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Section A: Education

Answer either Question 1 or Question 2.

1 (a) Explain the impact of pupil sub-cultures on the educational achievements of minority ethnic groups. [9]

0–4 At this level, there may be little or no reference to relevant sociological sources. Answers may rely on general knowledge and/or personal observation. Explanations will be brief and cover only a narrow range of relevant points. A few general observations about the factors influencing educational achievement, with no direct links to pupil sub-cultures, would fit the lower part of the band. A basic attempt to explain what is meant by pupil subcultures, with no further links to the question, could also gain up to 2 marks. An answer that demonstrates a simple understanding of how pupil sub-cultures might influence educational achievement would fit the higher part of the band.

5–9 At this level, there will be some use of relevant sociological sources, such as concepts, theories and explanations. Answers will cover a range of points and show a sound understanding of the issues raised by the question. Lower in the band, answers will provide a sound account of how pupil subcultures may affect educational achievement. To go higher within the band there must be some attempt to differentiate between social groups in terms of how ethnicity affects the influence of pupil sub-cultures on educational achievement.

(b) ‘Male working class pupils underachieve at school because they have a negative attitude to education.’ Assess this view. [16]

0–6 At this level, there may be little or no reference to relevant sociological sources. Answers may rely on general knowledge and/or personal observation. Explanations will be brief and cover only a narrow range of relevant points. A few observations about the influences on educational achievement generally, with no links to working class pupils specifically, would be worth up to 3 marks. Answers that offer a few assertions about why working class pupils underachieve at school, with no clear links to the issue of ‘negative attitudes’, could gain up to 6 marks.

7–11 Answers at this level will provide a sound account of why male working class pupils might underachieve in the education system with particular reference to the idea of negative attitudes. A basic explanation of the view that negative attitudes to education are the reason why male working class pupils underachieve at school could score up to 9 marks. To go higher there must be some consideration of other factors that might explain the educational performance of male working class pupils. However, within this band there is no requirement for any assessment of the view on which the question is based.

12–16 Answers that fit this band will demonstrate a good understanding of the idea that negative attitudes to education is a key factor explaining the educational underachievement of male working class pupils. Other factors that may influence the educational performance of male working class pupils will also be considered and there will be an assessment of the view on which the question is based. Lower in the band the assessment may be based on a juxtaposition of different explanations of the links between social class/gender and educational performance. Higher in the band the assessment will be more explicit and may include a critical analysis of the idea that negative attitudes to education are responsible for the underachievement of male working class pupils. Use of relevant studies of male working class pupils may also be a feature of high quality answers.

2 (a) Explain how home background can influence pupil behaviour in schools. [9]

0–4 At this level, there may be little or no reference to relevant sociological sources. Answers may rely on general knowledge and/or personal observation. Explanations will be brief and cover only a narrow range of relevant points. One or two simple assertions about pupil behaviour, with no clear attempt to answer the question, would fit the lower part of the band. A list-like outline of a few influences on pupil behaviour would trigger the higher part of the band.

5–9 At this level, there will be some use of relevant sociological sources, such as concepts, theories and explanations. Answers will cover a range of points and show a sound understanding of the issues raised by the question. Answers at this level will use appropriate sociological concepts and ideas to explain the influence of home background on pupil behaviour. Lower in the band, answers may be confined to describing just one or two of these influences. To reach the top part of the band the response must be more developed in terms of either the range of points covered or else in the depth of the sociological content used to explain the influences on pupil behaviour. References to studies, while not essential for gaining high marks, would be one way of demonstrating appropriate depth of knowledge in order to trigger the upper part of the band.

(b) ‘Inequality in educational achievement can be overcome by providing compensatory education for disadvantaged pupils.’ Assess this view. [16]

0–6 At this level, there may be little or no reference to relevant sociological sources. Answers may rely on general knowledge and/or personal observation. Explanations will be brief and cover only a narrow range of relevant points. A few simple observations about inequality in educational achievement, with no direct links to the question, would be worth up to 3 marks. Answers that explain what is meant by compensatory education, with no further development in relation to the question, could gain up to 6 marks. A few assertions about the factors leading to inequality in educational achievement would also trigger the upper part of the band.

7–11 Answers at this level will demonstrate a sound understanding of how compensatory education might be used to help disadvantaged pupils improve their educational performance. Lower in the band the discussion of compensatory education may lack direct references to the issues surrounding inequality in educational achievement and how that inequality might be overcome. Better answers within this band will offer more detail about how compensatory education might be used to overcome inequality in educational achievement and the difficulties involved. However, within this band there need be no evidence of assessment. Good answers might include references to specific examples of compensatory education programmes.

