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Posts Tagged ‘globalisation’

Risk Society

Sunday, April 18th, 2021

Beck’s complex and at times convoluted arguments around the concept of Risk Society arguably make it one of the more-difficult theoretical areas to cover at A / High School level. This tends to mean it’s covered in a piecemeal way that focuses on one or two dimensions and manifestations of risk in contemporary societies, while also lumping it into a general “postmodern narrative”.

While this is understandable – many of the ideas and arguments Beck raises around areas like identity or uncertainty have a distinctly postmodern feel to them – one of the key things about Risk Society is how it can be used, among other things, as a criticism of postmodernity and postmodern society.

Key Concepts: Risk Society, 1st and 2nd modernity, Goods and Bads, reflexive modernisation; individualism, institutionalisation of individualism, risk, globalisation, detraditionalisation; organised irresponsibility.

Note: If you’d prefer to read a pdf or Flipbook version of this post, these are now available.

Ulrich Beck (1944 -2015)

There’s a tendency to think about the evolution of human society in linear terms, as a general line of development that flows from something like the primitive to the complex, religion and superstition to science and rationality, ignorance and scarcity to progress and plenty.

Sociologically, this sense of linear development is frequently reflected in the idea of three broad historical epochs, each with their own particular and peculiar developmental characteristics:

1. Pre-modern or feudal societies are predominantly agricultural, local in scope, involve collective identities inherited and fixed at birth, from Noble Lords and Ladies, to lowly Peasants and even lower Serfs, given a sense of order by notions of rights and responsibilities derived from God and generally held together by powerful, organised, religions.

2. Modern or capitalist societies are predominantly industrial societies, national and international in scope, where people develop increasingly individualistic identities centred around work and the workplace and ordered through a democratic politics based around the application of science, rationality and technology.

3. Postmodern or (post-) capitalist societies are predominantly post-industrial, advanced technologically, global in scope, highly-individualistic in terms of identities that form around diffuse lifestyles and increasingly fragmented across categories like class, age, gender, ethnicity and sexuality.

Locating the work of Ulrich Beck into this loose schema appears relatively straightforward given that he talks about contemporary Western societies in terms of concepts like risk, uncertainty, fear and the individualisation of biographies that involve people trying to make sense of their lives and their place in a world cut-adrift from the certainties of modernity: the nation state, stable governments, technological progress that seems to bend nature to its will, community, clearly-defined individual life-courses and the like.

Risk Society

Sociology Texts: Another Big Bundle of Free

Sunday, February 14th, 2021

One of the things we like to do on this blog is discover and post orphaned sociology textbooks – as in texts published sometime this century that have either gone out of print or been superseded by later, bigger, more-colourful, All-Singing-All-Dancing versions – for the benefit of teachers and students in these straitened economic times.

I like to think we’re giving these texts something of a new lease of life because even though they’ve been replaced by a newer version, much of the information they contain doesn’t suddenly become irrelevant or worthless – you just need to be aware that using slightly older texts can have a few potential downsides:

1. Specifications change, both in terms of the Modules they cover and their content. Twenty years ago, for example, AQA included a Module on Power and Politics that has long-since disappeared from exams and textbooks.

2. Statistical data does go quickly out-of-date and is likely to be more current in tater versions of texts. Against this, keep in mind that statistical data in even the latest versions of textbooks is likely to be 2 – 3 years out-of-date by the time a text is authored and published. Against this, textbooks aren’t a particularly great statistical resource anymore when all the most up-to-the-minute stats are freely available at the press of a few mouse clicks…

3. Research cited in older texts may have been questioned or disproved by the time later texts are published and this is clearly a drawback as far as teaching is concerned. The extent to which this is actually a problem, given the texts republished here are, at most, 20 years old (i.e. they just about squeeze into contemporary definitions of, well, “contemporary”) is something you need to consider before using them.

Free the texts…

A-level Sociology Organisers: A new selection

Wednesday, February 10th, 2021

It’s been a while since I last posted any A-level Sociology Knowledge Organisers – a combination of both being a bit busy and a relative paucity of resources – and although this is something of a mixed-bunch, some fairly bog-standard stuff plus some rather more interesting efforts – unless you try them you won’t know if they’ll work for you and your students.

Crime / Globalisation / Theory and Methods

Crime and Deviance

Crime and Deviance Questions: less a conventional Knowledge Organiser and more a set of questions with “knowledge answers” (trust me, they’re difficult to accurately describe but you’ll know what I mean when you see them). Covers lots of different areas, from perspectives through globalisation to media

Crime and Deviance: King Charles 1 School: Again, not your standard Knowledge Organiser, this one combines elements of a glossary with key facts and figures and interesting stuff about crime and class, age, gender and ethnicity (key theories and research, in the main).

Beliefs in Society Questions: As with their Crime and Deviance counterparts, a set of “questions with knowledge answers”. These cover things like theories of religion, organisations and secularisation.

Families and Households

Sociology Revision Notes: As the name suggests, less an Organiser, per se, and more a set of Organised Notes. These cover a lot of different areas but the Notes themselves are fairly sparse (and not a little superficial in places).

Structures, family functions and diversity: Clearly constructed Organiser that identifies some of the main features of family life with the emphasis on diversity. There’s also stuff on marriage and divorce, conjugal roles and family change.

Education

Perspectives and Categories: Neatly constructed Organiser that identifies some of the main ideas students need to cover in terms of perspectives like Functionalism and Marxism and categories like class, gender and ethnicity.

