded group discussions, informal interviews and diaries’. Willis did not just rely on analysis of the relationship between education and the economy. He also tried to understand the experience of schooling from the perspective of the students and how they saw the present and the future. He soon found that schools were not as successful as Bowles and Gintis supposed in producing docile and conformist workers.
The counter-school culture The school Willis studied was situated on a working-class housing estate in a mainly industrial small town. The main focus of his study was a group of 12 working-class boys whom he observed over their last 18 months at school, and their first few months at work. The 12 students formed a friendship group
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2 Education with a distinctive attitude to school. The ‘lads’, as they called themselves, had their own counter-school culture, which was opposed to the values promoted by the school. This counter-school culture had the following features. The lads felt superior both to teachers, and to conformist students whom they referred to as ‘ear ’oles’. The lads attached little or no value to the academic work of the school and had no interest in gaining qualifications. They resented the school trying to take control – they constantly tried to win ‘symbolic and physical space from the institution and its rules’. While avoiding work, the lads kept themselves entertained with ‘irreverent marauding misbehaviour’.
‘Having a laff’ was a high priority. Willis described some of the behaviour that resulted: During films in the hall they tie the projector leads into impossible knots, make animal figures or obscene shapes on the screen with their fingers, and gratuitously dig and jab the backs of the ‘ear ’oles’ in front of them. Willis, 1977 To the lads, the school equalled boredom, while the outside world offered possibilities for excitement. Smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, part-time jobs and going out at night were ways in which they tried to identify with the adult, male world.
Activity – The lads’ view of life Extract from a poem written by one of the lads in an English lesson: On a night we go out on the street Troubling other people, I suppose we’re anti-social, But we enjoy it. The older generation They don’t like our hair, Or the clothes we wear They seem to love running us down, I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have the gang. In what ways does this poem reflect the lads’ view of life? According to Willis, the lads were eager to leave school at the earliest possible moment, and they looked forward to their first full-time jobs. While the ear ’oles took notice of career lessons and were concerned about the types of job they would eventually get, the lads were content to go on to any job, so long as it was a male, manual job. Such jobs were considered ‘real work’, in contrast to the office jobs which the ear ’oles were heading for. The education system appears to be failing to produce the kind of workers some see as ideal for capitalism. The lads neither accepted authority nor were they obedient and docile. Yet despite this, Willis argues that the lads were well prepared for the work that they would do. It was their very rejection of school that made them suitable for male, unskilled or semi-skilled manual work. Working-class masculinity The lads saw themselves and their future work as tough, hard and manly. Manual work was masculine, mental work was ‘sissy’ – effeminate. The lads’ construction of masculinity was both offensive and defensive. It gave power to their
resistance, superiority over those the school defined as successful and self-respect where teachers saw them as failures.
Shop-floor culture and counter-school culture When Willis followed the lads into their first jobs in factories, he found strong similarities between shop-floor culture (shop floor is the factory floor) and the counter-school culture. There was the same lack of respect for authority, the same emphasis on masculinity, and the same belief in the worth of manual labour. Having a ‘laff’ was equally important in both cultures, and on the shop floor, as in the school, the maximum possible freedom was sought. The lads and their new workmates tried to control the pace at which they worked, and to win some time and space in which they were free from the boredom and tedium of work. According to Willis, both the counter-school culture and the shop-floor culture are ways of coping with tedium and oppression. Life is made more tolerable
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2.1 Education and Society by having a ‘laff’ and winning a little space from the supervisor, the manager or the teacher. In both settings, though, the challenges to authority never go too far. The lads and workers hope to gain a little freedom, but they do not challenge the institution head-on. They know that they must do a certain amount of work in the factory or risk dismissal, and they realise that the state can enforce school attendance if it is determined to do so. Willis concludes that the lads are not persuaded to act as they do by the school, nor are they forced to seek manual labour. Instead, they actively create their own subculture, which leads them to look for manual jobs. They learn about the culture of the shop floor from fathers, elder brothers and other men in the local community. They are attracted to this masculine, adult world. They see the school and its values as irrelevant to their chosen work.
