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Posts Tagged ‘gender’

Sociological Theories And Frameworks

Monday, November 13th, 2017

This is a web page where you can find a bite-sized run-down of a range of:

a. Sociological frameworks – from those fairly central to a-level, such as Functionalism, Feminism. Conflict theory, Critical theory and those (symbolic interaction, phenomenology) that tend to be a little more optional.

b. Sociological theories – some fairly central ones, such as labelling and strain theory and some that are more-specialised, such as disengagement theory.

Labelling Theory

The information included for each framework or theory varies – some, such as Functionalism, are just given a brief introduction and general overview while others are covered in much greater detail. Labelling theory, for example, is given:

1. A short general introduction.
2. A brief outline of its origins.
3. A more-detailed overview of its content
4. A selection of key texts
5. A short evaluation.

You might find that some frameworks, such as critical theory,  probably go quite a bit beyond a-level so it’s probably best to review each of the frameworks / theories before you let your students loose on them (as I’ve demonstrated you can link directly to any of the frameworks / theories you think might be useful for your students).

In addition, the hosting website carries an interesting range of other sociological topics – from general stuff such as What is Sociology, through key concepts such as gender, to Units such as Crime and Deviance.

When Did Girls Start Wearing Pink?

Friday, November 10th, 2017

I chanced across this blog post from the Smithsonian Institution of all places and it struck me as something that could be useful as a way of getting students to think about all kinds of sociological stuff – from gender and identity, through the role of the media to more-abstract ideas about childhood, invented traditions and the like.

It’s also useful if you want to illustrate the counter-intuitive nature of some sociology – not only the idea that particular cultures associate certain colours (and toys and characteristics and behaviours…) with specific genders but also that this association is fairly arbitrary (which may or may not be useful for labelling theory).

The idea of “Blue for boys and Pink for girls”, for example, is an association created around 100 years ago – only originally it was “Pink for boys and Blue for girls”. The current association – one that completely reversed “commonly accepted gender norms” – only emerged in the 1940’s…

The article also notes how the different styles of gendered clothing – skirts for girls and trousers for boys – that currently garners much discussion in the age of “back-to-basics” Academy Schools – have evolved over the past 150 years.

Further Reading

All of the following generally riff off the theme of the Smithsonian post, but I think each adds something to it, either by filling-in some of the references or expanding upon the general idea:

The Surprisingly Recent Time Period When Boys Wore Pink, Girls Wore Blue, and Both Wore Dresses

The pink vs blue gender myth

Kids Believe Gender Stereotypes by Age 10, Global Study Finds

Pink wasn’t always for girls

Family Relocation: A Neglected Dimension of Power?

Saturday, October 28th, 2017

When looking at power relationships within families there are a number of fairly-obvious areas – such as domestic labour and violence (both physical and sexual) – that tend to receive most of the critical focus at A-level. While not suggesting this “dark side of the family” is somehow unimportant, insignificant or unworthy of so much attention, an over-concentration on these “manifest and obvious” displays of power can result in other, perhaps more-subtle, examples of power imbalances being overlooked. This is particularly the case where power relationships become a little more complicated, messy and not so clearly bound-up in relations of individual, physical, domination and subordination.

One such area relates to work and family relocation for dual-earner families where decisions have to be made about whose work has the greatest priority when, for example, the family needs to move. Hardill (2003), for example, found women were more likely to be the ‘trailing spouse’ in this relationship: male occupations had greater priority and the family relocated to follow male employment patterns.

While this type of research is interesting and suggestive, a further question to consider is whether these types of decision-making are indicative of greater male status and higher levels of power within the family group, rather than simply reflecting male-female economic differences in wider society. (more…)

18 | Religion: Part 3

Wednesday, October 18th, 2017

The third chapter in our trawl through the murky waters of organised (and disorganised, come to that) religion looks at the relationship between religion and social position in two broad ways:

Firstly terms of the so-called (by me at least) “CAGE” variables: class, age, gender and ethnicity. This section both outlines the relationship between each of these variables and religious beliefs / practices and evaluates a range of possible explanations for the relationships uncovered.

Secondly, the chapter looks at the appeal of modern religious movements to different social groups, with the focus here on two types:

a. New religious movements, based on Daschke and Ashcraft’s (2005) idea of ‘interrelated pathways’ that examines a broad typology of five different groupings (Perception, Identity, Community or ‘Family’, Society and Earth).

b. New Age movements, based on a typology of Explicitly religious, Human potential and Mystical movements.

Those of you who like your religion with pictures will be saddened to learn that there’s only one (and since this is the “pre-permission” version of the chapter, the spiritual purity of a group of Transcendental Meditation practitioners is somewhat sullied by a dirty great watermark that takes up most of the frame). The disappointment both of these facts might engender may be dispelled by the inclusion of a few tables and a lot of mnemonics.

Or possibly not.

