Posts Tagged ‘gender’

Gender, Crime and Co-Offending

Friday, December 13th, 2019
ShortCutstv Film
Girls on Film…

The broad relationship between gender and crime is both well-known and fairly-consistent over time, both in the UK and across the world, and can be summarised in terms of three main ideas:

1. Men commit more crimes than women. This, as we’ve noted, is consistent across both time (an historical dimension) and place (a cultural dimension). Men – and young men in particular – appear to have a greater involvement than women in criminal behaviour in all societies and at all times.

2. Men and women commit different types of crime: violent crimes, for example, are much more-likely to be committed by men.

3. While men generally commit a wide array of crimes – from murder, through fraud, to burglary – female criminality is generally limited to a much more limited range.

These observations have led to a number of explanations – biological, psychological and sociological – for both higher male criminality and comparatively lower female criminality and if you want to review some of these, this short film featuring Professor Sandra Walklate (Gendering the Criminal) should prove useful.

And free.

Alternatively, if you prefer your information in Note form, this document covering Feminist and Left Realist approaches to gender and crime might help.

Method and Findings

While there are a wide range of possible explanations for differences in male-female criminality, one general problem is that the majority of these – particularly ones, such as radical feminism or masculinism, that focus on essentialist gender differences – are based on the assumption crime is largely an individual pursuit: offenders, in other words, working alone.

While this is by no-means unreasonable – as Becker and McCorkel (2011) note, “more than 80% of criminal incidents in America involved individual offenders” – it does mean a not-insignificant percentage of crimes were committed by co-offenders.

And a proportion of these involved a mix of males and females working together.  As they note, “33% of men and 38% of women participated in co-offending incidents” at some point.

The question they wanted to test, in this respect, was whether male-female co-offending increased the range of crimes committed by women. If this proved to be the case it would narrow-down the range of possible explanations for female offending by both removing essentialist explanations (the idea, for example, that biological or psychological gender differences explained wider and higher levels of male criminality) and eliminating a range of sociological possibilities – particularly, but not exclusively, those relating to socialisation and social control.

Using data collected by The National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS) that included information about “offenses known to the police, arrests made, victims, and victim–offender relationships for serious offenses and information on a larger set of offenses”, Becker and McCorkel explored if and how working with a male co-offender altered female crime participation. In this respect their analysis concluded:

Women are represented across a broader array of crimes when they co-offend with men, compared to when they co-offend with women or work alone”.


Talking Points

Monday, September 30th, 2019

The basic idea behand Talking Points is deceptively simple: put together a collection of questions and observations cobbled together from a range of sources (Google, Pinterest, my own fetid imagination…) and use them to create a small – but expanding – list of ready-made discussion starters.

Once created, post them to a Board on Pinterest, sit back and Bob, while not necessarily being your father’s brother, is very definitely related in some way.

That’s it.


If you’re at a loose end…

Sociology Video Tutorials

Sunday, September 29th, 2019
Functionalism Tutorial
Functionalism Tutorial

These short video tutorials are basically a variant on “podcasts with pictures”: a talking head tutor in one corner of the screen explains something while the occasional picture or real-time whiteboard illustration is displayed.

In other words, the 40+ films available here are relatively simple video lectures of the “listen and learn” variety – which is not necessarily a criticism, merely an observation that this is what’s on offer.

More tutorials

British Social Attitudes: Selected Surveys

Wednesday, July 24th, 2019
Subjective Social Class…

NatCen describe themselves as “Britain’s largest independent social research agency”, one that works “on behalf of government and charities to find out what people really think about important social issues” and while they produce a lot of statistical stuff™ that’s probably of interest to someone, of most interest to a-level sociology teachers and students will probably be the fact NatCen is responsible for carrying-out the British Attitudes Survey – an annual questioning of around 3,000 respondents on a wide diversity of topics.

This research is useful for a-level sociologists for, I would hazard, four main reasons:

1. It’s free:

While this is always one of my top considerations when thinking about social research, “free” is not in and of itself always very useful.

There’s more…

Podcasts With Pictures | GCSE

Monday, May 20th, 2019

I’ve been meaning to do a post on the growing number of teachers creating video resources for some time and now I’ve finally managed to drag myself away from Far Cry 5 make a bit of time I thought I’d start with a set of GCSE resources from MTO Sociology aimed at the AQA Specification. When I get around to it I’ll do a follow-up post on A-level video resources of which, you might not be surprised to learn, there are many more available.