12–16 Answers that fit this band will demonstrate a good understanding of the uses of compensatory education to combat inequality in education. There will also be an assessment of the extent to which compensatory education can help disadvantage pupils overcome the obstacles they face in seeking to achieve equality in educational achievement. Lower in the band the assessment may be limited to some basic contrasts between different perspectives on educational inequality; for example, functionalist or liberal views contrasted with Marxist views. Better answers at this level will engage more directly with the issues raised by the question and clear conclusions will emerge about how far compensatory education can help overcome inequality in education.

Section B: Global Development

Answer either Question 3 or Question 4.

3 (a) Explain why transnational corporations can have a negative impact on development. [9]

0–4 At this level, there may be little or no reference to relevant sociological sources. Answers may rely on general knowledge and/or personal observation. Explanations will be brief and cover only a narrow range of relevant points. A few simple observations about the nature of transnational corporations, with no direct links to the question, would fit the lower part of the band. Some simple observations about the impact of transnational corporations on development would merit a mark in the top half of the band. An answer of this kind will lack detail and references to sociological concepts, theories and evidence may be very limited.

5–9 At this level, there will be some use of relevant sociological sources, such as concepts, theories and explanations. Answers will cover a range of points and show a sound understanding of the issues raised by the question. A basic account of the impact of transnational corporations on development, perhaps one-sided or lacking detail, would trigger the lower part of the band. A better answer will show greater recognition of the complexity of the relationships between transnational corporations and issues of global development. Good answers may also include references to relevant concepts, evidence and studies.

(b)‘The reasons why some countries have developed more rapidly than others are best explained in terms of cultural factors’. Assess this view. [16]

0–6 At this level, there may be little or no reference to relevant sociological sources. Answers may rely on general knowledge and/or personal observation. Explanations will be brief and cover only a narrow range of relevant points. A few simple observations about development, with no direct links to the question, would fit the lower part of the band. Answers that are based on a few assertions about the reasons why some countries have developed more rapidly than others would trigger the top half of the band. This type of answer will lack detail and references to sociological concepts, theories and evidence will be very limited.

7–11 Answers at this level will provide a basic account of how cultural factors may help to explain why some countries have developed more rapidly than others. Lower in the band the focus on cultural factors may lack some clarity and the points made will be rather generalised. Better answers within this band will demonstrate a good understanding of the relevant cultural factors that might influence rates of development. Other factors that account for differences in rates of development may also be identified. However, within this band there is no requirement for an assessment of the view on which the question is based.

12–16 Answers at this level will provide a good account of how cultural factors may help to explain differences in rates of development between countries. Other factors influencing rates of development will be considered. There will also be an attempt to assess the view on which the question is based. Lower in the band the assessment may be limited to a simple juxtaposition of cultural versus structural explanations of development. Better answers will provide a more developed assessment, with conclusions offered about the relative importance of cultural factors in determining rates of development. Good answers may also consider different types of cultural explanations of development and use of examples of development in particular countries would be a further way of adding sophistication to the analysis.

4 (a) Explain the difficulties in measuring the extent of poverty in developing countries. [9]

0–4 At this level, there may be little or no reference to relevant sociological sources. Answers may rely on general knowledge and/or personal observation. Explanations will be brief and cover only a narrow range of relevant points. A simple attempt to define what is meant by poverty, with no further development, would be worth up to 2 marks. Answers that provide a basic account of just one difficulty in measuring the extent of poverty would trigger the top half of the band. A list-like summary of a few relevant difficulties, with little or no reference to developing countries specifically, could also gain up to 4 marks.

5–9 At this level, there will be some use of relevant sociological sources, such as concepts, theories and explanations. Answers will cover a range of points and show a sound understanding of the issues raised by the question. Answers at this level will discuss several difficulties in measuring poverty in developing countries. Lower in the band the range of issues considered may be narrow or the answer will lack detail. Better answers will cover a good range of relevant difficulties and the main points will be explained with reasonable development. Difficulties in measuring poverty in developing countries include:

• Lack of agreement about how to define poverty.

• Remoteness of many rural communities where poverty may be found.

• Lack of reliable official statistics on income and other measures of poverty.

• Rapidly changing social and economic reality in many developing countries.

• Bias and distortion in the available official statistics.

Note that the above is not an exhaustive list; other difficulties can be rewarded.