14 | Youth: Part 3

Sunday, October 1st, 2017

One area of social life in which the relationship between youth and specific types of behaviour is particularly clear is that of offending behaviour. Young people – principally young, working class, men – are hugely over-represented in the crime statistics and since this series of chapters is linked by ideas about Youth Culture and Subculture it would be useful to explore the relationship between Youth and Deviance in more detail.

In order to do this the chapter is divided into three main sections:

Firstly, an outline of a range of key concepts – the distinction between crime and deviance, how we define youth, how we measure crime, moral panics, deviancy amplification and the like – that can be applied to this area of social life.

Secondly, a section that outlines the evidence, in terms of patterns and trends, about the nature and extent of youth deviance. This section is further subdivided according to social class, gender and ethnicity.

Finally, it looks at how different sociological approaches – in this instance Functionalist, Marxist and Interactionist – explain the patterns and trends in youth deviance outlined in part 2.

While the chapter is specifically aimed at the OCR Youth Culture Unit it’s one that should have general application for any Specification that looks at the nature of crime and deviance in terms of patterns and trends in offending behaviour and how these might be sociologically explained.

6 | Families and Households: Part 3

Monday, September 11th, 2017

After the raw, enervating, excitement of Family Trends and the Role of Family in Society, the rollercoaster ride that is Family Life continues with the unalloyed joy that is Family Diversity.

While some commentators (who shall remain nameless because I haven’t named them) have described family diversity as a “thrill-a-minute fun-fest filled with fantastic fripperies”, more controversially, other, equally nameless, commentators have described it as being as dull as the rest of the family stuff. But I couldn’t possibly comment on this.

What I do know is that the chapter is filled with a range of diversity-related stuff (hence its name. Probably). This includes:

• Organisational diversity
• Class diversity
• Cultural diversity (age, gender, ethnicity)
• Sexual diversity (don’t get your hopes up, nothing to see here).

Things start to get a little more interesting (a term I use advisedly) when the chapter turns to look at two opposing views on contemporary family diversity (Postmodernist and New Right if you’re still reading this) but then things take a turn for the worse when the chapter ends with social policy.

Still, it’s free. So you can’t complain.

No, really.

Just Enjoy!

Patterns of Crime and the Social Characteristics of Offenders: Gender and Ethnicity

Monday, July 3rd, 2017

After a brief hiatus, we’re back to business with a fifth example of Jill Swale’s ATSS work, this one focusing on patterns of offending and how differences based on gender and ethnicity (you can easily add further variables, such as age, to the exercise if you want) can be identified and explained.

The exercise itself is a simple one to organise and run, although you’ll need to update the “Websites and Other Sources” section of the instructions because the suggested web data no-longer works and you’ll need to use texts that reference more contemporary crime statistics. That aside, the exercise is generally straightforward and is designed to encourage students to apply a range of skills to sociological data and research in terms of: 

  • Researching patterns of offending.
  • Identifying major trends.
  • Developing explanations / hypotheses for gender, ethnic and age differences in offending.
  • Testing explanations against sociological research and data.
  • Evaluating sociological research.
  • Crime and Gender: Critical Thinking and Essay Writing

    Sunday, May 21st, 2017

    A third example of Jill Swale’s work, once more culled from the ATSS archive lurking in my expansive filing cabinet, is an essay-writing exercise constructed around the question:

    “Assess the view that the women’s crime rate, according to official statistics, is lower than men’s because of differential enforcement of the low.”

    The activity has three main objectives:

  • To examine some important studies attempting to explain gender differences in crime rates.
  • To encourage critical thinking about the methods sociologists use, and whether data can always be taken at face value.
  • To help select material for a logically planned and balanced essay.

  • The exercise combines small group and individual work as students are required to examine ways to structure and answer the question.

    Although the resource materials provided are fairly comprehensive they’re now quite a few years old and probably need to be updated with some new material.

    You will need to check the suggested web links are still working and you may need to substitute some of your own.

    The Manifest and Latent Functions of CAGE

    Monday, January 30th, 2017

    While mnemonics are not everyone’s favourite hot beverage I’ve always found them a very useful memory device – and I’m particularly fond of CAGE (Class, Age, Gender, Ethnicity) and its less-exulted compatriots CAGES (…Sexuality) and CAGED (…Disability)* for a couple of reasons:

    Firstly, it has a simple manifest function for students. If you’re ever stuck for evaluation ideas in an exam it’s always possible to say something useful about class, age, gender or ethnic differences. Use it as a kind of “Get Out of Jail Free” card you can play whenever you need a quick prompt to get an answer flowing.

    Secondly a latent function of CAGE for teachers is that you can use it to illustrate the concepts of structure and action in a simple and memorable way using the distinction between social and personal identities.

    (more…)

    Sociology Stuff: DEA

    Friday, October 28th, 2016

    Istufff you’re sitting comfortably, I’ll tell you a story.

    A long, long, time ago, when the Internet was still young, there existed a web site, created by Mark Peace, called Sociology Stuff. This web site specialised in producing high quality sociology stuff (hence the name. Probably. I’m guessing) for a few years before Mark got bored or went off to do a PhD or something and the site just disappeared, along with all the stuff it contained. Which was a shame.

