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Posts Tagged ‘culture’

Introducing Sociology: Core Concepts

Tuesday, September 10th, 2019
Culture Presentation

Core Concepts in Sociology was a series of short films on areas like culture, identity and socialisation produced by OnlineClassroom. If you’re interested, the films are still available in various places but since they were originally published in 2007(ish) the technical quality is probably not up to the standards to which we’re now accustomed.

The content, however, is still sound.

Which is probably just as well because I’ve managed to dig-out the resources we created at the time to accompany the film. They’re perfectly serviceable, if a little basic…

The main resources were three PowerPoint Presentations covering:

1. Culture

2. Identity

3. Socialisation

Although they were originally designed to complement teaching in conjunction with the films there’s nothing here that actually requires students to have watched the films.

more resources…

Global Culture: 3 Views

Friday, August 30th, 2019
Global Culture: Click to download PowerPoint
Convergence and Homogenisation

While there’s probably a general agreement that “globalised cultural forms” – from fast food to films to football – are increasingly coming into existence, students need to be aware there are debates over both the exact forms these globalised cultures take and the impacts they make.

They need to consider this in terms of how local and national cultural forms and behaviours may be changed by globalising tendencies and, counter-intuitively perhaps, how local and national cultural forms and behaviours modify and change various forms of globalising culture.

To this end, this PowerPoint Presentation outlines some of the key features of three different interpretations of the impact of globalised cultural forms:

1. Convergence and Homogenisation: The main thrust of this view is that cultural differences between societies gradually breakdown and, in some cases perhaps, disappear, as societies adopt cultural ideas and attitudes that are broadly similar in style and content. Key ideas here include McDonaldisation, McWorld Culture and Coca-Colonisation – ideas that suggest one of the key drivers of “globalised culture from above” is the behaviour of large-scale global corporations.

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Free Textbook: Sociology in Focus for AS

Friday, February 8th, 2019
Sociology in Focus: Families and Households

For those of you with long(ish) memories, the original Sociology in Focus textbook first appeared in the mid-1990’s and I remember being quite taken by its novel(ish) attempt to reinvent “The Textbook” as something more than just a lot of pages with a lot of text.

Although it did, with hindsight, actually have “a lot of text” (they were much simpler times) it also had colour pages (if you include pale blue, black and white as “colour”), pictures (even though they were black and white, they still counted), activities and questions.

A lot of questions.

None of which had answers.

You had to buy a separate resource if you wanted answers (something I casually mention in an apparently throwaway fashion that at some point in the future you will look back on and think “Ah! Foreshadowing).

Anyway.

Around 2004 Sociology in Focus was reinvented as a fully-fledged “Modern Text” with colour-coded sections, colour pictures and less text.  A lot less text.

Although it was basically the same format laid-down by the original (activities, questions…) with a more student-friendly “down with the kids” vibe, it was now split into two books, one for AS-level and one for A2.

Which brings me to 2009 and the emergence of a “2nd edition” (that was really a 3rd edition, but who’s counting?), suitably reorganised to take account of yet another Specification change that no-one asked for but which everyone got anyway.

I’m guessing you’ll not be that surprised to know the format was pretty much the same (and by “pretty much” I mean “exactly”) because it clearly worked, although by this stage I got the distinct impression that most of the production effort was being put into what the text looked like and rather less effort was being placed on the task of updating it.

While the new edition did reflect further changes to the AQA Sociology Specification – Mass Media, for example, was moved to A2 – there is actually little or no difference between the “AS Media” text of the 2nd edition and the “A2 Media” text of the 3rd edition…

If you decide to use this textbook with your students – and it does actually have a lot going for it in terms of design and presentation – you need to be aware that the level of information in some sections (looking at you, Mass Media) may be slightly lacking in terms of depth of coverage. In addition, given yet more changes to the A-level Specification, some of the areas covered in the text are no-longer present in the latest Specification and one or two newer inclusions are obviously not covered.

Having said that, I do think this is a worthwhile text to have available for your students and, given that it’s out-of-print, one of the few ways they’re ever going to be able to read it.

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Global Connections Lesson Plans

Monday, September 17th, 2018

Although the focus of these lesson plans and student workbooks is on American culture it’s easy enough to substitute “America” for any other culture you want to cover…

Although I can’t remember exactly where I found these resources, they seem to be linked to some sort of international educational company / program (VIF) and they’re professionally produced to a high standard of both design and competence (there’s a focus – some might say obsession – with meeting various American educational Standards).

