Beliefs in society 2018 Questions and examiner commentary
Outline and explain two ways in which globalisation may affect religious beliefs and practices (10)
Most students able to explain two ways in which globalisation may have affected religious beliefs and practices.
Popular answers included pluralism and greater choice, deterritorialisation and the growth of fundamentalism.
Some weaker answers described recent changes in beliefs or practices without making the role of globalisation clear.
Applying material from Item I, analyse two reasons why minority ethnic groups in the United Kingdom are often more religious than the majority of the population (10)
This question was generally answered well.
Popular answers included cultural defence and cultural transition (although the difference between these two concepts was not always clear), and the idea that migrants are simply more likely to be religious when placed in a secular society.
This question referred specifically to the United Kingdom and so answers about other countries could not be credited.
Applying material from Item J and your knowledge, evaluate the view that an increase in spirituality in the United Kingdom has compensated for the decline of organised religion (20)
Answers here showed a good range of knowledge.
Most students took cues from the item and discussed a range of developments, such as variations of secularisation, growth of science and rationality and the growth of New Age activities.
There was pleasing evidence of knowledge of contemporary postmodern approaches but only the best answers explicitly addressed spirituality or considered that there might be a difference between the spiritual and the religious.
Families and Households 2018 Questions and examiner commentary
Outline and explain two ways in which government policies may affect family structure. [10 marks]
There was a tendency to go into detail about the chosen policies rather than to discuss effects on family structures.
Some answers assumed an effect and did not take the opportunity to use their sociological understanding to explore the ideas in greater depth. For example, some answers said that changes to divorce laws increased the number of lone parent families, but few discussed increases in reconstituted families or bi-nuclear families.
Similarly the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act of 2013 was recognised as increasing the number of same sex married couples but also led to same sex divorces, changes in adoption, surrogacy and so on.
Applying material from Item C, analyse two ways in which demographic trends since 1900 may have affected the nature of childhood in the United Kingdom today. [10 marks]
Many answers went into reasons for the demographic changes referred to in the item rather than focus on effects on childhood.
Others discussed childhood a hundred years ago or earlier.
However, many did develop points about child centeredness by looking at its positive consequences for childhood and then developing this to link it to over protectiveness, age patriarchy, pester power, toxic childhood and so on.
Similarly, the presence of grandparents was in better answers not merely described but analysed as to how it could be both positive and negative in contributing to socialisation and childcare and in adding to the burden of care for the family with some children becoming young carers.
Better answers were distinguished by, as the mark scheme says, ‘developed applications’, going beyond the immediately apparent.
Applying material from Item D and your knowledge, evaluate the view that individual choice in personal relationships has made family life less important in the United Kingdom today
Many answers discussed changes in family life such as divorce, cohabitation, same sex marriage and gender roles in terms of greater choice but few explored whether these developments made family life more important or less important.
More developed analysis showed how diversity did not always lead to less importance being given to family life, importance of a changed form of family life. Functionalism and the New Right were often included but, sometimes with Marxism, described rather than being applied to the question.
There was a shortage of postmodernist views in addition to choice and diversity. Better answers referred to pure relationships, confluent love, negotiated families and alternative life courses.
For anyone signing up in the next week (before May 10th, I’ll also throw in access to eight pre-recorded revision Webinars covering the entire A-level sociology syllabus, available at this blog post (password protected: if you sign up for the three Webinars, I’ll email you the password!). NB six are currently available, 2 to be uploaded next week!
I will be running three A-level sociology revision webinars to cover both the core content and exam technique for the three A-level sociology exam papers: Education with Theory and Methods (paper 7192/1), Topics, focussing on the families and beliefs options (paper 7192/2), and Crime and Deviance with Theory and Methods (7192/3).
The webinars are 90 minutes long and scheduled for the following dates, on the Sundays before the relevant exams:
11.00 A.M. Sunday 19th May – Education with Theory and Method
11.00 A.M. Sunday 2nd June – Families and Belief
11.00 A.M. Sunday 9th June – Crime and Deviance with Theory and Methods
All of these webinars will last 90 minutes during which I will provide a (necessarily) brief overview of the content within each topic, and a discussion of several specific exam practice questions. The main focus will be on exam technique.