Capitalism and the counter-school culture Willis claims that in some ways the lads see through the capitalist system, but in other ways they contribute to their own exploitation. He calls their insights into the workings of capitalism penetrations. According to Willis, the lads recognise that ‘the possibility of real upward mobility is so remote as to be meaningless’, that any qualifications they might get will be unlikely to affect their job choices, and that investing time, emotion and energy into school work is hardly worth the effort. The counter-school culture ‘knows’ that meritocracy is an illusion and that the majority of working-class lads will remain at the bottom of the class system. Despite these ‘partial penetrations’ into the nature of capitalism, the lads prepare themselves for manual work at school. The counter-school culture directs them into low-skill employment. And the lads condemn themselves to ‘a precise insertion into a system of exploitation and oppression for working-class people’.
Evaluation of Willis According to Madeleine Arnot (2004), Learning to Labour by Paul Willis ‘has greater, not less, relevance in the current school climate’. First, schools are
increasingly exam-driven, competitive and pressured. Second, the deindustrialisation of Western society and the disappearance of the majority of manual jobs have led to growing uncertainty about occupational futures. These factors might make working-class masculinity and resistance to schools even more relevant today. Willis provides a framework to study and understand the relationship between class, gender, schooling and the economy. He looks at the construction of meaning. He shows how the lads’ definition of the situation has a logic and sense in terms of their class situation and culture, their gender, the priorities of the school and the employment and economic context of the time. As Liz Gordon (1984), states, Willis ‘has provided the model on which most subsequent cultural studies investigation within education has been based’. Nevertheless, Willis has his critics:
››They suggest Willis’s sample is inadequate as
a basis for generalising about working-class education. Willis focused on only 12 students, all of them male, who were by no means typical of the students at the school he studied, never mind of working-class students in the population as a whole.
››They accuse Willis of largely ignoring the existence of a variety of subcultures within the school. They point out that many students came somewhere in between the extremes of being totally conformist and being totally committed to the counter-school culture.
››They question the relevance of Willis’s study in
today’s increasingly de-industrialised society where manual jobs are rapidly disappearing.
In terms of this last criticism, Willis continues to provide a reference point and a benchmark for later research. This can be seen from the title of Michael Ward’s (2015) study, From Labouring to Learning: Working-Class Masculinities, Education and De-industrialisation. This study of working-class young men in South Wales shows that in several respects working-class culture has remained the same despite the disappearance of many traditional working-class jobs – see p.106.
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Then and now: Paul Willis – Learning to Labour (1977) Question has always been as much “toMydo Research with the ‘How’ of it as with the ‘Why’ of it. Hence the subtitle of my book: How Working-Class Kids get Working-Class Jobs. When I did the research in the 1970s, there were many ideas about why working-class students so often ‘failed’ in education, ideas which were usually very insulting of them. But there were very few ideas concerning the ‘how’. I wanted to fill this gap with a detailed account of their ‘lived culture’, the meanings they gave to the context in which they lived, how they came to accept a future of manual labour, how it seemed natural to them.
approach which can be applied to the study of any social group.
To do this I chose ethnography as my research method – studying behaviour in the situation in which it occurs and discovering the meanings used to make sense of the present and future. This type of research requires a specific focus – in this case a focus on class and gender in order to understand the experience of ‘the lads’.
I have been criticised for having an ‘old fashioned view’ of class, a view that has been outdated by economic change and de-industrialisation. There often seems to be an assumption that that class has largely disappeared and is no longer relevant. This greatly overstates things. The working class is undoubtedly being re-formed and fractured in complex ways but certainly not abolished. Some working-class students proceed to still available industrial, construction and maintenance jobs, following more or less traditional patterns. Some find intermittent and insecure work. Some are ‘parked’ for long periods of time in colleges or on government schemes. Others move to non-manual and ‘mental work’ while retaining many aspects of working-class culture. These experiences demand ethnographic attention with a focus on the ‘how’.
