Thursday, 20 May 2010

The Gipsies

The term "Gypsies" is used by outsiders to label an ethnic group the members of which refer to themselves as Rom and speak a language known as Romany. No one knows exactly how many Gypsies there are, either in general or in Spain in particular. Estimates of the Spanish Gypsy population range as low as 500,000 and as high as 700,000, and other estimates place theEastern Europe Gypsy population at between 5 and 8 million. Correct estimates are made difficult by the nomadic life-style followed by a portion of the group, by their cultural isolation, by the sense of mystery surrounding them and their origins, and by the division of the population into a number of distinctive subgroups.

It is generally accepted that Gypsies migrated out of India into Europe as early as the eleventh century. There are records of their having arrived in Spain as early as 1425 and in Barcelona, in particular, by 1447. At first they were well received and were even accorded official protection by many local authorities. In 1492, however, when official persecution began against Moors and Jews to cleanse the peninsula of non-Christian groups, the Gypsies were included in the list of peoples to be assimilated or driven out. For about 300 years, Gypsies were subject to a number of laws and policies designed to eliminate them from Spain as an identifiable group: Gypsy settlements were broken up and the residents dispersed; Gypsies were required to marry non-Gypsies; they were denied their language and rituals as well as well being excluded from public office and from guild membership. By the time this period had drawn to a close, Gypsies had been driven into a permanently submerged underclass from which they had not escaped in the late 1980s.

Spanish Gypsies are usually divided into two main groups: gitanos and hungaros (for Hungarians). The former, in turn, are divided into subgroups classified by both social class and cultural differences. In the late 1980s, the gitanos lived predominantly in southern and central Spain. Many of them took up a sedentary form of life, working as street vendors or entertainers. Although poor and largely illiterate, they were usually well integrated into Spanish society. The hungaros, however, are Kalderash, one of the divisions of the group from Central Europe (hence the name). They were much poorer than the gitanos and lived an entirely nomadic lifestyle, usually in tents or shacks around the larger cities. They made their living by begging or stealing, and they were much more of a problem for Spanish authorities. Many gitanos denied the hungaros the status of being in their same ethnic group, but outsiders tend to regard them all as basically Gypsies. In any case, whatever common ethnic consciousness they possessed was not sufficient to make them a significant political force.

Under Franco, Gypsies were persecuted and harassed, as indeed they were throughout the areas of Europe controlled by Nazi Germany. In the post-Franco era, however, Spanish government policy has been much more sympathetic toward them, especially in the area of social welfare and social services. Since 1983, for example, the government has operated a special program of compensatory education to promote educational rights for the disadvantaged, including those in Gypsy communities. The challenge will be to devise programs that bring the Gypsy population into the mainstream of the country's economic and political life without eroding the group's distinctive cultural and linguistic heritage, by ....


  • Where did the gipsy people come from?
  • How many gypsies are there in the world?
  • How many gipsies are there in Spain?
  • What language do they speak in Spain?
  • What do you think the gipsies are excluded from the society?
  • Are social integrartion programmes necesary? why?, why not?

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Types of Societies

Types of Societies

Although humans have established many types of societies throughout history, sociologists and anthropologists (experts who study early and tribal cultures) usually refer to six basic types of societies, each defined by its level of technology.

Hunting and gathering societies

The members of hunting and gathering societies primarily survive by hunting animals, fishing, and gathering plants. The vast majority of these societies existed in the past, with only a few (perhaps a million people total) living today on the verge of extinction.

To survive, early human societies completely depended upon their immediate environment. When the animals left the area, the plants died, or the rivers dried up, the society had to relocate to an area where resources were plentiful. Consequently, hunting and gathering societies, which were typically small, were quite mobile. In some cases, where resources in a locale were extraordinarily plentiful, small villages might form. But most hunting and gathering societies were nomadic, moving constantly in search of food and water.

Labor in hunting and gathering societies was divided equally among members. Because of the mobile nature of the society, these societies stored little in the form of surplus goods. Therefore, anyone who could hunt, fish, or gather fruits and vegetables

did so. These societies probably also had at least some division of labor based on gender. Males probably traveled long distances to hunt and capture larger animals. Females hunted smaller animals, gathered plants, made clothing, protected and raised children, and helped the males to protect the community from rival groups.

Hunting and gathering societies primarily survive by hunting animals, fishing, and gathering plants. The vast majority of these societies existed in the past, with only a few (perhaps a million people total) living today on the verge of extinction.

Pastoral societies

Members of pastoral societies, which first emerged 12,000 years ago, pasture animals for food and transportation. Pastoral societies still exist today, primarily in the desert lands of North Africa where horticulture and manufacturing are not possible.

Domesticating animals allows for a more manageable food supply than do hunting and gathering. Hence, pastoral societies are able to produce a surplus of goods, which makes storing food for future use a possibility. With storage comes the desire to develop settlements that permit the society to remain in a single place for longer periods of time. And with stability comes the trade of surplus goods between neighboring pastoral communities.