Anyway, at the time of writing the MTO Sociology YouTube Channel has 15 or so Sociology resources divided into 4 main playlists:

Exam Ready takes you through all the information you need to cover in terms of revision in areas like Methods, Family, Education, Deviance and Stratification. These films are 30 – 60 minutes long.

Themes focuses on concepts (socialisation, gender, class and ethnicity) that crop-up right across the sociology specification and the podcasts focus on how to apply your knowledge of these themes to questions in different areas (such as family or education). These resources are much shorter – between 10 and 20 minutes – to reflect their tighter focus.

Perspectives provides a brief introduction to Functionalism, Marxism and Feminism and how these perspectives can be applied across different areas of the Specification. Again, these are relatively short films that come-in around the 10-minute mark.

Questions and Answers seems to be a bit of a pot-luck resource based on whatever MTO Sociology’s students requested. If you’re having problems understanding concepts like the glass ceiling, for example, this resource will be helpful. If you’re not, it probably won’t. Which isn’t a criticism, more a heads-up. The films in this section are around the 15-minute mark.

Finally, there are a couple more Sociology resources tucked away on the GCSE Humanities playlist that are worth checking-out: How do I answer exam questions? and Model answers and exam feedback.

Gender and Subject Choice

Thursday, November 8th, 2018

Another little bonus to add to yesterday’s offering from the work I’m currently doing on the concept of school climate and its possible effect on achievement.

This one comes in the form of a couple of pieces of research commissioned by the Institute of Physics that cover gendered subject choices at A-level.

Closing Doors: Exploring gender and subject choice in schools (2013) provides a raft of information on male-female representation across 3 “comparable pairs” of 6 A-level subjects:

• English and Mathematics: both core subjects at GCSE
• Biology and Physics: two science choices at A-level
• Psychology and Economics: A-level subjects not normally taught in earlier years.

Although the presentation, findings and commentaries are probably a little too dense to be given directly to students, there’s plenty here for teachers to get their teeth into and selectively use. There is, however, a neat summary of the research right at the start that students will find helpful.

It’s Different for Girls (2012) is a companion piece to Closed Doors focused much more tightly on Physics A-level. Once again, probably not something to simply hand-out to students but, again, it’s a piece of research that teachers’ might find selectively rewarding.

If, for example, you were looking for examples of a “school climate” effect in relation to gender, it’s interesting that while the socio-economic background of a school has, as you might expect, a significant effect in terms of the raw numbers of those studying physics at A-level, there is little effect on cohort proportions. That is, the proportion of girls and boys studying a-level physics is similar across all socio-economic groups – an observation that suggests factors additional to social class impact on subject choice.

DEA: Mythbusters

Wednesday, November 7th, 2018

I’ve recently been looking at the idea of school climate and its possible relationship to the gender gap in educational achievement for a forthcoming blog post, a fact I mention for a couple of reasons:

firstly, because I think the notion of school climate and its possible impact on educational achievement is an interesting idea, both conceptually and practically, that’s not really been adequately, if at all, addressed in the A-level literature and, secondly, by way of trying to create the impression that I actually plan these blog posts. I’ll leave you to decide which, if any, of these is more important (but I know where I’m placing my bet).

I mention this by way of introducing a useful and informative document I chanced across called Addressing Gender and Achievement: Myths and Realities (2009) and published by what was then the Department for Children, Schools and Families (it’s anyone’s guess what it’s called now).

In a nutshell, the document sets-out to bust-some-myths about gender and educational achievement in a simple and straightforward way:

• state the myth (“Coursework favours girls and ‘sudden death’ examinations favour boys”).
• bust it with evidence (“Changes in assessment practice reducing the value of the GCSE coursework component have had little impact on gendered achievement patterns”).
• briefly explain the evidence.

As such, it’s not only a useful and informative little document, it’s also one that’s a decidedly student-friendly read (which is quite handy if you like to get your students to read stuff).

GCSE Sociology Guides: Family and Education

Friday, August 17th, 2018

GCSE Sociology resources tend to be a little thin on the ground, so it’s always nice to come across decent teacher-created material such as these two bang-up-to-the-moment Revision Guides created by Kate Henney.

