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.
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