(b) ‘The poor lack the means to lift themselves out of poverty.’ Assess this view. [16]

0–6 At this level, there may be little or no reference to relevant sociological sources. Answers may rely on general knowledge and/or personal observation. Explanations will be brief and cover only a narrow range of relevant points. A few observations about the poor, with no direct links to the question, would fit the lower part of the band. Answers that are based on assertion about why the poor may lack the resources to lift themselves out of poverty would trigger the upper part of the band.

7–11 Answers at this level will provide a basic sociological explanation of the view that the poor lack the resources to lift themselves out of poverty. Lower in the band, the discussion may be rather general and the points offered will be limited in range. Better answers within this band will discuss several ways in which the poor may be ill-equipped for lifting themselves out of poverty. The discussion might include references to relevant theories and thinkers, with good use made of concepts such as cycle of poverty and culture of poverty. There is no requirement for assessment in order for answers to reach the top of this band.

12–16 Answers that fit this band will provide a good account of why the poor may be unable to lift themselves out of poverty. The discussion may cover economic, social and cultural dimensions of poverty. There will also be an assessment of the view on which the question is based. Lower in the band the assessment may be based on the juxtaposition of different theories of poverty, perhaps with a contrast drawn between those theories that appear to blame the poor for their poverty and those theories that explain poverty in terms of structural factors. Higher in the band the assessment will engage more directly with the issues raised by the question. Good answers might distinguish between different groups among the poor and perhaps note that some of these groups are more disadvantaged than others in terms of possessing the means of climbing out of poverty. Use of relevant empirical evidence may also be a feature of high quality answers.

Section C: Media

Answer either Question 5 or Question 6.

5 (a) Explain why governments may fear the power of global media organisations. [9]

0–4 At this level, there may be little or no reference to relevant sociological sources. Answers may rely on general knowledge and/or personal observation. Explanations will be brief and cover only a narrow range of relevant points. A few observations about global media organisations, with no direct links to the question, would be worth up to 2 marks. Answers that offer a few assertions about why national governments may fear the power of the global media would trigger the upper part of the band. A list-like summary of some relevant points, with only limited sociological insight, could also gain up to 4 marks.

5–9 At this level, there will be some use of relevant sociological sources, such as concepts, theories and explanations. Answers will cover a range of points and show a sound understanding of the issues raised by the question. Answers at this level will provide a basic account of why governments might fear the power of the global media. Lower in the band answers will cover only a limited range of points and may lack detail. Better answers will provide a more sustained account and/or cover a wider range of relevant points. Reasons why governments might fear the power of global media organisations include:

• The global media are potentially a challenge to the control of ideas exercised by the state.

• The media may influence political behaviour and have a significant impact on the outcome of elections.

• The global media can operate beyond the reach of a a nation state.

• Censorship and can therefore operate as a subversive influence uncontrolled by politicians and state officials.

• The media can play a part in agenda setting in ways that are against the interests of governments.

• Opposition groups might seek and find support from global media organisations.

(b) ‘Newspaper and television owners have little control over the content of the media’. Assess this view. [16]

0–6 At this level, there may be little or no reference to relevant sociological sources. Answers may rely on general knowledge and/or personal observation. Explanations will be brief and cover only a narrow range of relevant points. A few simple points about the role of the media in general, with no direct links to the question, would fit the lower part of the band. Answers that identify a few ways in which the content of the media is shaped, without focussing on the role of newspapers and television owners specifically, would trigger the higher part of the band.

7–11 Answers at this level will demonstrate a sound understanding of the role of owners in shaping the content of the media. Lower in the band answers might be confined to summarising a few ways in which owners are able to control the content of the media. Better answers at this level will also consider the obstacles to owners controlling the content of the media and this will include an explanation of the view that owners have little control over media content. Reasons why owners might not be able to control media content include:

• Power of the state to censor and regulate content.

• Difficulty of controlling editors and journalists.

• Need for media organisations to be commercially successful by providing content that satisfies consumer demand.

• Owners are often divorced from control of the day-to-day operations of media companies.

• Media pressure groups may place limits on the powers of owners.

Within this band there may be little or no assessment of the view on which the question is based.

12–16 Answers at this level will provide a good account of the arguments for and against the view that owners have little control over the content of the media. There will also be an assessment of the view on which the question is based. Lower in the band the assessment may be limited to the juxtaposition of different theories of who controls media content; for example, the pluralist versus Marxist views. Better answers at this level will include some direct engagement with the issues raised by the question. This might be based on, for example, an analysis of the extent to which global media organisations have become too large for owners to exercise direct control over the content of the media. The difficulty of generalising about who controls the media might be another theme that is taken up in good answers to this question. High quality answers might also consider the growth of the new media and how this might pose a challenge to the power of media owners.

