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Differences and inqualities


I would like some advice on an essay I have to complete, answering the question:

Outline some of the ways in which differences and inequalities are made and remade on a street that you know?

I know the basics but need some pointers, no depth required as I can elaborate, just 4 or 5 key points.  If anyone can help I would be grateful, I am a new student and I am returning to study and just need a little nudge in the right direction.

Thank you

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we have to find away to make more people want to vote how could i do that?

Give incentives for voting or the opposite and punish people for not voting - e.g. if you don't vote, then you have no right to complain (although the government wouldn't do these)

The usual is educating the public - let them know about the election and their political options.

Make voting easier - more accessible for the people - like they've just put them online.

Stronger campaigning - make people believe in your cause and they will vote.

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i know its a frequent question but...


i need an excellent revision site for sociology.

please dont say scool cause i dont get on with it and BBC dont have sociology on it.

so any sites would be greatly appreciated.

thank yous xxx

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marxist theory

does anyone know what changed after 1840 to the marxist theory? I'd be really greatful
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in my introduction i dont know what to do my hypothesis theory is in britain do young offenders commit more crime that older offenders. so am not sure what to do in any of my coursework. so i was wondering if you can help.
Unfortunately, your title is far from clearly defined. Per thousand of the population, young offenders commt considerably more crimes than older offenders (see the British Crime Surbey) but I assume that in practice your coursework is designed to focus on some of the sociological analyses of the criminal behaviour associated with some groups of young people? So here are some ideas, many of them derived from the useful starting point of cultural transmission.

Cultural transmission is the process by which a set of values that allow crime and deviance to take place are passed on through generations. This idea was developed by Shaw and McKay, who suggested that in the most disorganised and poor areas of cities, successful criminals provide a role model for younger generations. They argue that this younger generation is socialised into believing that criminal behaviour is normal and easily achieved. The functionalist sociologist, Merton, criticises the theory of subcultural transmission through use of his own Strain Theory. Merton suggests that people are socialised into wanting particular things, such as nice houses or cars. However, plenty of people lack the means to achieve these goals. It is this that causes a strain in the structure of society (I.e. there is a conflict between what people have been socialised to expect and what they can realistically achieve through legal means) which leads people to crime and deviance in their attempt to find an alternative route to gaining what they want. Sutherland and Cressey developed Differential Association theory, criticising cultural transmission theory for being too vague. They suggest that individuals are more likely to become involved in criminal activities if they receive positive definitions from others around them. This means if people socialise with others involved in criminal activities, they are likely to imitate them. It is possible that people who provide the definitions for the individual are family members (especially where there is no male role model) or, more likely, peer groups (younger people tend to be particularly impressionable - and also prone to rebellion against authority), and they are then socialised into believing crime and deviance are the norm. The theory relies very heavily upon the group nature of crime, and also implies that youths are able to keep community bonds in places where adults cannot.

Cohen drew on Merton’s strain theory to develop Status Frustration theory. Not all crimes are committed for economic gain - for example, vandalism. Cohen suggested that working class boys strive to copy middle class norms and values, but lack the means to achieve success. This leads them to believe that they are failures. Hence they reject 'normal' behaviour, and in an attempt to cover humiliation and to gain status they engage in crime and anti-social behaviour. There is a link with education - the negative labelling of working class boys within the education system would increase the probability of their failure, adding to the feeling of worthlessness and resulting in crime and deviance. Often then the aim is the achieving of instant gratification. The lack of educational success on the part of many working class youth means they look for other avenues to success (material and status-based); their status frustration leads to a delinquent sub-culture, in which a high value is plaed on stealing and vandalism, which necessarily involves antagonistic relationships with the police. Delinquency (and gangs) is seen as a means of acquiring status in a more accessible form, and to hit back at a system that has branded people as failures. Later work saw deviancy as a way of reconciling competing cultures - working class (stress on solidarity and community) and middle class (stress on ambition and opportunity). Hence the importance of creating an image (especially true of younger people), which gives individuals (and their groups) status - so deviancy and the resistance that accompanies it becomes a ritualised solution to cultural contradictions.