Students will be able to ask questions during the Webinar, via text, and there will also be time for students to ask questions at the end.
Attendees will be able to download support materials in advance of the webinars, ask questions during the seminars via ‘chat’, and students will also be able to review the seminar afterwards as they will be recorded and stored on the site. Recordings will be available until the 16th of June (several days after the final A-level sociology exam).
The one off £29.99 registration fee not only gives you access to all of the Webinars scheduled below, the price also includes downloadable hand-outs with exemplar question and answers for all of the question types on the three exam papers. The documents included in this bundle include:
Exemplars of 4,6,10 and 30 mark essay questions for Education.
A hand-out on how to answer methods in context questions, with examples.
Exemplars of the two types of 10 mark questions and 20 mark essay questions for families and beliefs
Exemplars of 4,6,10 and 30 mark essay questions for Crime and Deviance.
Exemplars of 10 mark research methods questions
Exemplars of 20 mark ‘theory and methods’ questions.
NB – if you are already enrolled on my more extensive 12 week revision webinar series, you don’t need to sign up for this, we cover everything in these three webinars in the 12 webinar series, just in more detail.
For further details of my resources and work please see my blog – revisesociology.com
These six core themes cut across every compulsory topic and every optional topic (usually families and beliefs), and they can form the basis of any 10 mark or any essay question. Students should not be at all surprised if they see any of the words cropping up in one of the 30 mark essay questions.
NB – these themes should look familiar, as they are basically some of the core concerns of the perspectives: Functionalism and postmodernism tend to focus on the top three, Marxism and Feminism the bottom three, with interactionism sitting somewhere in between them.
Where 10 mark questions are concerned, I recommend trying to use these two sets of core themes to develop points you find in the item – ‘one way’ focussing on a Functionalist/ postmodern analysis, the other focusing on developing a marxist/ feminist/ postmodern analysis. To my mind, it’s easy to develop Postmodernism from Functionalism and Labelling theory from Marxism/ Feminism.
Where essays are concerned, the 4 boxes above might be used as a suitable structure for four paragraphs, again, in relation to the item.
Quite a useful revision task is to place different questions in the middle of the above slide and just talk through how you might relate the different core themes/ perspectives/ concepts to the question.
In future posts this month I’ll outline how I use this analysis structure in mainly 10 mark questions!
A Level Sociology Revision Webinars starting April 2019
I will be running a series of 12 A-level sociology revision webinars to cover the entire two year A-level sociology specification (AQA) including exam technique for the various question formats on the three AQA A-level sociology exam papers (7192/1, 7192/2 and 7193/3).
The webinars are scheduled for 19.00 every Monday (with one on a Thursday) and will run from Monday 1st of April to Monday 20th June, 2 days before the last exam (crime and deviance with theory and methods). Webinars are scheduled early so that we can get through the entire specification BEFORE the first paper (on May 22nd).
NB Registration will only be open during March and the first two weeks of April, then it will close!
Schedule (please see below for a more detailed version)
Monday 1st April – Education 1
Monday 8th April – Education 2
Monday 15th April – Families and Households 1
Monday 22nd April – Beliefs in Society
Monday 29h April – Crime and Deviance 1
Monday 6th May – Crime and Deviance 2
Monday 13th May – Research Methods
Thursday 16th May – Social Theories
Monday 20th May – Education and Theory and Methods 3 (exam on 22nd June )
Monday 27th May – Request webinar, content TBC
Monday 3rd June – Families and Beliefs 2 (exam on 4th June)
Monday 10th June – Crime and Deviance with Theory and Methods 3
All of these webinars will last 45 minutes to one hour during which I will provide a brief overview of some of the content within each topic, and a discussion of at least three specific exam practice questions. Students will be able to ask questions during the Webinar, via text, and there will also be time for students to ask questions at the end.
