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Sociology

Why Sociology?

Heard of Karl Marx? Ever wondered what impact he had on our society? Do his theories really relate to feminism? Did Emily Wilding Davison throwing herself under the King’s racehorse have such an impact on the way we live and work today? Find out the answers to these and other social questions through the study of sociology.

If you are fascinated by the behaviour of others and why we act the way we do, then sociology is for you. Sociology seeks to understand all aspects of human social behaviour, including the social dynamics of small groups of people, large organisations, institutions and even entire societies.

Summary of content

The study of A level Sociology must focus on contemporary society and refer to Wales where applicable. Studying sociology must foster the development of critical and reflective thinking with a respect for social diversity. It must provide an awareness of the importance of social structure and social action in explaining social issues. Learners should be encouraged to develop their own sociological awareness through active engagement with the contemporary social world and Welsh society.

The following concepts and theoretical issues will be covered across the specification:

  • social order, social control
  • social change
  • conflict and consensus
  • social structure and social action
  • the role of values
  • the relationship between sociology issues and contemporary social policy

Learners will also demonstrate knowledge and understanding of methods of sociological enquiry and the relationship between theory and methods. They will also be expected to apply and evaluate this knowledge and understanding to a range of related methodological issues.

Learners will study concepts and theoretical issues through two themes:

  1. Socialisation, culture and identity
  2. Social differentiation, power and stratification

Units

AS - Unit 1 - Acquiring Culture

Written examination: I hour 15 minutes

15% of A level qualification (37.5% of AS qualification)

This unit focuses on the theme of socialisation, identity and culture and is divided into two sections.

Section A: The social construction of culture; the process and agencies of socialisation; examples of the influence of socialisation on identity.

Section B: Families and households; youth cultures.

AS - Unit 2 - Understanding Society and Methods of Sociological Enquiry

Written examination: 2 hours

25% of A level qualification (62.5% of AS qualification)

Unit 2 focuses on the themes of socialisation, identity and culture and methods of sociological enquiry and is divided into two sections.

Section A: Section A of the unit is compulsory and focuses on methods of sociological enquiry.

Key concepts; primary quantitative and qualitative research methods with reference to Welsh examples where applicable; methodological approaches to research; secondary methods and data with reference to Welsh examples where applicable; sampling; ethical issues; practical issues; theories of research.

Section B: This section of the unit develops understanding of the key themes of socialisation culture and identity. It also includes consideration of the themes of differentiation, power and stratification through detailed study of one of three options: education, media, religion.

A2 - Unit 3 - Power and Control

Written examination: 2 hours

25% of qualification

This unit focuses on the themes of power, differentiation and stratification with issues relating to social order and social control studied through one of the following options:

  • crime and deviance
  • health and disability
  • politics
  • world sociology

A2 - Unit 4 - Social Inequality and Applied Methods of Sociological Enquiry

Written examination: 2 hours 15 minutes

35% of qualification

This unit focuses on the themes of social differentiation, power and stratification and on the application of knowledge and understanding of methods of sociological enquiry.

Section A:  Research design

Section A focuses on the processes of research design and on the application of knowledge and understanding of methods of sociological enquiry previously studied in unit 2.

Section B

Section B focuses on the themes of social differentiation, power and stratification.

  • Evidence and examples of areas of inequality related to social class, gender, ethnicity and age in contemporary society with reference to Wales where data is available
  • Theories and explanations for inequality and stratification related to social class, gender, ethnicity, age and nation

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