If you’re subject to these Standards the mapping of the materials is going to be very useful, but even if you’re not you should find something here that’s useful for your teaching – either because you’re seeking to understand something about “American Culture” or, as I’ve suggested, you want to apply the basic ideas contained in the lesson plans to some other culture of your choice.

Booklet 1: The US American Way

The first booklet “examines the identity and origin of U.S. Americans and how others in the world perceive U.S. Americans” through a range of suggested resources, web links and exercises. In addition, there are 3 specific lesson plans covering:

• The definition of and who is a U.S. American.
• The origin of U.S. culture.
• How Americans perceived globally.

Student Workbook: The US American Way

This contains a variety of exercises and activities related to the lesson plans contained in Booklet 1.

Booklet 2: Pop Culture

The second booklet “investigates the connectedness of the world’s people by examining components of pop culture and its effects on regions of the world” and, as with the first Booklet, begins with suggestions for resources, links and simple exercises.

The 3 lesson plans in this Booklet cover:

• The things, ideas, places and people that define popular culture.
• The impacts of American pop culture on other regions of the world.
• The global source of several American pop culture trends.

Student Workbook: Pop Culture

This has a variety of exercises and activities related to the lesson plans contained in Booklet 2.

Understanding Media and Culture: Free Textbook

Wednesday, July 11th, 2018

Understanding Media and Culture: An Introduction to Mass Communication (to give it its full title) is a textbook, released under a Creative Commons licence by the University of Minnesota, that’s free to read, copy and share – which makes it especially useful for schools / colleges or students on a tight budget.

Under this particular licence you’re also free to adapt the work in any way you like (“remix, transform, and build upon the material”) and what this will mostly mean is that if you want to chop chapters or sections out of the textbook you’re free to distribute these in any way you like (you just can’t charge anyone for the privilege).

In terms of content, the main body of the text dates from 2010 but there has been some updating in 2016 (particularly around the impact of new technologies) which makes it pretty up-to-the-moment as far as textbooks go.

The emphasis on media and culture means that most of the text is given-over to an analysis of the cultural impact of different types of media, both old (books, newspapers, film and television) and new (video games, entertainment, the internet and social media). Each type is given their own discrete chapter which, among other things, looks at their broad development, relationship to culture and, perhaps most-interestingly, how they have been impacted by the development of new technologies.

The remaining chapters deal more generally with a range of areas: concepts of culture, media effects (there’s coverage of a range of theories dealing with direct and indirect effects), globalisation, the relationship between the media and government and a final section on the future of the mass media.

Each chapter also has its own learning objectives, brief summary and short exercises. Whether or not you find these useful is, as ever, a moot point. I’m personally not a big fan, but Publisher’s love them so we probably have to learn to live with them.

Or ignore them.

It’s your choice.

Finally, one obvious drawback, as far as UK teachers and students are concerned, is that the cultural focus is largely North American. This means that many of the chapters draw on materials and examples that will be unfamiliar to any but an American audience and UK teachers who decide to use these chapters may want to take advantage of the aforementioned editing privileges afforded by the CC license.

If you think you might be able to live with this, the textbook’s available to:

Read online
• Download in a variety of ebook formats (such as mobi and epub) or as a pdf file.

Get Back The Heartbeat: A Film about Social Control

Monday, June 4th, 2018

Around 10 years ago I was contacted by a French film student asking permission to use something I’d written about social control as the basis for a Sociology lecture to be featured in a short film they were producing and directing.

I’d forgotten all about it until I was rooting around in a bookcase looking for something I’d lost and came across the DVD.

I remember being both taken aback and impressed by the film at the time and, on viewing it again after a gap of a few years, I still like what the director has done, both overall in terms of the look and feel of the film and, more specifically, in turning some simple a-level Sociology notes into something more brooding and menacing than anything I ever achieved during my 15 or so years in the classroom.

Although this is a film about “social control”, I’m still not entirely sure about its actual meaning – although that, of course, could be the point if you subscribe to a Barthesean view of the world.

The postmodernic layer of meaning-upon-meaning vibe is also enhanced by the fact that while, quantitatively, I wrote the spoken script, qualitatively, it was nothing to do with me: I played no part in its production save to provide the text that was then shaped and sculpted by the actual writer into the film you’re about to watch.