Pastoral societies allow certain of its members (those who are not domesticating animals) to engage in nonsurvival activities. Traders, healers, spiritual leaders, craftspeople, and people with other specialty professions appear.

Horticultural societies

Unlike pastoral societies that rely on domesticating animals, horticultural societies rely on cultivating fruits, vegetables, and plants. These societies first appeared in different parts of the planet about the same time as pastoral societies. Like hunting and gathering societies, horticultural societies had to be mobile. Depletion of the land's resources or dwindling water supplies, for example, forced the people to leave. Horticultural societies occasionally produced a surplus, which permitted storage as well as the emergence of other professions not related to the survival of the society.

Agricultural societies

Agricultural societies use technological advances to cultivate crops (especially grains like wheat, rice, corn, and barley) over a large area. Sociologists use the phrase Agricultural Revolution to refer to the technological changes that occurred as long as 8,500 years ago that led to cultivating crops and raising farm animals. Increases in food supplies then led to larger populations than in earlier communities. This meant a greater surplus, which resulted in towns that became centers of trade supporting various rulers, educators, craftspeople, merchants, and religious leaders who did not have to worry about locating nourishment.

Greater degrees of social stratification appeared in agricultural societies. For example, women previously had higher social status because they shared labor more equally with men. In hunting and gathering societies, women even gathered more food than men. But as food stores improved and women took on lesser roles in providing food for the family, they became more subordinate to men.

As villages and towns expanded into neighboring areas, conflicts with other communities inevitably occurred. Farmers provided warriors with food in exchange for protection against invasion by enemies. A system of rulers with high social status also appeared. This nobility organized warriors to protect the society from invasion. In this way, the nobility managed to extract goods from the “lesser” persons of society.

Feudal societies

From the 9th to 15th centuries, feudalism was a form of society based on ownership of land. Unlike today's farmers, vassals under feudalism were bound to cultivating their lord's land. In exchange for military protection, the lords exploited the peasants into providing food, crops, crafts, homage, and other services to the owner of the land. The caste system of feudalism was often multigenerational; the families of peasants may have cultivated their lord's land for generations.

Between the 14th and 16th centuries, a new economic system emerged that began to replace feudalism. Capitalism is marked by open competition in a free market, in which the means of production are privately owned. Europe's exploration of the Americas served as one impetus for the development of capitalism. The introduction of foreign metals, silks, and spices stimulated great commercial activity in Europe.

Industrial societies

Industrial societies are based on using machines (particularly fuel-driven ones) to produce goods. Sociologists refer to the period during the 18th century when the production of goods in mechanized factories began as the Industrial Revolution. The Industrial Revolution appeared first in Britain, and then quickly spread to the rest of the world.

As productivity increased, means of transportation improved to better facilitate the transfer of products from place to place. Great wealth was attained by the few who owned factories, and the “masses” found jobs working in the factories.

Industrialization brought about changes in almost every aspect of society. As factories became the center of work, “home cottages” as the usual workplace became less prevalent, as did the family's role in providing vocational training and education. Public education via schools and eventually the mass media became the norm. People's life expectancy increased as their health improved. Political institutions changed into modern models of governance. Cultural diversity increased, as did social mobility. Large cities emerged as places to find jobs in factories. Social power moved into the hands of business elites and governmental officials, leading to struggles between industrialists and workers. Labor unions and welfare organizations formed in response to these disputes and concerns over workers' welfare, including children who toiled in factories. Rapid changes in industrial technology also continued, especially the production of larger machines and faster means of transportation. The Industrial Revolution also saw to the development of bureaucratic forms of organization, complete with written rules, job descriptions, impersonal positions, and hierarchical methods of management.

Postindustrial societies

Sociologists note that with the advent of the computer microchip, the world is witnessing a technological revolution. This revolution is creating a postindustrial society based on information, knowledge, and the selling of services. That is, rather than being driven by the factory production of goods, society is being shaped by the human mind, aided by computer technology. Although factories will always exist, the key to wealth and power seems to lie in the ability to generate, store, manipulate, and sell information.

Sociologists speculate about the characteristics of postindustrial society in the near future. They predict increased levels of education and training, consumerism, availability of goods, and social mobility. While they hope for a decline in inequality as technical skills and “know-how” begin to determine class rather than the ownership of property, sociologists are also concerned about potential social divisions based on those who have appropriate education and those who do not. Sociologists believe society will become more concerned with the welfare of all members of society. They hope postindustrial society will be less characterized by social conflict, as everyone works together to solve society's problems through science.

Read more:,articleId-26856.html#ixzz0oJmPCQiU





Special features

Hunting and gathering societies

Pastoral societies

Horticultural societies

Agricultural societies

Feudal societies

Industrial societies

Postindustrial societies

To Know more..