Education

Learning Tables: These are laid-out as a set of Notes covering a couple of aspects of education – Marketisation / Privatisation plus Ethnic Differences in Educational Achievement. There’s also a reasonable Table looking at Researching Education that’s useful for methods in context.

Methods

Evaluating Research Methods: In the main, a set of tables that cover the advantage sand disadvantages of different research methods.

Miscellaneous

Crime / Globalisation / Theory and Methods: Extensive set of Learning Tables that, judging by the different designs, have been constructed by different teachers (or the same teacher at different times…). Most are colourful and interesting in terms of how they display essential ideas and information. One or two are just bare-bones efforts but overall, well-worth the download…

Sociology Delivery Guides

Monday, December 7th, 2020

At some point around 2015 – presumably just in advance of the new Sociology Specification – the OCR Exam Board burst into action by creating not just the Lesson Elements previously posted and a short-but-useful set of Topic Exploration Packs on various sociological perspectives, but, more-importantly for our current purpose, a series of Lesson Delivery Guides designed to, err, guide teachers delivery of lessons I guess.

Unlike their elemental counterparts, the Delivery Guides cover the complete Specification in terms of Modules, though obviously not in terms of lessons because that would be asking a bit too much.

For the sake of consistency and clarity, each Guide is structured in terms of three main categories:

1. Curriculum content is a brief overview of what’s covered in the OCR Module. If you follow a different Specification you can happily ignore this section, although since most UK Specs have a degree of overlap it can be useful to check-out what’s being covered.

2. Thinking conceptually identifies some of the key concepts involved in the Module in greater or lesser detail (Family, for example, has a comprehensive conceptual coverage, Research Methods not so much). Again, even if you don’t follow the OCR Spec. there’s a lot here that will be relevent to other Specs.

3. Thinking contextually offers a series of teaching activities designed to get students thinking about the content being studied (although, for some reason, the Socialisation activities also include the aforementioned Lesson Elements, whereas the Globalisation activities do not. Go figure…).

While the activities are tailored to the OCR Spec., teachers of other Specs. are likely to find some activities relevant to their own Spec. so it’s worth having a look through the relevant Guides just to see if there’s something worth pinching…

Click to see the guides

Sociology Lesson Elements

Sunday, December 6th, 2020
A Lesson Element…

This set of resources from the OCR Exam Board is, as you might expect, designed to support teaching and learning for their A-Level Specification. While some of the resources may fall outside the remit of other Sociology Specifications this isn’t to say that teachers of the latter won’t, with a little bit of judicious editing, be able to adapt stuff here to their own particular teaching needs.

Lesson elements are, by-and-large, teaching and learning activities presented in two forms:

  1. PowerPoint Presentations designed for whole class consumption.
  2. Word documents designed for individual and small-group work (most have accompanying teacher instructions packs that include model activity answers).

As far as I’ve been able to find – and believe me I’ve been led a merry dance around the Internet trying to collect these resources before eventually finding most of them in various nooks and crannies on the OCR site – the Elements only cover two areas of the Spec.

1. Introducing socialisation, culture and identity covers some basic Introductory ideas and concepts taught by all sociology teachers at the start of a course.

2. Globalisation and the digital social world covers various aspects of globalisation as it relates to areas like social media, social inequality and education. While I think this is pretty-much an OCR-specific Module there are elements here that teachers of other Specs. will find useful.

As far as I can tell (and, as noted above, I’ve really tried to find out) these are the only two Lesson Elements that have been created. If you know otherwise, I’d be grateful to be pointed in their direction. It may be that these were intended to be some sort of “starter resource” for teachers and no others were produced.

Although when I’ve looked at the Psychology Lesson Elements available there seem to be roughly 3 times more.

Not that I’ve actually counted them.

That would be a little sad.

Perhaps they just ran out of money, time, patience, interest or whatever (please delete or add-to as you see fit) when it came to Sociology?

Either way, there are some interesting resources here that you might want to examine:

Click to access the resources

Global Development: The Purpose of Aid?

Sunday, November 1st, 2020
The Reality of Aid?
Up-market flats and “east Africa’s largest shopping centre”.

When looking at areas like Global Development and the “Aid vs. Trade” debate, it’s easy for students to simply assume that “Aid” involves richer nations donating money and resources to poorer nations which is then used to improve the general life and living-standards of their citizens (a sort-of “Comic Relief” version of Aid).

The reality – at least when it comes to nations such as Britain – is that Aid not only involves “donated resources” being used to support the behaviour, activities and share price of private Corporations (the idea of “Aid as Big Business”)

it may also involve “development aid” going not to those who probably need it most (the desperately-poor, in case there was any confusion) but rather to various forms of speculative enterprises: from expensive residential developments, through up-market hotel complexes to exclusive gated communities designed for and inhabited by the super-wealthy…

Visual Media: Study Booklet

Sunday, May 17th, 2020

Following hard on the heels of the previous “visual media” offering comes this 18-page Pdf Study Booklet.

Media Booklet: click to download

It’s packed to the rafters with information presented in a variety of simple, visually-attractive, ways under six main headings with sub-headings as required:

  • New Media: changes, digital optimism and pessimism
  • Ownership and Control: trends, patterns, theories.
  • Globalisation: cultural changes, imperialism, postmodernism.
  • New Values: bias, moral panics.
  • Representations: class, age, gender, ethnicity, disability, sexuality.
  • Effects: passive and active audiences.
  • As with the previous offerings, there are no indications in the metadata about who created the Booklet, but thank you mysterious, anonymous, person anyway.

