Source B: Oxana Malaya
Oxana Malaya was born in November 1983 in the Ukraine. At the age of three-years-old she was thrown out of the house by her alcoholic parents, forcing her to live among the dogs for warmth. Rejected by the human world, she quickly learned the animal habits necessary to survive. For six years Oxana lived with the dogs, eating raw meat, barking, walking on all fours and sleeping in a kennel. It was only when a neighbour noticed her dog-like behaviour and called the police that she was rescued from these conditions. When the police arrived Oxana charged at them and barked, while the dogs she had befriended yanked on their chains sensing danger from the strangers. The bond formed between Oxana and the dogs was so strong that to get her away the police had to distract the dogs with food. Despite all odds, Oxana has made an astonishing recovery. She is now 28 and living in a home for people with mental disabilities.
Explain, using examples, the concept of Subculture 
A subculture is a culture within a culture. A subculture will normally have its own norms and values that are distinct from wider society, though the majority of subcultures still ‘fit in’ to wider society. Subcultures can include smaller religious groups and any other group that looks, behaves or thinks differently to the mainstream. The vast majority of subcultures, however, have always been linked to young people and youth culture, from the ‘Teddy Boys’ in the 1950s to ‘Chavs’ and ‘Emos’ in the 21st Century. These groups are predominantly associated with young people, and all have been the subject of public concern about their apparently deviant behaviour.
Using Sources A and B and your wider sociological knowledge, explain how nurture helps sociologists to understand how we become human 
The concept of ‘nurture’ describes the role of external (e.g. social and environmental) factors in developing the identity, norms and values of an individual – as opposed to ‘nature’, which describes the role of genetic or biological factors in this. Nurture is linked in Sociology to the concept of ‘primary socialisation’, which is an individual’s first introduction into their culture is normally delivered by the family.
Source A highlights one of the key purposes of primary socialisation: Teaching language and basic communication to individuals which enable them to participate actively in their society. Language is clearly a social construct and is not a product of ‘nature’, therefore nurture/socialisation is clearly a critical part of equipping a person with basic skills such as this that are needed to function in a human society.
Source B demonstrates the consequences for an individual who is not appropriately nurtured and misses out on primary socialisation. Oxana Malaya, when found, did not behave like a human being. She evidently lacked even the most basic social skills, and being socialised by non-humans had enabled her to ‘survive’, but had not equipped her to function in human society. Oxana is an example of what Sociologists describe as a ‘feral child’ – a child who has not been nurtured and has missed out on appropriate primary socialisation. Clearly Oxana was a human being by ‘nature’ (genetically/biologically), but she did not behave like one. This demonstrates the crucial role that nurture and primary socialisation play in teaching appropriate human behaviour. Nature may make someone ‘human’, but nurture is what makes someone behave like a human being. If she had not been found by police, it is logical to assume that she would never have been able to be a part of human society – she needed nurturing by other humans for this. Thankfully, it seems she did eventually receive this, but the fact that the Source tells us she is now living with a home for people with mental difficulties suggests that missing out on early socialisation has still impacted on her life and future.
Outline and briefly evaluate the view that the mass media is a powerful agency in socialising individuals into traditional identities 
The mass media is an increasingly powerful agent of socialisation. Postmodernists describe society as ‘media-saturated’, referring to the way in which the mass media is now present in almost every area of our lives and our society and influences peoples’ perception of their world. The mass media was traditionally associated with secondary socialisation, but some Sociologists now argue that the mass media also now plays a part during primary socialisation (an individual’s earliest experiences of socialisation) because there is a wide range of media products targeted at younger children (for example CBeebies, which is aimed at pre-schoolers).
‘Traditional identities’ includes age, gender, ethnicity and social class and such identities are, many Sociologists argue, created and reinforced throughout the Socialisation process. It is therefore reasonable to assume that, in a media-saturated society, the media would be highly influential in socialising individuals into these identities.
