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Beauty Matters

Lindie Pavati's site offers a range of articles and resources (including detailed lesson plans) about aspects of "beauty"- including material on body image, fashion and attraction. The text is short, concise and clearly-written and the site's subject matter fits quite neatly into different parts of the OCR (Individual and Society) and AQA (Health, Medicine and the Body) specifications. Content is largely aimed at a GCSE audience, but the teaching resources contain ideas that can be easily adapted for A-level students.

Child of our Time

This set of online notes from BBC Interactive (or BBCi if you really want to show that you're down with the kids) provides a basic introduction to a variety of ideas related to children and childhood.

There's a lot going on here which means there are plenty of options to explore, although much of the site focuses on psychological ideas and explanations (but there's plenty on offer for sociologists to get their teeth into).

Cultural Anthropology

A series of "tutorials" (or "Notes" as we non-anthropologists say) covering a range of culture-related topics. The most relevant of these, for our purpose, is probably the material on socialisation, ethnicity and social change, although there's also useful material on religion, health, family and kinship amongst other goodies. Each section has a glossary and practice quiz (with on-line answers).

Culture and Identity: Multiple Choice

A suite of 10 online tests, ranging in length from 7 – 13 questions, covering: Culture, Socialisation, Self, Identity and Difference, Age and identity, Disabled identities, Ethnic identities, Global and National identities, Gender identities, Class identities, Leisure, consumption and identity.

Executive Planet

This is a site that would not, in the normal course of events, be of particular interest to A-level sociologists. However, it features a number of useful "Business Culture Guides" for a range of countries (including the UK). These consist of articles which examine a range of cultural norms - from what (and what not) to say in conversation, to dress sense and acceptable public behaviour...

Fashion Worlds

A companion site to Beauty Matters, the focus here - as you might expect - is fashion in all it's many guises. At present the content is a little limited and sociology students / teachers probably won't be too interested in the latest fashion news or with profiles of designers and photographers. However, the site does include articles relating to fashion and it's place in popular (and not-so-popular) culture which should prove useful for students doing coursework / popular culture modules. As with it's companion, the site has a clean, attractive, design, with easy and helpful navigation.

Focus on Britain

 Rodney Biddle works and teaches in Japan and his web pages provide a range of Notes relating to "British culture", with coverage of areas like how culture can be defined, through class and education systems, to food, music, youth culture and the mass media. Although the material is mainly aimed at his students the Notes can usefully serve as an Introduction to some of the general ideas associated with the concept of culture for A-level students. The "added bonus" here is that UK-based students gain an insight into how concepts like roles, values and norms can be applied both culturally (to the UK) and cross-culturally (to societies like Japan).

Landscapes of Mass Culture

This article examines the American Theme Park (and Disneyland specifically) in the context of mass and popular culture. The article also links into leisure and consumption with some observations about the various ways that "landscapes of mass culture" (such as Theme Parks) are starting to impact on areas (such as shopping malls) that have traditionally been viewed as non-leisure spaces - in the past "shopping" was something you did because you had to; in the present some forms of shopping are transformed into leisure activities (the better to separate you from your hard-earned...).

New Internationalist

Cross-cultural material a go-go is a feature of this site - with loads of articles to explore relating to various aspects of culture around the world.

The site is also useful for its World Sociology perspective (there aren't, after all, many such sites around) and there's a useful section aimed at teachers (Teaching Global Issues) that has been designed to both identify teaching opportunities in this general area and provide resources to stimulate teaching and learning.

Stanford Prison Experiment

 Better known to most people (especially after the recent TV programme) as the "Zimbardo Experiment" - which tried to discover, in the words of the site: "What happens when you put good people in an evil place? Does humanity win over evil, or does evil triumph?" (actually, this sounds a bit like the Big Brother house (except for the "good people" bit) - especially if you have a look at this Guardian article...). The site is a neat mixture of informative text, photographs and short video clips relating to the experiment (plus useful "discussion questions") which can be used as a teaching tool to stimulate discussion / exploration in a range of Specification areas (including research methods).