I believe that this approach is essential for an in-depth understanding of the ‘meanings world’, the ‘social grammar’ and the ‘structure of feeling’ of a social group. For this reason, I think that my approach continues to be highly, perhaps even more, relevant to understand today’s working class and what is going on both in and out of school. It is very pleasing to me to have opened up a new
My main hope for the continuing contribution of my book is to remind scholars and researchers that the ‘how’ question should always be included and to show respect for the ‘lived culture’ of those under study. Find that creative ‘cultural production’ which always lives no matter how deeply buried in the belly of the beast of social reproduction! Despite everything, that is always a source of optimism and hope.
Key terms Counter-school culture A rejection of the norms and values of the school and their replacement with anti-school norms and values. Shop-floor culture The culture of low-skill workers which has similarities to the counter-school culture. Penetrations Insights into the false pictures presented by ruling class ideology.
Summary 1. According to Willis, the lads developed their own counter-school culture. This involved:
››having a ‘laff’ ››misbehaving and rejecting authority
››doing as little work as possible ››getting involved in the male, adult world outside school.
2. The similarity between counter-school culture and shop-floor culture prepared the lads to accept and cope with low-skill, manual work. 3. Critics argue that:
››willis’s sample is too small to generalise from ››he ignored other student subcultures ››his study is no longer relevant because of economic change
››despite these criticisms, his work has been very influential and provided a model for later research.
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3 Research methods
Key terms Social survey The systematic collection of the same type of data from a relatively large number of people. Structured interview A questionnaire read out by the interviewer who also records the answers. Self-completion questionnaire A questionnaire completed by the research participant.
Summary A social survey is usually based on presenting participants with the same questions in the form of a structured interview or a self-completion questionnaire.
3.4.2 Sampling Nearly all social surveys are based on a sample of the population to be investigated. ‘Population’ is the term given to everybody in the group to be studied. The population might be adult males, female pensioners,
manual workers, 16–19-year-old students, parents with dependent children and so on. A sample is a selection of part of the population. Samples are necessary because researchers rarely have the time and money to study everybody in the particular population to be investigated. Most researchers aim to select a sample which is representative of the population to be studied. This means that the sample should have the same characteristics as the population as a whole. Thus, if a researcher is studying the attitudes of British women, the sample should not consist of 1000 nuns, or 1000 women over 80 or 1000 divorced women, since such groups are hardly representative of British women. With a representative sample, generalisations are more likely to be true – findings from the sample are more likely to be applicable to the research population as a whole.
Sample design and composition Sampling unit Who should be included in a sample? In many cases it is fairly easy to define a
The researcher wants a representative sample of families with dependent children. 1. Why would the researcher want a representative sample? 2. How would the information in the picture help him to obtain one?
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3.4 Social surveys and questionnaires sampling unit – that is a member of the population to be studied. Dentists, males between 30 and 40 years of age, females who own their own businesses, people with one or more A-levels, can be defined without too many problems. However, other groups are not so easy – how would you define a semi-skilled manual worker or a person living in poverty? Sampling frame Once the research population has been defined, the sample is selected from a sampling frame – a list of members of the population to be studied. In some cases, an appropriate sampling frame is readily available – for example, the Electoral Register (a list of people registered to vote) for a study of voting behaviour. In other cases, researchers may have to rely on listings, such as the Postcode Address Finder (a list of addresses complied by the Post Office – used by the British Social Attitudes survey) or telephone directories, which may or may not be suitable for their purposes. And all listings have drawbacks – not everyone is included, they are often out of date, certain groups are likely to be under-represented – for example, the poor are less likely to appear in telephone directories, and younger people on Electoral Registers as they are less likely to have registered to vote. The design and composition of the sample will partly depend on the type of sample used. Some of the more common types are outlined below.