Overall, the film’s a bit weird (and then some), but I like it for its striking visuals, black-and-white visualisation and the odd sensation of hearing what were essentially some rather dull lecture notes given a new and rather wonderful sense of being.

Or something.

Maybe I’m getting a little bit carried away by the whole French auteur thing?

Culture and Identity

Thursday, May 24th, 2018

These documents were created for the OCR A-level Sociology Specification around 10 years ago and although they’re not bang-up-to-date in terms of the studies they cite there’s nothing to stop you adding a few more of your own if and when the fancy takes (they’re all presented as Word documents for reasonably-easy editing).

They were created by Christopher Stump around 10 years ago and I’m guessing their main purpose was for “revision”, something I gleaned from the fact that a few of the files mention this in their title. Very little, as you can probably tell, gets past me.

In other news, the “Ethnic Identities” file is a simple exercise that could be easily adapted to other forms of identity, such as class or gender, with minimal changes.

They’re all mainly one or two page documents so there’s nothing too detailed or extensive, but they’re nicely put together and I’m sure someone will find a good home for them and put them to good use.

Although they’re specifically aimed at OCR, there’s nothing here that isn’t equally-applicable to any Spec (AQA, Eduqas, CIE…) that covers culture and identity:

Culture
Socialisation
Hybridity Studies
Identity Revision
The Creation and Reinforcement of Ethnic Identities through Socialisation

Sociology and You: A Free Textbook

Monday, April 30th, 2018

This American High School textbook just scrapes into the “published in the 21st century” criterion I set myself for finding free, out-of-print sociology texts, but I’ve included it because although it’s obviously a little dated – at least in terms of content if not necessarily design – Sociology and You (2001) was probably one of the first to push at the boundaries of textbook design for “Grades 9 – 12”. This, by my calculations, means 15-18 year olds and if you’re wondering, as we probably all are, how this fits into the UK grading system I’d say the text equates to “high GCSE” / AS-level. But this is only a rough guess – there are bits that could fit into A2 – so if you want to use it with your students it’s probably a case of suck-it-and-see before you let them have copies.

The book itself exhibits most of the features we now take for granted in contemporary textbooks: short bursts of text, lots of big colourful pictures, key terms identified and defined, tables, boxouts, short readings, simple assessments and white space.

Lots and lots of white space.

In other words, anyone familiar with UK A-level texts over the past few years will see this as very familiar territory.

Except, of course, most of the examples and illustrations are drawn from North America. Which is okay if you’re North American (or are really into comparative sociology / North Americana) but not quite so brilliant if you live and study elsewhere.

Keeping this in mind, if you decide to have a look at the text I’ve made it available it as either a complete textbook or by chapter. I’ve provided the latter option because there are some chapters, such as those on “Sport” or “Political and Economic Institutions”, you may not need or want: put bluntly, you’re probably not going to teach stuff that’s not on the A-level Spec.

You can also use the chapter option to see if or how the text might fit with your teaching because, as I’ve noted, judging the level is a little problematic given differences in both the US and UK grade system and the skill levels each requires of its students at different ages.

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An Open-Source Sociology Textbook

Sunday, April 22nd, 2018

A free (open-source) Sociology textbook (plus resources) that could be used to supplement your existing textbooks and classroom resources.

While the idea of “open-source software” – programs created, modified and freely distributed to users who also contribute in various ways to their subsequent development – has long-been a feature of digital technology, it seems a little odd the concept hasn’t been applied to other areas, such as textbook publishing, given how easy it is to collaborate, design, publish and distribute books largely indistinguishable from those produced by professional publishers.

Whatever the reason, the free textbook “Introduction to Sociology” – created and distributed by the OpenStax College and now in its 2nd edition – is the first sociology textbook I’ve come across organised around open-source principles (as opposed to simply being freely distributed by its author).

What this means is that not only can you use the text as you would any other textbook (giving students individual digital or paper copies, for example, or integrating it into Canvas if you use this free LMS) you also have a wide range of format options, most of which (reading online, downloading to desktop, viewing on mobile devices) are free. If you really must have a properly bound copy this can be purchased for around £16 / $30.

