This could form the basis of a 10 mark question in the crime and deviance paper, in which case, you would have an item, which will direct you to two of the reasons mentioned below, which you must use if they are in the itme to get 10/10!
A mark scheme and some suggested answers to the above question*
Answers in this band will show good knowledge and understanding of relevant material on two reasons.
There will be two developed applications of material from the item
There will be appropriate analysis/evaluation of two reasons.
To get into this mark band you need to identify one reason, develop it, analyse it (so three good sentences of development/ analysis) and then repeat this for your second reason.
Answers in this band will show a basic to reasonable knowledge and understanding.
There will be some successful application of material from the item.
There will be some analysis/evaluation
This means you’ve identified, developed and analysed one reason well, but not effectively developed or analysed the second reason.
Answers in this band will show limited knowledge of one or two reasons
There will be limited application of material from the item.
There will be limited or no analysis/evaluation.
You shouldn’t be down here.
These could form the basis of any one of your two points.
Underlying patterns of offending are different…
The characteristics of offenders are different….
It’s the public that’s racist, the police just respond….
Racism is subjective, thus difficult to define
Racism is difficult to research in practice.
Example which should get you 5/10
Repeat with one of the other reasons to get 10/10
The first reason why it is doubtful that police racism explains the higher imprisonment rates of ethnic minorities is that there is some evidence that ethnic minorities might commit more crime.
Development For example, many ethnic minority groups experience higher levels of relative deprivation and marginalisation (applying left realism) which could explain actual underlying higher levels of offending.
Analysis Thus it might be these factors related to class and deprivation which explains the higher levels of policing and stop and search (and corresponding imprisonment) in minority areas rather than police racism. The police are not necessarily racist – they are just responding in an objective, rather than a racist way to really existing high crime rates in poorer areas, where ethnic minorities are more likely to live.
*Answers not endorsed by the AQA. These are my best guesses as to a safe minimum for getting full marks. NB – You may as well go with my best guess as the exemplars produced by the AQA don’t necessarily reflect the standards they mark to anyway.
This post contains two examples of possible 4/6 mark ‘outline and explain’ questions which may come up on the AQA’s Crime and Deviance Paper 3.
Outline two structural factors which may explain differences in offending by ethnicity (4)
Two marks for each of two appropriate reasons clearly outlined or one mark for appropriate reasons partially outlined
The higher rates of single parent families in African-Caribbean households (1 mark) this might explain the higher levels of crime because absent fathers mean lack of a disciplinary figure and the fact that children from Caribbean households are more likely to join gangs (+1 mark)
Blocked opportunities in the education system for African-Caribbean children (1 mark) which means lower educational achievement, and a higher chance of being unemployed, which is correlated with higher levels of economic crime (+1 mark)
Institutional racism in the police force (1 mark) higher rates of ethnic minority crime may be a frustrated response against police oppression, as with the London riots (+1 mark)
Outline three ways in which Racism may manifest itself in the criminal justice system (6)
Two marks for each of two appropriate reasons clearly outlined or one mark for appropriate reasons partially outlined. The following would get 1 mark each, you need to add in the +1s
The police stop disproportionate amounts of black and Asian people (1 mark)
Black suspects are more likely to be sent to jail than white people (1 mark)
Ethnic minorities are more likely to have their cases thrown out of court than white people (1 mark)
Black and minority officers are under-represented (1 mark)
There is a ‘canteen culture’ of Racism in the UK police force (1 mark)
The police force fail to take race crimes against ethnic minorities seriously (1 mark)
Essay planning and writing for the AS and A Level sociology exams – hints and tips
The research methods section of the AS sociology 7191 (2) exam (research methods and topics in sociology) consists of one short answer question (out of 4 marks) and one essay question (out of 16 marks).
You should aim to spend approximately 20-25 minutes answering this essay question
This longer methods question will nearly always ask you to evaluate either the strengths or limitations of a particular method, for example ‘Evaluate the strengths of using social surveys in Social Research’.
This means that you will need to evaluate either the strengths or the limitations of the particular method as directed in the question.
You should always use the following structure whether talking about strengths or limitations of the method. Remember that you will need to emphasis the relevant sections depending on whether you are asked to evaluate strengths or limitations.
