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Sociology

Subject overview

Sociology is the academic study of social behaviour, its origins, development, and institutions; in other words, it is the study of people. Sociology is a subject that will challenge your preconceptions and inspire you to question the society in which we live; you will be encouraged to approach patterns of behaviour from a variety of theoretical perspectives, in order to come up with an informed, balanced explanation.

Current affairs provide the backdrop to Sociology A-Level, so students should expect to read a quality newspaper and to watch the news frequently. Sociology is an essay-based study that requires excellent powers of interpretation and analysis – students must be able to produce cogent written work about a range of complex theories and social issues.

You must have the standard 6B’s to study Sociology, including a ‘B’ in English language.

Topics

Core themes in Sociology include socialisation, culture and identity; and social differentiation, power and stratification. Specific topics include:

  • Education- Who does it benefit? Why are certain individual more likely to succeed in education? Do educational policies benefit all of us equally?
  • Research methods- how do sociologists conduct social research? What are the strengths and weaknesses of different research methods?
  • Work, poverty & welfare- why does poverty still persist in contemporary society? How is poverty distributed between various social groups?
  • Beliefs- is religion used to control people? Is it a source of conflict? Are we undergoing a process of secularisation?
  • Crime and deviance- why are certain groups more likely to commit crime? How can we prevent/control crime? How has globalisation affected crime?
  • Sociological theory- what are the main sociological theories? How useful are they when explaining features of contemporary society?

 

Extended curricular opportunities

  • Trips- in the past few years, students have attended a criminology conference,  had a trip to the Old Bailey and the UK Feminist Library
  • Speakers- inspiring speakers have included a prison governor, social worker and volunteers from the UK Feminist Library
  • Competitions- students are given opportunities to participate in different essay writing competitions that generally focus on a specific social issue.

 

Links

Student testimony

“I’m so pleased that I chose Sociology- it was really fun and engaging. The debates in class are lots of fun but also help you learn more views and increase your understanding”

“I didn’t know much about Sociology when I chose it but it soon became my favourite subject and now I’m going to do it at university. I really enjoy the discussions that we have and it’s made me think about current issues from a broad range of perspectives. I particularly enjoyed studying Crime and Deviance, specifically the purpose of punishment. There is a lot of written work but it’s useful and you always get lots of constructive feedback”

“The teachers in the department are great and I’m so thankful for all their help and support- they have taught me so much and inspired my love for Sociology”