6 (a) Explain how the outcome of government elections may be influenced by the media. [9]

0–4 At this level, there may be little or no reference to relevant sociological sources. Answers may rely on general knowledge and/or personal observation. Explanations will be brief and cover only a narrow range of relevant points. A few general observations about the role of the media in politics generally, with no direct links to elections, would fit the lower part of the band. Some basic points about opinion polls, with no further development in relation to the question, would trigger the upper part of the band. Likewise, a list-like summary of a few ways in which the outcome of elections may be influenced by the media would also be worth up to 4 marks.

5–9 At this level, there will be some use of relevant sociological sources, such as concepts, theories and explanations. Answers will cover a range of points and show a sound understanding of the issues raised by the question. Answers at this level will provide a sound sociological account of how the media may influence the outcome of elections. Lower in the band the range of points covered will be narrow and/or the points will lack development. Better answers will cover several points about how the media influences the outcome of elections and the points will be well supported with references to relevant sociological content such as use of concepts and/or references to research evidence and theories. High-quality answers may distinguish between different media and explain how these differences impact on the political influence of the media. Ways in which the media may influence the outcome of elections include:

• Publication of opinion polls

• Agenda setting

• Support for a particular cause or political party

• Bias and distortion in news reporting

• ‘Normalising’ of events so that political choices effectively become narrowed in terms of public perception.

• The use of satire and/or scandal to discredit particular politicians.

(b) ‘The main role of the media is to support the ideological state apparatus’. Assess this view. [16]

0–6 At this level, there may be little or no reference to relevant sociological sources. Answers may rely on general knowledge and/or personal observation. Explanations will be brief and cover only a narrow range of relevant points. A few general points about the role of the media, with no direct links to the question, could score up to 3 marks. A basic attempt to explain what is meant by ‘the ideological state apparatus’, with no further development, would be worth up to 6 marks.

7–11 Answers at this level will provide a basic sociological account of the links between the media and the state. Lower in the band the answer may be limited to explaining the view associated with Althusser that the media are part of the ideological state apparatus. Better answers at this level will offer a more rounded view of the complex relationships between the media and the state. However, there is no requirement for assessment in answers that fit this band.

12–16 Answers at this level will provide a good account of the relationship between the media and the state. There will also be an assessment of the view on which the question is based. Lower in the band the assessment may be confined to a simple juxtaposition of different theories of the media; for example, the pluralist and the Marxist theories. Better answers will provide a more sustained assessment, demonstrating subtlety in the analysis and reaching clear conclusions about the extent to which the media are part of the ideological state apparatus. One way of demonstrating sophistication in the analysis would be to distinguish between different types of media; for example, state owned versus privately owned media corporations, or the new media and the traditional media. Each type of media to some extent may have a different relationship to the state. High quality answers might also question the internal coherence of the idea of ‘the ideological state apparatus’. Other Marxist views of the media, including those associated with Gramsci’s concept of hegemony, could be used to extend the assessment.

Section D: Religion

Answer either Question 7 or Question 8.

7 (a) Explain the importance of the collective conscience in Durkheim’s theory of religion. [9]

0–4 At this level, there may be little or no reference to relevant sociological sources. Answers may rely on general knowledge and/or personal observation. Explanations will be brief and cover only a narrow range of relevant points. A few observations about the nature of religion, with no direct links to the question, would fit the lower half of the band. A basic description of what Durkheim meant by ‘the collective conscience’, with no further links to his theory of religion, would trigger the top half of the band.

5–9 At this level, there will be some use of relevant sociological sources, such as concepts, theories and explanations. Answers will cover a range of points and show a sound understanding of the issues raised by the question. A basic account of Durkheim’s theory of religion that demonstrates the importance of the collective conscience is his ideas would be worth up to 7 marks. To go higher the account must display a more detailed understanding of Durkheim’s ideas on religion and provide a strong analysis of the role of the collective conscience within his theory of religion.

(b) ‘Many social groups use religion as a form of cultural defence’. Assess this view. [16]

0–6 At this level, there may be little or no reference to relevant sociological sources. Answers may rely on general knowledge and/or personal observation. Explanations will be brief and cover only a narrow range of relevant points. A few assertions about the nature or role of religion, without direct links to the question, would fit the lower part of the band. An outline of what is meant by ‘cultural defence’, with little further development in relation to the question, would merit a mark in the top half of the band.