Define the method
Explain why Positivists like or dislike the method
Explain why Interpretivists like or dislike the method
Validity – explain why the method has good or bad validity
Reliability – explain why the method has good or bad reliability
Representativeness – explain how easy it is to get a large, representative sample
Practical factors – explain what practical strengths or limitations the method has
Ethical issues – explain any ethical problems associated with the method, or talk about the ethical strengths as appropriate
Say what kind of topics this method is useful for researching and why
Say when you wouldn’t use this method and why
Compare the relative strengths and weaknesses of different types of the method.
It is good practice to use examples of actual examples of research studies that have used the method under examination, preferably woven into the body of the essay.
It is also good practice to distinguish between different ways of doing the method throughout, as you are asked to do in number 11.
You can remember the above 11 point plan by memorizing the handy acronym DPIVRRPETTC
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Unlike structural theorists, social action theorists argue that people’s behaviour and life-chances are not determined by their social background. Instead, social action theorists emphasises the role of the active individual and interactions between people in shaping personal identity and in turn the wider society. In order to understand human action we need to uncover the individual’s own motives for acting.
Max Weber: Verstehen, and Social Change
Observation alone is not enough to understand human action, we need empathetic understanding. Gaining Verstehen is the main point of Sociology.
Understanding individual motives is crucial for understanding changes to the social structure (as illustrated in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism).
Weber still attempted to make generalisations about types of motive for action – there are four main types of motive for action – Instrumentally rational, value rational, traditional action and affectual action
Different societies and different groups emphasise the importance of different types of ‘general motive’ for action’ – so society still affects individual motives, but in a general way.
People’s self-concepts are based on their understanding of how others perceive them (the looking glass self).
We act towards others on the basis of how we interpret their symbolic action, the same action can be interpreted differently by different people – we need to understand these specific meanings to understanding people’s actions.
We ‘are constantly ‘taking on the role of the other’ – thinking about how people see us and reacting accordingly, this is very much an active, conscious process.
Each of us has an idea in the back of our minds of ‘the generalised other’ – which is basically society – what society expects of us, which consists of different norms and values associated with different roles in society.
These social roles are not specific or fixed; they can be interpreted in various different ways.
Goffman’s Dramaturgical Theory
People are actors on a ‘social stage’ who actively create an impression of themselves
When we act in the social world, we put on a ‘front’ in order to project a certain image of ourselves (call this part of our ‘social identity’
To create this front we manipulate the setting in which we perform (e.g. our living room), our appearance (e.g. our clothes) and our manner (our emotional demeanour).
Impression management involves projecting an ‘idealised image’ of ourselves,
We must be constantly on our guard to practice ‘expressive control’ when on the social stage.
Acting out social roles is quite demanding and so in addition to the front-stage aspect of our lives, we also have back-stage areas where we can drop our front and be more relaxed, closer to our ‘true-selves’
Most acting is neither fully ‘sincere’ nor fully ‘contrived’ and most people oscillate between sincerity and cynicism throughout the day and throughout the role they are playing.
Focuses on how the definitions (meanings) people impose on situations or on other people can have real consequences (even if those definitions are not based in reality)
People in power generally have more ability to impose their definitions on situations than the powerless and make these labels have consequences compared to working class youths. Labelling theory
We still need to understand where people are located in the power-structure of society to fully understand the process of labelling and identity construction.
Evaluations of Social Action Theory
Recognises that people are complex and active and have their own diverse meanings and motives for acting
Overcomes the determinism found in structural theories such as Marxism which tend to see individuals as passive
Goffman’s dramaturgical theory seems especially useful today in the age of Social Media
Labelling Theory recognizes the importance of micro-level interactions in shaping people’s identities, and the fact that people in power are often more able to ‘define the situation’.
In-depth research methods associated with social action theory often have high validity
It doesn’t pay sufficient attention to how social structures constrain action – for example, material deprivation can have a real, objective impact on your ability to well at school, thus failure is not just all about labelling.
It tends to ignore power-distribution in society – it can’t explain patterns in class, gender, ethnicity.
If people are so active, then why do so many people choose to be so normal?
