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GCSE Sociology

Sociologists are interested in why society works in the way that it does and the extent to which our behaviour and opportunities can be shaped by our social class, age, gender and race.

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GCSE Sociology

Sociology studies how society works. It will help you to understand how individuals fit into a wider social network and encourage you to question beliefs about society which you may have previously taken for granted. Sociologists are interested in why society works in the way that it does and the extent to which our behaviour and opportunities can be shaped by our social class, age, gender and race.

Sociology is about analysing groups of people based on what they have in common and what differences there are. For example, studying people in terms of culture, common territory, gender, race, disability, ethnicity and age.

Sociologists conduct experiments and observations to try to understand why groups of people act the way they do. They use this understanding to create useful applications to help society to run smoothly. Sociology will provide you with many key skills, including logical thinking, planning, research and negotiation – all of which can be used in a variety of careers.

The nature of Sociology makes the subject an ideal choice for a range of careers and higher education.  For example, many sociologists go into journalism, recruitment, management, government, human resources, business, sales, social work – community projects, charity work, civil service, prison officers, police, teaching … anywhere you interact with people, basically!

GCSE Sociology is a linear qualification which is usually taken over two years. It is assessed entirely by exams – no coursework. It offers a thorough introduction to the subject.

Entry Requirements

A good grasp of English is useful to meet the demands of essay writing. Students will be required to use specialist vocabulary, understand sociological concepts, terminology and convention to explain their findings.

Course Content

Paper 1: The sociology of families and education

The sociology of families –

  • What are the different types and functions of the family? Is one type best?
  • How families differ culturally, in the UK and within a global context?
  • Discover how the domestic division of labour (housework and childcare) in families is often unequal and why the inequality still exists!

The sociology of education –

  • What are the different views of the role and functions of education?
  • Is there a correspondence between education and capitalism? Do schools just prepare us to be unquestioning robots?
  • Does your gender, ethnicity and/or class mean you will be more or less successful in education?

Sociological theory and methodology –

  • How do the different sociological perspectives agree and disagree on social structure, social processes and social issues? A comparison of feminism, functionalism, interactionalism and Marxism.
  • How to use sociological research methods and apply them to the specific contexts i.e families, education, crime and deviance and social stratification.

 

Paper 2: The sociology of crime and deviance and social stratification

The sociology of crime and deviance –

  • What is the concept of crime? Is crime socially constructed or fact?
  • How are we controlled both formally and informally? Are we always aware we are being socially controlled?
  • Discover what factors affect criminal behaviour. Does your age, class, gender, socio-economic situation mean you are more or less likely to become deviant?
  • How reliable are the main sources of data on crime? Does the media create exaggerated fear of crime?

The sociology of social stratification –

  • What is social stratification?
  • How are different societies divided up by socio-economic factors, gender, age? Is this fair?
  • Is being in poverty the fault of the individual? Or is it a result of material deprivation in a system that is unfair? (the way governments tackle poverty or the result of globalisation)
  • Are our life chances ‘set at birth’, as a result of our gender, ethnicity or class? Or can we make our own life opportunities?
  • Are the powerful minority in society in control of majority? Does our class, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, age, disability or religion affect how much power we have in society?

Sociological theory and methodology –

  • How do the different sociological perspectives agree and disagree on social structure, social processes and social issues? A comparison of feminism, functionalism, interactionalism and Marxism.
  • How to use sociological research methods and apply them to the specific contexts i.e families, education, crime and deviance and social stratification.

Assessment

Exams at the end of 2-year course
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  1. Written exams taken at the end of the 2 year course.
  2. Students sit Paper 1 and Paper 2 exams, which are 1 hour 45 minutes each.
  3. There are 100 marks on each paper and each paper is worth 50% of GCSE.
  4. The questions in each paper are a mixture of two multiple choice questions followed by a range of short and extended responses.

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