Sociology (A Level)
Hopefully this course is about a lot more than just a piece of paper. Most students leave the course with a real sense of what their society and culture is all about and why they act and think in the way that they do. Discussion skills are much improved as students frequently have the opportunity to debate and listen to other points of view. Equally, we tend to see that a more confident and fluent written style has developed and that students are well equipped for independent learning and research skills
What will you be learning?
Introducing socialisation, culture & identity
You are introduced to the key themes of socialisation, culture and identity and will then develop these themes through three options. These options develop skills that enable you to focus on your personal identity, roles and responsibility within society and develop a lifelong interest in social issues. We look at such things as gender, disability, ethnicity, age, sexuality and social class and explore sociological reasons for the different identities in society. Our key topic within this unit is ‘Youth’. Students engage well with the topic area and issues covered as it is essentially a study of you! We explore how the concept of youth is different in different cultures and time periods alongside ideas about the existence of the generation gap. We then move onto classic studies of youth subcultures, the mods and rockers and the punks for example, and look at key features of these subcultures as well as explanations for their existence. This provides a real insight into why youths behave and think as they do at particular points in history. We then finish with a focus on deviant subcultures – from the organised criminals, to gangs and anti-school subcultures. We look at what these are and why they exist. It’s a fascinating insight into youth today.
Researching & understanding social inequalities
Component 2 introduces and explores the methods of sociological research and develops your knowledge and understanding of contemporary social processes and social change in the context of social inequality and difference. It develops links between sociological theory and the practical methods of sociological research so you’ll begin to see what methods and approaches particular sociologists choose and why. The advantages and disadvantages of methods are explored alongside practical application. So here we basically look at the main stages of the research process and which methods are used in sociological research to best meet researcher aims. We then apply this to the topic of inequality. We ask and explore what are the main patterns and trends in social inequality and difference in our society today? How can patterns and trends in social inequality and difference be explained? With current conflicts and social debates so prominent in the media, this is both highly relevant to explaining the world in which we currently live as well as being a fascinating topic for discussion and debate.
Debates in contemporary society
In Component 3 we will examine some key debates and how these relate to a contemporary global society. The component develops knowledge and understanding of social processes and social change – which is a vast topic in the global, media society in which we currently live. Contemporary and global debates are introduced first. So we explore Globalisation and the digital social world. This really is the world you live in and so the topics are extremely relevant and particularly important in exploring and explaining your identity. Social media, interactivity, virtual communities and the whole online world are considered here. Research is new, fresh and ground breaking and you will really be at the heart of current, contemporary sociology. The module gives you the opportunity to consider developments in digital forms of communication within global society and how these developments are related to social capital and issues of identity. You will gain an overview of how Marxists, feminists and postmodernists view digital forms of communication and the impact of digital social communication on our lives – whether this is on people’s identity, social inequalities or relationships. The good, the bad and the ugly will all be considered! You will also be able to consider the impact on culture in terms of conflict and change, cultural homogenisation and cultural defence. Particularly important in the post Brexit world we find ourselves in today.
In the second section of this final component you will study one of three options though all three include a global aspect. We focus on crime and deviance. Here we explore in depth the crime rate in both the UK and on a global scale. What crimes are prominent? Who commits them? We look at ways of measuring crime and consider critically how accurate these really are and how this distorted picture comes to dominate in our media. How does this affect the public and their perception of crime and criminals, for example? For most students it’s the explanations of crime that they really engage well with. We cover a vast array of these from the traditional sociology of Marxism through to current Postmodern thinkers. Alongside this we also look at solutions to crime and how political parties, both nationally and globally, are dealing with the problem of crime.
All in all, as you can see, this is a course that really considers the world in which we live and some of the key issues and debates that characterise both our wider society and our personal identities.
How is it assessed?
100% external examination across three exam papers sat at the end of Year 2.
5 GCSEs grades 4 and above, including English language and Maths. If Sociology has been studied at GCSE level previously then a minimum grade 6 is required in the subject. If not previously studied then a minimum grade 5 in English is expected.de 5 in English is expected.