Once you get past the various viewing options you’ll find a textbook created by a number of different authors (all, I assume, employed by Rice University?) designed primarily as a primer for American undergraduates taking an introductory module in Sociology (“Sociology 101”). This level, from what I’ve read of the text, seems perfectly acceptable for A-level Sociology (which probably says something about either the American or the British education system).

While you need to take into account both its target audience (most of the text, illustrations, examples and so forth reference American society – it is, in other words, pretty ethnocentric) and some of the preoccupations of American Sociology (a focus on areas like race and ethnicity, for example, that isn’t given such a central focus by A-level Sociology) the textbook covers areas that will be very familiar and useful to a-level sociologists. These include:

• Culture and Socialisation
• Family
• Education
• Health
• Inequality
• Religion
• Deviance
• Media

Although most of these aren’t covered in any great depth – and you’ll find significant parts of UK Sociology Specifications aren’t addressed – there’s plenty of useful material here for a-level students and teachers. While it’s probably not going to replace your main sociology textbook it could be worth considering as an additional text to supplement the existing resources you use – particularly because of its portability across different devices.

In addition, there are a number of Instructor and Student resources you can sign-up for. To access some – such as PowerPoint Presentations and the Test Bank – you need to register with a school / college email account, but the resources are free once you’ve registered.

It’s also possible, even if you don’t want to contribute suggestions for future updates, to add “community resources” to support the text. While there’s not much available at the moment, one example of these resources is a series of short video lectures you may or may not find helpful.

Culture and Identity PowerPoints

Wednesday, April 18th, 2018

To complement the Culture and Identity Revision booklets I’ve assembled a range of PowerPoint Presentations from a variety of sources including some nice little presentations put together by the OCR Exam Board (with accompanying Instruction and Activity booklets).

While the Presentations are probably more-suited to integration into an Introductory Sociology / Culture and Identity teaching session (the Presentations cover areas like culture, socialisation, identity, perspectives and the like), some may have value as a revision tool.

As ever, the Presentations vary in size, complexity and competence (although I’ve tried to weed-out Presentations I didn’t think added much value or which weren’t sufficiently focused on A-Level Sociology). Where known I’ve indicated the author of each Presentation, to whom you should direct any plaudits, questions or brickbats.

1. Culture and Identity (Steven Humphreys)
2. Introductory Concepts (Mark Gill)
3. Social and Personal Identities (Leigh Rust-Ashford)
4. Culture
5. Socialisation
6. Feminism and Patriarchy (Chris Deakin)
7. Class identity (Liz Voges)
8. Primary and Secondary Socialisation
9. Socialisation and Resocialisation (Gobind Khalsa)
10. Class, Gender, Ethnicity (Mark Gill)
11. Social Control (Leigh Rust-Ashford)
12. Culture and Social Identity (Joe McVeigh)
13. Elements of Culture (Rebekah Colbeth)
14. Identity and Hybrid Identities (OCR) | Teacher Instructions | Activity Booklet
15. Culture and Cultural Identity (Jane Lister Reis)
16. Sport and National Identity
17. Culture, Values and Norms (OCR) | Teacher Instructions | Activity Booklet 
18. Culture and Cultural Hybridity (OCR) | Teacher Instructions | Activity Booklet

Culture and Identity: The Erasmus+ Project

Monday, April 16th, 2018

Although I’m not exactly sure what the Erasmus Project was – it seems to have come to an end in 2017 – but from what I can make out from its web site it appears to have been a collaborative project between non-profit organisations in England, Poland and Slovakia designed to create and distribute resources to young people to promote multiculturalism.

These resources consist of six “scenarios” or Study Packs containing suggestions for a range of mini-lectures, activities – from how to create a Mind Map or Infographic to methods for activating student discussions – and simple games.

The materials are based around a series of lesson plans designed to explore different areas and aspects of “multiculturalism” and while a-level sociology teachers probably won’t want to follow the plans precisely, there are bit and pieces that could be usefully extracted and integrated into lessons related to culture and identity.

While nothing in the resources is going to radically change the way you teach, they might give you a few ideas to contemplate.

Or indeed pinch.

I’m going for the latter.

Probably.