    Crime and Deviance Resources

    Thursday, February 13th, 2020
    Globalisation and Crime

    For some reason I seem to have collected quite a lot of crime and deviance resources that are just sitting-around taking up space on my hard drive when they could be doing something useful like helping students revise or teachers plan lessons.

    And from this intro you’ll probably have guessed that what follows is an esoteric – not to say serendipitous – collection of resources (Presentations, Worksheets, Booklets – there’s even a Quiz in there somewhere) that I’ve bunged together under a general heading (“Resources!”) and posted on the web.

    And because there’s quite a lot of stuff I’ve generally kept description to a minimum – partly because if something looks even vaguely interesting you can download it and assess it for yourself and partly because it’s a bit of a chore and I’m making the space to spend a bit of Quality Time with Teddy my dog.

    So, in no particular order of quality or significance:

    Resources…

    Globalisation, Culture and Identity

    Sunday, February 2nd, 2020

    A while ago I posted a piece on cultural differences illustrated by a range of adverts produced by HSBC around 10 – 15 years ago as part of a campaign to position themselves as a “global bank” that understands local cultural differences.

    If you want to explore some of these ideas in more detail – or maybe just want to hammer home the point – this short video looks at a range of cultural differences across the world:

    More recently, the bank produced a new range of adverts that play on a couple of related cultural themes:

    Firstly, ideas about nationality and identity through a short video on the concept of “home”:

    Secondly, a short film that neatly illustrates some aspects of cultural globalisation through the simple device of looking at a long list of the globalised features of UK life – from Columbian coffee through American films to Taiwanese tablets…

    All of these films can be used as a relatively simple, interesting, way to introduce students to some of the major ideas they will encounter when thinking about globalisation and the changes it produces in contemporary societies. But if you want to take things a little further, a couple of things need noting:

    Explore the Mongrel Nation…

    Sociology Flipbooks

    Saturday, April 20th, 2019

    A Flipbook is a way of displaying a pdf document online so that it has the look-and-feel of a paper-based magazine, one whose pages you can turn using a mouse (desktop) or finger (mobile).


    A Flipbook.
    Not Actual Size.
    Unless you’re using a mobile.
    Then it might be.

    That’s it, really.

    I could talk about stuff like whether this creates a greater sense of engagement among students than the bog-standard static pages of a pdf file, but since I’ve got no idea (and I don’t know of anyone who’s bothered to try to find out) that would just be me trying to find a deceptively- plausible way to encourage you to try them.

    So, if this Big Build-Up has piqued your curiosity and / or whetted your appetite for Flipbooks you’ll be pleased to know I’ll be adding a variety of the little blighters to this page on what might be charitably termed an ad-hoc basis (translation: whenever I can be bothered or can find the time).

    (more…)

    Mass Media 2 | The Ownership and Control Debate

    Tuesday, March 26th, 2019
    Ownership. And Control

    Another set of Notes in the Mass Media series (following the initial Defining and Researching the Media set) that fell-victim to a dispute between the Publisher* who commissioned them and an Exam Board who, for reasons of personal probity shall remained unnamed**, these divide the ownership and control debate into three main sections:

    1. Defining ownership and control – a brief overview of what we mean by these concepts.

    2. Trends and patterns in media ownership is focused around concepts of media concentration and conglomeration. This section also includes an outline a various forms of media integration – horizontal, vertical and diagonal.

    3. Theoretical explanations offers a couple of contrasting interpretations of the significance of media ownership and control: Marxism (considered in terms of its Instrumental and Hegemonic variations) and Pluralism (with a focus on concepts of globalisation and the audience selection model).

    As befits their textbook origins the Notes aren’t hugely-detailed (lack of page space being a prime, if not over-riding, factor in their construction) but they should serve as an introduction to the main themes and arguments in the debate. You might find them useful as a supplement to the other resources (textbook or otherwise) you bring to the table.

    * Philip Allan, in case you were wondering. They were promptly taken-over and banished from the face of literary existence by Hodder in a move that was probably unconnected with my personal trials and tribulations, but I like to think wasn’t. On the plus side, I did get paid.

    ** Ha. Who am I kidding? It was OCR.

    Update
    This chapter is also now available as an online flipbook.

    Sociology Revision Cards

    Monday, November 26th, 2018

    Back in the day, before the invention of Learning Tables / Knowledge Organisers, students had to make do with Revision Cards – lists of all the key ideas and concepts you might need to know for an exam (you’ll find a selection here if you want to take a trip back to a time before mobile phones ).

    Anyway, I chanced upon a mix of PowerPoint and Pdf Revision Cards (dating from around 2014 so they may require a bit of editing to bring them into line with the latest Specifications) on Chris Deakin’s SociologyHeaven website. I’m guessing the PowerPoints were designed for whole-class revision but if you want to give your students the slides as Revision Cards just use the Export function to create pdf files.

    If you find the Kristen ITC font used in the files a bit too racy for your taste, just convert the text to something like Arial.

    (more…)

    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.

    The Crime and Deviance Channel

    Thursday, August 30th, 2018

    The Crime and Deviance Channel now offers a wide range of free Text, PowerPoint, Audio and Video resources organised into 5 categories:

    1. Theories
    2. Social Distribution
    3. Power and Control
    4. Globalisation
    5. Research Methods

    Each category contains a mix of content:

    Text materials range from complete pdf chapters to a variety of shorter “Update” materials (quizzes, research synopses, items “In the News”) related to key sociological theories, concepts, issues and methods.