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Vocabulary Units 9 and 10

Unit 9

Unit 10



Erasmus de Rotterdam

Thomas Moro

Juan Luis Vives

Johannes Gutenberg

Printing Press

Nicolas Copernicus

Heliocentric Theory


Geocentric theory




Leon Battista Alberti










Albrecht Durer

Herrerian Style

Plateresque style


Martin Luther





Henry VIII

Anglican Church

Council of Trent

Society of Jesus


Charles I

Holy Roman Empire


Juan de Padilla

Philip II


Ottoman Turks

German Protestant Princes

Elizabeth I

Invincible Armada

Hernan Cortes

Aztec Empire

Inca Empire

Francisco Pizarro

Council of Indies

Viceroyalty of Peru

Viceroyalty of New Spain

Casa de Contratación

  • First of all you have to do the glosary in the end of your book.
  • Second, you have to look for the meaning of these words and write them in english:
You need to know these words and your meanings for the next exam. I´m going to ask you.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Population World

In Spring 2000 world population estimates reached 6 billion; that is 6 thousand million. The distribution of the earth's population is shown in this map.

India, China and Japan appear large on the map because they have large populations. Panama, Namibia and Guinea-Bissau have small populations so are barely visible on the map.

Population is very weakly related to land area. However, Sudan which is geographically the largest country in Africa, has a smaller population than Nigeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa and Tanzania.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Doctors Without Borders

Doctor Without Borders

Find out more about Doctors without Borders and other non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that work in developing countries.

• Would you be prepared to work in one of them? Why? Why not?
• What problems face most people in developing countries?
• Would their situation be better if the birth rate fell? Why? Why not?
• Why do many people in Africa die before they are 40 years old?
• Why is a child in an underdeveloped country more likely to die than a child in a developed one?

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Population rates

There are three fundamental mechanisms which influence populations and their structure: births, deaths and migrations. The purpose of this is to introduce some of the basic calculations which are used to understand the nature of populations. Typically, demographic variables are expressed as rates. A rate is a measure that reflects the frequency of an event (such as birth), relative to the population that may experience that event. Rates are useful because they allow us to make comparisons between different populations and because they can be compared across time to discover trends in a particular population.

Measuring Fertility: CRUDE BIRTH RATE

The crude birth rate (often referred to simply as the birth rate) is the most commonly used index of fertility. This is the ratio of the number of live births each year to the total population (usually measured at the mid-point of the year). It is expressed as the number of births per 1,000 population. e.g. if 3,000 babies were born in a population of 150,000, then the crude birth rate would be 20 per 1,000.

1. Why is it called a crude rate?

Measuring Mortality: CRUDE DEATH RATE

The crude death rate is the number of deaths per 1,000 members of a given population. It may be calculated for the population at the mid-point of the year or at the beginning of the year.

Population Growth: NATURAL INCREASE

Natural increase is a simple measure of population growth which examines the differences between births (fertility) and deaths (mortality) in a given group. It is usually determined by subtracting the crude death rate from the crude birth rate. Natural increase is generally expressed as a percentage figure. e.g. an annual natural increase of 0.8 means that a country is increasing its population by 0.8 per cent each year.

If the death rate is greater than the birth rate, then a population may be experiencing natural decrease.

2. What aspect of population growth or decline is not measured by the natural increase calculation?

Births and Deaths in the Republic of Ireland, 1995 – 2002 (selected years)

Source: CSO, 2004















Total Population (estimated)





3. Calculate the Birth and Death Rates for Ireland in each of the four years

4. Calculate the Natural Increase for Ireland in each of the four years.

5. Write a short paragraph outlining the population changes experienced over the period from 1995 to 2002, based on this data.

Introduction to Population

Population Explosion Worksheet

1. Open the web page by clicking

2. Click on ‘6 Billion human beings’

Remember this is an interactive web page and in completing the tasks you will find your answers.

The world today

1. What is the population of the world when you opened this web page?

2. How many people were on the earth when you were born and what percentage has the population increased by since then?

3. What is the predicted population in 120 years time?

4. How many babies come to life everyday?

How many children in your lifetime?

5. How many babies is it possible for a woman to have in her lifetime?

6. If a woman became sterile at 45, how many babies is it possible for her to have?

7. What are the main reasons why women do not have this many children?

8. Enter on the web page the best age for a woman to get married. How many does this reduce the fertility potential (the number of babies you can have) by?

9. What is the average age of marriage in the regions listed below?

North America


Latin America




10. Enter on the web page the number of months you think a woman should breastfeed for. How much does the birth potential reduce by?

11. How many months, on average, do women from each of the regions below breastfeed?

North America


Latin America




How many children in your lifetime?

12. Enter on the web page the number of children you want. If you do not use birth control, how many children could you have?

13. For each of the birth control methods shown below, write down their efficiency rate.

Efficiency rate

Have no sex






14. What is the most common form of birth control worldwide?