1. Multiculturalism: What is it?

2. Culture vs cultural identity

3. Equality vs Diversity

4. Human Rights

5. From conflict to consensus

6. Multicultural labour market

Sociology Revision Booklets: 6. Culture and Identity

Saturday, April 14th, 2018

Somewhat surprisingly, at least to me, there seems to be a positive dearth of Culture and Identity related revision material, at least of the Word / Pdf variety (PowerPoint users seem much better served). Why that should be I don’t know but I have managed to find a few resources you and your students might find helpful:

1. Revision Checklist (K.Birch): I’ve included this because it’s one of the few revision resources I’ve been able to find for the OCR Board and while it’s not particularly exhaustive it does provide a list of key concepts, some simple practice questions and some sample exam-type questions for each topic in the Culture and Identity module.

2. Sociological Perspectives: Some quite extensive notes dedicated to different types of sociological perspective.

3. Culture and Identity: This is another set of paged Notes by Mark Gill that I’ve collated into a single document for the convenience of everyone involved. I’ve kept it as a Word document so that you can easily separate-out sections if you want to give your students Notes on a specific topic. As ever with these Notes there’s quite extensive coverage of a range of areas: socialisation, perspectives, identities and globalisation.

4. Culture, Socialisation and Identity: This combines short Notes focused on the concept of culture with simple student exercises (and in case there’s any confusion, it’s the exercises that are simple, not the student).

5. Culture, Identity and Agents of Socialisation: Short Notes mainly aimed at illustrating the relationship between different identities (gender, age, ethnicity, etc.) and different agencies of socialisation.

6. Facebook and the Presentation of Self: This is an article originally published in Sociology Review (2017) that uses the example of Facebook to illustrate arguments about structure and action. While it’s not exactly a revision piece it might help students clarify this relationship if they need it. It also looks at how personal and social identities relate to structure and action.

More Sociology Knowledge Organisers

Wednesday, February 14th, 2018

Knowledge Organisers, you may or may not be surprised to learn, are the classroom requirement de nos jours and while some (looking at you Michaela Community School) may like to casually lay claim to the concept / format as being something radically new and different they’ve developed, it really isn’t.

Here, for example, is one I made earlier (about 20-odd years earlier…) and if past experience is anything to go by I probably stole the idea from someone else (or, as I like to think, my efforts were influenced by those of others).

Be that as it may, if you’ve landed here looking for Knowledge Organisers, here’s another batch I’ve managed to find using my finely-tuned Sociological Sensibility (or “typing stuff into Google to see what I can find” as it’s more-commonly known. Probably).

These KO’s are slightly different to the various Learning Tables (LT) we’ve previously posted, but they are, to-all-intents-and-purposes, the same in terms of what they exist to do.

You will find, if you compare the two (otherwise you’ll never actually know), this batch is a little less ambitious in scope and design than the previous LT’s, so it may be a case of choosing which suits you and your students and sticking with those. Or not as the case may be.

Although the original files I found were in pdf format, I’ve converted them to Word so that you can more-easily edit them if you want to. The only difference between the two files is that rounded bullets in the pdf file have been converted as square bullets in the Word file.

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Society Now Magazine

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018

Society Now” is a free full-colour magazine published four times a year by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and features a range of articles that “showcase the impact of the social science research” funded by the Council.

Although the magazine includes material that’s not necessarily relevant to a-level sociology – the ERSC funds a wide range of social scientific research in areas like economics. politics and geography – it’s worth browsing for the articles that, directly and indirectly, do touch on issues and themes sociologists – both teachers and students – will find useful. The latest issue (No. 29: Autumn 2017) for example has useful short articles on, among other things:

• The geography of inequality and poverty in Britain.
• The Summer of Love? – looking at “key changes to personal choice and individual freedom”
• England’s child protection strategy.
• Family-friendly employment rights

The magazine’s been published since 2008 (so there are quite a few – 28 to be precise – Back Issues  available if you fancy sifting through them) and is available in a number of formats:

Pdf download (the current edition, for example)

App download (for both Apple and Android OS).

Print: You just need to complete the online application form.

Britain In Magazine

 

As an added bonus the ESRC also publish a free annual magazine containing a range of news and feature articles, handily divided into sections (such as education, family, culture, media and health) that sociologists should find useful.

Past issues going back to 2007 are available as pdf downloads and the current issue is available in print format, although you have to contact them (email or phone) to order a copy.

Chinese Parents’ Involvement in Children’s Education

Monday, October 9th, 2017

Regular readers of this blog will be aware that from time-to-time we’ve been able to feature research done by Richard Driscoll’s Sociology A-level students at the Shenzhen College of International Education in China and the latest study to come our way, by Ma Jia Ying, looks at the involvement of Chinese parents in decisions made by their sons and daughters about what to study in higher education.

