Posted in AS Sociology: Family, GCSE Sociology

Toxic childhood

“…for many young people, the internet has already all but replaced children’s television. According to recent research by Ofcom, British 12- to 15-year-olds are more familiar with YouTube than with the BBC or ITV, while the amount of television watched by four- to 15-year-olds has fallen by 25% since 2010″.

The article explores how children are exposed to lots of content on YouTube which most adults would consider inappropriate:

  • Ohioan Logan Paul
  • PewDiePie
  • Advertising
  • Fake Peppa Pig videos

“Very young children,” James Bridle writes, are “being deliberately targeted with content which will traumatise and disturb them, via networks which are extremely vulnerable to … abuse.” Given the scale of YouTube, he went on, “human oversight is simply impossible”.

Posted in General Sociology

BSA Teaching Group National A-Level Sociology Competition for Students!

The BSA Teaching Group’s National A Level Competition invites essays and short videos from sociology students allowing you to win an Apple iPad Mini and £500 for your school. Enter now via by emailing your submission to Claire Simmons, Membership Development Officer.

The A Level Competition is open to anyone currently studying at A Level, AS Level, Scottish Higher Level or equivalent post-16 qualification in sociology, and we encourage you to be as creative as possible with your answers!

This year’s question ‘What can Sociology contribute to the debate about “fake news”? The aim of this question is to get you thinking about news and public information and to link to the modules you have studied or are about to study. To enter all you need to do is submit a 2,000-word written piece or a 10-minute podcast or video clip. The closing date for this is Friday, 15 December 2017.

Entries are expected to refer to results obtained from their own primary method of research using a suitable sample.  This could be an observation, an interview or a questionnaire based study.  All research carried out for this competition has to abide the ethical guidelines of research, as stated in the BSA’s Statement of Ethical Practice. If you have any questions regarding the competition criteria, please contact: Claire Simmons.

How to enter:

Please email your entry with a completed entry form to Claire Simmons or post it to:

Claire Simmons,
Membership Development Officer
British Sociological Association
Bailey Suite
Palatine House
Belmont Business Park

Terms and conditions:

  • Entries must be accompanied by confirmation from a Sociology teacher that it is the work of the pupil.
  • Entries must be lone submissions (not joint).
  • Reports must be around 2,000 words (excluding bibliography, figures, tables etc.)
  • Filming your project as a presentation or podcast/YouTube entry (must not exceed 10 minutes).
  • We reserve the right to check submitted works for plagiarism using online tools.
  • Reference to other scholars (including teachers, books, articles and web sites) should be acknowledged.
  • All work must be written or presented in the English language.
  • The judges’ decision is final and we reserve the right to publish your entry with your permission.
Posted in General Sociology

Year 13 Sociology trip to the University of Sussex


Year 13 Sociology students enjoyed a really fruitful visit to the University of Sussex. After a quick pit stop for drinks and snacks, the day started with a talk by an ex-student giving introduction to student life. We learnt about the ‘dos and don’ts’ of writing UCAS personal statements, the myriad of societies on offer, degree types, scholarships, accommodation and much, much more.

Dr. Paul McGuinness then delivered a really interesting lecture examining the differences between classic and positivist approaches to criminology. For example, we learnt about the enlightenment period and the influence of social contract theory upon neo-liberalism. The lecture was not ‘dumbed down’ at all for our students and whilst some found the language and style quite daunting and very different to A-level lessons, it gave them a valuable insight into the teaching at universities. Moreover, much of the lecture content is directly applicable to the A-level specification so the lecture should give our students a real advantage when they are trying to access the higher grades.

After a tour of the campus and canteen lunch, students attended their second lecture of the day with Dr. Jamie Barnes who deconstructed culture and gender by applying some of the key arguments of Marcel Mauss, Pierre Bourdieu and Iris Marion Young to help challenge conventional thinking about these social factors. The highlight of the lecture was when Dr Barnes asked the students and teachers to model gendered behaviour, whilst slightly embarrassing, it was a fun way to help emphasise how gender is ‘embodied’ and whilst our behaviour appears natural, it is far from it.


Posted in AS Sociology: Family

Embodiment and gender

Marcel Mauss (1872-1950)

Culture – generated meanings from living together.

Ideologies become embedded into us which appear natural.

The social is expressed through the collective which becomes inscribed in the body.

Things that appear natural are not. Even simple things such as swimming are done differently in every culture.

Pierre Bourdieu – ‘The Peasant and his Body’

‘Habitus’ – the socially acquired embodied systems of dispositions history is turned into nature.

Gender – what does the way we act say about the embodiment of gender?

Iris Marion Young – Throwing like a Girl’

Strongly disagrees with Erwin Strauss who argues that girls and boys throw differently due to biology.

‘Every human existence is defined through its situation’ (Simone de Beauvoir). Femininity is a set of structures particular to a culture.

‘We feel as though we must have our attention directed upon our bodies to make sure they are doing what we wish them to do, rather than paying attention to what to do through our bodies’.

Women fail to make full use of spatial and lateral positions – sitting, standing etc.

Women are aware of being objectified (male gaze).

Gender scripts are very defined and hard to break – women who do try and break out of them are often publicly chastised and seen as a deviant. Famous female sports players such as the Williams sisters have often been denounced for being too masculine and it being unfair for the other female players!

Wonder Woman is a very good contemporary example of a more powerful representation of females which has been welcomed by many female audiences. However, the film still clearly sexualises the women – so have things changed that much?

How do these ideas link to the family topic?

Embodiment of gender scripts clearly relates to the feminist argument that patriarchal biological determinist arguments are unfounded. New Right and functionalists argue that it is natural for women to fulfill the expressive role but Young and Mauss in particular help explain why this is not the case. Women are socialised to be caring, to be feminine and gentle. There is nothing natural about it. There is no reason why men cannot be socialised in this way too and increasingly with the rise of the new man, it appears that this is already happening to some extent. Feminism has had a massive impact upon how British people view the roles within the family and without doubt, many males are happy to pursue a much more expressive role than their forefathers.