Sociology helps students to gain knowledge and understanding of key social structures, processes and issues through the study of families, education, crime and deviance and social stratification. Students will develop their analytical, assimilation and communication skills by comparing and contrasting perspectives on a variety of social issues, constructing reasoned arguments, making substantiated judgements and drawing reasoned conclusions.

Topics covered in Sociology are detailed below

Topics 1 and 2: Foundations for Sociology : Concepts and research skills (all papers topic)This topic looks at all the foundation skills and knowledge that a KS4 Sociology students need to know initially. This includes debates within sociology including conflict versus consensus and incorporating the ideas of Durkheim, Marx and Weber in a contextualised manner giving students an idea of the time and place of the development of these classical sociological ideas. They will then explore how sociological knowledge and ideas change over time and how these ideas inform our understanding of the social world. This is through an introduction to the key ideas of feminism, functionalism, interactionism and Marxism. Student will apply their understanding and develop their knowledge through key sociological text. They will be introduced to key sociological terms and concepts concerned with social structures, social processes and social issues and the explanation of social phenomena including: society, socialisation, norms, values, roles, labelling, discrimination, power and authority. The second half of this Unit ‘Research Skills’ introduces students to the uses, advantages and disadvantages of different research methods as well as classic research case studies e.g. Milgram study of obedience. They will learn how to apply this knowledge to the specified contexts i.e. families, education, crime and deviance, social stratification. Students will also undertake small-scale research projects in order to develop their understanding of the practical difficulties faced by the sociologists working in the field.
Topic 3: Sociology of families (Paper 1 topic)Student will study differing views on the functions of families. Through the perspectives of Functionalist, Feminist and Marxists. They will consider how beneficial the nuclear family is for society and to what extent we now have family diversity, through the work of post-modernist such as Rapoport. and Rapoport. Students will then explore and explain reasons for increased family diversity and how families contrast in their structures, norms and values globally but also in alternative setting such as living in a Kibbutz. These ideas will then be applied to the topic of conjugal roles within families, explaining and evaluating just how equal roles within the family are. Again, using key case studies and sociological concepts and language. Students will apply critical thinking and evaluation skills through extended essay writing to identify criticisms to questions such as how equal are gender roles within the family? And is the nuclear family the best type of family for society? We then move on to look at changing rates of marriage and divorce, using data reading skills and applying reasons for these changing rates, student will think critically about the impact of issues such as legalised gay marriage and the changing status of women in society. Students will consider the impact of divorce and declining marriage to how this impacts individuals and society as a whole. Through out the unit the concepts will be applied to a range of contemporary issues and articles to show student how Sociology can be applied contemporary society.
Topic 4: Sociology of Education (Paper 1 topic )This topic will take students through the role and purpose of the British Education system through the perspectives of Functionalist, Feminist, Marxists and interactionalists. They will explore issues of norms and values, secondary socialisation, meritocracy and the role schools play in providing workers for the economy. Students will identify and critique strengths and weaknesses of each perspectives whilst applying to sociological case studies. Following on students will describe alternative forms of educational provision including home schooling and de-schooling. The unit then moves onto various factors affecting educational achievement including class, gender and ethnicity again applying to key sociological case studies. Processes within schools affecting educational achievement including, streaming, setting, mixed ability teaching, labelling and the self-fulfilling prophecy will be compared against external issues such as material depravation, cultural deprivation, parental attitudes and language barriers. Students will evaluate which has the biggest impact on educational attainment? The final part of the topic will look at the effectiveness of government policies in closing the attainment gap such as marketisation, introduction of the pupil premium and free school meals polices and historical government educational polices.
Topic 5: Sociology of Crime and Deviance (Paper 2 topic)This topic will take students through the issues of crime and deviance in society. Students will identify, describe and explain various sociological explanations of crime and deviance including anomie, labelling, structural theories, subcultural theories and interactionist theory. Data will be analysed to see trends and locality of crimes and methods to record crime will also be identified, explained and critiqued to assess validity. Students will identify formal and informal methods of social control. This includes the work of Heidensohn on female conformity in male dominated patriarchal societies. Then the course will identify, describe and explain factors affecting criminal and deviant behaviour including social class, gender, ethnicity and age all whilst being applied to key sociological case studies such as the work of Albert Cohen on delinquent subcultures and Carlen on women, crime and poverty. Student will engage in debates over criminal and deviant behaviour including concerns over violent crime, sentencing, the treatment of young offenders, the prison system and media coverage of crime. All whilst applying the theory to contemporary issues in society.
Topic 6: Sociology of Social Stratification (Paper 2 topic)This final unit of new content will see student ask the question of why do some members of society achieve so much more than others? Students will describe and explain the functionalist theory of stratification (effective role allocation and performance linked to the promise of rewards) described in the key ideas of Davis and Moore. Next students will look at the different views of socio-economic class through the work of Marx and Weber on socio-economic class. This leads onto identifying, describing and explaining factors affecting life chances including social class, gender, race and ethnicity, sexuality, age, disability, religion and belief, through the key ideas of Devine on the idea of the affluent worker. Next students will learn about different forms of power and authority including traditional, charismatic, rational-legal, formal and informal sources of power. This then links to looking at how does power affect relationships in the context of social class, gender, sexuality, race, age, disability, religion and beliefs

For more information about Sociology in the Curriculum contact the Head of Faculty – Sonia Pope. Email