7–11 Answers at this level will provide a sound account of the concept of cultural defence in relation to religion. Answers that are confined to a basic account of how religion may act as a form of cultural defence could score up to 9 marks. To go higher there would need to be a more developed treatment of the possible links between religion and the idea of cultural defence. This might include, for example, reference to relevant theorists and/or detail about which groups in particular are likely to use religion as a form of cultural defence. The discussion at this level may be one-sided and lack an assessment of the idea that some social groups use religion as a form of cultural defence.

12–16 Answers at this level will demonstrate a good understanding of the possible links between religion and cultural defence. There will also be an assessment of the view on which the question is based. Lower in the band the assessment may consist of simply describing the different arguments for and against the view that religion serves as a form of cultural defence for some groups. Better answers will engage more directly with the debates and develop well-reasoned arguments for supporting a particular judgement about the view expressed in the question. High-quality answers may also show other elements of sophistication, such as distinguishing between different examples of cultural defence, or detailing which types of groups in particular might use religion as a form of cultural defence, or questioning the coherence of the concept of cultural defence.

8 (a)Explain why some minority ethnic groups have high levels of participation in religious practices. [9]

0–4 At this level, there may be little or no reference to relevant sociological sources. Answers may rely on general knowledge and/or personal observation. Explanations will be brief and cover only a narrow range of relevant points. A few points about the factors that might influence religious participation, with no links to ethnicity as such, would fit the lower part of the band. Answers that offer a simple account of one or two explanations of why some minority ethnic groups have high levels of participation in religious practices could gain up to 4 marks.

5–9 At this level, there will be some use of relevant sociological sources, such as concepts, theories and explanations. Answers will cover a range of points and show a sound understanding of the issues raised by the question. A basic sociological account of a few reasons why some minority ethnic groups have high levels of participation in religious practice would be worth up to 7 marks. To go higher the answer must either cover a wider range of points or discuss a few relevant reasons in greater depth. More detailed answers will include references to appropriate concepts, theories and/or evidence from research studies. Reasons why some minority ethnic groups have high levels of religious participation include:

• The impact of marginalisation and exploitation on such groups

• Historical and cultural factors relating to the groups concerned

• Stronger group dynamics among many minority ethnic groups

• Importance of religious group membership as a support network for those seeking to gain integration and reward within the wider society.

(b) ‘Fundamentalism is a response to the declining power of religion in society’. Assess this view. [16]

0–6 At this level, there may be little or no reference to relevant sociological sources. Answers may rely on general knowledge and/or personal observation. Explanations will be brief and cover only a narrow range of relevant points. A few simple points about secularisation (the declining power of religion), with no further links to the question, would be worth up to 3 marks. A basic outline of what is meant by religious fundamentalism, with little or no attempt to explain the recent surge in fundamentalist belief, would merit the higher part of the band.

7–11 Answers at this level will recognise that the question invites a discussion of the possible links between secularisation and the increase in fundamentalist beliefs in recent times. A basic account of the secularisation thesis, with a few simple links to the rise of fundamentalism, could gain up to 9 marks. To go higher the answer must provide a fuller account of how secularisation might feed into the growth of fundamentalism. In good answers there may also be consideration of other factors that can be linked with the rise of fundamentalism, though there is no requirement to assess the view on which the question is based in answers that fit this band. The ideas of thinkers such as Bayer, Huntington, Bauman, Giddens and Beckford, would be particularly relevant in answering the question.

12–16 Answers at this level will include a good account of the possible links between secularisation and the growth of religious fundamentalism. There will also be an attempt to assess these purported links. Lower in the band, the assessment may be through the simple juxtaposition of two or more contrasting explanations for the growth of religious fundamentalism. Higher in the band, though, the assessment must be explicit and clear conclusions will be reached about the relative merits of the explanations discussed. Good use of post-modernist contributions to analysing the rise of fundamentalism may be a feature of answers that merit the top part of the band. Candidates may also draw distinctions between different manifestations of religious fundamentalism, as a contribution to discussing the issues raised by the question.

Useful information (Hints)

Question 1(a)

Question 1(b)

 

Question 2(a)

 

Question 2(b)

 

Question 3(a)

 

Question 3(b)

 

Question 4(a)

 

Question 4(b)

 

Question 5(a)

Question 5(b)

 

Question 6(a)

 

Question 6(b)

 

Question 7(a)

 

Question 7(b)

 

Question 8(a)

 
Question 8(b)