A Level Sociology
What is it about at sixth-form level?
Why does the average man living in Blackpool live 12 years less than a man living in the City of London? Why are there more young black men in prison in the USA than in college? Why do the richest 80 people in the world have the same amount of wealth as the poorest half of the world’s population? These are the kinds of questions that a sociologist seeks to answer.
Sociology is extremely diverse in its content and at A level students will get a real taste of the range of different topic areas. You will study topics as varied as terrorism, educational inequality, mental illness and crimes committed by the state. The key to success at A level, however lies in developing a ‘sociological imagination’; that is, to develop an appreciation of the unique perspective sociologists adopt when attempting to explain human behaviour and human societies. This will involve delving beyond common sense and through adopting a rigorous methodological and theoretical analysis of social issues. As a sociologist you need to be able to appreciate the limits of your own experiences and to construct explanations which are appreciative of the strengths and weaknesses of different viewpoints.
Why study it and what skills does it develop?
Sociology develops skills valued by both universities and employers, including critical analysis, independent thinking and research. Students gain a critical understanding of contemporary social processes and social changes, and develop skills that focus on their personal identity, roles and responsibilities within society. Successful students appreciate the significance of theoretical and conceptual issues in sociological debates, and are able to evaluate sociological methodology and a range of research methods through active research.
What prior knowledge and skills are required?
The course assumes no prior knowledge of Sociology. As a social science, we would consider other relevant subjects at GCSE as good indicators of your ability to succeed on this course. Where GCSE Sociology has been studied, a 7 grade is required to continue to A level.
How is the course assessed?
The A level is assessed by three papers, each lasting 2 hours. The first paper contains both short answer questions and extended writing responses. It assesses the topics of Education with Methods in Context and Theory and Methods. The second paper comprises extended writing questions and examines Families and Households in Section A and Beliefs in Section B. The third paper contains both short answer questions and extended writing responses. Its focus is Crime and Deviance with Theory and Methods. Each exam paper is worth 80 marks and a third of the overall A level.
To be confirmed at the start of the course
Introducing Social Theory (2nd Edition)
By P. Jones, L. Bradbury, S. LeBoutillier
Published by Polity Press, ISBN 978-074-563-5231
AQA A level Sociology Book 1
By R. Webb, H. Westergaard
Published by Napier Press, ISBN 978-0954007911
AQA A level Sociology Book 2
By R. Webb & H. Westergaard
Published by Napier Press, ISBN 978-0954007928
Exam Board and Specification Codes
A level: AQA 7192
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