Labelling theory can also be criticised for being deterministic
The small-scale methods associated with this theory can equally be criticised for lacking reliability and representativeness
An essay plan on the Marxist Theory of Crime and Deviance – starting with an introduction outlining the Marxist conception of social class and then covering 4-5 key points such as the costs of corporate crime, selective law enforcement and crimogenic capitalism, with some overall evaluations and a conclusion to round off.
A brief overview of some sociological perspectives on crime and deviance – from Functionalism through to Right Realism.
Argue that societies need a limited amount of crime, because crime is inevitable (society of saints argument) and that crime performs three positive functions: regulation, integration and change. Also see Durkheim’s work on suicide.
Social Control Theory
The cause of deviance is the breakdown or weakening of informal agencies of social control such as the family and community. Criminal activity occurs when the individual’s attachment to society is weakened. According to Hirschi there are four types of social bond
Merton’s Strain Theory
Crime and deviance occur in times of anomie when there is a ‘strain’ between society’s socially approved ‘success goals’ and the opportunities available to achieve these goals. Crime occurs when individuals still want to achieve the success goals of society but abandon the socially approved means of obtaining those goals.
Explains deviance in terms of the subculture of certain social groups. Deviance is the result of individuals suffering ‘status frustration’ and conforming to the values and norms of a subculture which rewards them for being deviant. Focuses on crimes of the working class.
Explain crime in terms of Capitalism and the class structure – The Ruling classes make the law to benefit them, the law protects private property. Ruling and Middle class crime is more harmful than working class crime but ruling classes are less likely to get caught and punished for crime. Selective law enforcement performs ideological functions. WCs commit crime due to the ‘dog eat dog’ values of capitalist system – selfishness, materialism.
Focus on how crime is socially constructed, on how certain acts become defined as criminal or deviant, and how certain people are more likely to be defined as deviant than others. Labelling Theory and Moral Panic Theory are key ideas within Interactionism.
Fuses Traditional Marxist and Interactionism. Crime is an outgrowth of capitalism, but moral panics over the relatively minor crimes of marginalised groups make the public side with the ruling class against the marginalised, maintaining social order. Believe that criminology should focus on highlighting the injustices of the Capitalist System in order to change society.
Concerned with working class crime, believe that we should work with the system in order to improve the lives of the victims of crime, who are mainly working class. Marginalisation, relative deprivation and subcultures are the main causes of crime and we should aim to tackle crime on multiple fronts – more community (less militaristic) policing and tackling poverty and marginalisation within communities are solutions.
Right Realism is more concerned with practical solutions to crime. Relatively simple theories such as rational choice and Broken Windows theory explain crime and Zero Tolerance Policing and Situational Crime Prevention are the solutions
A Level Sociology – Perspectives on Education Summary Grid
A summmary of the Functionalist, Marxist, New Right, Late Modern/ New Labour and Postmodern Perspectives on the role of education in society – focusing on Key ideas, supporting evidence and criticisms. (Scroll down for ‘test yourself’ link)
Key Ideas about Education
Education performs positive functions for the individual and society.
It creating social solidarity (value consensus) through teaching the same subjects.
Teaching skills necessary for work – necessary for a complex division of labour.
Acting as a bridge between home and soceiety – from paricularistic to universalistic values.
Role Allocation and meritocracy
School performs positive functions for most pupils – exclusion and truancy rates are very low.
Role Allocation – Those with degrees earn 85% more than those without degrees.
Schools do try to foster ‘solidarity’ – Extended Tutorials – (‘cringing together’?)
Education is more ‘work focused’ today – increasing amounts of vocational courses.
Schooling is more meritocratic than in the 19th century (fairer).
Marxists – the education system is not meritocratic (not fair) – e.g. private schools benefit the wealthy.
Functionalism ignores the negative sides of school –
Many schools fail OFSTED inspections,
Not all pupils succeed
Negative In school processes like subcultures/ bullying/ teacher labelling
Postmodernists argue that ‘teaching to the test’ kills creativity.
Functionalism reflects the views of the powerful. The education system tends to work for them. (because they can send their children to private schools) and it suggests there is nothing to criticise.