    Luckily, someone who shall be nameless (but we’ll call “Chris” because that’s actually his name) saved a lot of this stuff onto one of his many hard drives and forgot about it. Either because he was Very, Very, Busy (the official version). Or because he was just a little bit jealous and wanted to keep all the Stuff for himself (the version I’m leaning toward).

    (more…)

    Mapping Differential Educational Achievement

    Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

    Differences in UK educational achievement are normally categorised across three main dimensions – class, gender and ethnicity – of which the former is generally seen by sociologists of education as the primary determinant of achievement differences (as measured by exam grades), while gender and in some instances ethnicity is generally preferred by politicians and media commentators – Our schools are failing boys, which is bad news for Britain – for reasons that shouldn’t be too difficult to understand (although that, perhaps, is a story for another time).

    Ken Browne (Sociology for AQA, Vol. 1: AS and 1st-Year A Level), for example, captures this often-complex hierarchy by structuring achievement in terms of class (the primary determinant), with gender and ethnicity as secondary determinants. As can be seen from this graphic the argument here is that differences in educational achievement are primarily class-based (upper class children achieve more than working class children) with gender / ethnic gradations within each class.

    This graphic is helpful because it provides a simple visual representation that allows students to understand not just within-class differences, (between for example boys and girls) but also cross-class differences; upper class boys, for example, generally achieve more than working class girls. By understanding this students should be able to construct more-nuanced answers to questions about differential achievement.

    Taking It Further? (more…)

    More Revision Mapping

    Sunday, April 10th, 2016

    mediamap

    Following from the previous post on sociological perspectives, this map on Media Representations demonstrates how useful these types of revision maps can be for organising student knowledge around quite diverse topics.

    As with previous examples, this map is based around keywords illustrated by pictures and fleshed-out where necessary with short pieces of text.

    Media Representations: Part 1 – Traditional Marxism

    Thursday, June 25th, 2015

    Continuing the sociology of the media theme that began with moral and amoral panics, this series of posts looks at the idea of media representations from a range of different perspectives.

    For traditional Marxism, economic power is a key variable; those who own the means of physical production are always the most powerful class and economic power brings with it the ownership of mental production – control over how different social groups are represented.

    Cultural institutions such as the media are part of the ideological superstructure and their role is to support the status quo through the creation and maintenance of a worldview that favours the political, ideological and, above all, economic interests of a ruling class. How different social groups are represented within this worldview is a crucial aspect of ruling class domination and control – with the focus of explanation being the various ways a ruling class use their economic dominance to represent less powerful groups in ways that enhance and justify their power. While media representations are not in themselves a means of controlling behaviour, they are a means to an end. By representing different groups in particular ways the media allows a ruling class to act against such groups if and whenever they threaten their political, ideological or economic power.

    (more…)

    Gender and Inequality

    Monday, March 9th, 2015

    The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is always a go-to source for all types of statistical data on a variety of topics and this one is no exception.

    With links to both gender and social inequality “Welcome to unequal England” uses ONS data to show how inequalities impact on some of the most important life chances of all – the ability to live a long, healthy, life.

    Education and gender stereotyping

    Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

    This short article (based on research by Lavy and Sandm, 2015) is a simple introduction to some of the ways gender stereotypes are perpetuated in early-years schooling.

    The research can also be linked to the work done by writers such as Rosenthal and Jacobson (Pygmalion in the Classroom: 1968) in exploring the significance of labelling and self-fulfilling prophecies as this relates to differential educational achievement.

    If you want to build on these ideas, our short film The End of Childhood? features Jane Pilcher talking about her research on the sexualisation of young girls and how they understand gender stereotyping.

    Education and Gender

    Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

    This snippet of research by Taylor and Rampino (2014) can be added to your armoury of explanations for gender differences in educational achievement.

    Although it’s main focus is on “aspirations and attitudes” as factors in gender differences it goes some way to locating these within both the education system (inside school factors) and the family (outside school factors).

    The Saints and the Roughnecks: labelling and self-fulfilling prophecies

    Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

    William Chambliss’ (1973) seminal essay about two rival high school gangs is rightly seen as a contemporary classic that explores, over a few short pages, the consequences of labelling processes and the development of self-fulfilling prophecies.

    While it’s a useful primary resource for A-level discussions about the perceived relationship between class, age, gender, ethnicity and deviance it also serves as a context-piece for more contemporary examples of this phenomenon that students can research and explore – such as Keene State College in America or, closer to home, the behaviour portrayed in The Riot Club – a film based on the activities of Oxford University’s Bullingdon Club.

    Gender and Crime

    Friday, June 27th, 2014

    This new video, featuring Karen Evens and Steve Taylor, is now available to rent or buy On Demand:

    This film explores and explains some of the reasons for historical and cross-differences gender differences in male and female criminality.

    Media representations

    Sunday, May 11th, 2014

    Interesting Ted-Talk about the portrayal of women through advertising and its possible effects.