The popularity of Sociology has recently extended from A level to GCSE with almost as many students deciding to study it at level 2 as Level 3. Long considered a ‘soft subject’ by many – including former Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove (Boo) – the more challenging nature of GCSE Sociology since 2017 gives students a good understanding of the social processes, institutions and constructions that shape people’s everyday behaviour. In an era of continued austerity and with the Brexit question exceeding fever pitch, understanding the impacts of government policy on social behaviours has never been more important.
For students new to sociology, there are many different hurdles to overcome. The knowledge-based curriculum of right and wrong is thrown out of the window when looking at sociology. Sociology is full of conflicting studies about how people view the world and requires an open mind and critical thinking in order to achieve high grades. More than just ‘common sense’, sociology is the systematic understanding of society and how social changes impact upon individuals, and in my humble opinion, is the key to creating a more diverse and inclusive society. To paraphrase Max Weber, just one of the key sociologists studied on the course, it is important to understand the experience of others in order to address social issues.
The course is split into a range of different topic areas, including family, education, crime and social stratification, but some key themes run throughout. Students also need to understand the role of sociologists in researching social issues and what can be done to address these. Click on the links below for content for each different subsection.
Beyond the Specification