A-Level Sociology

Examining Human Society From Prehistoric To Contemporary

Exam Board and Specification Codes: AQA 7192

Why Study Sociology?

Sociology is a diverse subject concerned with analysing human social behaviour, institutions and social processes. Pupils examine the development of human society from prehistoric hunter-gatherer groups to contemporary post-industrial societies, and gain an appreciation of broad trends underlying social change and the formation of the modern world.

Sociology involves the study of wealth, power, status, poverty and social class, as well as politics, race, nationalism and cultural identity. The course covers the role of family, education, religion, the media, leisure and the arts. Pupils also study government, social control systems and crime, international politics, globalisation, development and aid.

Although the focus of the course is on contemporary society, pupils have the opportunity to study non-Western and historical cultures radically different from their own.

What is Covered by the Course?

YEAR 1:

Education with research methods

Is the function of education to socialise, enlighten and educate children or to mould personalities and teach skills in preparation for the world of work? What factors lie behind the persistent social class and ethnic differences in levels of educational attainment? What effect can teachers’ interactions with pupils have on their motivation and success? Why are girls far outperforming boys at all levels of education? We will also focus on research methods in the context of education.

The Family

What are the functions of the family and how has family form changed throughout history and from culture to culture? How has the rejection of traditional beliefs concerning marriage impacted on the role and status of men, women and children in families? How have state intervention and political movements such as feminism shaped family life? How have our notions of childhood changed over the past century? What is the likely future of the family?

In Year 1 pupils also study how sociologists conduct research, and are introduced to a variety of theoretical perspectives on the nature of society.

YEAR 2:

Media

The ownership of the media is often referred to as the ‘big six’, why is this the case and who are they? Why do sociologists refer to Rupert Murdoch as the ‘Phantom prime minister’? What are the representations of age, social class, ethnicity, gender, sexuality and disability in the media? For instance, working class individuals are typically seen as ‘chavs’ and children perceived as angels. Do you believe society’s behaviour is shaped by the media? Is violence imitated from films, cartoons and TV shows as seen in the killing of James Bugler?

Crime and Deviance with theory and methods

Can criminality lead to positive social change? What are the differences in levels of criminality and type of crime committed between the wealthy and the poor? Can official crime statistics be trusted? The course looks at how businesses and governments act criminally as well as the social class differences in court sentencing. Are women committing more crime? Does government policy toward the poor create a criminal subculture?

How is it Examined?

AS pupils sit 2 exams at the end of their first year (2 x 1hr 30mins).

Questions are a mix of short and longer written answers and essays.

A-Level pupils sit 3 exams at the end of their second year (3 x 2hrs).

Questions are a mix of short and longer written answers and essays.

Related University Courses and Careers?

Sociology intersects with academic disciplines such as History, Government and Politics, Anthropology, Religious Studies, Psychology, Economics, Philosophy and Classics.

Sociology is suitable for pupils planning to enter a wide range of careers such as journalism, law, business, advertising, the civil service, government, social services and finance.

Suggested Reading:

Year 1:

Sociology for AQA VOL 1: AS and 1st Year A level- Ken Browne

Success at AS Level – Rob Webb and Keith Trobe

AQA Unit 1 Workbook: Families and Households – Blundell

Sociology in Pictures: Research Methods – Michael Haralambos

Life at the Bottom – William Dalrymple

Kes – Ken Loach

Year 2:

Sociology for AQA VOL 2: 2nd Year A level- Ken Browne

Success at A2 – Rob Webb and Keith Trobe

A2 Unit 4 Workbook: Crime and Deviance – Dave Bown

Collins Key Concepts in Sociology – Painter and Zariff

Hard Times: Inside America’s Toughest Jail – Shaun Attwood

The Welfare State We’re In – James Bartholomew