Introduction to Sociology and Sociological Perspectives

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1.What is sociology? What are the aims, uses and concerns of sociology? (Criteria 1.1, Level 2 and level 3) Sociology is the systematic study of patterns of human behavior between different societies and how they are transmitted through generations. It is concerned with the study of various social institutions within society and how they function and affect each other. For example, the influence the family might possibly have on whether a child is religious or not. Sociology is also the study of patterns of inequality, deprivation and conflict in society. Although sociology is concerned with the study of many things that most people know a bit about and is seen to be ‘common sense’, sociological research has disproved many of these widely mistaken ideas with precise evidence, while striving to maintain objectivity and value freedom in their work. 2.Define norms, values and culture, include a reference. (criteria 1.2, Level 2 and Level3) Norms are present in all societies; they are general guidelines for socialisation that define correct and satisfactory behavior e.g. the norms for dress. Customs are norms, which have been present for a long period of time and have become part of a society’s tradition. Although norms are usually informally enforced, they can also be formalised as laws. Positive and negative sanctions are used within society as a means of social control to prevent deviance from the social norms. These sanctions will depend on the seriousness of the norm for example negative sanctions may vary from being seen as eccentric to being imprisoned. Values provide general guidelines that are expressed as a series of norms. They are important beliefs about what is right and wrong. Ken Brown mentions,”In Britain, values include beliefs about respect for human life, privacy and private property, about the importance of marriage and the importance of money and success.” Shared values and beliefs are the key to maintaining a stable society and are also part of the culture of a society. Culture refers to many things that make up the ‘way of life’ of any society. This includes the language, beliefs, values and norms, dress, knowledge, skills etc of a society. Thus from a sociological perspective we can understand that our behavior is controlled by culture. 3.a) Define primary and secondary socialisation. (Criteria 1.2, Level 2) It is through socialisation that we learn the culture of a society. It is a life-long process that begins from birth and continues throughout one’s life. In the early years during the learning process, a child learns many of the basic norms and values of its society, which is known as primary socialisation. In almost every society, primary socialisation is controlled by the family and is seen to be the most important part of socialization. As the child interacts with the wider society, she/ he begins the process of secondary socialisation. In most societies, secondary socialisation occurs through peer groups, colleagues, schools, work and mainly the mass media. The incident in 1920, of the two girls who were found in a wolf’s den in Bengal, India proves that how person will behave depending on the norms and values that they are socialised into. As they were not socialised into a human society, they had difficulty behaving according to the ‘norms’ when they were found. b) Explain how primary and secondary socialisation contributes to gender role acquisition. (Criteria 1.2, Level 3) Both primary and secondary socialisation contributes to gender role acquisition. While children are still very young, primary socialisation begins to mold the gender role in boys and girls, by first beginning to realize whether they are a boy or girl. Ann Oakley (1981) argues that gender roles are not biologically gained, but rather are acquired through socialisation. She argues that primary socialisation contributes to gender role in four ways: manipulation, canalisation, verbal appellations and fourthly using...
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