One way in which the media does this is through the way it represents social groups. Many sociologists believe that media representations and stereotypes have an impact on the way in which individuals see themselves and the way that they are regarded by wider society. For example, much research has been done into media representations of Gender. It can be argued that, throughout recent history, traditional masculinities and femininities have dominated representations of gender. Easthope argued that Hollywood films, for example, present the view that it is natural for a man to be violent and competitive (e.g. 1980s action movies, in which the ‘hero’ was almost always a tough, uncompromising male). In advertising, females were traditionally represented as housewives or as sex objects (e.g. domestic and cosmetic products being marketed exclusively at women). Mulvey argued that, in cinema, film-makers employ the ‘Male Gaze’, meaning that the camera focuses on things that a male viewer would traditionally want to see (e.g. fixating on women’s bodies, even when irrelevant to the plot). Through repeatedly representing men and women in these traditional roles, the media ensures that these roles are viewed as the ‘norm’ in wider society.
Studies have given similar findings on other ‘traditional’ social groups – for example, Moore et al identifying that media relied on five recurring stereotypes of black people (as criminal, dependent, threat, unimportant or abnormal), Landis found that the media commonly stereotyped old people as being mentally deficient, busybodies and grumpy while Devereux identified that the British working classes were usually depicted as the “happy and deserving poor”. Again, if the media repeatedly represents a social group in these limited, traditional ways, then this informs social expectations of these groups.
However, there is evidence that the media no longer relies on such traditional representations/stereotypes. Gauntlett, for example, used content analysis to examine television and cinema and found that gender was now being represented in much more diverse ways. His study of the TV show ‘Friends’ found that male and female characters did not conform to traditional stereotypes and his study on Hollywood movies such as ‘Knocked Up’ found that traditional, hegemonic masculinity was increasingly depicted as flawed and a source of problems for male characters. In other areas, Malik found more diverse representations of ethnic minorities in British television, Carrigan & Szmigin found more positive (and less stereotypical) portrayals of old people in advertising and Price found that representations of poor people in the media were moving away from the ‘traditional’ working class, with more focus on the so-called ‘underclass’. This fits in with Postmodernist views that traditional identities are less important and less present in contemporary societies, as individuals ‘pick and mix’ their own identities from a wider range of influences, often creating ‘hybrid’ identities, which are much more difficult to stereotype.
On the other hand, it should be noted that all the studies mentioned above have also found problems with media representations. Gauntlett found that females were still underrepresented in the media – and were less likely to be in leading roles. Malik found that, despite more diverse representations of minorities, the media still did not accurately represent a true multicultural society. Price found that portrayals of the underclass were negative and exploitative (she referred to this as ‘poverty porn’).
In conclusion, the media may have moved away from an over-reliance on stereotyping groups based on ‘traditional identities’, but some stereotyping still persists and – even though representations have become more diverse – many representations remain negative or problematic, therefore still causing problems and restrictions on the identities and individuals and groups, and their perception by wider society.
Outline two ways in which the media amplifies deviance 
Deviancy amplification refers to a situation whereby the deviant behaviour of a group or individual is made worse by social reaction. One way in which the media amplifies deviance is through moral panics. A moral panic occurs when the mass media draws attention to a particular problem in society and then simplifies and exaggerates the problem through its reporting, with the aim of creating panic and anxiety in its audience. Usually, one particular cause or social group is singled out as the source of the problem – and the negative reaction caused by media reporting can make the problem worse. Stan Cohen studied this phenomenon using the ‘Mods & Rockers’ subcultures as a case study. Following a clash between these two subcultures one Bank Holiday weekend, Cohen observed how the media massively exaggerated the level of conflict. The result of this was that the public became worried about the behaviour of young people in society, those young people felt pressured to relate to one or other of the subcultures (causing the groups to grow in number) and there was an increase in troubles between the subcultures, which was further exacerbated by the public demanding the police and other authorities get tougher on the groups. Cohen believed that the media’s reaction directly resulted in an amplification of the original deviant behaviour and that the two groups were singled out as “folk devils”, meaning that they were perceived as threats to the social order.
Another way in which the media can be accused on amplifying deviance is through depictions of violence. There is a commonly-held believe that individuals who are exposed to violence in the mass media become violent themselves – therefore, the media contribute to an increase or amplification of violent behaviour. The idea that the media has a direct effect on behaviour in this way is linked to the ‘hypodermic syringe model’ – the view that messages from the media are ‘injected’ directly into the minds of the audience. Studies from Psychology – for example, the work of Bandura (who showed children video clips of adults being violent to a doll – and then recorded that children replicated the behaviour immediately afterwards) – have given some support to this model. However, the model is largely rejected in Sociology, as it fails to take into account other variables and the cultural differences of audience members.
