Socialisation test – Tues 1st March


There will be a socialisation test during the second lesson on Tuesday 1st March.

Content to revise:


stages of socialisation (primary, secondary, tertiary)

agents of socialisation (family, peers, education and media)

norms, values and beliefs



social control






gender/sex (very minimal knowledge required, will keep you posted prior to Tuesday)

Difference between structural and action theories

Functionalist, Conflict and Interactionist theory

Critique of above theories



Sociological theories


Today was a special lesson. Those who were there would know. Our minds opened and information poured in. It poured in with abundance.

We learnt about functionalist and conflict theory. In-depth.

I handed out the ‘Understanding and Applying Sociological Theories’ resource (a.k.a the ‘theories bible’)

Understanding and Applying Sociological Theories (click here to access your copy)

During the lesson we read through the theories bible and discussed how we might critique each theory. Critiquing the theories is important in this course. We need to be able to show that we understand that each of these theories has flaws, and no one theory perfectly explains socialisation and the society in which we live.

To really hit the message home, we summarised several parts of the resource:

50 words or less about the difference between structural and action theories.

50 words or less about functionalist theory in general

25 words or less about Durkheim

25 words or less about Parsons

50 words or less about conflict theory in general

25 words or less about Marx

Those who finished early read the section on interactionist theory and thought about how they might critique it.



Socialisation test is a-coming!


Go and make yourself a nice cup of chamomile tea because I am about to reveal some exciting news…

On Tuesday 1st March we will be having a test. The test will be on the broad topic of socialisation. Next lesson (only two more sleeps) we will go over the three key theories again (interactionism, functionalism and conflict theory) and we will recap on the important concepts that you will need to learn by next Tuesday.

Make sure you check the blog before the weekend for further updates.


Countercultures and sociological theories…


Today we looked at the Amish counterculture; a traditionalist Christian group who live in US, particularly in Pennsylvania and Indiana. This group is known for its strict adherence to the ‘will of Jesus’ and dedication to living a simple life. Living a simple life for the Amish means not using popular technologies, such as television, mobile phones or the internet.

To find out more about this group we looked at the following documentary from ABC program Compass:

Compass episode (full episode available on ClickView – school desktop)

We answered the following questions in relation to this documentary:

  1. How is the Amish culture different to mainstream Australian culture?
  2. Why might it be difficult for Amish people to leave the Amish community and thus stay in the “english” world?
  3. Why did Faron start taking drugs? Why did the 16 year old Amish girl start to feel depressed and suicidal?

**rather than answering these questions using psychological explanations we focused on writing from a sociological point of view, so we tried to use the following sociological concepts: socialisation, resocialisation, norms, values, beliefs, sanctions, egoistic suicide and anomic suicide.

Oh hey. I’m Durkheim. Emile Durkheim. I’m a functionalist.

We also looked at two sociological theories: functionalism and conflict theory. We discussed the fact that both functionalism and conflict theory are different to interactionist theory, as they are what we call macro theories. Macro theories look at the larger social structures (which is also why we label functionalism and conflict theory as structural theories). Macro or structural theories believe that societal forces control individuals, whereas interactionism (which is a micro, action theory) sees the individual as being able to shape their own socialisation. In other words, interactionists recognise that individuals do have some free will (choice/agency) whereas functionalists and conflict theorists believe that we are essentially social robots (i.e. controlled by society).

Hiya. I’m Karl Marx. I am a conflict theorist. 








Subcultures and countercultures

The Bondi Hipsters – a comedy on ABC which parodies the hipster subculture.

Today we recapped on Interactionist theory – particularly Cooley’s “Looking-glass” self.

We also started talking about Australian culture, and the fact that we have a mainstream or ‘dominant’ culture which has certain norms, values and beliefs. For example, in Australia, some of the things we are thought to value include equality (e.g. a ‘fair go’), modesty (e.g. Tall poppy syndrome) and sport.

During the socialisation process, we are taught to adopt this culture. However, we are also members of various subcultures and sometimes countercultures.

What is a subculture?

Holmes, Hughes and Julian (2003, p. 319) define subculture as ‘A system of norms and values that is distinct from, but related to, the dominant culture.’

Believe it or not, this took me ages to make. Enjoy it.

Some examples we talked about in class included ‘hipsters’, ‘goths’, ‘metrosexuals’ and ‘skaters’.

Membership to various subcultures will, of course, greatly affect our identity formation.

We will continue this discussion, and find out about countercultures, next lesson.

Interactionist theory: Mead and Cooley


Today we revised our understanding of Goffman’s theory of socialisation (the dramaturgical approach) and learnt about Mead’s three-stage explanation (language, play and the game), as well as briefly touching on Cooley’s “Looking-glass” self theory.

The following PowerPoint was used in class:


We read the following sections of the textbook:

Goffman (pg. 42-44) – selected key concepts and wrote brief definitions

Mead (pg. 103-104) – answered questions on PowerPoint slide


Interactionist theory: Erving Goffman

We are social actors

Today we revised concepts learnt in a previous lesson, as well as adding to this list (e.g. roles and ascribed/achieved status). The following handout provides some clear definitions of some of these concepts and will be useful for the upcoming assessment task:


We briefly looked at the stages of socialisation (e.g. primary, secondary and tertiary)


We also started delving into our first piece of sociological theory: interactionist theory (also known as symbolic interactionism). Our focus was the work of Erving Goffman. The following PowerPoint slides refer to this. It is also important to ensure you have read pg.42-44 of your textbook (the title of the section is ‘‘Erving Goffman and the sociology of everyday life’)

Goffman (PowerPoint)

The sociological imagination

Sociology-of-education_742x293 (2)

Today we delved further into the discipline of sociology: What is it? What is it not?

Sociology’s basic move is to argue that if you want to understand why people do what they do, look at the groups of which they are part. 

The sociological imagination was an idea developed by C Wright Mills (1959). Having a sociological imagination allows us to look beyond our individual lives and see the impact of social forces on our life chances. It’s about realising that  ‘private problems’ are, in fact, ‘public issues’.

We looked at a number of key concepts: society, culture, norms, values and sanctions. These words are all very important to the broader idea of ‘socialisation’. To cement our understanding of norms, we discussed male bathroom etiquette and we watched Nathan for You (season 1, episode 3 ‘Clothing store/Restaurant’)

See the PowerPoint below, as well as the reading and associated questions:

SociologyLesson1 (PowerPoint)