The research should be interesting to UK teachers and students for a couple of reasons:

Firstly, it gives a comparative cultural insight into family relationships and educational processes in an area that will be familiar to many UK students – the extent to which family pressures impact on the choices made by individual students in terms of their future educational careers.

Secondly, another interesting dimension is the construction and implementation of the research itself: this is made manifest in areas like the choices made by the researcher in terms of sampling, research methods, reliability, validity and so forth, their awareness of methodological uses and limitations and their evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of their research.

If you want to get in touch with Richard about this research, his students or maybe to make a fruitful contact between your school / college students and his – you can contact him via his Twitter account

Culture and Identity: Caught Between Two Worlds?

Monday, September 18th, 2017

Richard Driscoll teaches A-level Sociology at the Shenzhen College of International Education in China and you may recall an interesting piece of research – The Last Queendom of Women?  – carried-out by one of his students, Hecate Li, that provided a contemporary example of an alternative to the “conventional nuclear family”.

In this latest piece of research by one of his students, Sarah G. Zhang applies two complimentary research methods, questionnaires and semi-structured interviews, to examine the question “How do experiences in different countries affect the social identities of American-born-Chinese (ABC) students” – a piece of research UK teachers and students should find useful for a couple of reasons:

Firstly, it covers the respective strengths and weaknesses of two different research methods and shows how they can be applied to a substantive research area. The use of quantitative and qualitative methods / data is also a useful example of research triangulation.

Secondly, the research gives a fascinating insight into questions of culture and identity by choosing to look at “precarious identities” – young people “caught between two very different worlds” – expressed through a wide range of cultural concepts: language, family values and relationships, work ethics, identity and social relationships.

If you want to contact Richard Driscoll about this research you can do so through Twitter.

3 | Socialisation and Identity

Tuesday, September 5th, 2017

The third chapter in what’s rapidly becoming something of a legendary giveaway (in my mind at least) is one that applies the concept of socialisation to the development of a range of social and personal identities in contemporary societies (or as contemporary as things get, given this was first published in 2012).

This chapter on socialisation and identity covers a range of interesting and not-so-interesting topics that, in no particular order, include:

• Social and personal identities
• Consensus, Conflict and Action approaches to understanding identity
• Postmodernity and the development of new identities (green, cyber and transformative)
• Agencies of identity socialisation and their role in the development of:
• Gender identities
• Class identities
• Ethnic identities
• Age identities

Although the text was written to support (in a very loose sense of the word) OCR Sociology, I like to think it probably has a much greater utility across a wider range of Specifications (it might, for example, come in handy for the Culture and Identity section of AQA Sociology. Then again, it  might not).

As with previous chapters this is pre-production version that still contains printer marks (I could remove them if I could be bothered, but I can’t. Be bothered, that is).

I’d also like to make it clear that neither the pictures dotted throughout the chapters, nor the captions that accompany them, had anything to do with me. Granted, it’s taken me 5 years to notice them, but in mitigation I don’t actually look at print versions of my books on what I think is the very reasonable basis that I’ve read the words so many times I just can’t face reading them again…

1 | The Formation of Culture

Saturday, September 2nd, 2017

Around 5 years ago I published a book for the OCR Specification (don’t thank me, somebody had to) and although it’s still available if you want to buy it , it’s probably out-lived what little economic utility it once had.

I decided, therefore, it’s probably time to make it freely available to anyone who wants it, starting with Chapter 1: The Formation of Culture.

Although it was written to meet the demands of a particular Specification (one that’s since changed…) that’s not to say teachers won’t find it useful: if you’re One of The Few who follow OCR there’s plenty of information in the chapter that still applies to the latest Spec. and if you’re One of The Many who use another Specification, as a colleague of mine once said “Well, it’s all Sociology, inn’it bruv?”.

So, with that fine endorsement ringing in your ears you might be interested to know the chapter covers the following:

• Defining culture (roles, norms, values, status, etc.)
• Types of subcultures (reactive and independent)
• Cultural diversity (Inter and Intra)
• Multiculturalism
• Global culture
• High and Popular culture
• Consumer culture

Because this is a pre-publication version of the final book it doesn’t look quite like the printed version (the printer’s marks are visible and one or two pictures that made the final cut may be missing from this version) but, on the plus side, it’s free and you can make as many copies as you like to distribute to your students.