    PowerPoint resources range from single slides designed as a high-impact visual background to the explanation of key theories and concepts, to complete Presentations that can be used to introduce or illuminate a particular general theme.

    Audio materials consist of 17 podcasts designed to provide background briefing material, talking points (comparing different theories for example), updates on new research and revision exercises.

    Video resources generally consist of short clips (currently around 30 separate films ranging in length from 1 to several minutes) designed to illustrate key concepts, introduce new research and researchers and stimulate classroom-based thinking and discussion.

    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.

    Globalisation and the Digital World: Revision Stuff

    Saturday, April 21st, 2018

    Colourful PowerPoint Presentation summarising the OCR Globalisation and the Digital World Unit, plus a range of 6 / 9 mark exam practice questions.

    It’s somehow typical that you see nothing about this OCR A-Level Sociology Unit for months and then, just as you’ve posted a “6 week course” guide, you stumble across a couple of PowerPoint Presentations that actually complement this quite well.

    The first is a Big, Bold and Colourful Revision Presentation by Marc Addison that covers:

    • What is the relationship between globalisation and digital forms of communication?
    • Developments in digital forms of communication in a global society
    • The Marxist Perspective
    • The Feminist Perspective
    • The Postmodernist Perspective
    • The Impact of Digital Communications
    • What is the relationship between globalisation and Conflict and Change?
    • Cultural homogenisation, hybridity or resistance?

    The second is neither Big, Bold nor Colourful because it doesn’t aim to be. It just wants to do its job quietly, efficiently and with the minimum of fuss. So, if you want to give your students some practice 6 and 9 mark questions, based around the PEEL mnemonic, this Presentation should fit the bill nicely.

    Globalisation and the Digital World Resource Pack

    Friday, April 20th, 2018

    A “6 week course”, built around a variety of PowerPoint Presentations and supporting documents, designed to help you teach the Globalisation and the Digital World Unit of the OCR Specification.

    I found this set of documents buried on my hard drive the other day and I know very little about where I found it, its creator (J. Ellison who may or may not work at Langley Park School for Boys) or creation (circa 2016). That aside, I do know the title refers to a section on the latest (2017) OCR A-level Sociology Specification called, spookily-enough, “Globalisation and the Digital World”.

    More-interestingly, the pack of materials I’ve managed to somehow acquire refers to it being a “6 week course” which, taking this at face-value, means it’s a set of resources and activities specifically designed to teach this section of the course – potentially a huge time-saver, even if you decide to customise the base PowerPoints to the needs of your particular students (you may want / need to do this because some, if not all, of the supporting materials may well be a little too advanced for some students – and then some. The Castells article, for example, is likely to prove well beyond a lot of a-level students so you might want to think about replacing it or summarising it).

    The only alterations I’ve made to the original slides are:

    1. Removing specific references to textbook pages (because there’s no indication as to which textbook they refer). You may want to edit the PowerPoints to include specific references to the textbook/s you use with your students.

    2. Changed YouTube links to play inside the Presentation.

    In addition, you may want to add slides containing activities, notes and so forth you currently use in your classes. My way of thinking about this resource is to use it as the base for materials you normally include in your teaching – a basic structure, in other words, around which you can hang whatever resources / activities you normally use / do.

    (more…)

    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:

    (more…)

    Sociology Revision Booklets: 3. Mass Media

    Wednesday, March 21st, 2018

    The third in our occasional series covering free revision resources on the web looks at the Mass Media (as you’ve probably guessed from the title).

    The number of resources is substantially less than previous offerings on Theory and Methods and Beliefs in Society but what they lack in number is more than made-up for by the depth of their content.

    Possibly.

    I may just have been making that up.

    Anyway, you can see for yourself by downloading any, or indeed all, of the following:

    1. Media Revision Pack [Word version | Pdf version]: Although I’ve called this a Revision Pack (because that’s what it is…) it wasn’t originally created in that form. Rather, it’s an amalgam I’ve put together of a range of media revision documents, authored by Mark Gill, that cover:

    • Ownership and Control
    • New Media
    • Representations
    • Audiences
    • Social Construction of News

    Part of the reason for making the Pack available in different formats is that if you’d prefer to break the document down into its constituent parts it’s a fairly simple job to do this in Word. It’s possible to do this with a pdf document but that would mean faffing around with software that splits pdf files and you’re probably much too busy to bother with stuff like that.

    The Notes themselves are coherent and competent, with good coverage of the major Specification areas (although it’s aimed at AQA there are parts that apply to other Specifications). (more…)

    Sociology Revision Days with Dr Steve Taylor

    Wednesday, March 7th, 2018

    Crime & Deviance: updated to 21st Century

    Dr Steve Taylor, University of London & ShortCutstv

    Examiners reward students for writing about contemporary society but there are very few examples of contemporary theory & research on crime in the textbooks. This Workshop aims to fill that gap by linking the ‘familiar’ with the new.

    Approaches to Crime & Deviance: Key theories & concepts, consolidated, compared & evaluated.

    New Research: clear, easy to understand, up to date research examples to illustrate approaches.

    Globalisation & Crime: green, organised & state crime made accessible & illustrated with up to date examples.

    Theory & Method: simplified & illustrated.

    Handouts: include concise summarises of research examples used.

    Exam technique guidance, including introducing newer material into exam questions.

    Brand new free video “Sociological Theories of Crime” included.

