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Northern Irish Society : Report

Added on -2019-09-19

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How is Northern Irish Society categorised in political, social and economic constructs?Society is made up of many types of individuals that are categorised according towhat they have in common. Demographic data is the information collected onthese groups. It is collected by government agencies (i.e. The Office of NationalStatistics, Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency) in the form of theCensus (this happens every 10 years) and the General Lifestyle Survey. Data iscollected about the make up of society, in other words what social groups thereare, who they are made up of, what they do in terms of how they access healthservices, where they live, what they do in leisure time amongst other things. Although these categories of individuals may seem like a natural part of life, theyare in fact socially constructed. This means that over time they have hadmeaning attached to them by humans. The meaning(s) of these constructs areoften different across countries and cultures, and even within cultures. Marriage,family and households, education, religious practice, age, gender and ethnicityare social constructions, in other words what they mean to individuals hasbeen built by individuals over time. In modern society there are also political and economic constructs.Examples of these are called ‘systems of stratification’ or the systems that weuse to understand people’s ‘place’ in society. We categorise, or differentiate fromeach other and thus show who has power, using categories such as age, gender,ethnicity, social class and disability. Members of each layer of ‘stratum’ (singular‘strat’) will have a common identity and culture as well as similar interests,lifestyles and usually, life chances. Stratification is important because itallows sociologists in health and social care to analyse who has more power orstatus over others and this is an indication as to where there is inequality so thatservices can be put in place to help certain groups or services to aid those inneed. Age can be socially constructed in the sense that it is a way in which wedifferentiate from each other. Childhood, for example, is a social construct.There is an expectation of how someone should act during childhood that isdifferent from what someone who is in teenage or adulthood should act. Theseassumptions are based on stereotypes, or assumptions. During teenage yearsthere are many changes that occur in life and this is often where there is a blurbetween youth and adulthood. For example, the age of sexual consent, tobaccosmoking, and work have all changed over the years. In the early 19th Century,there was no restriction on these activities (apart from marriage); today we havethe ‘age of consent’. Changes in education policies and welfare benefits havemeant that a child is under 18, yet there are many adult activities allowed at this

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