Cloward and Ohlin developed Illegitimate opportunity structure theory, based largely on Merton’s strain theory, but arguing that Merton failed to consider the existence of an illegitimate opportunity structure i.e. the possibility of an illegal career in some subcultures. They suggested that an illegal career was readily available for some individuals, and provides easier illegal means of obtaining social goals. Criminal subcultures exist where there is an established pattern of organised adult crime, so young people grow up in a learning environment with criminal role models. One of the things they learn is to mistrust the police; the greater the contact with the police, the greater the scope for mistrust becoming hatred. There are three main adaptations within the illegal opportunity structure:: Criminal (where there are successful role models for younger children to imitate), Conflict (where there is no career opportunity, and instead small social groups turn to violence against other small social groups), and Retreatist (where there is no career opportunity whatsoever, nor the ability to take part in violence. The result is the individual turns to alcohol or drugs). One criticism is that the work disregards female deviance. The third form of sub-cultural reaction - i.e. retreatism - is all that is left for people unable to engage in criminal or conflict behaviour. This accounts for the retreat into alcohol and/or drugs. The authors also stress the key role of schools as 'a cockpit of delinquency'.

The problem with both of the above studies is that they are derived from a functionalist view of society, which of courses stresses a consensus of values, and in particular the acquisition of monetary success. An alternative view is that society in reality consists of different social classes, each with its own distinctive set of values. So Miller argues that delinquency is an attempt by male adolescents to conform to the values of 'lower class' culture - and this explains the search for excitement, the macho masculinity and the fatalistic view of life. Often it is a reaction to boring work (or school) or unemployment.

Becker argues that certain groups are labelled by society as 'deviant', often via stereotypes. So, for example, some middle class youth who, say, take drugs, join the 'deviant' group and accept the deviant identity, hence increasing the scope for conflict with the police. The same might be true of young working class males who reject formal education (and certainly beyond the age of 16) and therefore behave in stereotypical ways (street gangs, excessive drinking, etc), hence drawing the police's attention to themselves.

Cicourel claims there is an inbuilt police bias against young people in groups, especially if they are from ethnic minorities; hence more police time and effort is focused on such groups rather than elsewhere (e.g. on middle class financial swindles). So the police are much more likely to view young people as delinquent; they are therefore much more likely to be stopped, searched and interrogated, especialliy in inner city, low income areas with high crime rates. They are also more likely to be arrested, charged with an offence, and prosecuted. This is all the more likely at times of media 'moral panics' when a great deal of attention is paid to robberies, assaults, muggings, car jackings and vandalism, all crimes associated with young males in particular. This accounts for the 'hatred' of the police found in many cases, and particularly where those apprehended are doing nothing unlawful. So there are stereotypical perceptions on both sides. It is made worse by the fact that ethnic minorities are severely under-represented in the police force, which then adds a racial dimension to the hatred where ethnic groups are involved.

Marxists focus on the break-up of traditional working class communities and the decline in manufacturing industry as a source of employment, hence putting the emphasis on the consumerism associated with capitalism. Teenagers often cannot afford the (heavily advertised) fruits of consumer society. So teddy boys/punks/etc don't simply reflect traditional working class values (as Miller suggests), and neither is this simply a means for school failures to gain status among their peers (as Cohen suggests). Rather their behaviour should be seen as a continuing tradition of working class resistance to domination.

The biggest problem with all sub-cultural theory is that it is hard to establish whether or not the distinctive meaning systems of the various subcultures are in reality those attributed to them. So, for example, when skinheads beat up Pakistanis or gays, or football hooligans smash up trains, sub-cultural theorists would tend to interpret this behaviour as a threat to shared community values or an expression of traditional stereotypes of masculinity. But the behaviour is just as easily interpreted as highly conformist (indeed over-conformist), and reflecting the dominant norms and attitudes in society towards race and sex, rather than as resistance to dominant values. In other words, society is itself racist and sexist, and the deviant group simply fives this racism/sexism more explicit, and often violent, expression.

So, as you will see, this is a complex area! Younger people do cause more crimes, but there are plenty of differing explanations of why this is the case.

I hope this is helpful.
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Bio Medical Model of health


I am writing an essay to outline and assess how health and illness should be viewed as social constructs. I would be grateful if anyone has any ideas about the biomedical model of health as a large portion of my essay needs to be about this.

I could also use some information on how foucalt, marxists  and possibly even feminists criticise the BM Model of health .