The Family Guide is a 25-page document that packs in a whole range of resources covering family types, diversity, alternatives, perspectives, roles and structures (plus some stuff on exam questions and a knowledge organiser…).

The Education Pack Is a 20-page resource covering perspectives, types of school, class, ethnicity and gender, factors in achievement, marketisation and educational policy (plus exam questions and a knowledge organiser).

Although the resources are in PowerPoint format it’s easy enough to save each file as a pdf document using the Export function if you want to give your students copies.

Popular Postmodernism and the Crisis of Masculinity…

Tuesday, May 29th, 2018

Popular forms of postmodernism are arguably a feature of many forms of current journalistic analysis of social behaviour, in both main stream and social media, with a current “crisis of masculinity” being a firm media narrative. Locating such arguments in their historical context may, however, be a more-sociologically useful way to understand them at a-level.

There’s an implicit tendency in contemporary journalism (in both mainstream and social media) to explain changing concepts of masculinity and femininity as a product of “postmodern uncertainty”, a condition that develops, it’s frequently argued, through a potent combination of two things:

1. An overabundance of choice relating to, in this instance, how to perform male and female social roles that leads, in turn, to confusion over both the distinction between – and content of – these gender roles.

2. A progressive loosening of the moral order, such that male and female identities that were once highly centred – “everyone” knew how they were expected to behave as “men” and “women” – have increasingly become decentred: the disappearance of a clear moral authority dictating “how to be” a man or a woman in contemporary societies leads to different people interpreting their different roles in different ways.

While there’s nothing particularly wrong in constructing this type of analysis to explain the fragmentation of both gender categories and gender roles (you’d very probably score good marks for it in an exam…) one criticism we can note about journalistic arguments focused around “the postmodern condition” is that they tend towards an ahistorical view of social development in two main ways:

Firstly, “historical development” is seen as a linear process – a straight line between “the past” and “the present” – that involves an evolutionary progression from “the simple” to “the complex”.

Secondly, ideas and events are interpreted and reinterpreted in such a way as to remove them from their historical context. Rather than locating “the past” in its own particular and peculiar social context, ideas and events are “ripped from history” to be understood solely in terms of the meanings and motivations of those living in “the present”.

While both of these ideas arguably represent a form of Functionalism in shiny new shoes, this is not to suggest popular ideas and debates about “a crisis of masculinity”, “toxic masculinity” or, moving further afield, concepts like “post-truth” are imaginary, unimportant or the product of that most-misused of ideas, “moral panics”. Rather, it’s to argue that these conditions need to be explained sociologically, with a clear eye on historical details and contexts.

As a case in point, you can use the following article by Ellie Cawthorne (“How to be a Man: tips from 1930’s agony aunts”, 2018) to show how ideas about “changing masculinity” can’t be simply and easily explained by reference to the kind of nebulous references to “postmodernity” favoured by contemporary journalists and commentators. The article can be read online at the BBC History Magazine website or offline by downloading it as a Word document I’ve very thoughtfully assembled for your viewing pleasure. Because online documents have a habit of disappearing into the ether.

The reference is, of course, only illustrative and suggestive (building a picture of masculinity using only a single historical source is not definitive). If you want a more-fully-researched example, you might find Pearson’s “Hooligan: A History of Respectable Fears” useful, albeit in relation to a different topic (crime and deviance) and perception of masculinity…

Sex and Gender: A Short Film

Thursday, May 17th, 2018

If you’re into flipped teaching (or even if you’re not) and want a relatively short (around 15-minute) video-introduction to sex and gender this Ted-Talk on “Understanding the Complexities of Gender” by Sam Killermann should fit the bill for a couple of reasons:

Firstly, it introduces a wide range of gender-related concepts and issues, including:
• Sex and gender
• Gender identity
• Gender roles and norms
• Gender socialisation
• Gender scripts
• Binary gender options
• Multiple gender identities
• Gender dysphoria
• Gender expression
• Masculinity and Femininity

Secondly, Killermann is an American stand-up comedian and he uses these skills to get his (sociological) ideas across in a clever and amusing way…


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.


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

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.

