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Sociology - AQA Unit 4 - Crime and Deviance and Research Methods Jan 2011 Watch

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    Hi there people. Quick question- i've seen a 33 mark question entitled 'assess the usefulness of structural theories for an understanding of society. What are we suppose to include in this? Thanks
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    (Original post by zadaafridi)
    Hi there people. Quick question- i've seen a 33 mark question entitled 'assess the usefulness of structural theories for an understanding of society. What are we suppose to include in this? Thanks
    Assess the usefulness of structural theories for an understanding of society.

    Structural theories- Functionalism, Marxism, Feminism (brief explanation)

    It bases its studies on qualitative data, such as official statistics, structured interviews and closed questions in questionnaires as they believe that the structure of society is more important than the people within it. They have a macro view on society and generalises the behaviour of people in society.

    PET strengths/weaknesses
    Practical strengths- less time consuming than qualitative data, cheap, easier to gather
    Practical weaknesses- outdated

    Ethical strengths- no deception, does not need participants' confidentiality
    Ethical weaknesses- official stats could be biased

    Theoretical strengths- reliable as the results/data would be similar if research repeated. This would be representative, therefore more generalisable.
    Theoretical weaknesses- it cannot be generalisable to all societies, for example, in Switzerland, they do not have the same value consensus that we have on the views of euthanasia.

    Interactionist perspective
    Interactionist- Max Weber, Howard Becker
    They believe that humans are more important than the society. They try to discover the meanings in which people attach to their actions.

    Symbolic interactionist
    George Herbert Mead- Me and I
    Me- Social regulator
    I- the conscience/thoughts

    Irving Goffman- The dramaturgical society (through the looking glass)
    Impression management

    Phenomenology
    - Harold Garfinkel- ethnomethodology- the way in which sociologists looks at things and categorises them (e.g. Atkinson's common sense theory)
    -Typifications- shared concepts
    Edmund Hussell and Alfred Schutz- categories are not peculiar to ourselves but are shared with other members of society.

    Qualitative data

    PET strengths/weaknesses

    Postmodernists
    -Globalisation- new technologies (e.g. internet), transnational companies (e.g.Coca Cola, McDonalds)
    -Truth is a relative concept
    -Decline in meta-narratives

    Triangulation of data (both qualitative and quantitative data) as they believe that there is a relative concept of truth.

    Postmodern Feminists (explanation)

    PET strengths/weaknesses


    Khun- paradigms- all is just a set of beliefs
    Alvesson- sociologists are 'tricksters'

    Conclusion- Personally, I believe that the usefulness of structural theories is limited as not only are they outdated but also they do not look at the social meanings that people attach to their actions. For example, in Douglas' suicide study called 'Social Meanings to Suicide', he looks at the reasons why they commit suicide then linking it to wider society. This creates more reliable data. Structural theories also base their study on secondary data such as official statistics, such as Emile Durkheim's 'Suicide: A Study in Sociology' which could be biased therefore it could be seen as unrepresentative and inaccurate.
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    (Original post by zadaafridi)
    Hi there people. Quick question- i've seen a 33 mark question entitled 'assess the usefulness of structural theories for an understanding of society. What are we suppose to include in this? Thanks
    Structural theories= Functionalism, Marxism and a bit of Feminism

    Structural theories state that the structure of society controls humans and that humans are like puppets with strings.

    You should talk about the structural theories and then compare them with the Action theories

    Action theories= Weber (Social Action theory), Symbolic interactionism, Phenomenology and Ethnomethodology.

    Action theories state that humans are in control of their behaviour and that humans actaully create the social world.

    You should also say which theories are best to describe modern society today
    (e.g. Marxism explains why mostly the working class commit crime in todays society or that Functionalism is not useful for describing society today because it does not explain how people apply different meanings to their behaviour, but the Action theories do explain the meanings behind human behaviour.)

    Hope this helps

    Im also taking this exam on Tuesday and im dreading it
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    (Original post by Kar09)
    Assess the usefulness of structural theories for an understanding of society.

    Structural theories- Functionalism, Marxism, Feminism (brief explanation)

    It bases its studies on qualitative data, such as official statistics, structured interviews and closed questions in questionnaires as they believe that the structure of society is more important than the people within it. They have a macro view on society and generalises the behaviour of people in society.