BBC “Analysis” Podcasts

Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

Over the past 10 years BBC Radio 4’s Analysis series has created a range of podcasts “examining the ideas and forces which shape public policy in Britain and abroad, presented by distinguished writers, journalists and academics”.

There are over 200 podcasts to trawl through, many of which won’t be of any interest or use to sociology teachers and students, but a relatively smaller number just might. To save you a lot of time and trouble (there’s no need to thank me, I’m nice like like) I’ve had a quick look through the list to select what I think might be the sociological highlights.

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Gay Best Friends as Consumers and Commodities

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017

If you’re looking for something slightly different to incorporate into your Culture and Identity / Media Sociology teaching this book chapter on “Effeminacy and Expertise, Excess and Equality: Gay Best Friends as Consumers and Commodities in Contemporary Television” by Susie Khamis and Anthony Lambert might well fit the bill.

Of particular interest here might be the way it links identity to consumerism and consumption by focusing on “the gay male best friend as a possessable, commodified identity”.

It’s probably not something you’d necessarily give to students to read – it’s quite long and complex in places – but it’s definitely something teachers might find useful to precis or draw examples from to illustrate some interesting ideas about gender, identity and consumption.

Given A-level Sociology has a largely female demographic it’s also something this particular audience may find both easy to relate to and the basis for discussion based on their own ideas and experiences.

Exploring the Nurture in Our Nature?

Friday, May 19th, 2017

The Nature-Nurture debate in both sociology and psychology at a-level has, historically, generally been framed in terms of an either / or approach to understanding the relationship between genes and social / environmental influences. In short, either our behaviour is fundamentally a product of our genetic inheritance (biological determinism) or it is a product of our cultural experiences (cultural determinism).

Recent developments in neuroscience – and, in particular, the ability to see, understand and interpret MRI scan data – have, however, cast doubt on the utility of seeing human behaviour in terms of this relatively simple biology-culture dichotomy.

More specifically, the work of researchers like James Fallon and Kent Kiehl in relation to psychopathy and Randy Jirtle in the field of epigenetics (“above genetics”) has suggested that even though very clear genetic differences exist between the brain structures of “psychopath” and “non-psychopath” the frequently-destructive behaviour of the former can’t simply be explained in terms of simple genetic predispositions: even in what seems one of the most clear-cut examples of genetic predispositions, cultural factors play a clear – and possibly crucial – role in the social development of psychopaths.

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Connecting Walls Collection

Monday, April 24th, 2017

CBSC Sociology has been busy creating and posting a huge number of revision Connecting Walls on Twitter and, in the spirit of “pinching other people’s stuff and sharing it with a wider audience”, I’ve pulled all their tweets together into one handy blog post for your – and your students’ – greater convenience.

So, if you’re looking for a fun way to spice-up classroom revision with a bit of competitive tension, try some or all of the following:

Education

Education Wall 1

Education Wall 2

Education Wall 3

Education Wall 4  

Education Wall 5

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Seven Functions of Culture

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

As you may have noticed I’m quite attached to the idea of lists, so this second “list post” (did you see what I did there?) should come as no surprise. Nor should it be surprising that the list focuses on functions. Again. I can’t really explain why there’s so many Functionalist lists – perhaps they just really like them?

Anyway, if you’re looking at the concept of culture – what Fisher (1997) calls “shared behaviour…that systematises the way people do things, thus avoiding confusion and allowing cooperation so that groups of people can accomplish what no single individual could do alone” – Mazrui (1996) has identified seven functions culture performs for both societies and individuals.

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GCSE Revision Resources

Thursday, November 24th, 2016

While it’s probably fair to say that teacher-created GCSE revision resources are a bit thin on the ground (and take a bit of finding), there are useful resources “out there” if you’re prepared to do a lot of searching. To save you the time and trouble, here’s some I found earlier (the quality’s a bit variable, but needs must etc.):

gcsemedia

Unit 1 Revision Guide

Unit 1: Education

Unit 2 Topics – keywords / concepts

Crime and Deviance

Mass Media Revision Booklet

Unit B671 (Sociology Basics) Revision: Methods / Culture / Socialisation / Identity