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Posts Tagged ‘postmodernism’

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.

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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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