    PET strengths/weaknesses
    Practical strengths- less time consuming than qualitative data, cheap, easier to gather
    Practical weaknesses- outdated

    Ethical strengths- no deception, does not need participants' confidentiality
    Ethical weaknesses- official stats could be biased

    Theoretical strengths- reliable as the results/data would be similar if research repeated. This would be representative, therefore more generalisable.
    Theoretical weaknesses- it cannot be generalisable to all societies, for example, in Switzerland, they do not have the same value consensus that we have on the views of euthanasia.

    Interactionist perspective
    Interactionist- Max Weber, Howard Becker
    They believe that humans are more important than the society. They try to discover the meanings in which people attach to their actions.

    Symbolic interactionist
    George Herbert Mead- Me and I
    Me- Social regulator
    I- the conscience/thoughts

    Irving Goffman- The dramaturgical society (through the looking glass)
    Impression management

    Phenomenology
    - Harold Garfinkel- ethnomethodology- the way in which sociologists looks at things and categorises them (e.g. Atkinson's common sense theory)
    -Typifications- shared concepts
    Edmund Hussell and Alfred Schutz- categories are not peculiar to ourselves but are shared with other members of society.

    Qualitative data

    PET strengths/weaknesses

    Postmodernists
    -Globalisation- new technologies (e.g. internet), transnational companies (e.g.Coca Cola, McDonalds)
    -Truth is a relative concept
    -Decline in meta-narratives

    Triangulation of data (both qualitative and quantitative data) as they believe that there is a relative concept of truth.

    Postmodern Feminists (explanation)

    PET strengths/weaknesses


    Khun- paradigms- all is just a set of beliefs
    Alvesson- sociologists are 'tricksters'

    Conclusion- Personally, I believe that the usefulness of structural theories is limited as not only are they outdated but also they do not look at the social meanings that people attach to their actions. For example, in Douglas' suicide study called 'Social Meanings to Suicide', he looks at the reasons why they commit suicide then linking it to wider society. This creates more reliable data. Structural theories also base their study on secondary data such as official statistics, such as Emile Durkheim's 'Suicide: A Study in Sociology' which could be biased therefore it could be seen as unrepresentative and inaccurate.
    Structural theories actually use Quantitative data

    Are you sure that this question is actually asking you to talk about research methods??.......im a bit confused

    My teacher did not tell me to answer this question like you have.........
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    (Original post by clairelou92)
    Structural theories actually use Quantitative data

    Are you sure that this question is actually asking you to talk about research methods??.......im a bit confused

    My teacher did not tell me to answer this question like you have.........
    Oops. I meant quantitative.

    This question is in the theory and methods part, right?

    I'm not sure if I have...but if this question came up, I would answer it like that... I don't think there's a correct way of answering sociology questions as long as you answer the question and apply theory and methods.
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    This is an alternative way to answer the question - here's what it says in my textbook.

    'First you should explain that 'structural' theories are ones that see the social structure shaping the behaviour of individuals. These include functionalist, marxist and many feminist theories. You can contrast how these theories see the social structure, e.g. as based on consensus (functionalist) or conflict (marxist/feminist). Explain how they see the individual as shaped by socialisation, the class structure, patriarchy etc. You can evaluate them from an 'action' perspective - e.g. that structural theories have an 'over-socialised' view of individuals as puppets of the social system, and neglect actors' meanings and how they construct social reality. Also consider attempts to synthesise structure and action by neo-marxists, e.g. Gramsci and Willis, or Giddens' stucturation theory.
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    Im taking a day off school to revise fully for this tomorrow..but still...AHHHHHHHHHH!
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    I havn't a notion what you lot are talking about! lol If that essay came up, i'd be a dead man.
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    So I haven't even finished revising.
    HAHAHA.

    Oh god.
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    (Original post by Irishmonkey1992)
    I havn't a notion what you lot are talking about! lol If that essay came up, i'd be a dead man.
    same :awesome:
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    (Original post by teaandcoffee)
    same :awesome:
    Havn't finished? I've just started! :L
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    ‘Sociology cannot and should not be a science.’

