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Posts Tagged ‘postmodernism’

OCR Topic Exploration Packs

Tuesday, April 17th, 2018

Four (or possibly five, depending on how you view it) Introductory Packs on Functionalism, Marxism, Feminism and Postmodernism.

If you use OCR for A-Level Sociology you’ll probably be aware of these Packs covering Functionalism, Marxism, Feminism and Postmodernism. For non-OCR users, however, the Packs could still prove useful because they contain the kinds of general “Introductory” information applicable to most UK Exam Boards and general sociology courses elsewhere.

Each Pack uses the same basic format: a series of “Tasks” designed to introduce the “domain assumptions” of each perspective and, in some instances, relate them, with varying levels of effort and success, to an interpretation of different aspects of culture and identity.

The Packs are split into two sections; one has questions with suggested answers, the other has the same questions minus the answers. If you want your students to complete the Tasks digitally (i.e. they can wordprocess their answers) you will need to edit the document to delete the answer section. Oddly, the Marxism Pack just has Tasks minus suggested answers (there is a separate pdf version with suggested answers).

When all’s-said-and-done the Packs are really just a set of simple worksheets trying quite hard to pretend they’re not worksheets – but they’re colourful, nicely put together and most-importantly, free. So, if you ignore all the guff about “formative” and “summative” assessment (I get the impression the authors’, in the main, did just that) what you have are some simple resources that could be easily and effectively introduced into the classroom.

The resources have their faults, both in terms of design and in some instances content (although I couldn’t see anything particularly major – my main gripe is a reference to “Interpretivism” rather than “Interactionism”). The 4 packs also vary quite considerably in quality, with the Feminism Pack probably being the weakest overall. There is also, strangely given the structure / action references throughout, little or nothing on the latter. On balance, however, I’d say the Packs are worth having.

Whether or not OCR have any plans to extend the resources I’ve no idea, but based on past performance they tend to start out with a Big Idea and then signally fail to carry it through. On this basis I’d say get these resources while you can:

Functionalism

Marxism (Student Activity Pack)

Marxism: Although they have different names the only difference between this and the “activity pack” is that this includes “suggested answers” to task questions and is a pdf rather than a Word file (although, having said that, a few of these “answers” are missing for some reason). Otherwise they are identical in terms of content, save for some introductory text that explains how to use the materials. Unfortunately, a conversion error makes one page unreadable in this version, so if you want a pdf version (minus the Introduction) you will need to convert the Word version.

Postmodernism

Feminism

Raised Without Gender

Friday, April 13th, 2018

Culture and Identity is an important part of the a-level sociology specification for a number of Boards and this 30-minute film might be a good way to get your students thinking about both cultural norms generally and gender / sexual identities in particular.

The film looks at the idea of “gender neutrality” through the lens of a series of gentle interviews and observations with families and in kindergartens in Sweden, a society that has arguably gone furthest down the gender neutral route.

Although it mainly focuses on the adults and children who have, by-and-large, embraced the concept of non-binary gender, a contrary view is provided by psychiatrist David Eberhard.

The piece lends itself quite nicely to flipped teaching. Your students can watch it outside the classroom and can then be prepared for any work you decide to do on this area inside the classroom.

Education PowerPoints: Part 2

Wednesday, April 11th, 2018

Part 2 of the Education Presentations gives you more of the same, only less of it.

More PowerPoints, in other words, but fewer of them than in Part 1.

Most of these are fairly straightforward “Teaching Presentations” but some contain YouTube videos (again, I’ve converted the links so they will play directly inside the Presentation) and one, the Social Class revision exercise, is a simple “sift-and-sort” activity designed to help students clarify “inside” and “outside” school factors in class differential achievement.

The Presentations, in no particular order:

1. Marketisation (Leigh Rust-Ashford)
2. Social Class – revision exercise
3. Ethnicity and Achievement (Leigh Rust-Ashford)
4. Material Deprivation (Leigh Rust-Ashford)
5. Anti-School Subcultures (Leigh Rust-Ashford)
6. Feminist / Postmodernist Perspectives (Leigh Rust-Ashford)
7. The Purpose of Education

Education PowerPoints: Part 1

Tuesday, April 10th, 2018

Alongside the Revision Guides I seem to have collected a large number of Education PowerPoints that, while not explicitly geared towards revision, could be used in this way. Alternatively, they could just be used as part of your normal classroom teaching.