    What Teachers say
    Our students came away inspired and were talking about the session for the rest of the year
    David Gunn, Camden School
    Excellent Day. He brings in contemporary evidence and great links to exam skills
    Ann-Marie Taylor, Coleg Cambria
    The students loved it. I’d recommend Steve to any teacher wanting to organise a revision day.
    Ian Luckhurst, Bridgewater College

    Cost (inclusive & regardless of no. of students):
    Day: £500
    Half Day £300

    For more information:
    Email: steve@shortcutstv.com
    Call: 07771-561521

    Knowledge Organisers: Media and Methods and Education

    Tuesday, February 20th, 2018

    Back by popular demand and with a brand-spanking new set of Tables covering media, methods and education. Each Unit is by a different author and the quality is, at times, variable.

    Media

    These are pdf files so unless you’ve got a programme that will edit them you’re stuck with the information they have to offer. That said, they’re fairly recent (2015) and so are probably reasonably up-to-date and in line with the latest Specifications. There is, unfortunately, no indication of authorship…

    Ownership of the mass media
    New media, globalisation and popular culture
    Selection and presentation of news and moral panics
    Mass media and audiences
    Representations of the body
    Representations of ethnicity age and class

    Methods

    These are a little older (2009) and again authorship is a little hazy. On the plus side they’re in Word format so they can be easily edited if necessary.

    Experiments and Questionnaires
    Interviews
    Observation and Secondary Sources

    Previous Tables you might find useful:

    Table 1.

    Table 2.

    Table 3.

    Education

    Again, not sure who created these or indeed when they were created. However, they are in Word format if you want to edit them.

    Functionalism and Marxism
    Feminism, New Right, Interactionism
    Cultural and Material Factors

    Previous Tables you might find useful:

    Table 1.

    Table 2.

    Learning Tables: Beliefs in Society | 2

    Tuesday, December 19th, 2017

    For this second batch of “Beliefs” Learning Tables the focus is, once again, on religion (although a couple of the Tables cover areas like Science and Ideology if that’s your main area of interest).

    The Tables were created by a variety of authors and although the basic principle is the same – present information concisely to cover areas like advantages / disadvantages or analysis and evaluation – the execution is somewhat different and, not to put too fine a point on things, variable.

    While the design of some of these Tables is a thing of beauty, others can fairly be described as basic (if we were being kind to “basic”, probably because its nearly Xmas and that’s the sort of generosity one extends this time of year. Apparently).

    The other variable dimension – and I’ll leave you to decide about the quality of the specific content – is the amount of information that’s included with each Table: while some authors try to stick rigidly to the “everything condensed onto one page” format, others take a more relaxed view, with content laid-out across 2 or 3 pages. Personally, this doesn’t bother me too much as long as the overall Table design is strong, although if it does bother you I’ve left the files in their original Word format for ease of editing.

    This may also be useful if you want to edit the files to remove outdated or irrelevant information (the Tables were probably designed for the AQA Spec. and are a few years old in some instances). You may, therefore, want to remove stuff that’s no-longer useful (or even add bits that are newly-relevant). The same is pertinent if you follow a different Specification – there may be areas you want to edit out or edit in.

    Another thing you’ll notice with this batch is that some of the Tables duplicate the previous set of Tables, at least in terms of title, if not necessarily design and content.

    On the downside this means having to trawl through two sets of Tables to decide which you – and your students – prefer.

    On the upside you’re getting two sets of Tables for the price of none, so a little bit of compare-and-contrast is probably not too high a price to not pay. Or something.

    Anyway, I’ve grouped the following Tables by creator rather than topic. Feel free to download them here. Or not, as the case may be:

    New Religious Movements (Georgia Banton)
    Religion and Social Change (Georgia Banton)
    Religion and Social Groups (Georgia Banton)
    Types of Religious Organisation (Georgia Banton)

    Functionalism 1 (KevII)
    Functionalism 2 (KevII)
    Marxism / Feminism (KevII)
    Marxism (KevII)
    Science and Ideology (KevII)
    Religion and Science as Belief Systems (KevII)

    Types of Religious Organisation (MYeadon)

    Feminism (S Zaheer)
    Religion in a Global context: Fundamentalism and Globalisation (S Zaheer)

    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.

    12 | Youth: Part 1

    Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

    It’s probably fair to say the topic of Youth is one of the roads less travelled when it comes to a-level sociology, but I always found it an interesting area to teach / study, particularly because it also links neatly with a couple of the more popular a-level Units in education and deviance.

    This initial chapter covers key concepts and the social construction of youth and is largely a definitional one that lays the ground for looking at ideas about youth cultures / subcultures in more detail in later chapters (hard to believe, I know, but there was a certain logic at work here) and it covers:

    • The social construction of youth
    • The concept of youth culture
    • The concept of youth subcultures (both spectacular and mundane…).

    The content is aimed specifically at OCR Sociology but there may be bits-and-pieces on areas like education and deviance that apply to other Specifications.

    Global Crime Lesson Resource

    Sunday, May 14th, 2017

    If you’re not familiar with the work of Dr. Jill Swale the easiest way to describe it is that she brings a creative dimension to sociology teaching and learning through the application of critical thinking. This fusion has, over the years, produced some very interesting and innovative ways to teach a-level sociology, particularly the sociology of crime and deviance.

    As luck would have it I’ve come across some of the stuff Jill produced for the ATSS journal Social Science Teacher (and yes, it was in the filing cabinet, in case you were wondering). Once I’ve discovered a way of turning the scanner up to 11, I should be able to crank some of it out for your greater delectation. And teaching.

