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Section A

Answer question 1.

1 The process through which individuals learn to become members of their society is known as socialisation. Primary socialisation occurs within the family and takes place during infancy. Some aspects of primary socialisation are universal. However, both the society and the family into which the infant is born will influence their experience of childhood.

Childhood is not the same for all. Even within the same society, childhood can vary both in length and experience as the child develops from infancy to adolescence and on into adulthood. Other factors, external to the family, will also affect what children experience. Children may belong to different social groups or undergo different rites of passage.

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

One mark for a partial definition such as the end of childhood.

Two marks for an accurate definition, such as: the time between childhood and being an adult.

(b) Describe two universal aspects of primary socialisation. [4]

Two marks available for each aspect. One mark for identification OR development only, two marks for identification AND development.

Points that can be included are the learning of language, the learning of behaviour, the learning of values and attitudes, and gender role socialisation. Allow ‘primary socialisation takes place in the family’.

1 Identification of points alone without development, such as learning to speak, or simple responses such as the learning of manners, how to dress or learning to do as you are told.

2 A detailed response might be that in primary socialisation, a child will learn if they are a boy or girl through gender role socialisation. This is done by the way parents or carers name, dress and treat the individual child and the social expectations they learn (it is not necessary to have all these points for full marks).

(c) Explain why the period of childhood may have become longer in modern industrial societies. [8]

0–4 A few simple points about the question with no direct reference to it, such as descriptions of how children spend their time alone, may be worth 1 or 2 marks.

If a link is made to any relevant research or theory but without there being explicit links, candidates may reach the top of this level.

Better answers at this level would identify one or two points, such as education causing dependency or life expectancy lengthening in some societies, but there will be little depth in the explanations offered and the answer will rely on descriptions of childhood.

5–8 A sound explanation of the issue identified in the question which is somewhat implicit or partial, would fit the lower part of this level.

Such answers may be limited to the growing affluence of some societies with lower fertility rates so more resources are aimed at children and the teen group. Other factors that may be referred to include the growing consumer and media industries.

To go higher in the band, the explanation needs to be explicit and well-informed.

7–8 Answers should attempt to consider how the length of childhood varies in different societies. Issues such as child exploitation, child soldiers and other such events where childhood ends ‘early’ may be referred to. This may include a comparison of when childhood ends within one society for different children.

Place answers at the top of the level according to the depth and/or range of examples explained and how well the answer is supported by reference to theory or empirical data.

NB This question asks candidates to ‘explain’ so there is therefore no requirement for assessment, but do not penalise those candidates who do evaluate.

(d) ‘The most significant factor influencing a child’s experience of childhood is the type of family into which he or she is born.’ Assess this view. [11]

0–4 Answers at this level are likely to show only a limited appreciation of the issues raised in the question. Lower in this level, a simple answer that identifies a few basic points, would gain 1 or 2 marks. Such points may discuss those who are born rich or poor, or general descriptions of how opportunities can be connected to the social position of the group into which the child is born.

Higher in this level, an answer might advance a few limited observations about the different experiences of childhood for different children. Other answers which offer short descriptive accounts of either advantaged or disadvantaged experiences a child may have can be placed at the top of the level. At this level, answers are likely to consider social position alone (or one other point alone) as an influencing factor, or will reject the social position of the child as the most significant factor in favour of something else, such as gender.

5–8 Answers at this level will show some sociological knowledge and an understanding of the question. Answers may be supported by ideas such as access to education or the need to work. Answers of this type are likely to concentrate on theorists such as Aries and Shorter.

Lower at this level, a simplistic description could gain 5 or 6 marks, such as a description of the way in which class (or another stratification system/factor) influences the life experience of a child by its links to economic advantages/disadvantages.

Other answers may wholly or partially reject the idea in favour of gender or ethnicity being a more significant influence (rather than that of the family) on the way children are raised and treated. Award 5 to 6 marks for answers that give some consideration of either position.

Higher at this level (7–8 marks), there will be a more detailed account that questions the proposition, such as answers that consider more than one factor but which juxtapose evidence rather than assess it. There should be some use of theorists or empirical data to support points at this level and answers should offer a sound attempt to contrast views. Conversely, a one-sided answer that is very well argued, could also gain up to 8 marks.

9–11 Lower at this level (9–10 marks), the assessment may be based on a simple juxtaposition of two views, or may be confined to just one view with one or two evaluative points. Answers at this level should provide a detailed account of the way in which a range of factors may (or may not) influence the experience of childhood, such as gender, religion and ethnicity. In this level, some differences within societies should be noted.

Some answers may highlight the assertion that factors are cumulative and so to be born a girl is always a disadvantage in some societies (or advantageous for a boy). There should be an attempt to assess the way in which this can be interpreted, most likely from conflict and march of progress views. Very detailed assessments of factors that can influence the experience of childhood, aside from familial factors, may be awarded 10 marks.