Explain and briefly evaluate the view that the media affects its audience in an indirect way 
The hypodermic syringe model (described above) believes the media has a direct effect on its audience. As previously mentioned, this view has little support in Sociology. Sociologists are more likely to support indirect models of media influence. These models agree that the media has the power to influence the behaviour and views of the audience, but believe that this is not an instant or direct effect.
There are a number of different models of indirect media influence. One is the Cultural Effects model. This model suggests that the influence of the media will depend on the cultural backgrounds of audience members. For example, a violent movie may affect females in a different way to males or a news report may be interpreted differently by an individual from one ethnic or religious background compared to an individual from a completely different ethnic/religious background. A study by Stack et al supports this model: Stack et al studied suicide rates among fans of heavy metal music and found that these rates were significantly higher among fans of lower social class backgrounds. Therefore, the alleged influence of the music differed depending on the class backgrounds of individual audience members.
Another indirect model is the ‘Drip Drip’ model, which suggests that the influence of the media on its audience is gradual and that audiences need to be repeatedly exposed to the same kind of media over a long period of time to be influenced. For example, watching a violent horror movie does not make an individual violent, but if that individual repeatedly watches violent horror movies every day over a period of years, their outlook and behaviour may start to change. Gauntlett applied this model to magazines aimed at teenage girls, finding that repeatedly reading these magazines over a long period shaped the identities of readers and created pattern behaviour (regularly buying these magazines became a lifelong habit).
Direct and indirect models both agree that the media has the power to influence audience members, although they differ in their view on how this works. Direct models do not take into account the differences in audience members and assume everyone is affected in the same way and at the same time. A third kind of model – Active Audience – disagrees with both, suggesting that the media does not influence audience and rather it is the audiences themselves that have power over the media. Active audience models focus on the way in which audience members make conscious decisions over what media products to watch/read/listen to, that individuals use the media for their own purposes and that audiences are not therefore passively influenced by the media in the ways that direct and indirect models suggest.
Assess the view that there has been a shift away from more traditional gender roles across a range of media 
Liberal feminists believe that there has been a shift away from traditional/stereotypical representations of gender in the media. They point to the fact that there are more females working as media professionals today, therefore it being in their interests to work towards more diverse representations. Liberal feminists also point to more diverse representations of women in cinema, taking on roles that would traditionally have been reserved for males e.g. action heroes (Angelina Jolie in the Lara Croft movies), sci-fi leads (e.g. Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games) and comedy leads (Amy Schumer in Trainwreck).
Gauntlett’s media content analyses support this view, identifying a shift away from traditional gender roles – both male and female - in the media from the 1990s onwards. Gauntlett argued that media representations of gender in Hollywood movies and in mainstream television shows such as Friends showed men and women having similar skills to each other and adopting more diverse and modern characteristics. He claimed that gender representations had ‘turned a corner’, and – in terms of traditional masculinities – he gave examples of contemporary films (e.g. Knocked Up) which challenged traditional, hegemonic masculinity and showed this type of masculinity to be flawed. Gauntlett said that these films also showed female characters as being more assertive.
However, Radical feminists are less positive about this shift, believing that traditional gender stereotypes continue to be present – particularly in advertising, where they argue women are routinely presented as sex objects and that there is a narrow range of roles available for women in many areas of popular culture. Tuchman describes this lack of diverse representations as the “symbolic annihilation” of women. Marxist feminists also believe that traditional representations continue to be present, arguing that this is because it is in the interests of the capitalist system to reinforce traditional roles. Wolfe linked this to the concept of the “Beauty Myth”, whereby the media presents an unachievable “ideal woman” which encourages women to spend lots of money on cosmetic and dietary products. A study by Whelehan found that men’s magazines continued to portray women as sex objects and dismissed anything that challenged conventional gender roles as a joke.