    To what extent do sociological arguments and evidence support this view? (33 marks)

    How would you answer this question?

    I did a this question in a mock exam and got a U... :/ would really appreciate some help on this. Thanks.
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    (Original post by Kar09)
    ‘Sociology cannot and should not be a science.’

    To what extent do sociological arguments and evidence support this view? (33 marks)

    How would you answer this question?

    I did a this question in a mock exam and got a U... :/ would really appreciate some help on this. Thanks.
    A U? Ouch... :L I got 78%, which is crazy because I just looked over the essay before the mock.

    All I remember is to state what you think a science is, something about a swan study - falsification. Thats me... blank lol
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    (Original post by Irishmonkey1992)
    Havn't finished? I've just started! :L
    PHEW someone else has just started like me.

    TBH, I'm not particuarly bothered with this exam - I can do it in Summer if needs be. I only need an A in my psychology (which will be easy peasy.. hopefully) to make my Uni offer unconditional as I already have two grades they want! But.. yes.

    WOO :awesome:
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    (Original post by Irishmonkey1992)
    A U? Ouch... :L I got 78%, which is crazy because I just looked over the essay before the mock.

    All I remember is to state what you think a science is, something about a swan study - falsification. Thats me... blank lol
    Wow.. that's really good.. well done!

    You mean Karl Popper's falsification principle with the black swan... He said that we should create deductive approach (gather data then create hypothesis) rather than inductive approach (creating hypothesis then gather data). He uses the example of a black swan and says something about falsification... lol >.<

    I'm gonna fail.
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    (Original post by Kar09)
    ‘Sociology cannot and should not be a science.’

    To what extent do sociological arguments and evidence support this view? (33 marks)

    How would you answer this question?

    I did a this question in a mock exam and got a U... :/ would really appreciate some help on this. Thanks.
    Positivists= Think sociology is science due to laws and verification

    Anti-positivists= Think sociology is not a science, because you can't just generalise and humans have a conscious with hidden meanings, so you need to develope 'Verstehen'

    Popper= Sociology could possibly be a sicence due to falsification

    Kuhn= Sociology is not a sicence due to no shared paradigms

    Realism= Sociology is a science, because science can also study unobservable structures/products

    Hope this helps
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    (Original post by Kar09)
    Oops. I meant quantitative.

    This question is in the theory and methods part, right?

    I'm not sure if I have...but if this question came up, I would answer it like that... I don't think there's a correct way of answering sociology questions as long as you answer the question and apply theory and methods.
    Phew ok, lol i was panicking
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    (Original post by Irishmonkey1992)
    A U? Ouch... :L I got 78%, which is crazy because I just looked over the essay before the mock.

    All I remember is to state what you think a science is, something about a swan study - falsification. Thats me... blank lol
    Wow.. that's really good..

    You mean Karl Popper's falsification principle with the black swan... He said that we should create deductive approach (gather data then create hypothesis) rather than inductive approach (creating hypothesis then gather data). He uses the example of a black swan and says something about falsification... lol >.<

    I'm gonna fail.
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    (Original post by clairelou92)
    Positivists= Think sociology is science due to laws and verification

    Anti-positivists= Think sociology is not a science, because you can't just generalise and humans have a conscious with hidden meanings, so you need to develope 'Verstehen'

    Popper= Sociology could possibly be a sicence due to falsification

    Kuhn= Sociology is not a sicence due to no shared paradigms

    Realism= Sociology is a science, because science can also study unobservable structures/products

    Hope this helps
    Hey, could you develop on the realism point please? I don't really understand what you mean by unobservable structures/products... and what does realism argue again? Ahhh! So much revision to do... =.="

    Thank you!
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    (Original post by Kar09)
    Hey, could you develop on the realism point please? I don't really understand what you mean by unobservable structures/products... and what does realism argue again? Ahhh! So much revision to do... =.="

    Thank you!
    Ermmm I don't understand that well myself to be honest :/ but anyway science can study unobservable structures, like the weather and so can sociology, like the media causes moral panics.....both science and sociology study open systems: researcher cannot control all the variables and we cannot be 100% accurate like we cannot predict the crime rate accurately.......
 
 
 
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