At the top of this level, the question will be evaluated explicitly and in reasonable depth. The notion of ‘experience of childhood’ will be directly addressed, probably via a discussion of key concepts or by a comparison of the key theories or studies. There may be a consideration of such issues as the disappearance of childhood (Postman) contrasted with views such as a separate childhood culture (Opie) with conclusive points. Other issues can be included, such as: child abuse and neglect, surveillance/independence, exposure through the internet to the adult world as well as the control of children’s time.

Concepts such as globalisation of western childhood, reconstruction of childhood, child-centred society, risk adverse parents and age patriarchy may be included. Evaluative answers can be supported by examples, e.g. postmodernists, like Jenks, argue that identities have broken down in modern industrial societies so that the parent-child relationship has become the last source of primary relationship (Beck). With increased levels of divorce it becomes the most stable relationship influencing the experience of childhood (in some societies).


Section B

Answer either question 2 or question 3.

2 Explain and assess the view that family life has become more diverse as a result of people having more lifestyle choices. [25]

0–6 Lower at this level (1–3 marks), answers may be confined to one or two simple points based on assertion or common sense understanding. For example, one or two simple points such as how families can be different with no sociological support.

A few simple points about how the family changes when people grow up and move away from home, may gain up to 3 marks.

Higher at this level (4–6 marks), there may be a wider range of simple points based on assertion or common sense understanding. For example, an answer which states that family diversity is present in society by referring to factors such as ethnic diversity in family types. Other answers in this level may consider lifestyle choices and may gain up to 6 marks.

7–12 Answers at this level will show some sociological knowledge and an understanding of the question.

Lower at this level (7–9 marks), the answer may be confined to a narrow range of points, lacking in detail and possibly with some inaccuracies. For example, an outline of the different types of family life in the cultures of different societies with no reference to life choices would be worthy of the lower marks in the level. An outline of how migration patterns (internal or external) have introduced diversity with no development, may go up to 9 marks.

Higher at this level (10–12 marks), answers may either cover a narrow range of points in reasonable detail or may cover a wider range of points in limited detail.

To be placed at the higher end of this level, there should either be a discussion of other issues such as how the changing opportunities and such factors as the changing status of individuals have brought about diversity or a discussion of how lessening of stigma on same sex couples has increased diversity and lifestyle choices. There may be little or no assessment.

13–18 Answers that enter this level may refer to ideas linked to functionalist views that the nuclear family is replacing the extended family in modern industrial societies.

Answers at this level will show good sociological knowledge and understanding. The material used will be interpreted accurately and will be applied effectively when answering the question. There is no requirement for assessment at this level, although it may be present.

Lower at this level (13–15 marks), answers may use only a limited range of knowledge, there will be little or no use of concepts or theory, and the points covered may lack development.

At this place within the level, the discussion may be limited to the work of such theorists as Young and Willmott and the development of stage three families. Other answers may display a detailed assessment but will be unsupported by much knowledge.

Higher at this level (16–18 marks), answers will use a wider range of knowledge, supported by the use of concepts and theory where relevant, and will include some well-developed points. This may be done through the interpretation of statistics. Other factors such as: ethnic diversity, changing values, lengthening education in some societies or the changing status of women may account for diversity rather than life choices as well as the connections between family members even when living apart, can be referred to.

Answers at this level may consider the pressures on individuals to conform to normative expectations, especially in traditional societies. However, this assessment will be lacking in detail and may rely on the juxtaposition of the different interpretations of statistics.

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 will provide a solid account of the nature of diversity, including the different classifications by which diversity can be explained. There will also be a sustained and well-informed assessment of life choices, possibly as outlined by postmodernists, and of the ability of individuals in different societies, such modern industrial societies and societies which are more traditional, to make their own life choices.

Lower at this level (19–21 marks), the assessment may be largely delivered through the juxtaposition of contrasting arguments and theories. Alternatively, the assessment may be limited to just one or two evaluative points that are explicitly stated. Lower at the level, this assessment may still be mainly made by the juxtaposition of the main sociological theorists such as Chester, and the development of the neo-conventional family with that of the Rapoports and five types of diversity.

Higher at this level (22–25 marks), there will be a sustained assessment, and the points offered will be explicit and well-directed towards the question. There is likely to be a well-formulated conclusion. This may be made by a more direct analysis of the life cycle of the family and the way in which family life adapts through an individual’s lifetime and the choices offered to individuals in different societies. This analysis may take the form of arguing that nuclear families remain a significant part of most lives, and family ideology remains important.

Another way of achieving marks at the highest level would be to compare these views with those of the post modernists such as Cheal, who argue that family structures are no longer orderly but are chaotic and fragmented, allowing individuals much choice in both family arrangements and lifestyle.