The Presentations are by a mix of authors (where known) but the majority are by Leigh Rust-Ashford, so they have the same “look and feel” and follow a similar format – clear teaching points, a few questions and simple exercises, a couple of illustrative YouTube videos (the only changes I’ve made to the files, apart from deleting dead links, is to format the video links so they use the PowerPoint video player) and so forth.

I’ve split the Presentations into two parts, in no particular order:

1. Meritocracy
2. Functionalism (Leigh Rust-Ashford)
3. Interactionism (Leigh Rust-Ashford)
4. Organisation of Education
5. Postmodernism4. organisation-of-the-education-system (N Sharmin)
6. Working Class Culture and Achievement (Leigh Rust-Ashford)
7. Locality and Achievement (Leigh Rust-Ashford)
8. Gender and Achievement (Leigh Rust-Ashford)
9. Class and Achievement (Leigh Rust-Ashford)
10. Postmodern education (Leigh Rust-Ashford)
11. Marxism (Leigh Rust-Ashford)

A-Level Revision Booklets: 1. Beliefs in Society

Thursday, March 1st, 2018

A couple of years ago I posted some A-level revision booklets / guides, one from Greenhead College on education  and three from Tudor Grange Academy (Culture and Identity, Education, Research Methods).

On the basis that you can’t have too many revision booklets (although, thinking about it, you probably can) I thought I’d post a few more I’ve somehow managed to collect, starting with three really-quite-comprehensive booklets covering Beliefs in Society (AQA), although they also cover useful stuff on Religion (OCR, Eduqas, CIE etc.).

Beliefs in Society is a comprehensive revision booklet that covers: definitions, theories, class, gender, age and ethnicity, organisations, science, ideology. It’s mainly brief notes with some relatively simple evaluation exercises.

Beliefs in Society too covers much the same ground, albeit in a less-detailed way. I’m guessing this is actually a series of teaching PowerPoints, based on the Webb et al textbook exported to pdf. I could, of course, be wrong (although admittedly I rarely am).

Religion and Ideology is by the same author (the somewhat enigmatic “Joe”) and although it suggests a focus on the “Ideology” section of the AQA Spec. it seems to interpret this brief very widely to look at theories, organisations, globalised religion, fundamentalism and a whole lot more. While it covers a lot of the same ground as the Beliefs in Society 2 booklet it generally does so in less detail. Combine the two and you’re got quite an effective set of revision (and indeed teaching) Notes.

Learning Tables: Beliefs in Society | 1

Monday, December 18th, 2017

For some reason I’ve managed to find rather a lot (20+) of Learning Tables, put together by 5 different authors, on the topic of Beliefs in Society – something that includes both religious beliefs and a range of other types (from politics through to science), although most of the Tables featured here relate to religious beliefs in various ways.

To make things a bit more manageable my end, therefore, I’ve split this post into two: part one presents Tables by what I assume to be a single author (sdale) while the second part (which I’m thinking of calling “part 2” but I’ll need to discuss this further with my agent before making a final decision) contains Tables by a mix of authors.

In this respect the first batch of Tables covers three broad areas:

1. Perspectives on religion (postmodern, neo-marxist etc.)
2. Aspects of religion (such as the relationship to social change)
3. Ideology and belief systems (such as science).

You’ll also find that a couple of the Tables (postmodernism and secularisation) are in two parts with the latter being very similar, for reasons that escape me, but I’m sure you’ll figure it out…

Religion: Key Concepts
Postmodernism 1
Postmodernism 2
Neo-Marxism / Weberian
Social Change
New Religious Movements
Secularisation 1
Secularisation 2
Religion and Social Groups
Science and Ideology

19 | Religion: Part 4

Friday, October 20th, 2017

The “secularisation debate” is one of the perennial themes in the sociology of religion and this chapter examining the strength of religion in society is mainly given-over to an outline and evaluation of the two main sides to the argument:

1. Evidence indicating the secularisation of society examines concepts of institutional, practical and ideological religious decline.