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 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. Postmodernism (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)

Sociology Revision PowerPoints: Crime and Deviance

Saturday, March 24th, 2018

The second part of the Crime and Deviance Revision series (the first, if you missed it,  involves revision booklets) is devoted to a range of PowerPoint Presentations that I’ve collected from various places. Just have a look at the document properties if you want to know who created them.

The quality of the Presentations is “variable” at times so it’s probably a case of having a look at any that take your fancy to see if they’re something you can use. You also need to keep in mind the date when some of these were created (again, just check the document properties).

Although most of the Presentations are just a relatively simple mix of text and graphics, some include links to YouTube videos (which you can, of course, edit accordingly if you want) and some are a little more interactive in terms of their content (posing questions, setting short exercises and the like).

Although I’ve signposted the Presentations as a revision resource there’s no reason why you couldn’t incorporate some of these into your everyday teaching if you like to use PowerPoint. They can, of course, be edited to your particular requirements.

The Presentations (all 26 of them…) are as follows:


Beat The Bourgeoisie: A Simulation

Tuesday, March 6th, 2018

Long-time readers of this blog may recall that around 18 months ago I posted a series of sociology simulations, under the general title “7 Sims in 7 Days”, one of which, Cards, Cakes and Class, focused on giving students a physical taste of social inequality. However, while I like the basic ideas underpinning the sim, it suffers from two major problems:

1. It takes a lot of time, effort and space to set-up and run.

2. It mainly focuses on economic inequality to the detriment of other dimensions of class inequality – specifically, cultural and social capital. While the former is, of course, an important dimension of inequality, students need to understand, discuss and, in this instance, experience other dimensions of inequality.

If you liked the basic idea behind “Cakes and Class” (and who doesn’t like to see their students suffer in the name of Education?) but were prevented from running the sim because you couldn’t commit to everything involved in setting it up, you might be interested in this variation by Dawn Norris (Beat The Bourgeoisie: A Social Class Inequality and Mobility Simulation Game). While it covers much the same area as Cakes and Class it does so in a way that’s:

1. Easier to set-up and run: you just need two groups of students and some questions.

2. Quicker to carry-out: Norris suggests the simulation itself should run for around 30 minutes, (with as much time as you like after for a discussion of content and outcomes).


More Crime and Deviance Learning Tables

Friday, December 8th, 2017

A few days ago I did a post on Learning Tables that noted, in passing, that although the numbering system used suggested at least 14 Tables had been created for crime and deviance, I’d only managed to find 10.

After a bit of detective work (which sounds a bit mysterious and a touch glamourous until you realise it merely involved typing different combinations of key words into Google until it eventually came up with something useful) I managed to find two more:

right realism
crime and locality.

In the course of wandering semi-aimlessly around some of the lesser-travelled highways and byways of the web, however, I came across a range of similar-looking Learning Tables that, on closer inspection of the metadata, seemed to be by different authors (although to make matters even more confusing, Miss Elles was credited as the author of some of the newer Tables that looked very similar to the Tables I’d previously posted. The former were, however, unnumbered).

Although I’ve got little idea what might have been going-on here (maybe the Tables were the result of a collaboration between teachers / the outcome of different teachers in the same school producing slightly different Tables / someone seeing the original format and deciding to produce similar-looking Tables?) I think that whoever authored the materials (THeaton, Miss Elles, Miss G Banton and a couple of anons) they’re worth distributing to a wider audience.

If you have a look at the original post you’ll see some of the Tables listed below are duplicated – at least in terms of their title, if not necessarily their content. In this respect, you pays your money (so to speak) and you makes your choice as to whether you want to download and compare both sets where they occur (as with labelling, for example). Otherwise, here’s another Big Bundle of Learning Tables to distribute to your students or inspire them to create their own:

Global, green and state crime
Labelling theory
Crime and the Media
Left and right realism
Punishment and prevention

GCSE Psychology Notes

Saturday, December 2nd, 2017

As with its sociological counterpart, this is a set of short, to-the-point, GCSE Notes covering a range of topics:

• Aggression
• Development of Personality
• Learning Memory
• Non-Verbal Communication
• Research Methods
• Sex and gender
• Social Influence
• Stereotypes

As with the Sociology Notes these aren’t something that will replace whatever textbooks you use, but it’s a handy resource nonetheless, that will complement your existing resources.

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!