Topic outline

  • Preparing for A-Level Sociology

    If you have any questions about the course or anything to do with college life, please email

  • Introduction to Sociology

    Where will AS and A-level Sociology take you?

     Sociology is a great choice of subject for people who want a career in social work, nursing or medicine. But the subject is also useful in a number of other careers, like marketing, advertising, PR, journalism, law or teaching

     Here are some things to get you thinking (warning: there is some horror in there!)

    Sociology Reading/ Watching List.

    Sociology Podcast

    Documentary Grisly Man hypernormalisation Gonzo 13th Birth of Cool When we were kings The Smartest Guys in the room The Shock Doctrine

    Film (fiction) The Shining,…. Anything by Kubrick it follows The Diving Bell and the Butterfly Milk Mississippi Burning Man Bites Dog Moon The straight Story


    ·         The McDonaldisation of Society. George Ritzer.

    ·         Chavs. Owen Jones.

    ·         The Spirit LevelWilkinson and Pickett.

    ·         Woke: A Guide to Social Justice by Titania McGrath 

    ·         1984. George Orwell

    ·         Homage to Catalonia: George Orwell

    ·         This Changes Everything. Naomi Klien

    ·         Mac Mafia. Misha Glenny

    ·         Foundation Trilogy. I Robot. Issac Asimov.



    • Culture and Identity

      Culture and Identity Students are expected to be familiar with sociological explanations of the following content:

       • different conceptions of culture, including subculture, mass culture, folk culture, high and low culture, popular culture and global culture • the socialisation process and the role of the agencies of socialisation 

      • the self, identity and difference as both socially caused and socially constructed 

      • the relationship of identity to age, disability, ethnicity, gender, nationality, sexuality and social class in contemporary society • the relationship of identity to production, consumption and globalisation.

      Things to watch:

      • Education and Research Methods

        Education with Methods in Context 

        The study of the topics in this paper should engage students in theoretical debate while encouraging an active involvement with the research process. The study should foster a critical awareness of contemporary social processes and change, and draw together the knowledge, understanding and skills learnt in different aspects of the course. In their study of the topics, students should examine:

         • topic areas in relation to the two core themes (socialisation, culture and identity; and social differentiation, power and stratification)

         • both the evidence of and the sociological explanations for the content listed in the topic areas below. Throughout, students should be encouraged to use examples drawn from their own experience of small-scale research. Attention should be given to drawing out links with other topics studied in this specification.

        Education Students are expected to be familiar with sociological explanations of the following content:

         • the role and functions of the education system, including its relationship to the economy and to class structure

         • differential educational achievement of social groups by social class, gender and ethnicity in contemporary society

         • relationships and processes within schools, with particular reference to teacher/pupil relationships, pupil identities and subcultures, the hidden curriculum, and the organisation of teaching and learning 

        • the significance of educational policies, including policies of selection, marketisation and privatisation, and policies to achieve greater equality of opportunity or outcome, for an understanding of the structure, role, impact and experience of and access to education; the impact of globalisation on educational policy.

        • Crime and Deviance with Theory and Methods

          Crime and Deviance Students are expected to be familiar with sociological explanations of the following content:

           • crime, deviance, social order and social control

           • the social distribution of crime and deviance by ethnicity, gender and social class, including recent patterns and trends in crime 

          • globalisation and crime in contemporary society; the media and crime; green crime; human rights and state crimes

           • crime control, surveillance, prevention and punishment, victims, and the role of the criminal justice system and other agencies.

          Theory and Methods Students must examine the following areas:

           • quantitative and qualitative methods of research; research design

           • sources of data, including questionnaires, interviews, participant and non-participant observation, experiments, documents and official statistics • the distinction between primary and secondary data, and between quantitative and qualitative data

           • the relationship between positivism, interpretivism and sociological methods; the nature of ‘social facts’

           • the theoretical, practical and ethical considerations influencing choice of topic, choice of method(s) and the conduct of research

           • consensus, conflict, structural and social action theories 

          • the concepts of modernity and post-modernity in relation to sociological theory 

          • the nature of science and the extent to which Sociology can be regarded as scientific

           • the relationship between theory and methods 

          • debates about subjectivity, objectivity and value freedom

           • the relationship between Sociology and social policy.

          • Mass Media

            The Media Students are expected to be familiar with sociological explanations of the following content:

             • the new media and their significance for an understanding of the role of the media in contemporary society

             • the relationship between ownership and control of the media 

            • the media, globalisation and popular culture 

            • the processes of selection and presentation of the content of the news 

            • media representations of age, social class, ethnicity, gender, sexuality and disability 

            • the relationship between the media, their content and presentation, and audiences.