Sociology can be defined as ‘the study of the way that people live in groups’. A sociologist looks at the relationship between people and groups and the way that the structure of society shapes behaviour. The impact that this has on the way people feel about themselves; their identity, is something that emerges from this connection between us as individuals and as members of social groups. Beyond that Sociology can be characterised by the way different sociologists explain inequality in society. We have designed a varied course which includes both classic sociological themes and new research on aspects of society that are changing.
An important area with Sociology is social research. We study up-to-date research which offers and explanations about how people experience their lives. Sociologists will for example interview school pupils about their experiences and explore topics like the differences attitudes to schooling of different genders or different social classes. Sociologists also use statistics in their research to investigate trends in wider society. Not only do we study the findings of this research, but we are also concerned with the way that the research was conducted. Students will learn how to understand and reflect critically on research studies.
A key theme in Sociology is the way that social behaviour is regulated and shaped. Sociologists have explained this by using building block concepts such as values, norms and roles. Again sociologists don’t agree of the nature of this socialization process. Sociologists such as Functionalists have emphasised the way that social binding keeps society working successfully for everyone’s benefit. Whilst other approaches, such as Marxism, draw attention to the way young people learn their place in a system that does not benefit all equally.
The course we have chosen looks at four types of inequality: Social Class, Gender, Age and Ethnicity. This involves exploring and evaluating explanations for why some groups of people such as women, ethnic minorities and working class people are excluded from aspects of society. Students get to collect their own evidence and are encouraged to follow contemporary issues in the media such as Black Lives Matter and the Me Too Movement. Feminism is one of the key sociological perspectives we study. We look at the analysis feminists have provided as society changes.
Society is presently undergoing a significant transformation in terms of technology, leisure, working and family lives. Sociologists are concerned with critically studying the effects of these changes. For example21st Century topics of globalization and digital forms of communication. Students will explore different sociological explanations of these developments and look at its impact on identity, relationships and social inequality. Students will get the chance to build their own ideas into structured arguments. Longer essay writing skills are important and will be developed. This enables students to learn how to write balanced and effective discussions.
The topics of the A level course are a well-chosen and varied selection but we are always keen to provide students with extra learning and reflection opportunities as well as resources. We have connected students with Open University courses in our subject area as well as lectures and study days with local universities. We also point students in the direction of films and books.
Studying Sociology gives students the opportunity to reflect on aspects of their own identity and their relationships with others. They study patterns and explanations of inequality and think about their own feelings about these. Understanding how society fits together enables students to consider their place in the world and provide them with skills to ensure that studying this subject has a real impact on those who study this fascinating subject with us at Christleton.
Please view our Sixth Form Courses Booklet for more information about this subject in Sixth Form.