2. Evidence against the secularisation of society examines ideas about the overstatement of decline across different societies, the contemporary strength of religious influence and the notion of religious evolution. This includes ideas about religious pluralism and the resacrilisation of (some) societies.

In addition to the above the chapter considers two further ideas:

Firstly, the concept of post-secularisation – an acknowledgement that while religious influence has clearly declined in some areas, it still makes important cultural and moral contributions to society.

Finally, the idea that rather than see religion and religiosity in terms of pro-or-anti secularisation we need to build on the post-secularisation debate and consider whether we should move “beyond secularisation” to look at changing concepts of religiosity in terms of “competing narratives in postmodern societies”.

13 | Youth: Part 2

Thursday, September 28th, 2017

The notion of “youth” as a fairly recent (i.e. modernist) phenomenon leads to the question of exactly why this type of life-stage geminates in the transition from pre-modernity to modernity and comes into full-flower in late-modern / postmodern societies? In other words, what Is the role played by youth culture / subcultures in society?

The answer, as you’re probably half-expecting, is one that largely depends on your sociological approach – and the first part of this chapter is given-over to an outline and evaluation of four broad sociological approaches to – and explanations of – youth.

1. Functionalist
2. Marxist
3. Feminist
4. Postmodernist

The final two parts look more-specifically at gender and ethnic relationships, partly as a means of redressing the traditional emphasis on the central role of white males in (spectacular) youth subcultures and partly as a way of examining post-subcultural, post-racial and post-feminist approaches to understanding youth behaviour:

1. Issues relating to gender expands and applies feminist and postmodernist views on youth.
2. Issues relating to ethnicity addresses the ethnocentrism inherent in some approaches to explaining youth behaviours.

2 | The Process of Socialisation

Monday, September 4th, 2017

Click to download ChapterChapter 2 builds on the “culture material” in the first chapter by exploring how culture is created in one of two ways:

1. Through the influence of instincts, a largely non-sociological (‘nature’) approach to understanding culture.

2. Through the influence of our social environment, a conventional sociological approach that outlines different types and agencies of socialisation.

More-specifically the chapter covers the process of socialisation in terms of:

• Feral children
• Types of socialisation (primary, secondary, etc.)
• Formal and Informal social control
• Agencies of socialisation (primary and secondary)
• Structure and Action approaches
• Consensus perspectives (Functionalism)
• Conflict perspectives (Marxism, Feminism)
• Action perspectives
• Postmodern perspectives

For those of you who worry about such things the book was originally written for the OCR Specification but since it’s really just a general introduction to culture and socialisation it will cause no harm if students following other Specifications are exposed to the material it contains. Whether it will do you or them any good is, of course, not something on which I wish to speculate.

As with the previous chapter some printer’s marks are visible and a few illustrations that appear in the final version have not been included for the deceptively simple reason that I wasn’t involved in their selection and I can’t be bothered to look in the book to see what they were. That’s probably two reasons, I grant you, but you probably get the drift.

A-level Revision Booklets

Thursday, November 24th, 2016

If you’re looking for revision ideas / inspiration check-out this set of AS Sociology Revision booklets produced by the Tudor Grange Academy:booklet

 

Booklet 1

Booklet 2

Booklet 3

 

And if you want something to add to your classroom walls, they’ve also produced some basic Sociology posters:

pomo_poster

Feminism

Functionalism

Marxism

Postmodernism

Social Action

 

Postmodernism and New Media

Friday, October 14th, 2016

This set of Notes was originally part of a textbook chapter looking at the impact on audiences of different types of old and new media, something I mention by way of explanation for both the general focus and lack of depth in the Notes. pomo_media

Without wishing to bore you with the intimate details of dealing with publishers and exam boards, there’s always a certain tension between the amount of depth and detail demanded by the latter and the number of print pages a publisher is willing to support – and while each has their reasons it’s akin, for an author, to steering an unhappy course between Cilia and Charybdis.

The point of this little preamble is that textbook chapters are always a compromise between cramming in as much information as possible about a topic and the level of detail with which that topic can be treated. In other words, while these Notes mention quite a few ideas none are developed in any great depth.