I will be conducting the Webinars via Click Meeting, which allows students to download support materials in advance of the seminars, ask questions during the seminars via ‘chat’, and which will also allow students to review the seminar afterwards as they will be recorded and stored on the site. Recordings will be available until the 16th of June (several days after the final A-level sociology exam).
Webinar Support materials
The first eight revision Webinars are supported by a PowerPoint, revision notes and exemplar exam questions, and the education, families and methods topics (basically the first year content) have gapped revision hand-outs too, so these really are being offered at a bargain price!
NB – if you have purchased any of my revision bundles, some of these resources are the same. If you’ve already purchased one or more, please let me know and please contact me by email and I can arrange a partial (10% per bundle refund) via PayPal only.
The link will take you to a registration page for my ‘Permanent Room’ on the ClickMeeting platform. This is the room I will be running all revision Webinars from, every Monday (and one Thursday) from April 1st.
Once registered you will receive an email from ClickMeeting which will provide you with an access link which will allow you access my permanent room for March-June 2019. (NB I will only be using this at the scheduled times, as outlined in the schedule.)
Following registration I will also send you an email containing all the relevant revision resources for the 12 Webinars. These will also be downloadable during and immediately after each revision session.
Reminder emails will be sent out the day in advance of each of the 12 Webinar Revision Sessions, and also watch out for a bonus ‘introducing revision Webinars’ session on the final Monday in March, to give you an opportunity to familiarise yourself with how ClickMeeting works.
Payment is via PayPal only!
About your Tutor
I’ve taught sociology for 20 years, 16 of those in a successful sixth form college between 2002 and 2018 (10 years as Head of Department).
In 2014 I set up this blog, and managed to save enough off the back of it to quit working for the ‘man’ and now I work independently, developing non-corporate support materials to facilitate the teaching and learning of A-level sociology.
I also see myself as something of a trail-blazer in developing 16-19 online education: in 2019, we should be doing better than 20 teenagers all having to travel to a central location and then ‘sitting in a room’ for an hour or two. To my mind this all seems a bit 19th century. These Webinars are a move towards making A-level education more flexible and decentralised.
I will be running a series of A-level sociology revision webinars from April to mid-June 2019. The focus will be on maximising marks in the three AQA sociology exams, as well as reviewing basic content across the main sociology options: education, methods, families, beliefs, crime and theories.
These Webinars will be live events, with 30-40 minutes of structured lecture/ Q n A revision supported by a PowerPoint, followed by 20 mins to deal with student questions and popular requests. Webinars will be recorded and accessible if students wish to go back over them, or if they cannot make a particular session.
The online revision sessions will be fully supported with work packs containing revision notes and activities and plenty of practice exam questions and model answers covering all of the short answer questions, the two types of 10-mark questions and the 20- and 30-mark essay questions.
I’m going to be offering access to these via a subscription through Patreon, so there will be tiered access ranging from £20 a month to £40 a month. If you subscribe to the lower tier, you get access to the revision webinars and resources (NB this is a bargain price!), if you subscribe to the higher level tiers, you get the webinars, resources AND I will provide you with feedback to any practice exam questions you do (basically I’ll mark more essays the higher up the tiers you go).
These Webinars will run on Tuesday evenings at 19.00 GMT, with the exception of the one before the families and beliefs exam, which will be on a Monday, because paper 2 is on a Tuesday!.
There will only be 20 places available* on these webinars. Subscriptions will open on March 1st 2019, but if you want to register your interest early just drop a comment below or email me and I can make sure you get a place.
(*There are more than 30 000 students who study A-level sociology , so these are actually ver rare!)
I taught sociology for 16 years between 2001-2018 until I quit recently (because I live frugally I’ve retired from full-time work early) and I’m still an AQA examiner, so I know the content of A-level sociology and the exam rules intimately. I now spend most of my ‘working time’ maintaining this blog and keeping up to date with all things sociology, A-level and exams.
Education and Theory and Methods (exam on 22nd May)
20 May 4
Education and Theory and Methods
Families and Beliefs
3 June 2
Families and Beliefs (exam on 4th June)
Crime and Deviance and Theory and methods (exam on 12th June)
A reminder of this years exam dates!
