Sociology Update on new topics for 2015: Subject content and Teaching Ideas by Patrick Robinson
Sociology Update on new topics for 2015: Subject content and Teaching Ideas by Patrick Robinson, Teacher at Cadbury College, Birmingham. A presentation at the BSA Teaching Group Regional Conference on 28 February 2015
Sociology Update on new topics for 2015: Subject content and Teaching Ideas by Patrick Robinson
Update on new topics for 2015
Subject content and Teaching Ideas
Teacher at Cadbury College,
Overall: what’s new for 2015?
• Teaching familiar topics in a GLOBALISED
CONTEXT (all exam boards)
• Digital social world (compulsory for OCR, part
of media option for AQA and WJEC)
• WJEC: AS unit 1: encourages reference to
Welsh examples of subcultures.
Focus for today:
content update or teaching ideas?
• Content update = improving our own subject
knowledge, recommended reading/sources.
• Teaching ideas = first thoughts on learning
activities in the classroom/for homework
Content Update: Globalisation
• General reading: recommend Bilton et al, 1996, Third
Edition, Introductory Sociology, MacMillan Press,
Globalisation chapter, pages 52-77.
• Example: Robertson (1992) Globalisation, Social Theory
and Global Culture, London, Sage summarised:
• 5 Historical phases of Globalisation
• Germinal: 1400-1750: Latin, Catholicism, Calendar, modern
• Incipient: 1750-1802: international trade regulation,
legislation, empire building
• “Take Off”: 1870-1920: World Time Greenwich, Gregorian
calendar, International events: Olympics, First WORLD war.
• Struggle for Hegemony 1920s-1960s: UN, nuclear age, Cold
• Uncertainty: 1960s-1990s: Global warming, internet,
Content update: Globalisation
• Book: Ritzer: McDonalisation
• Book: Klein: No LOGO and now: This Changes Everything: sales blurb from
website: “Forget everything you think you know about global warming.
The really inconvenient truth is that it’s not about carbon—it’s about
• Book: Urry: Offshoring
• Book: Knowles: Flip-Flop: A Journey Through Globalisation’s Backroads
• News/trends: Education: international market: study abroad, students
coming to UK
• Book and TED talk: Crime: Glenny 2009 TED talk and writer of Mc Mafia:
How Global Crime Networks work
• Journal: Glocalisation: need to remember local culture when selling as a
global brand: Matusitz and Minei, New Trends in Globalisation: An
examination of the Brazilian Case . Social Change 43 (1), 1-19. More of a
business studies piece. WalMart altering the US model of store for
Brazilian culture eg: Brazil customers expect delivery of white goods to
home, cuts of beef preferences, credit based purchases, wider aisles:
family group shops and monthly, bulk shops. Result = success.
Activities to learn Globalisation
• Reading task: A description of a day in the life of a person: students
identify moments that are globally connected.
• Written task: same as above but students write their own version.
• Map task: plot movement of goods/trade/employment for the
production of items eg: use Knowles on Flip Flops or Glenny on
• Research task: pick a Transnational company: list all the countries
this works/trades/employs/sells in. Eg: Ford, HSBC.
• Analysis task: top 40 songs: Download top 40: nationality of artists?
Results? Globalisation or Americanisation?
• Picture task: Photos of classrooms from around the world: source:
• Student survey: if you have international students at your
school/college: ask about motivation to study in UK from abroad?
Ask to be guest speakers?
Globalisation: reading task: Highlight the
examples of globalisation in this typical day:
• Birmingham, 2014: Patrick woke up to his alarm at
6.45am. The Today programme was on the radio
reporting about the US-Cuba agreement, the shootings
in a school in Pakistan. Patrick dressed himself and
made breakfast: tea and a pain au chocolate. He got
on his cycle and went to work. He taught Sociology all
day (outstanding), had tuna pasta and a banana for
dinner and left for home. That evening, his Spanish
friend Carlos came round so he could teach him the riff
to “Back in Black” by ACDC on his Yamaha guitar. After
this, Patrick had chicken korma and dhal with his
girlfriend while they watched Homeland on the telly.
Content update: Social Networking 1/3
• Dr Simon Harding: Social Networks and Gang Crime. Has an effect to increase the
frequency, intensity of gang violence in London.
• Applying theory: Goffman and presentation of the self (on social media). See
Murthy, 2012, Towards a Sociological Understanding of Social Media: Theorizing
Twitter, Sociology 46 (6), 1059-1073.
• Murthy: “Like all social media, Twitter has everything to do with self-presentation”.
“The seemingly banal tweet becomes an important tool to say ‘look at me’ or ‘I
• Livingstone 2008: Taking risky opportunities in youthful content creation:
teenagers’ use of SNS for intimacy, privacy and self expression. Qualitative study
of 16 teenageers in London: Myspace and facebook use.
• Danah boyd, 2007, Why Youth (Heart) SNS: the Role of Networked Publics in
Teenage Social Life”. Youth, Identity and Digital Media . MIT press. Qualitative
study on teenage use of MySpace. Subcultural capital concept, HYPERPUBLIC.
