What is Sociology?
Sociology is the study of human society and behaviour. Sociology challenges and breaks down common sense assumptions and offers scientific and sociological explanations of human behaviour. The course allows you the opportunity to apply sociology to an analysis of contemporary societies and to your own experience. Sociology is a subject which can be controversial and challenging and is a subject for students who are interested in the world locally, nationally and globally.
Is Britain a classless society? How relevant is Marxism today? Is the family still an important institution? How influential is the mass media? Is Britain a patriarchal society? Is class the most important factor in how well you do in school? If these are the type of questions that interest you then Sociology may be the subject to choose.
Students study the WJEC GCSE examination in Sociology and the following topics are studied:
Topic 1: Culture and Socialisation Examining what is meant by culture and in what ways in which we influence or we are influenced by our culture, including:
- Nature v nurture debate (including Feral Children analysis) and cultural diversity.
- What happens if you are not socialised? Can you still participate in society?
- How can our behaviour be altered by the family, media, religion, education and peers?
Topic 2: The Family - Examining the role of the family in society. This includes exploring how religious change, immigration patterns, the rise of feminism, changing social norms, economic changes and technological change impacts on the family;
- Different types of families and the role of families in society.
- The roles of adults and children in families throughout history.
- The impact on society of changing patterns of marriage and divorce.
Theoretical views on the family such as Marxism and Functionalism and key sociological debates will be explored.
Topic 3: Education Examining the key debates and looking at theories such as Marxism, Feminism and Functionalism;
- The point of education and how schools have changed since 1970.
- Factors which affect children’s attainment will be studied such as social class, gender and ethnicity.
- Do boys or girls do better at school? Has this changed over time?
- Can your parents affect your educational outcomes? How?
- Comprehensive school v private school. Should we still have a two tier system?
Topic 4: Inequality in Society Examining the causes of poverty in society, the welfare state and class division. This unit will also look at issues of racism, sexism, ageism and other inequalities in society, which includes the following core topics:
- Age, gender, ethnicity, class and disability.
Topic 5 : Crime and Deviance Examining issues such as whether criminals are born as criminals or whether society turns them into criminals, why certain age/gender/ethnic groups may commit crime, whether capital punishment is necessary and the future of law enforcement;
- Are some people more likely to commit crime than others? Why?
- Why are some people more likely to be the victims of crimes than others?
- What is the role of the police? Has it changed since 1829
- Are crime statistics accurate? If not, why not?
- How does the media and peer groups influence the amount of crime in society?
Topic 6 :Research Methods Examining the ways that sociologists carry out research in order to test and prove their theories
There are no controlled assessments in Sociology. 100% examination –50% Paper 1 and 50% Paper 2
- Paper 1: Studying Society (Families, Education, Society) 1hr 45 minutes
- Paper 2: Crime and deviance, Social inequality and Methods of research 1 hr 45 minutes
Students study the WJEC A level Examination in Sociology and the following topics are studied:
- Acquiring Culture, with a specific focus on families and households.
- Understanding Society, with a specific focus on Education and Sociological Methods.
- Power and Control with a specific focus on Crime and Deviance.
- Social Inequality and Applied Methods of Sociological Enquiry.
Sociology (AS) – Year 12
Unit 1: Families and Households
Assessment is through compulsory questions and a choice between two essay questions. The examination is 1 hour and 15 minutes and worth 15% of A Level.
Unit 2: Education and Sociological Research Methods
Assessment is through compulsory questions and a choice between two essay questions. The examination is 2 hours and worth 25% of A Level.
Sociology (A2) – Year 13
Unit 3: Crime and Deviance
Assessment is through a compulsory section with two questions and a further section with a choice between two essay questions. The examination is 2 hours and worth 25% of A Level.
Unit 4: Social Inequality and Applied Methods of Sociological Enquiry
For sociological enquiry, assessment is through one compulsory section which will require learners to design, justify and evaluate a piece of sociological research. For social inequality, assessment is through a choice of two sections with two questions in each, one of which is an essay. The examination is 2 hours and 15 minutes and is worth 35% of A Level.
Further Information with regards to the Content
- Socialisation, Culture and Identity: culture, socialisation, social construction of different influences on how your identity is constructed e.g. class, gender, ethnicity, nationality.
- Families and Households: this includes family diversity, the study of gender relationships, power in families, changes in family size and definition, the role of the family in society, social policy, theories on family and demographic changes, marriage, divorce, and cohabitation.
- Education: this includes the study of the sociological theories, the role of education (opportunity or control) and why some children do better than others (class, gender, and race); role of processes in schools, state/government policies on education.
- Crime and Deviance: this includes the study and explanations of crime, deviance and youth culture, social control and power; corporate, state and green crimes and the impact of globalisation. Also, how class, gender, ethnicity, age and locality affects patterns of crime and deviance.
- Social Inequality: this examines the class structure in Britain and the consequence this has on life-chances, health, holidays, education, values and beliefs, power and wealth. Also social inequality based on gender, ethnicity and age.
- Sociological Theories and Methods: includes the study of sociological perspectives including Marxism and Functionalism, Feminism, Interactionism, post-modernism and the methods used including questionnaires and observation; science, value freedom and social policies.
Regular assessment will take place throughout Year 12 and 13, with a focus on the knowledge and skills required to succeed at AS and A2 level. The Sociology Department uses a range of teaching strategies, activities and resources. Typed notes are often distributed and you are also encouraged to read and research and share your ideas with other students. The seminar type approach is regularly used with the emphasis on discussion. There is also time allotted for practising examination and essay skills. Use is made of digital resources in addition to textbooks and handouts.
The course requires commitment, enthusiasm and a desire to find out about and study Britain today. Sociology is an academic subject where the skills of understanding, interpretation and evaluation of sociological knowledge need to be shown through discussions, written assignments and tests. Background reading would prove beneficial.
Careers with Sociology
Studying Sociology will show organisational and communication skills and an ability to understand social behaviour and the world around you. Sociology A Level has universal acceptance as a qualification for entry into higher education and professional careers, and is a springboard to a number of careers including: education, social work, journalism, caring professions, management, police, law, and politics.
Full specification- https://www.wjec.co.uk/media/owifffk1/wjec-gce-sociology-spec-from-2015.pdf