    Anyway, the first example is a resource that provides a series of ways to explore and investigate different types of crime – state, green, corporate, etc. – related to globalisation.

    The stimulus material was created around 2007 with a stated rationale of “updating the teaching of crime and deviance by incorporating examples from recent news”, so if you decide to use the resource you’ll need to add some more up-to-date material to the stuff supplied. Having said this, the supplied materials have both historical and contemporary relevance and probably just require a little tweaking rather than a radical reappraisal.

    (more…)

    Global Sociology Stuff

    Friday, November 18th, 2016

    globalstuffToday’s dose of “Sociology Stuff” is a complete Global Development chapter (or “World Sociology” as it was when these notes were written) originally created by Mark Peace and cobbled together from pages in my possession and those shared by Bridget Gray. Because of the somewhat arbitrary recreation of the chapter some of the initial pages / numbers aren’t strictly sequential but they should still make sense…

    While it’s not the most popular of a-level options there are areas in the chapter – such as global inequalities and the nature of social changes – that those teaching and learning other areas of the Specification might find helpful.

    Having said that, these notes are around 10 years old and the pace of global change has increased markedly over this time period, so you probably need to approach the statistical content with care – the more-theoretical areas, such as theories of development, are probably more-robust in terms of their long-term relevance.

    Modernity and Sociological Theory

    Wednesday, September 14th, 2016
    Download Modernity Notes

    This is the first part of a two-part series looking at the relationship between modernity, postmodernity and the development of sociological theory.

    In Part 1 (Modernity) the focus is on:

    1. Identifying the basic economic, political and cultural characteristics of modernity
    2. Relating these characteristics to the development of Consensus and Conflict Structuralism.

    Part 2 (Postmodernity) is available here.

    Sociology and Modernity

    “Sociology”, according to Taylor (2000), “is a product of modernity”; its origins as an academic discipline can be found in the development of modern societies and to understand why this is significant, we need to think about how and why we classify social development.

    Conventionally, therefore, it’s usual to talk about our society in terms of:

  • Pre-modernity – a type of society existing before the late 16th century
  • Modernity – a type that developed out of the pre-modern period and which stretches to the late 20th century.
  • Postmodernity – a type considered by some sociologists to be characteristic of our society in the early 21st century.
  • It’s important to note that not all sociologists agree with either this term or with the claim that it represents a new form of social development. Giddens (1998) and Habermas (1992), for example, refer to this period as ‘high’ or ‘late’ modernity. We will, however, use this term throughout this set of notes.

    Although this type of simple classification needs to be treated with care – there’s a tendency to see categories as hard-and-fast periods – where one ends another begins – whereas in reality we may still, for example, find characteristics of one period coexisting for a time with characteristics of another period.

    We can, however, use this very basic classification to identify some key features of modern society that arguably differentiate it from both its pre- and postmodern counterparts. Once we’ve done this we can then examine how modernity relates to different types of sociological theorising.

    Read More…

    Global Culture Teaching Notes

    Monday, September 12th, 2016

    global-culture-coverNature and Extent

    Although the idea of global influences on local and national cultural behaviours is not particularly new (different cultural practices and products have influenced “British culture” for many hundreds of years) what is new is the scope and speed of cultural diversity and change – processes hastened by technological developments such as cheap air travel in the mid-20th century and the Internet in the 21st century.

    Download of Global Culture to cut-out-and-keep

    (more…)

    ATSS Teacher Support Materials

    Monday, July 11th, 2016

    Those of you with long memories may recall the ATSS (Association for the Teaching of Social Science), an organisation that was eventually folded iatss_logonto the British Sociological Association and lives on (sort-of) in their Teaching Group.

    Anyway, a while back (probably 10 years or so?) ATSS produced a range of Teacher Support booklets, some of which I’ve rediscovered on one of my many hard drives and now present to you “as is” on the off-chance you might find them useful (or you may be able to update and adapt them to your current needs…).

    Deviancy Amplification (part 1)

    Is sociology a science?

    AS Sociological Methods

    Globalisation

     

    Globalisation Booklet

    Monday, June 27th, 2016

    global_coverIf you prefer your globalization notes in a handy, easily-reproduced, pdf format (and, let’s face it, who doesn’t?) then this handy, easily-reproduced, pdf-format booklet is probably just what you’ve been searching for (although it has, of course, been here all along, just in a not-very-handy, difficult to reproduce, blog format).

    (more…)

    Globalisation: Part 4 – Changing Cultural interrelationships

    Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

    As with their political counterpart, we need to keep in mind that cultural interrelationships are frequently related to economic relationships and that these, in turn, inform cultural connections and relationships. This is particularly pertinent when we talk about culture industries like television, film and print, where reference is often made to the cultural hegemony (or “leadership”) of Western society and the USA in particular.

    Such hegemony, it’s often argued, goes hand-in-glove with the “global dominance” of the English language as a ‘common cultural language’, although it’s perhaps pertinent to note what we might term a “reflexive relationship” (where one influences the other) between the hegemony of culture industries and the hegemonic status of English; that is, it’s difficult to disentangle one from the other. Does the English language dominate because of the hegemony of culture industries or does the hegemony of these industries necessitate consumers developing an understanding of English in order to consume such products?