In terms of traditional masculine roles, Gauntlett (as described above) believed that there was more diversity in these representations, while Rutherford argued that the ‘New Man’ (an emerging, less traditional form of masculinity) was becoming increasingly common in cinema. However, Rutherford also identified that, at the same time, the ‘Retributive Man’ (a more traditional, aggressive version of masculinity) was also on the rise, through an increase in action movies in which the hero is a violent, vengeful character. Easthope also argued that Hollywood movies often present being competitive and violent as an innate part of masculinity.
Overall, there is clear evidence to support the view that there has been a shift away from traditional gender roles in the media, though there is clear debate as to how successful this shift has been – and traditional representations are clearly still present. It should also be noted that, however diverse and non-traditional representations become, the rise of cable, satellite, online and on-demand television viewing has meant that television programmes, films etc. from the past are increasingly available to audiences, so however much the media changes, traditional representations are likely to continue to have a presence in the media.
Define the concept of values 
A 4 mark question should include a definition of the concept, some extended explanation of the concept and some examples to support the definition/explanation. It should be a short paragraph; around 5 mins of writing.
A value is a principle or belief that determine how a person leads their life. Examples of values could be respect for elderly people, belief in the sanctity of human life or belief in equality for all people. Values can be held by individual people or shared by all people in a society. When everyone in society agrees on the same key values, Functionalists call this a value consensus. Values can change and develop over time, though most are solid and stable.
With reference to the Source, identify and briefly explain two examples of values 
A 6 mark question should consist of two short paragraphs (5-10 mins writing) and must make some reference to the source within it.
One example of a value mentioned in the Source is equal opportunities for both men and women. The Source demonstrates how society’s values in this area have changed over time, leading to women having more choices and no longer being restricted by traditional gender roles.
Another example of a value is the importance of education. The Source mentions how, in the 1950s, few women went to university or had a career. Individuals who value education will work hard in school in order to gain professional careers, like the woman in the second picture in the Source.
Using the source and your wider sociological knowledge, explain how Norms are relative 
An 8 mark question should also make use of the source, but must not rely only on the source. It should be one larger paragraph (or two shorter ones – about 10 mins writing). The example below picks out some of the themes of the source (gender roles), but adds in a wider range of concepts (femininity, the concept of cultural relativity) and an example from outwith the source.
The idea that norms are relative means that they value according to time and place. No two societies have exactly the same views on what behaviour is considered ‘normal’ and these views also change over time. For example, the Source demonstrates how the norms of femininity have changed. Historically in Western societies, it was the norm that women would fulfil traditional gender roles such as housewife, mother and home worker. Today however, it is the norm that women receive the same education and opportunities as men and can therefore make their own choices about their future roles. This shows that Norms are relative over time.
Some societies, however, still retain more traditional gender roles that restrict women. For example, in Saudi Arabia, women are not allowed to drive cars. This shows that Norms are also relative to place. Norms come from values, so as the values of a society change over time, so does what is considered ‘normal’.
Outline and briefly evaluate the view that individuals learn society’s norms through the process of primary socialisation 
A 12 mark question is an extended piece of writing, like a mini essay. Around 4-5 paragraphs should suffice (15-20 mins writing). An introduction is not essential, but can be useful in showing understanding of the concepts used in the question. Studies and concepts need to be referred to and explained as appropriate. Where a 12 mark question requests evaluation, these studies/concepts can be evaluated and/or alternative viewpoints demonstrated.
For example, below, the introduction defines/explains socialisation and primary socialisation. The second paragraph describes (with some use of concepts) how primary socialisation works and why it is important. The third and fourth paragraphs offer two slightly opposing views (biological determinism and the value of secondary socialisation) and a quick conclusion tries to tie things together.
Socialisation is the process by which individuals learn the norms and values of their culture and society in order that they can function within it. Primary socialisation is an individual’s first experience of socialisation and mainly happens within the family. Some sociologists have argued that in Western societies today, the mass media is also an agent of primary socialisation (for example, TV channels like CBeebies that are aimed at pre-schoolers).