What they should give you, however, is a series of signposts to some of the most significant ideas in this area that, should you see the need, can be pursued and developed with additional Notes of your own. In this respect the Notes cover things like:

  • social identities and social spaces
  • a post-effects approach
  • perverse spectators: immanent and activated meanings.
  • audience as media
  • positive effects of new media
  • negative effects of new media

Download Postmodernism and New Media pdf

 

Simulacra and Hyperreality

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

sim_coverI’ve called this a “Lesson Outline” (rather than Plan) because it’s designed to introduce and to some extent explain the related concepts of simulacra and hyperreality using practical examples to illustrate the processes.

What the Outline does is treat Baudrillard’s concepts of simulacra and hyperreality in much greater depth than is usually the case with most Sociology A-Level textbooks; this isn’t a criticism of these books, but rather an observation that there’s rarely enough space available in textbooks to treat the concepts with the depth I think they deserve (trust me, I know this from bitter experience).

In this respect the Outline details 1st, 2nd and 3rd order simulacra and, in relation to the latter, hyperreality. Although it’s quite theoretical for A-level I’ve tried to include quite a bit of “practical stuff” you can use to illustrate the ideas. Alternatively, if you don’t want to go into too much depth you can just pick-and-choose (now, there’s an idea…) the bits you want to use.

Whether or not you go with the practical stuff is really up to you – it’s indicative rather than prescriptive – and there are no fancy timings or whatever to restrict your use of the materials.

I’ve also included a short (3 minute) video resource  you can use alongside the printed resource – again, nothing too fancy or prescriptive, just 6 short (around 30 seconds) clips you can integrate into your lesson if you so choose.

Postmodernity and Sociological Theory

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

This is the second of a two-part series looking at the relationship between modernitypostmod_cover, postmodernity and the development of sociological theory and in this set of Teaching Notes the focus is on two main areas:

1 Identifying the basic economic, political and cultural characteristics of postmodernity.

2, Outlining a range of sociological theories we can loosely associate with postmodernity.

(more…)

Crime as Postmodern Spectacle: Fear, Fascination and Murder as Video Game

Friday, August 28th, 2015

A significant feature of what we might call “crime in postmodernity” is the idea that the media, in all its many forms, plays a central role in the construction of criminogenic discourses, where the role of the media is twofold.

First, media are important because they propagate and, in some senses, control organise, criticise, promote and demote (marginalise) a variety of competing narratives.

Second, none of these is especially important in itself (teachers and students, for example, probably do most of these things); they become important, however, in the context of power and the ability to represent the interests of powerful voices in society.

In a situation where knowledge, as Sarup (1989) argues, is ‘fragmented, partial and contingent’ (‘relative’ or dependent on your particular viewpoint), and Milovanovic (1997) contends ‘there are many truths and no over-encompassing Truth is possible’, the role of the media assumes crucial significance in relation to perceptions of crime and deviance in contemporary societies. In this respect, media organisation takes two forms:

  1. Media discourses (generalised characterisations such as crime as ‘a social problem’) and
  2. Media narratives – particular ‘supporting stories’ that contribute to the overall construction of a ‘deviance discourse’ – instances, for example, where deviance is portrayed in terms of how it represents a ‘social problem’.

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Crime, Media and Postmodern Modalities

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

911Harari’s “The theatre of terror” article is worth reading because it explicitly sees terrorism as a form of “spectacle” in contemporary Western societies – an idea referenced by Kidd-Hewitt and Osborne (1995) when they argue crime in general can be seen in terms of postmodern spectacle, a general “crime discourse” driven by two main narratives:

  1. Fear, whereby crime and deviance are represented in terms of threat – ‘the criminal’ as a cultural icon of fear (both in personal and more general social terms) – a narrative that involves both warnings about behaviour, the extent of crime and its consequences and risk assessments, in terms of the likelihood of becoming a victim of crime, for example.
  2. Fascination: Crime and deviance represent ‘media staples’ used to sell newspapers, encourage us to watch TV programmes (factual and fictional), visit news sites and so forth.

These two narratives (fear and fascination) come together when postmodernists discuss deviance in terms of spectacle – crime is interesting (and sells media products) because of the powerful combination of fear and fascination.

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