The Sociology Page

This site, assembled by John Macionis (think of him as the American equivalent of Haralambos - although try not to focus on this image for too long, in case it gives you nightmares) contains some useful information / links for those new to Sociology. Most useful, however, is the Video gallery which features Professor Macionis talking about culture and the various aspects thereof.

What Is Art?

 Pitting your knowledge of Shakespeare against your understanding of Britney (and if you're thinking "Britney who?" then I wouldn't bother visiting the site) this "interactive investigation" looks at the question "What is Art?" and, in so doing, introduces some interesting notions about the difference between "high" and "low" culture (alternatively it's just a fun quiz - you pays your money and you makes your choice - probably at random if you're anything like me). Alternatively, you might want to venture onto the related Philosophy Experiments site if you fancy getting to grips (or not, in my case) with a few thorny moral problems.

BBC Archive

A great collection of programmes from the BBC archive that can be viewed online. The Working Class Life Collection, for example, has films on a diverse range of topics - from working class celebrities or class consciousness in the 1960's to the "thoughts" of White Van Man in the 21st century...

Age Concern

Although this site isn't going to be hugely useful for A-level students, it might be an occasional port-of-call in relation to (old) age issues, given that it provides information on ageing issues, facts about ageing in Britain and so forth. You can even make a donation or shop-'til-you-drop in the funky fashions section (and before any writes to me, yes, I know I'm going to get old one day).

Centre for Policy on Ageing

The CPA site is fairly Spartan in appearance but hidden beneath it's rather bland exterior are a wealth of resources relating to age and ageing (as you might expect). In particular there are extensive links to age-related sites and various databases can also be accessed from within the site.  

Generation Youth Issues

This Scottish independent research charity site contains a small number of articles and research publications focusing on aspects of "youth" in the UK (from crime, through deviance to education). In the main the material seems to derive from Stuart Walton, but there are links to other sources.  

PBS

The American Public Broadcasting Service is a little like the BBC without the money - but it nevertheless manages to produce some stunning programs (unlike the BBC - unless you include Dr.Who). This site is part of their "Frontline" documentary series and it examines the relationship between media conglomerates and the selling of youth culture. The site's packed with all kinds of goodies - from interviews and commentaries to a full-length video presentation ("The Merchants of Cool") that can be viewed online.

Transgender

Or, to give it its full title, "Transgender, Transsexual, and Transvestite Issues". This is probably the largest collection of materials dealing with gender identity you're ever likely to find on the web. It's got everything you could possibly want to know about this (huge) area - well worth a visit, even if it's just to browse and wonder at the world that is revealed...

Blacknet

This is a massive resource that aims to cover all aspects of black culture in the UK. In addition to up-to-date news stories, there are sections dealing with things like black history, religion, education and business. The "Global Education Resource" section aims to point you in the direction of useful web resources relating to education, law and the social sciences (amongst many other things).

Disney's Portrayals


This is one part of the much larger PsyberSite at Miami University and focuses on the way Disney films have portrayed culture and race in their films. It's a short and concise assessment that might usefully serve as interesting stimulus material for Media Sociology students. There are also links from this page to other "Disney Portrayals" (religion and gender, for example, and if all the ant-Disney stuff is a little too much to take - tread softly, for you you tread upon childhood dreams. Or Something - there's a pro-Disney section to soften the blows...).

The National Archives:

Black Presence

Subtitled "Asian and Black History in Britain 1500-1850", this site is a bold mix of text and graphics that includes extracts and transcripts from original documents relating to historical Black and Asian experiences in Britain. This is really just a superb resource that repays both a through exploration and the occasional dip-into. It operates and works on a number of levels and could prove extremely useful for students doing coursework in this general area.

NationMaster

This site advertises itself as "A massive central data source and a handy way to graphically compare nations" which can be used to generate maps and graphs based on a huge variety of national and international statistics. I'm not exactly sure how it could be used but have a sneaking feeling it's too good a resource not to be used...

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Culture and Identity