    (more…)

    Globalisation: Part 3 – Changing Political interrelationships

    Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

    Conventionally, political relationships operate between nation states in three general areas:

    1. Trade: The development of transnational trading blocs (in North/South America, Asia and Europe, for example) involves some measure of political interrelationship. In the case of Europe, economic interrelationships have developed alongside a range of political interrelationships – the European Union has an elected parliament, bureaucratic structure and single European currency, although member countries may opt out of specific parts of political agreements (the UK, for example, is not currently part of the single European currency).

    On a global level, world trade agreements relating to the movement of goods, access to markets and the like provide some form of regulatory framework for economic activity. In some instances, these agreements override national law (as in the case of the European Union, for example, and the provision for the free movement of labour across national boundaries).

    1. International law: Political relationships between societies also exist at the legal level, not just in terms of trade agreements (which can be legally enforced and tested), but also in terms of areas like extradition treaties, cross-border policing (in the European Union, for example), membership of the United Nations and the like.
    2. Military: How different countries relate to one another in military terms (through cooperation or antagonism, for example) also represents a political dimension to the interrelationship between societies. (more…)

    Globalisation: Part 2 – Changing Economic Interrelationships

    Monday, June 20th, 2016

    The first dimension of globalisation we can outline and examine is the changing nature of economic relationships, based around the idea of trade; this involves the production, distribution and exchange of goods and services focused around manufacturing, financial instruments and, increasingly, knowledge industries.

    In the context of globalisation, a key idea here is the concept of mobility, something that has two main dimensions:

    a. capital mobility, whereby companies and investments move into and out of different countries as profitability and economic policy dictates.

    b. labour mobility, where workers can move with relative freedom between nation states.

    (more…)

    Globalisation: Part 1 – Definition

    Friday, June 17th, 2016

    As Sklair (1999) suggests, globalisation provides a context for understanding the relationship between societies in the contemporary world because it represents a process that both reflects and contributes to change – the idea that how nations relate to each other is different now compared to even the very recent past. In this respect, therefore, we need to understand what globalisation is – how it can be initially defined – before we can apply it to an understanding of changing economic, political and cultural relationships.

    Although we can refer, in vague terms, to globalisation as ‘a process’, it’s much harder to pin down a definition that’s broadly recognised and accepted within the sociology of development. It is with good reason, therefore, that Rosamond and Booth (1995) refer to globalisation as a contested concept – one whose meaning is nebulous, fluid and hotly debated.

    This position is further complicated by what Scholte (2000) argues are ideas that, while frequently positioned as evidence of globalising tendencies – and which clearly have global consequences – but which are not, in themselves, “globalisation”. These include:

    (more…)

    Podcasts for AS and A-level Sociology

    Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

    With the growth of video, podcasts seem to have fallen out of fashion in recent years which is a bit of a shame because they can be useful teaching / learning aids. From a production point-of-view they’re also cheap to create and easy to distribute so it’s perhaps surprising that more aren’t made.

    Be that as it may, one accusation that can’t be levelled at AQA is jumping on a bandwagon before the train has left the station; so, a little late admittedly, comes these podtastic offerings for your listening pleasure. Atm there are only 4 casts (3 if you discount the “Overview”) and whether there will be any more is anyone’s guess (and mine, for what little it’s worth, is that there won’t be, but I’m prepared to be surprised).

    (more…)

    Crime, Deviance and Labelling

    Tuesday, April 12th, 2016

    This is a short discussion piece about Labelling (and Labelling Theory) based on the following Guardian article: Smash the mafia elite: we should treat offshore wealth as terrorist finance

    Aside from the issues it raises about globalisation, social class and social inequality, this article is also useful as a contemporary example of labelling theory. How, for example, the label attached to something, such as “taxation” and “welfare benefits”, changes both our perception of – and behaviour towards – it.

    (more…)

    Sociology Review

    Sunday, August 2nd, 2015

    Like its A-level Psychology counterpart, Sociology Review offers good-quality articles and support materials designed to help students gain a deeper knowledge and understanding of both Sociology and the requirements of the A-level exam.

    The publishers, Hodder Education, have started to develop a strong web presence for the print magazine, part of which involves offering some nice freebies related to each issue’s content, which you can check-out here:

    Sample Magazine – actually, if you know where to look (and we do…), 4 free online sample magazines with articles based around the following themes:

    1. Family
    2. Culture and Identity
    3. Globalisation and Inequality
    4. Crime

    Free Resources  include activities, supplementary notes, posters and podcasts (but, unlike our more-privileged psychological cousins, there are no short video clips).

    Globalisation: Homogeneity or Diversity Exercise

    Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

    Applying concepts of McDonaldisation and Disneyfication to contemporary cultural products helps students get to grips with the concept of globalisation (particularly its cultural form, but also its economic form). These concepts also provide a relatively easy way for students to explore some of the effects of globalisation in terms of cultural homogenisation and diversity theories.

    The Exercise

    In small groups, using the following table as a template choose a category, such as film (or add your own) and identify any common cultural products for your age group that you think conform to the idea of McDonaldisation and/or Disneyfication.

    Once you’ve done this, repeat the process – but this time identify cultural products that don’t conform to McDonaldisation and/or Disneyfication.