Traditional Marxists see the education system as working in the interests of ruling class elites. The education system performs three functions for these elites:
Reproduces class inequality.
Legitimates class inequality.
The Correspondence Principle – School works in the interests of capitalist employers.
Neo- Marxism – Paul Willis – A Classic piece of Participant Observation of 12 lads who formed a counter school cultur. Willis argued they rejected authority and school and just turned up to ‘have a laff’ (rejecting the correspondence theory). However, they ended up failing and still ended up in working class jobs (so supports the reproduction of class inequality).
To support the reproduction of inequality – Who gets the best Jobs. And there is no statistically significant evidence against the FACT that, on aggregate, the richer your parents, the better you do in education.
To support the Legitimation of class inequality – pupils are generally not taught about how unfair the education system is – they are taught that if they do badly, it is down to them and their lack of effort.
To support the Ideological State Apparatus – Surveillance has increased schools’ ability to control students.
There are many critical subjects taught at university that criticise elites (e.g. Sociology).
It is deterministic – not every child passively accepts authority (see Paul Willis).
Some students rebel – 5% are persistent truants (they are active, not passive!).
Some students from poor backgrounds do ‘beat the odds’ and go on to achieve highly.
The growth of the creative industries in the UK suggest school doesn’t pacify all students.
The nature of work and the class structure has also changed, possibly making Marxism less relevant today.
Key Ideas about Education
Neoliberalism and The New Right
Created an ‘education market’ – Schools were run like businesses – competing with each other for pupils and parents were given the choice over which school = league tables.
The state provides a framework in order to ensure that schools were all teaching the same thing – National Curriculum.
Schools should teach subjects that prepare pupils for work: New Vocationalism!
Their policies seem to have raised standards.
Their policies have been applied internationally (PISA league tables).
Asian Countries with very competitive education systems tend to top the league tables (e.g. China).
Competition between schools benefited the middle classes and lower classes, ethnic minorities and rural communities ended up having less effective choice.
Vocational Education was also often poor.
There is a contradiction between wanting schools to be free to compete and imposing a national framework that restricts schools.
The National Curriculum has been criticised for being ethnocentric and too restrictive on teachers and schools.
Late Modernism and New Labour
Government needs to spend more on education to respond to the rapid pace of change brought about by Globalisation.
People need to reskill more often as – government should play a role in managing this.
Schools are also necessary to keep under surveillance students ‘at risk’ of future deviance.
New Labour Policies – the purpose of school should be to raise standards, improve equality of opportunty, and promote diversity and equality.
See Evaluation of New Labour Policies
All developed economies have governments who spend large amounts of money on education, suggesting more (not less like Neoliberals suggest) state education is good.
It is difficult to see what other institution could teach about diversity other than schools.
There did seem to be more equality of opportunity under New Labour rather than under the 2015 Neoliberal/ New Right government.
Postmodernists argue that government attempts to ‘engineer’ pupils to fit society kill creativity
Marxists argue that whatever state education does it can never reduce class inequalities – we need to abolish global capitalism, not adapt to it!
Late-Modern, New Labour ideas about education are expensive. Neoliberalists say that we can no longer afford to spend huge sums of money on education.
Stand against universalising education systems.
See Modernist education as oppressive to many students – especially minority groups
Believe the ‘factory production-line mentality of education kills creativity
Ideas of education which fit with a postmodern agenda include – Home Education, Liberal forms of education, Adult Education and Life Long Learnin and Education outside of formal education (leisure)
Many people agree that schools do kill creativity (Ted Robinson, and Suli-Breaks)
Sue Palmer – Teaching the test has resulted in school being miserable and stressful for many pupils.
Do we really want an education system more like the Chinese one?
The National Curriculum has been criticised as being ethnocentric (potentially oppressive to minority groups).
Late-Modernists – we need schools to promote tolerance of diversity.
Neoliberalism – we need a competitive system to drive up standards in order to be able to compete in a global free market!
Marxists would argue that home education would lead to greater inequality – not all parents have an equal ability – if we leave education to parents, the middle classes will just benefit more, and working class kids will be even further behind.
Liberal forms of education may result in the survival of the fittest’
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