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Section A

Answer question 1.

1 In many modern industrial societies it is accepted that childhood is a special time, as many of the experiences and rights of a child will be different from those of an adult. Children are regarded as psychologically and physically immature and not yet ready to be in control of their own lives. As such, it is thought that they need a period of time when they are protected, nurtured and socialised before they enter adult society.

However, childhood may have been viewed differently in the past. The idea of children having a protected status that is a clear and separate phase of life is relatively recent. Childhood is not therefore a fixed concept but subject to change. This means that social expectations of childhood are not universal

(a) What is meant by the term childhood? [2]

A partial definition such as being young/time before adolescence (or adulthood)/primary stage in life. (1)

An accurate definition such as such as ‘a socially defined period when an individual is viewed as young’ OR ‘a period of time that varies between societies when the individual is not yet treated as an adult’. (2)

An example on its own will not be credited. If an example is used to support a definition, thereby demonstrating understanding of the term, this will be credited.

Do not credit answers which just focus on what happens during childhood or the functions of childhood for society.

(b) Describe two rights of a child in modern industrial societies. [4]

Points that can be included • Any item from the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

• Any specific example of legal protection such as age allowed to start work at/being legally responsible for actions

• Any legal protection preventing exploitation, this could be society specific

• Protection from physical or emotional abuse

• Education

• Health care

• Any other valid right

Two marks are available for each right.

One mark for the example plus one mark for development (2 × 2)

Development can be either describing the right or how it protects children.

(c) Explain why the period of childhood may be longer in some societies than others. [8]

L 1 0–4 Answers at this level are likely to show only limited appreciation of the issues raised in the question.

Lower in the level a simple answer which identifies a way in which children may spend their time may be worth 1 or 2 marks.

Higher in the level, an answer might advance a few limited observations such as the differences between children, or offer limited comparisons of childhood in two (or more) societies. For example, comments about differences caused by the need to participate in agriculture or the requirements of education could be worth 3 or 4 marks. Other responses may compare the differences between the childhood of boys and girls in one society.

If a link is made to any relevant research or methods but without it being explicit candidates might reach the top of the band.

L 2 5–8 Answers at this level show some sociological knowledge and understanding of the question. In this level there is likely to be some accurate reference to theory or studies, use of concepts or comparisons of societies (generic or specific). Answers should focus on ‘why’ rather than ‘how’ childhood may be longer in some societies.

Lower in the level, a simplistic description of the need for a work-force or for families to have the economic contributions of children in some undeveloped or traditional societies compared to other societies where a period of time in education is needed OR answers which point out different cultural practices could receive a mark of 5–6.

Higher in the level, a more detailed account of how childhood is lengthened due to factors such as education and cultural expectations in relation to marriage or other economic demands may gain 7 or 8 marks others may argue that childhood is shortened due to exposure to the media. Place at the top of the level according to depth and/or range of examples explained and supported by reference to theory, empirical data or cross cultural studies like that of Firth.

A good list of underdeveloped points may gain up to six marks. To go higher, there needs to be some development of three or more points or detailed development of two or more points.

N.B. This question asks candidates to ‘explain’ therefore there is no requirement for assessment.

(d) Assess the extent to which experiences of childhood vary between different social groups in a society. [11]

L 1 0–4 Answers at this level are likely to show only limited appreciation of the issues raised in the question and there is likely to be little appreciation of what social groups are.

Lower in the level a simple answer that identifies a few basic features or a few general points about how children spend their time with little or no reference to the experience of childhood may gain 1 or 2 marks, these answers may describe the social position (class) of different individual children rather than the experience of childhood of groups in a society. Others may refer to biological differences only.

Higher in the level, general descriptions of how people take more care of children in some societies, compared with the past or in other societies, perhaps linked to education may be awarded a mark of 3 or 4.

Answers which offer weak possibly non-sociological points, even if on both sides, should be placed here. Use of sociological references in this level may be misplaced or inaccurate.

L 2 5–8 Answers at this level show some sociological knowledge and understanding of the question and show an understanding of social groups.

Lower in the level (5–6), a simplistic description of the way in which childhood may be different in different societies linked to social customs, domestic violence, and legal changes or answers that relate to a factor such as class could gain up to 5 or 6 marks. Such answers could be supported by reference to the work of the march of progress theorists and their arguments that the rights of children have been improving.

Higher in the level (7–8), a more detailed account of how childhood is different for different social groups in a society. Answers may compare the growing affluence of children in some groups to examples of child abuse and exploitation of children in other groups and be supported by reference to writers such as Aries and Shorter. Some answers may be based on supposed similarities between children in all groups such as the fact that they experience socialisation.

Place at the top of the level according to depth and/or range of examples explained and supported by reference to theory or empirical data. A one-sided answer that is done very well, could also gain up to 8 marks.

L 3 9–11 Answers at this level will demonstrate good sociological knowledge and understanding applied to the question. There will also be an assessment of the extent to which experiences of childhood vary between different social groups.

Lower in the level (9–10 marks), the assessment may be based on a simple juxtaposition of different ways in which children may be treated in societies. This could include both similarities and differences. The way in which childhood can be seen as a period of protection may, for example, be contrasted with evidence of continued exploitation.

At the top of the level (11 marks) the ‘extent’ to which the experiences of childhood vary will be evaluated explicitly and in reasonable depth. The notion of experiences should be directly addressed, probably by a discussion of key issues such as differences between boys and girls, different classes, neglect and abuse, exploitation, child soldiers, street children. Support of key thinkers such as Bonke (girls and domestic labour), Brannen (ethnic differences), Bhatti (izzat), Firestone (oppression and control), Holmes (children in Samoa never too young to undertake tasks) and the existence of such organisations as Child Line.