Primary socialisation is crucial in teaching basic social norms. For example, it is through primary socialisation that an individual learns to speak the language of their society, learns table manners and toilet habits and learns the difference between ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ behaviour. This is usually done by imitation of family members, by the use of positive and negative sanctions from parents/guardians and by identifying adult ‘role-models’. An individual who is not taught these basic behaviours would be considered ‘deviant’ and would struggle to function in society. The importance of this can be demonstrated by looking at individuals who have missed out on primary socialisation – for example, “feral children”. Feral children have usually not had appropriate interaction with adult humans and therefore lack understanding of basic human social behaviour.
Socialisation is a form of ‘nurture’. Some argue that ‘nature’ is just as important for individuals learning basic norms; for example, Wilson argued that ‘normal’ gender roles are innate (he said that men are ‘naturally’ promiscuous and women ‘naturally’ caring) while Lombroso argued that criminal behaviour is innate – some people are just ‘born bad’. This view is largely rejected in Sociology, although some Sociologists argue that nature and nurture need to work together – for example, Parsons agreed that gender roles are innate, but believed that primary socialisation was necessary to reinforce these.
Some Sociologists might argue that secondary socialisation is just as important in helping individuals learn society’s norms. For example, in Education, the ‘Hidden Curriculum’ teaches individuals key norms such as punctuality, meeting deadlines, socialising with peers and respecting authority which are vital for that individual’s success later on in life. The Mass Media and Peer Groups can also provide role models later in life that replace those originally offered through primary socialisation.
In conclusion, Primary Socialisation is clearly vital in teaching basic social norms to individuals, but socialisation is a lifelong process and so individuals continue to learn – and develop their understanding of - social norms throughout their lifetime and via a range of agents of socialisation.
Define and briefly explain the hypodermic syringe model 
Same format as a 4 mark question, really - requires a little more explanation.
The hypodermic syringe model was developed by Packard to describe the way that the mass media has a direct influence on its audience. It suggests that ‘messages’ from the media are ‘injected’ direct into the minds of the audience, leading to an immediate change in behaviour. Packard developed the concept with advertising in mind e.g. showing consumer products in the media creates an immediate desire in the audience to own them. Today, it is used more broadly – for example, some studies suggest that being exposed to violence in the media leads individuals to become violent themselves. This model is largely rejected in Sociology, as it doesn’t account for the individual and cultural differences of audience members.
Identify and briefly explain two ways in which ethnic groups are represented in the media 
Two paragraphs – a slightly extended version of the 6 mark question in part one, but with no need to refer to any sources.
Moore et al identified that ethnic minorities tend to be represented negatively in the media, as one of five stereotypes: Criminal, Threat, Dependent, Abnormal or Unimportant. Van Dijk elaborated on the ‘Criminal’ stereotype – he identified that ‘black’ is often used as a prefix for criminal; when a black person commits a crime, their ethnicity is always pointed out, whereas when a white person commits a crime it is not mentioned. Black ‘gangstas’, Latino gang-members and Middle-Eastern terrorists are all examples of common ethnic minority criminal stereotypes.
‘Unimportant’ describes the way that ethnic minorities can be under-represented in the media; for example, news reports about disasters in non-white societies rarely receive the same coverage as disasters in white Western societies. A terrorist attack in Baghdad receives very little press coverage whereas an attack in Paris dominates news headlines for weeks. Van Dijk further described how when British newspaper report on ethnic minority issues, the ‘experts’ they consult tend to be white people.
Explain how the media creates moral panics 
The same format as the previous 12 mark question – though note that 12 mark Media questions don’t usually request any evaluation.
‘Moral Panic’ describes a form a deviancy amplification, whereby the Media single out a supposed ‘threat’ to society, simplify the causes of the threat – usually by blaming a particular social group – and then exaggerate it through over-reporting on the issue. This creates panic and outrage among the public, which eventually causes the police or government to respond. Moral Panics can arise from all range of issues (e.g. public health scares, immigration) though are often centred around crime and deviance.
The most famous study on Moral Panics was by Cohen, who explored media coverage of the Mods and Rockers subcultures in the 1960s. Cohen described how tabloid newspapers singled out the behaviour of these two groups as being a threat to the social order. The exaggerated reporting of the behaviour of these groups made the problem worse, as young people were made to feel they had to side with one or the other and the public became increasingly panicked about them. Eventually, the police responded with heavy-handed tactics, leading to mods and rockers being handed out heavy sentences for relatively minor crimes. Cohen described the Mods & Rockers as ‘folk devils’ – groups who get (unfairly) blamed for the problems in their societies.
