Acting Head of Department: Miss C Russell

What is Sociology?

Sociology is the study of society and human social action. It generally concerns itself with the social rules and processes that bind and separate people not only as individuals, but as members of associations, groups, and institutions, and includes the examination of the organization and development of human social life. The sociological field of interest ranges from the analysis of short contacts between anonymous individuals on the street to the study of global social processes.

Why study it?

Sociology is interesting

Who makes the rules about which behaviour is considered ‘bad’ and which is ‘good’? What effect does advertising and television have on our behaviour? How has the structure of the family changed? Why do some groups do better in education than others? Why do some people commit more crime than others? Do we live in a post modern world where the people we watch on television are more important than our own friends and family?

Sociology is challenging

Can stereotyping be reduced or eliminated? Can different religions be encouraged to work and live peacefully beside each other? Can patterns of voting be predicted? Can family roles become equal and shared?

Sociology is dynamic

Science is never static – Sociology is constantly adjusting to the changing world around us and new approaches to Sociology are being addressed such as the Sociology of the body, in response to the popularity of plastic surgery, or Post-modernism, as a way of studying reality television.

Sociology is useful 

Imagine if we knew enough about the way humans interact to be able to intervene and reduce problems such as crime, family breakdown, poverty, disruptive behaviour, media violence, inequalities in education… 

Sociology is insightful

Remember that you are learning about human interaction and you are a human too! This means that will begin to understand and think abstractly about your own behaviour and motivations and will begin to interpret the behaviour of people in your life in a more meaningful way.

Sociology is fun!

More than in any other subject Sociology offers the chance to experience the theories that you will be learning – you will see them everyday all around you, in school, on TV, in your homes. You will debate and gather evidence to support your opinions and study a wide variety of topics that you have never previously considered would be a subject of controversial debate.

Sociology is by no means an easy subject; students must have a sharp conceptual understanding of often complicated theories and must learn to present arguments backed up with evidence. A common problem for students is that they often put forward their own ideas and opinions, when to gain higher grades; they must learn to put forward the ideas of sociologists and evaluate their findings.

Sociology students must be aware of current developments in education, crime, population and many other areas.   They will need to watch televised news reports and read newspapers to keep in touch with changes.

The key components in the course are:

  • theories of sociologists and the methods of enquiries used to research society;
  • the socialisation process which teaches us how to behave acceptably and become part of society;
  • the purpose and nature of family life in different societies;
  • the purpose, organisation and outcomes of the British education system;
    the causes, consequences and definitions of crime and deviance;
    changes in population;
  • the definitions of class and the implications of social inequality in societies.