NB the above timetable is from the AQA exam board, other boards may have different times! Click here for the AQA’s A-level timetable.
Influence the content of these webinars – Requests!
What do you want covered in these Webinars? Let me know in the comments below, and I’ll use the feedback to make sure certain topics are covered…. I know what the real bogeymen of A-level sociology are (selection, the fully social theory of deviance, green crime etc.), but I also know different students struggle with different things, so if you’re thinking of ‘attending’ and want something specific covered let me know and I’ll make sure I go over it!
I’ve been designing some sociology of education summary grids to try and summarise the AQA’s A-level sociology of education specification as briefly as possible. I’ve managed to narrow it down to 7 grids in total covering…..
Perspectives on education (Functionalism etc)
In-school processes (labelling etc.)
social class and differential achievement
gender: achievement and subject choice
Globalisation and education (I couldn’t fit it in anywhere else!)
Here’s a couple of them… I figure these should be useful for quick card sorts during revision lessons. And let’s face it, there is only ONE thing students love more than filling in grids, and that’s a card sort!
Perspectives on education summary grid:
Education policies summary grid:
Of course I couldn’t resist doing fuller versions of these grids too, but more of that laters!
According to Functionalism, religion acts as a conservative force by reinforcing social norms and promoting social solidarity. This post is A summary of the key ideas of the main Functionalist theorists of religion: Durkheim, Parsons and Malinowski.
This is a work in progress, please click the links above for more detailed posts!
Studied Totemism among Australian Aboriginal clans in which the sacred totem represented different clans.
Religious symbols are simultaneously symbols of God and Society, and thus when people worship religion they are also ‘worshipping society’, religious symbols serve as a simplified representation of a more complex whole, reminded individuals that they are merely small and part of a much ‘bigger picture’.
Religion acts as a constraining (conservative) force: through religious worship (ceremonies) the ‘collective conscience’ is imprinted on the individual: they literally ‘feel’ the weight of the community on them.
Religion reinforces a sense of belonging and shared identity to society.
Argued religion had more specific functions than Durkheim:
Religion helps individuals to deal with the psychological stresses which occur in times of social change – such as births, marriage and deaths. Beliefs can help people ‘make sense’ of death for example and can act as a source of catharsis for the bereaved.
Religious rituals also help society through the disruption to social order caused by life changing events such as death.
Religion helps people deal with situations which they cannot predict or control – e.g. the Trobriand Islanders used religious ritual when fishing in the dangerous, unpredictable ocean, but not the calm lagoons.
Unlike Durkheim does not see religion as reflecting society as a whole, nor does he see religious ritual as ‘worshipping society’.
Saw the main function of religion as being the maintenance of social order.
Religion promotes value consensus: many legal systems are based on religious morals for example.
Like Malinowski Parsons saw religious beliefs and rituals as helping maintain social order in times of social change (such as death) and to help individuals make sense of unpredictable events.
Religion can also help people make sense of contradictory events.
Criticisms of the Functionalist Perspective on Religion
Religion does not always promote harmony: it can promote conflict: there may be conflicts within religion, or between religions for example.
Ignores the role religion can play in promoting social change
Secularisation means that religion performs fewer functions today: thus functionalism may be less relevant.
Eight mind maps covering the sociological perspectives on beliefs in society. In colour!
52 Pages of revision notes covering the entire AQA ‘beliefs in society’ specification: from perspectives on religion, organisations, class, gender ethnicity and age and secularisation, globalisation and fundamentalism.
Three 10 mark ‘outline and explain’ practice exam questions and model answers
Three 10 mark ‘analyse using the item’ 10 practice exam questions and answers
Three 30 mark essay questions and extended essay plans.
The content focuses on the AQA A-level sociology specification. All at a bargain price of just £4.99!
I’ve taught A-level sociology for 16 years and have been an AQA examiner for 10 of those, so I know what I’m talking about, and if you purchase from me you’re avoiding all those horrible corporations that own the major A-level text books and supporting a fully fledged free-range human being, NOT a global corporate publishing company.