Since the 1960s, there have been numerous other situations that have followed a similar pattern. For example, Fawbert studied newspaper coverage of ‘hoodies’ and the way that the media created the impression that groups of young people were dangerous and threatening, leading to all young people being treated with suspicion and some institutions banning hooded tops. Another study by Jewkes looked at media coverage of prisoners, identifying that the media focused on stories that depicted prisoners as ‘pampered’ in order to feed existing public concerns.
Some sociologists have pointed out that the groups targeted by Moral Panics are often young, powerless people who lack the power to do anything about this form of labelling. Other Sociologists – such as McRobbie – have suggested that the concept of Moral Panics has become outdated, as society has become so diverse that it is difficult to unite the public against any single group, while the concept of Moral Panic has become so well known that Moral Panics get started intentionally by groups looking for attention (for example, Rockstar Games intentionally leaked a ‘panic’ to the tabloid newspapers about their forthcoming ‘Grand Theft Auto’ game in order to generate free publicity which would in turn lead to better sales of the game).
Evaluate the view that representations of age are no longer stereotypical 
This is a mini-essay – a slightly extended version of a 12 mark question, but for 20 marks, evaluation and a critical conclusion are essential.
A stereotype is a generalised representation of a particular group, usually based on the assumed characteristics of that group. Many sociologists argue that stereotyping can give distorted ideas about particular groups that can be damaging. Others – such as Pluralists - believe that stereotypes simply reflect views about groups that are commonly held by wider society.
Age groups have often been subjected to negative media stereotyping. For example, young people are represented as naïve, helpless or innocent children – or as rebellious, violent youths. Old people on the other hand have been represented as grumpy, sickly, dependent or mentally deficient. Such negative stereotyping can impact the way in which individuals or groups are regarded in wider society. Some sociologists believe that stereotyping is ideological; in other words, it is used by powerful groups to justify ill-treatment of less powerful groups. Negative stereotyping of young and old people may therefore be used as justification for marginalising them, as they are the groups least likely to be active in the labour market.
Some Sociologists believe however that representations of age are no longer stereotypical. For example, Postmodernists have argued that age is no longer an important feature of identity, that society is much more diverse and that the boundaries between social groups are blurring – for example, many old people now act and behave like young people and vice versa – which makes it difficult for the media to stereotype. This is supported by a study by Biggs, who found that representations of old people were much more varied; some negative stereotypes still existed, but there was also an increasing portrayal of old people as being active and taking more of a part in society. Carrigan & Szmigen linked increasingly positive and varied representations of old people to the concept of the ‘Grey Pound’, which describes the spending power of old people, meaning that advertisers are more likely to use positive representations and not rely on stereotypes in order to sell more products and services to old people.
Portrayals of younger people may also be changing. Young people are much more likely to use and engage with the mass media than older people and this is reflected in portrayals of children being skilled users of the media, rather than being helpless and innocent (although this in turn has resulted in moral panics around the influence of the media on children). However, it could be argued that the portrayal of youths has become more negative and stereotypical. Osgerby linked media representations of youth to wider cultural issues. He identified that in the 1950s, youth culture was represented positively, reflecting the post-war mood of hope in the UK. However, as concerns in UK society developed around the loss of traditional values and rapid social change from the 1970s onwards, depictions of youths became increasingly dark, violent and negative. Hebdige referred to this portrayal as ‘youth-as-trouble’ and this was reflected in the ‘Hoodies or Altar Boys’ study which found that there were more news stories linking teenagers to crime than all the other stories about teenagers put together. The study found that teenage boys felt that adults were more wary of them as a result of this negative coverage.
In conclusion, there is some evidence to support the view that stereotyping has become less stereotypical, particularly in relation to old people. However, this does not mean that media stereotyping of age groups has disappeared or is no longer an issue and stereotyping of youths in particular continues to be negative and to have a real impact on attitudes towards this age group in wider society.
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