gender, ethnicity and class groups. For instance, if the sample frame is based on women in the UK, the researcher might divide the women into ethnic and class groups and then draw a random sample from each of these groups. This will be more likely to provide a representative sample of women. In practice, researchers will add strata they think are important to their research. The annual Crime Survey for England and Wales provides an example of a stratified random sample. It is a nationally representative sample of around 35 000 adults and 3 000 children aged 10 to 15. The strata are age, gender, and region ‘to ensure the sample reflects the profile of the general population’ (Crime in England and Wales, ONS, 2016). Quota samples A market researcher stands on a street corner looking for people to fill her quota. She has to find 20 women between the ages of 30 and 45 to answer a questionnaire on magazine readership. She fills her quota with the first 20 women passing by who 1) fit the required age group and 2) agree to answer her questions. The sample selection is not random – it is not randomly selected from a sampling frame. The researcher simply fills their quota from the first available bodies. This method is known as quota sampling.
Types of sample Random samples A random sample gives every member of the sampling frame an equal chance of being selected. Every name is given a number and then a list of random numbers is used to select a sample. This avoids bias in selection. It prevents the researcher from selecting a sample which provides a result which fits their theory, supports their hypothesis, that gives them what they expect and what they hope to find. Random samples are not necessarily representative. For example, if the sample is intended to represent college students, it might include mostly female students. This can happen when the sample is randomly drawn even though females might make up only half the student population. Stratified random sampling offers a possible solution to the problem of representativeness. The sample frame is divided into groups or strata which reflect the general population – for example age,
Selecting people for a quota sample. With some reference to the picture, suggest why quota sampling is unlikely to produce a sample which is representative of the research population.
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5 Families and households in paid employment, then the liberal feminist dream of egalitarian relationships between men and women will move closer to being a reality.
Evaluation of liberal feminism
Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, at the World Economic Forum in 2013. But are her experiences typical of ‘ordinary’ women?
Somerville’s work recognises that significant changes have taken place in family life, and it offers the realistic possibility of gradual progress towards greater equality within the family. However, to radical feminists such an approach will fail to deal with the persistence of patriarchal structures in society and a patriarchal culture in family life. Linda McKie and Samantha Callan (2012) argue that liberal feminism has failed to deliver fully on its promises. According to them, when women become mothers this can be a turning point which leads to women adopting traditional gender roles. Mothers (and in some contexts their daughters) still end up doing a disproportionate share of housework, caring work and emotion work (for example writing and sending birthday and Christmas cards).
Contemporary issues: Neoliberal feminism? Angela McRobbie (2013) raises questions about the success of liberal feminism in a recent article. She argues that a new form of feminism has emerged which serves the interests of middle and upper-class women and capitalism, but not women from working-class backgrounds. This new form of feminism has undermined the traditional role of feminism in promoting greater equality and instead has become closely tied to neoliberalism. (Neoliberalism is the contemporary form of capitalism based on free markets and free trade, which can lead to extreme inequality.) Motherhood is the central issue to neoliberal feminists. Neoliberals support a capitalist system in which the state has a minimal role in regulating the economy and the welfare state is cut back as far as possible. According to McRobbie, cutting welfare is linked to the celebration of independent, self-sufficient and well-functioning families in which mothers play a central role. Women are called on to be ‘exemplary mothers’ socialising their children effectively while at the same time being strong, successful and independent women. If women juggle motherhood and careers they can take advantage of the sort of opportunities that liberal feminists have striven for (for example opportunities for high-flying careers and high-quality childcare). If they take time away from work to raise children, then they can achieve