“The desire to be cool on MySpace is part of the more general desire to be validated
by one’s peers. Even though teens theoretically have the ability to behave differently
on-line, the social hierarchies that regulate “coolness” offline are also present on-line.
For example, it’s cool to have Friends on MySpace but if you have too many Friends,
you are seen as a MySpace whore.” p13.
Content update: Social Networking 2/3
• Applying theory: Foucault and surveillance.
• Website: Youarewhatyoulike.com “Send us a digital footprint and we will
return a psychological profile”.
• TED Talk: Golbeck: 2013: The Curly Fry conundrum: why social media
“likes” say more than you might think.
• Applying Marxism: SNS = adds to our consumerism, brands and companies
use to sell more products.
• Applying Feminism: Livingstone: profiles have an emphasis on looks,
• Ringrose, Harvey, Gill and Livingstone, 2013, Teen girls, sexual double
standards and “sexting” . Feminist Theory, 14:305. London qualitative
study, to be asked for photos is important, but sending them requires
management. Boys obtain status by how many “sexts” they can receive.
• Quote: p319: “for teen girls, being asked for an image of one’s body
carries value” BUT “both boys and girls described girls who sent images as
“skets” who lacked self-respect”.
• News/Trends: SNS as a forum for Patriarchal abuse: 2013: Twitter attack
on woman who wanted to change icon on £10 note.
• The woman who convinced the Bank of England to make
Jane Austen the new face of the £10 note has received rape
and death threats from Twitter users.
• Feminist campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez received around
50 abusive tweets an hour for a 12-hour period after she
successfully campaigned for the British writer to feature on
the bank note.
Content update: Social Networking 3/3
• Applying theory: Post-modernism: Bloustien and Wood: Face, Authenticity,
Transformations and Aesthetics in Second Life, Body and Society, 2013, 19:52
• 2009: Broadbent, TED Talk: How the internet enables intimacy
• 2012: Nolan, TED talk: How to separate fact from fiction on-line: using photos from
SNS as news sources.
• 2009: Shirkey, TED talks: How social media can make history. SMS as a means to
share news to bypass censors eg: earthquake coverage in China
• 2011: Ghonim, TED talk: inside the Egyptian Revolution: empowering effect of SMS
• Video: RSA Animate lecture by Eugeny Morozov: The Internet in Society:
Empowering or Censoring Citizens? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uk8x3V-
• 2008: Barraket and Millsom, Getting it on (line) Sociological Perspectives on e-
dating: qualitative study of 23 on-line daters. Ease of use, choice (post-modern
link) but changes in deception and disposablity?? Not post-modern: people still
finding partners from simiolar backgrounds etc.
• Cyberbullying topic: 2014: Gearhart and Zhang: Social Science Computer review,
vol 32 (1) p18-36. Spiral of Silence theory applied to social network sites, context =
speaking out against gay bullying.
• Aoyama, Brak and Talbert, 2008, Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry,
Volume 39, Number 4. Approx 30% of sample of high school students reported
victimisation on-line. 11% have “cyberbullied” others. Concepts: Disinhibition
concept and deindividuation.
Activities to learn digital social media
• Methods task: Carry out a student survey about attitudes regarding
the use of social media: importance? Bullying? Effect of self-image?
• Project task: Design an anti cyber bullying campaign to use in
school/college: Poster, Tutorial sessions, Assembly materials
• Analysis task: Twitter analysis as a secondary source: Quantifiable
data: trends? Most followed? Qualitative data: analysis of Tweets:
• Video: Electric Dreams: BBC recreation of house of the 1970s,
• Sort Activities: chronology of social media timeline eg: Internet
created, first smart phone, Twitter created etc.
• Research task: RIP MySpace? Why did it “fade away”????
• Reading/research task: send Tweets to sociologists on Twitter:
@bevskeggs @academicdiary (Les Back) @MikeSav47032563
@charlesmurray @OwenJones84 @NaomiAKlein @ESRC
WJEC Content Update:
examples of Welsh subcultures
• Bloor, M. 2002. No Longer Dying for a Living: Collective responses to
injury risks in South Wales Mining Communities, 1900-1947. Sociology.
Volume 36, Number 1. pages89-105. SAGE on-line.
• Whittikar, G.R. 2014. Developing a plural nation? Black and minority
ethnic participation in the 2011 Welsh referendum. Ethnicities Journal. 0
(0), pages 1-29, SAGE online.
• Mackenzie, R et al. 2006. All that is solid? Class Identity and the
maintenance of a collective orientation amongst redundant steelworkers.
Sociology, Volume 50, Number 5. Pages 833-852. SAGE online
• Van Morgan, S. 2006. Language politics and regional nationalist
mobilization in Galicia and Wales. Ethnicities. Volume 6, Number 4. page
451-475. SAGE on-line
• Class task: analysis of relevant Manic Street Preachers songs and videos:
eg: Rewind the Film? This Sullen Welsh Heart? Show Me the Wonder?
Anthem for a Lost Cause? (Rewind the Film album: Beautiful reflections
on the past).