       Television  Music  Film  Web sites
    McDonaldisation Cartoons

     

    Pop [bands are manufactured to appeal to certain age and gender group]  Romantic comedies [follow standard themes and developments]  

     

     

    Disneyfication

     

     

     

     

     

         

    Teachers can use this exercise to introduce:

    1. Globalising processes.
    2. Globalising effects.
    3. Concepts of globalisation / glocalisation.

    New Media: 1. Features

    Friday, April 24th, 2015

    This short series of blog posts looks at various dimensions of new media, beginning with a broad overview of some key distinquishing features:

    As Socha and Eber-Schmid (2012) argue “Part of the difficulty in defining New Media is that there is an elusive quality to the idea of new”. This “elusive quality” can, perhaps, be best captured by thinking about how Crosbie (2002) suggests three features of new media make them qualitatively different to old media:

    • They can’t exist without the appropriate (computer) technology.
    • Information can be personalised; individualised messages tailored to the particular needs of those receiving them can be simultaneously delivered to large numbers of people.
    • Collective control means each person in a network can share, shape and change the content of the information being exchanged.

    As an example Crosbie suggests “Imagine visiting a newspaper website and seeing not just the bulletins and major stories you wouldn’t have known about, but also the rest of that edition customized to your unique needs and interests. Rather than every reader seeing the same edition, each reader sees an edition simultaneously individualized to their interests and generalized to their needs”.

    A further feature of new media is its capacity to be truly global in scope and reach. While older technologies like TV and film have global features – the American and Indian film industries, for example, span the globe – they are fundamentally local technologies; they are designed to be consumed by local audiences that just happen to be in different countries while new media, such as web sites or social networks, are global in intent. They enable global connections through the development of information networks based on the creation and exchange of information. A significant aspect of these global features is the ability to create and share text, images, videos and the like across physical borders through cyberspace.

    (more…)

    New Media 3: Implications – digital optimism

    Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

    The development of new media has led to a general debate about the implications of changing technologies and their impact on economic, political and cultural life, polarised around two opposing views – the first of which can be characterised as:

    digital optimism

    From this viewpoint the defining characteristic of new media is a form of digital liberation based, for Negroponte (1995), on four processes:

    These processes impact on society in a range of ways:

    In economic terms we see the development of new models of production, distribution and exchange, particularly “free” or “gifting” models where the consumer pays nothing to use a medium. One significant new model is the development of open economic systems where software, for example, is developed collaboratively to take advantage of wide creative pools of talent – an idea Tapscott and Williams (2008) call “Wikinomics” to reflect the pioneering collaborative efforts of Wikipedia.

    Producers, especially large corporations, have to be more responsive to consumer demands because the ability to act as a global crowd, passing information swiftly from individual to individual, means corporate behaviour is continually being monitored, evaluated and held to account. Surowiecki (2005) argues digital technology facilitates crowd-sourcing, a process based on “the wisdom of crowds”; if you ask enough people their opinion a basic “crowd truth” will emerge.

    Politically, the global flow of information weakens the hold of the State over individuals and ideas. Repressive State actions are much harder to disguise or keep secret when populations have access to instant forms of mass communication, such as Twitter. The Internet also makes it harder for the State to censor or restrict the flow of information and this contributes to political socialisation by way of greater understanding of the meaning of issues and events.

    Culturally, behaviour can be both participatory and personalised, processes that in cyberspace can be complementary. The global village combines collectivity with individuality; cooperation flourishes while people simultaneously maintain what Negroponte calls the “Daily Me” – the personalisation of things like news and information focused around the specific interests of each individual. Personalisation contributes to participation through the development of a diverse individuality that leads to the development of new ways of thinking and behaving. The ability to be anonymous on the web encourages both freedom of speech and whistle-blowing.

    Taken from:

    Cambridge International AS and A Level Sociology Coursebook (UK)

    ciebook

    Cambridge International AS and A Level Sociology Coursebook (USA)

    Ethnicity: Free Films

    Monday, July 28th, 2014

    These four short films from the University of Manchester focus on two broad aspects of ethnicity – identity and inequality – that might serve as interesting introductions / discussion starters.

    We need to find a new way to talk about ethnicity (4 minutes) looks at the history of multi-ethnic diversity in Britain in the context of contemporary globalising processes – and what “ethnicity” means in a globalising world.

    Is Britain becoming more segregated? (4 minutes) looks at ideas about diversity and tolerance coupled with segregation and intolerance. It argues that the evidence suggests that far from becoming “more ethnically clustered and segregated” the reverse is true. Britain is slowly becoming less ethnically clustered and less ethnically segregated. The film also discusses the implications for ethnic tolerance this gradual change may create.

    Ethnic inequalities and employment in austerity Britain (4 minutes) discusses recent research into ethnic group (majority and minority) employment across dimensions like gender and how various forms of ethnic discrimination impact on employment and unemployment.

    The impact of ethnic inequalities on health (3 minutes) looks at how social and economic inequalities impact (disproportionately) on ethnic groups in the field of health – particularly mental health.

    Social Inequality: Missing the Bus?

    Saturday, April 19th, 2014
    All aboard?

    Grasping the full extent of social inequality on a global scale can be a daunting prospect, but Oxfam have made things slightly easier by using a double-decker bus analogy to help students get to grips with the full extent of global wealth disparities…

    The world’s wealthiest people aren’t known for travelling by bus, but if they fancied a change of scene then the richest 85 people on the globe – who between them control as much wealth as the poorest half of the global population put together – could squeeze onto a single double-decker.

    If you want to explore global wealth inequality in a little more depth without delving into the minutiae of multiple three-dimensional Spreadsheets (or something like that), these three Guardian Reports might help:

    2014: 85 richest people as wealthy as poorest half of the world

    2017: World’s eight richest people have same wealth as poorest 50%

    2019: World’s 26 richest people own as much as poorest 50%