Concepts such as family practices, risk society, negotiated family, divorce-extended family, fragmentation, neo-conventional-family and pure relationships may be referred to. There should be a balanced conclusion to gain full marks.

3 ‘Even though women and men may share conjugal roles today, there is still inequality in the family.’ Explain and assess this view. [25]

0–6 Lower at this level (1–3 marks), answers may be confined to one or two simple points based on assertion or common sense understanding. For example, an answer which includes one or two simple points about how roles have changed, with little or no sociological support, would qualify for a mark at this level. A few simple points about how fewer children being born in some societies (due to contraception) leads to more equality, may gain up to 3 marks.

Higher at this level, there may be a wider range of simple points based on assertion or common sense understanding. For example, an answer showing some limited understanding of the changing social position of women and men (or not), such as by the way in which tasks are shared may gain up to 6 marks.

7–12 Answers at this level will show some sociological knowledge and understanding of the question. Lower at this level (7–9 marks), the answer may be confined to a narrow range of points, lacking in detail and possibly with some inaccuracies. For example, an outline of a basic account of the importance of the social position of wives and husbands in families in respect of task sharing, power, divorce, educational opportunities with no reference to the concept of equality would be worthy of the lower marks in the level. Alternatively, answers which rely on Young and Willmott alone would also be worthy of a mark at the lower level.

Other answers which outline some of the factors that influence the social position of women and men in families (education, employment, changed attitudes, divorce, and legal equality) but with no development, may go up to 9 marks.

Higher at this level (10–12 marks), answers may either cover a narrow range of points in reasonable detail or may cover a wider range of points in limited detail. To reach the higher level there should either be a discussion of continuing issues such as patriarchy or a discussion of other theories such as functionalism and feminism in relation to conjugal roles. In this level, there may be some confusion about whether the answer relates to the social position of women and men in society in general rather than families, and the assessment may be limited or absent.

13–18 Answers that enter this level may refer to ideas linked to historic changes that have improved the social position of at least some women in families.

Answers at this level will show good sociological knowledge and understanding. The material used will be interpreted accurately and will be applied effectively when answering the question. There is no requirement for assessment at this level, although it may be present.

Lower at this level (13–15 marks), answers may use only a limited range of knowledge, there will be little or no use of concepts or theory, and the points covered may lack development. At the lower level, the discussion may be limited to the consequences of smaller, planned families and changed social attitudes towards the role of men in relationships, such as the development of the new man.

Higher at this level (16–18 marks), answers will use a wider range of knowledge, and will be supported by the use of concepts and theory where relevant, and will include some well-developed points or some assessment of the extent to which equality exists in conjugal roles.

Answers should demonstrate a good understanding of the topic, with some interpretation of the evidence such as opportunities now available to some women which did not exist in the past. This can be supported with specific evidence such as opportunities made possible by the control of fertility and reference to the work of Boulton, Oakley and Gershuny, for example.

Other answers may display a detailed assessment, but will be unsupported by much knowledge. However, this assessment will be lacking in detail and may rely on the juxtaposition of these different ideas or comparisons of different societies.

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 will provide a solid account of the variety of conjugal roles that exist in societies, which can include references to both modern industrial societies as well as the more traditional ones. There will also be a sustained and well-informed assessment of the ways in which equality can be interpreted by task, decision making and power. Reference in this mark band should be made explicitly to the family rather than society in general.

Lower at this level (19–21 marks), the assessment may be largely delivered through the juxtaposition of contrasting arguments and theories. Alternatively, the assessment may be limited to just one or two evaluative points that are explicitly stated. Lower at the level, this assessment may still be mainly made by the juxtaposition of the main sociological theories such as functionalism and feminism or by comparison of the symmetrical family to the work of theorist such as Edgell.

Higher at this 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.

To reach the highest level there should also be a more direct analysis of the evidence of the way in which changes have occurred in some social groups in some societies and some acknowledgement of the different feminist theories. This analysis may take the form of arguing that women still inhabit a lower social position due to the need to reproduce labour power, female oppression and male domination contrasted to liberal feminist views of an improved situation, even if women are still in an inferior position compared to men.

Another way of gaining the highest level would be to outline the alternatives that exist in some societies, as outlined by such theorists as Dunne and the relationships that exist for single sex couples compared to family life in more traditional societies. Concepts such as pooling, emotion work, shared management, decision making, domestic violence, patriarchy, equal opportunities, ideological conditioning, basic and irreducible functions, family outlaws, anti-social family and female carer-core can be usefully referred to. To gain full marks, there should be a balanced conclusion.

Useful information (Hints)

Question 1(a)

Question 1(b)

Question 1(c)

Question 1(d)

Question 2

Question 3