If anyone is aware of any good sites that explain things in a simple way then plz let me know. Thanks a lot :)

Hi, i studied this topic in my first semester at uni so i hope my notes will be helpful to you.

The biomedical model of health and illness was the most widely used model in the 20th century (although it is still used today and can be effective in the treatment of acute medical conditions). However, it has been proven to be less effective in the treatment of chronic disease states (eg. asthma, diabetes, terminal illnesses such as cancer). This is because the biomedical model:

  • Describes human beings as having a biological identity common with all other biological things
  • Model under which modern medicine was established in 19th Century using physical investigations, dissections & medical examinations
  • Health & illness are qualitatively different – either healthy/ill. There is no continuum.
  • Mind & body function independently (separate entities). From this perspective, the mind is incapable of influencing physical matter.

Cause of illness:

eg. chemical imbalances, bacteria, viruses, genetic predisposition

  1. external – invade the body to cause physical changes
  2. internal involuntary physical changes


Responsibility for illness:

Individuals (“victims”) are not responsible for their illness as it is seen to arise from biological changes beyond their control.


Responsibility of treatment rests with the medical professional.



Methods which aim to change the physical state of the body.

eg. vaccination, surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy


Role of psychology in health & illness:

Illness may have psychological consequences but no psychological causes.



Cancer may cause unhappiness but mood is not seen as related to either the onset or progression of cancer.

I guess, in ur critical analyses of foucalt, marxists and  feminist perspectives, you should make a comparison of the biomedical model to the current model of health and illness ... the biopsychosocial model, as you would be able to draw examples from this and use it to support ur argument.

One of ur arguments should revolve around the fact that health psychology plays an increasingly important role in healthcare. And that the model for the relationship between mind and body has also evolved.
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Purpose of Education

Andrea H

WHat purpose does education serve today?

Has it's aims altered in the past century?

Are the aims the same regardless of country of culture?

(Lots of !!) Answers on a postcard plz, Thanks Chucks 

just as dictorships or tolatarian resiems rely heavly on propganda so do liberal democories. the main aim of proganda is to chage the way in which people think and the most effective place to do this is in school. propgand can only be effective if it can chage the way people think with out them knowing and the most effective way to do this is throught eudcation.

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Violence and Education

Andrea H

what do peole think about violence in education. If the persuit of 'education' is seen as enlightening, progressive and intellectual why then is it blighted by violence. By that I dont just mean the physical fighting, I also mean bullying, the anger and pressure that some teachers take out on the students..if you think about it its weird isnt it? I just want ppls views on this for an exam i'm going to do


Well i reckon there are so many sides of the debate.

First and foremost, when people get serious about their education, they adopt a competitive nature and some people would do anything to get good marks, which partially explains the need for cheating.

To me, all violence originates from provocation. Perhaps there is too much stress placed on the student by parents or teachers or peers etc. then they feel they must let out that anger and frustration. There is a source of frustration for all anger.

If in ur words, the pursuit of education is "enlightening ..." you can relate this to anything in life. Like life, education or the road to enlightenment is a journey. Throughout the journey, there are many obstacles. Journeys are dynamic. And so it is only after some struggle, that we can attain enlightenment. Afterall, education is a challenging issue in all societies.

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how useful is questionnaires in sociological research

Questionnaires are useful in sociological research as they give you something to start from.  They show you what a portion of the population thinks and believes, and if you  do them right, it can help you with making sure that further research that you may do is more specific and useful.

However, they are limited in the respect that they restrict what an individual can comment on (eg:  "I like sociology".  Agree, Disagree)  as their options are very limited.  They are limited in order to stratify the data more effectively later on, but you still don't get people's actual opinions.

Hope that helps!
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misleading information

describe situations where sociological researchers misleading or withholding information from respondants might be justified?

Hope this helps:

  • when the information if given, would affect the way the respondants would answer for example, telling them your study was into human jealousy, then they might try to appear not jealous which would be a demand characteristic produced by the respondants.
  • no information need be given if it is irrelevant to the respondants, for example, knowing the details of previous results which is of no relevance to them.
  • misleading information could be given to distract from the real focus of the experiment and so produce a more reliable result.

thats all i can think of, of the top of my head!

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