Section B

Answer either question 2 or question 3.

2 Explain and assess the view that family life may be in decline in modern industrial societies. [25]

L 1 0–6 Answers at this level are likely to be assertive and focus on a few common sense observations arguing that family life is or isn’t in decline and are unlikely to contain accurate sociological support or reference to the question.

Lower in the level (1–3), answers may be confined to one or two simple points based on assertion/a common sense understanding. For example, one or two simple points stating how families still help each other/socialise may gain up to 3 marks.

Higher in the level (4–6), there may be a wider range of simple points. For example, an answer stating, maybe with limited statistical support, that the majority of individuals have a ‘family life’ (or not) therefore it is not in decline (or is) may gain up to 6 marks OR answers which outline different types of families.

L 2 7–12 Answers at this level will show some sociological knowledge and understanding of the question and there will be some attempt to directly answer the question as set by demonstrating why the family may be seen to be in decline or not. At this level answers are likely to be one sided but answers with limited use of sociological theories, studies or concepts are likely to be here even if reference to a debate is included.

Lower in the level (7–9 marks), a narrow range of underdeveloped points, possibly with some inaccuracies. For example, an outline of data in relation to the single parent family or divorce statistics with no development, may gain up to 9 marks.

Higher in the level (10–12 marks), a narrow range of developed points or a wider range of underdeveloped points.

Points candidates might cover include discussion of changing family structures, use values, migration, family cooperation, life course, choice, changing demographic trends, less hours or more hours of work, secularisation, education, socialisation, marriage and how this affects family life.

L 3 13–18 Answers at this level will show good sociological knowledge and understanding. The material used will be interpreted accurately and applied effectively to answering the question. There is no requirement for assessment at this level although it may be present. Answers should include some accurate use of sociological theory, studies or concepts.

Lower in the level (13–15 marks), a range of relevant knowledge, with appropriate use of concepts and/or theory, but the points covered may lack development or specific focus on the question in places.

Higher in the level (16–18 marks), answers will use a wider range of knowledge, supported by the use of concepts or theory, where relevant, and include some well-developed points.

L 4 19–25 Answers at this level must achieve three things:-

First, there will be good sociological knowledge and understanding.

Second, the material used will be interpreted accurately and applied effectively to answering the question.

Third, there must also be some evidence of assessment.

Answers in this level provide a solid account of the ways in which the family may (or may not) be in decline, probably through a discussion of diversity and choice.

There could also be a sustained and well informed assessment of the view in the question; for example though post-modernist views that diversity is just a different form of adult life.

Lower in the level (19–21 marks), the assessment may be largely delivered through juxtaposition of contrasting arguments and theories. Alternatively, the assessment may be limited to just one or two evaluative points that are explicitly stated.

Higher in the level (22–25 marks), there will be sustained assessment and the points offered will be explicit and well-directed towards the question. There is likely to be a well-formulated conclusion.

3 Explain and assess the view that there are no universal features of family life. [25]

L 1 0–6 Answers at this level are likely to be assertive and focus on a few common sense observations about how families are or are not to be found in society and are unlikely to contain accurate sociological support or reference to the question.

Lower in the level (1–3), answers may be confined to one or two simple points based on assertion/common sense understanding. For example, one or two simple points stating the importance of families in raising children or how all families live together may gain up to 3 marks.

Higher in the level (4–6), there may be a wider range of simple points. For example, stating that socialisation is a critical process carried out by families or indicating that there are different ways to raise children may gain 6 marks.

L 2 7–12 Answers at this level will show some sociological knowledge and understanding of the question and there will be some attempt to directly answer the question as set. At this level answers are likely to be one sided but answers with limited use of sociological theories, studies or concepts are likely to be here even if reference to a debate is included.

Lower in the level (7–9 marks), a narrow range of underdeveloped points, possibly with some inaccuracies. For example, an outline of the role of parents in families may gain up to 9 marks.

Higher in the level (10–12 marks), a narrow range of developed points or a wider range of underdeveloped points.

Points candidates might cover include discussion of the universal nature of the nuclear family (or not), patriarchy, legal changes, matrifocal family, patriarchal and legal status and cultural variations, marriage, children, socialisation, female carer-core.

L 3 13–18 Answers at this level will show good sociological knowledge and understanding. The material used will be interpreted accurately and applied effectively to answering the question. There is no requirement for assessment at this level although it may be present. Answers should include some accurate use of sociological theory, studies or concepts.

Lower in the level (13–15 marks), a range of relevant knowledge, with appropriate use of concepts and/or theory, but the points covered may lack development or specific focus on the question in places.

Higher in the level (16–18 marks), answers will use a wider range of knowledge, supported by the use of concepts or theory, where relevant, and include some well-developed points which may be supported with evidence such as the work of Gonzales or other ethnographic studies. L 4 19–25 Answers at this level must achieve three things:-

First, there will be good sociological knowledge and understanding.

Second, the material used will be interpreted accurately and applied effectively to answering the question.

Third, there must also be some evidence of assessment.

Answers in this level may provide a solid account of the different family structures to be found/not found and the relationships within them and the significance of family roles.

There could also be a sustained and well informed assessment of the view in the question; for example through work of Sheeran and matriarchal families and the way in which family functions may be supported.

Lower in the level (19–21 marks), the assessment may be largely delivered through juxtaposition of contrasting arguments and theories. Alternatively, the assessment may be limited to just one or two evaluative points that are explicitly stated.

Higher in the level (22–25 marks), there will be sustained assessment and the points offered will be explicit and well-directed towards the question. There is likely to be a well-formulated conclusion.

Useful information (Hints)

Question 1(a)

Question 1(b)

Question 1(c)

Question 1(d)

Question 2

Question 3