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Sociology's Role in Understanding Important Social Phenomena Essay

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According to Holmes, Hughes, and Julian (2012) “at its most ambitious, sociology attempts to understand human societies from a wholistic point of view – what they are composed of, how they are reproduced over time and how they might differ from other societies”. Viewing society in this context, allows sociologists to understand the foundation of a society; and the motivations / values that underpin its function. Social phenomena, such as ‘sex, gender, and sexuality’ and their respective dominating themes [and inequalities] shape society as a whole. Throughout the following paragraphs, you will be presented with evidence to support sociology’s role in understanding important social phenomena, I primarily focus on gender and some of its widely known inequalities.
Karl Marx, one of the prominent social thinkers of the 19th century, based his theoretical thinking on inequality and social reproduction (Holmes et al, 2012) – most evident in his interpretation of capitalism. Whilst we primarily associate capitalism with social class; gender inequality – particularly in the working world – is intrinsically linked with capitalism and the systemic culture associated with it. Acker (1990) supports this link by arguing that “class is constructed through gender and that class relations are always gendered. The structure of the labour market, relations in the workplace, the control of the work process, and the underlying wage relation are always affected by symbols of gender, processes of gender identity, and the material inequalities between women and men.”
In Acker's (1990) findings on gendering patterns in the divisions of labour, it is noted that “men are almost always in the highest positions of organizational power.” Further to this, a...


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..., Australia, January 2013 (retrieved 20 March 2014)

Holmes, Hughes, and Julian, (2012) – Australian Sociology: A Changing Society, Chapter 1, 2, 5 (retrieved 19, 20 March 2014)

Martin, P. Y. (2004), Gender as Social Institution, (i) Social Forces, June 2004, 82(4):1249-1273 (retrieved 17 March 2014)

Meyer. L. (2003) - Economic Globalization and Women's Status in the Labor Market: A Cross-National Investigation of Occupational Sex Segregation and Inequality (retrieved 17 March 2014)

Thelwall, M (2008), Social Networks, Gender and Friending: An Analysis of MySpace Member Profiles (i) J.Am.Soc.Inf.Sci., 59:121-1330. doi:10:1002/asi.20835 (retrieved 18 March 2014)

Vaux, A. (1985), Variations in Social Support Associated with Gender, Ethnicity, and Age. (i) Journal of Social Issues, 41: 89-110. doi:10.1111/j. 1540 - 4560. 1985. tb01118. x (retrieved 17 March 2014)




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