fulfilment by being ‘professional mothers’ using their education and professional experience to invest time and effort in the future success of their children. The daily grind of housework and childcare is no longer portrayed as drudgery (as in traditional feminist writing) but as an opportunity to exercise professional skills (albeit often with paid-help from cleaners, childminders or nannies to reduce the burden). McRobbie refers to a book by Sheryl Sandberg, the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, which advises women on using business techniques to run households, raise children and still have very successful careers. At the same time the professional mother, whether full or part-time, is expected to maintain her (hetero)sexual desirability, getting exercise, keeping slim, keeping up with fashion and spending time and money on make-up and personal grooming. She aspires to be ‘a yummy mummy’ impressing her peers with her femininity as well as her success. For example, women can use ‘jogging buggies’ to keep fit while bonding with their young children. As well as in books like Sandberg’s, these Ideas are promoted In The Daily Mail’s Femail section, on the website Mumsnet, in magazines such as Elle and Red, TV programmes such as Loose Women and so on. The messages are reinforced by social media particularly Instagram and Facebook. This new neoliberal version of feminism draws on aspects of
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5.1 Classic perspectives on the role of the family and social change
the old liberal feminism – for example telling women to demand caring male partners who will help with childcare and housework – but it stops short of supporting equality for all women. The neoliberal image of the independent, successful career woman with an egalitarian relationship does not extend to working-class women. There is little or no concern with state welfare to support single mothers, mothers struggling on low income or in insecure work. Indeed, such women are seen as not ‘trying hard enough’ and failing to live up to the ideals of motherhood with its ‘routines of play dates, coffee shops and jogging buggies’. According to McRobbie, the neoliberal form of feminism does more for the interests of capitalists than women, especially working-class women. While it encourages opportunities for middle-class women (at least to some extent) working-class women are looked down on as unfashionable and as lacking the ‘right’ (middle-class) lifestyle. Furthermore, opportunities for middle-class mothers to spend quality time with their children, to keep slim and fashionable or to pursue their careers, rely on working-class childminders, nannies and cleaners. Therefore, neoliberal feminism is no substitute for
Key terms Patriarchal A patriarchy is a society or group that is dominated by and run in the interests of men. Domestic labour Work done within the home such as housework and childcare. It may be unpaid but it creates value just as paid work does. Ideological conditioning The process by which people are taught distorted beliefs which serve the interests of powerful groups in society, particularly capitalists. Radical feminism The most extreme version of feminism which tends to see society as being completely dominated by men and which sees the interests of men and women as being very different. Oppression Keeping people in a state in which they are disadvantaged, exploited, and denied opportunity and freedom. Liberal feminism A version of feminism which is relatively moderate and believes that the position of women in society can be improved through reform rather than radical or revolutionary change.
more radical forms of feminism which promote greater equality for all women, and which acknowledge class as well as gender inequality.
The Quest Jogging Stroller: With shock-absorbing tyre suspension and a built-in sound system, it is designed so you can bond with your baby while jogging to keep fit.
1. How does the Quest Jogging Stroller reflect the concerns of neoliberal feminists? 2. Are mothers who use them more ‘worthy’ than those who use cheap buggies? Neoliberalism The latest stage of capitalism which supports free markets and a minimal role for the state. Neoliberal feminism According to McRobbie, a version of feminism which is pro-capitalist.
Summary 1. There are many different versions of feminism, but they all emphasise the negative effects of family life on women. 2. Marxist feminists believe that the family benefits men and capitalists in a variety of ways.
››Women’s labour reproduces the workforce at no cost to capitalists.
››It serves as an ideological conditioning device persuading workers to accept capitalism.
3. Radical feminism comes in a variety of forms but all agree that revolutionary change is needed to end the oppression of women. 4. Germaine Greer believes that whether as mothers, wives or daughters, women’s roles
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AS-LEVEL PAPER 1 EDUCATION EXAM PRACTICE QUESTIONS
0 3 Read Item A below and answer the question that follows. Item A In recent years, the A-level subjects with the highest proportions of female students were English, Biology and Psychology, whereas those with the highest proportions of male students were Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry. When explaining these differences, some sociologists emphasise the image and nature of different subjects the way they are taught, and the learning style associated with particular subjects. Others emphasise factors outside school such as gender differences in the way children are socialised.
Applying material from Item A analyse two reasons for gender differences in subject choice [10 marks]
Remember ››This question is worth 10 marks and your response must be written in continuous prose. ››The question asks you for two reasons and you must make these clearly distinct. ››Spend around 15 minutes on this question. ››Out of the 10 marks awarded, you are not given five marks for each reason. You will be awarded for the overall quality of your response. Do not worry if one of your points is stronger than the other as your response will be marked holistically.
››To get into the top mark bands you need to show analysis and evaluation. ››You might want to state which reason has made more impact, as this will help you to analyse. ››You can use examples to support your ideas. C grade response
As mentioned in item A, males and females are likely to choose different subjects both in their options at GCSE and particularly in their choices for A-level. Evidence shows that females are more likely to choose language based subjects such as English and boys more mathematical subjects. One such reason for this could be biological in that evidence suggests that males and females have different brains. Females are more likely to be creative and linguistic and boys are more likely to be practical and logical, therefore they pick different subjects. Many sociologists however believe that these differences are due to nurture more than natural biology. In relation to this may be the way in which the subjects are taught by the teachers, for example English and Psychology are subjects which are often quite feminised with attention to language, detail, reading and written assessments in terms of essays. Conversely subjects such as physics and chemistry are more likely to have factual short answers and have a more practical element to the lessons which would appeal more to boys. Despite this there have been efforts to get more students into certain subjects such as the girls into science and technology (GIST) campaign which seems to have worked in biology in particular.
The candidate could have developed this by stating why girls and boys choose certain subjects. Although this point is worth crediting, it is weak. Biological arguments are seldom used in sociology and this one isn’t explained well. The candidate could have introduced the concepts of spatial awareness and verbal reasoning which would have developed the point. An opportunity to analyse and evaluate with a feminist critique is missed. Feminists do not support biological arguments. This point could have been developed further by addressing the fact that governments have made an attempt to combat these issues. Initiatives have seen changes in the way subjects are taught.
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6 E XAM PREPARATION AND PRACTICE
Examiner’s comments There are some good ideas and evidence within this answer, particularly the second reason explaining how subjects are taught, which uses the item. There is however a key ‘hook’ in the item about socialisation. The answer does not pick up on this hook, which would naturally lead into one of the reasons for subject choice.
A grade response
As mentioned in item A, males and females are likely to choose different subjects both in their options at GCSE and particularly in their choices for A-level. Evidence shows that females are more likely to choose language based subjects such as English and boys more mathematical subjects; reasons for this can be linked to both internal and external factors. One such reason could be connected to primary socialisation which teaches us gender differences from an early age. The feminist Oakley identifies that parents use different verbal appellations on children and give them different toys through a process of canalisation. Boys’ toys are likely to be more practical and active whereas girls’ toys are likely to be domestic related or a book based learning tool. This early form of gender manipulation in socialisation could set the building blocks for the different ways in which boys and girls learn and ultimately the subject choices they make, though it could also be argued that these differences are biological rather than socialised. Inside school the different ways in which subjects are taught could be a reason for the subject choices boys and girls make. Science suggests that boys’ brains are more logical and practical and therefore they may be attracted to maths and also the practical experiments of subjects such as chemistry. Females are more likely to have stronger linguistic and creative skills and they are therefore more attracted to subjects such as English and psychology due to the attention to language, detail, reading and written assessments in the form of essays. Feminists do criticise this idea and believe that these choices are not a result of biology but rather ideological conditioning. Despite these differences, there have been efforts to get more students into certain subjects such as the girls into science and technology (GIST) campaign which seems to have worked in biology in particular and likewise the 2005 breakthrough programme to help the exam performance of teenage boys.
The candidate uses the item and shows sound knowledge of the topic in question. The candidate demonstrates good knowledge and understanding of relevant sociological concepts here.
An opportunity to evaluate is missed here: gender socialisation is changing with some parents choosing gender neutral toys Also some children now challenge the process.
The second point is well made with relevant analysis and evaluation.
Further analysis is displayed in this conclusion.
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