For this paper, which should be about 700 words long (not counting title and works cited section), you are asked to apply course materials (concepts, theories, research findings) to someone’s life. You can write about your own life, about that of someone else whom you know well (i.e., a friend or relative) or about a public figure (politician, historical figure, athlete, movie star, etc.). If you write about yourself, please only disclose what you are comfortable with; you will post this paper to the entire class. If you write about a friend or relative, make sure to conceal their identity; use a fictitious name and don’t include unique, identifying details in your paper.
To provide a sociological analysis, please include at least four quotes or brief summaries from course materials in the following way: two from one chapter in the text (Sociology); one quote/summary from a different chapter in the text (not just from a different section in the same chapter); and an additional one from either an article posted to the class or one of the mini-lectures. Going beyond the minimum number of required references to readings is likely to strengthen your paper. The reading materials you choose can be from any section of this course. Please remember to indicate the source of your quotes/summaries, including page numbers.
Here are some examples of topics: You could focus on materials from the Education chapter to examine whether the general patterns described in the textbook fit the life experiences you chose. To what extent did testing, funding, tracking, gender/race/class biases, or interactions with teachers shape the person’s experiences? In addition, try to find material from another chapter in the text that is applicable (e.g., Chapter 1 on the sociological perspective or materials from the chapters on social class or race/ethnicity or gender). You also need to integrate materials from one article and/or one of the mini-lectures. As another example, if you focused on materials from the chapter on Socialization and Social Interaction, you could use the following concepts: What is the person’s status set? Which statuses are ascribed and which are achieved? What are the roles that go with these statuses? Is there an event in the person’s life that can be examined using the dramaturgical approach? Again, you would make sure to refer to materials from at least two chapters in the textbook and to one article or one mini-lecture. As a final example, if you wrote using materials from the chapter on Culture, you might discuss how cultural values and norms have affected the person’s life. How has language shaped them? Have they had experiences with cultural relativism or ethnocentrism? Integrate materials from another chapter in the text and from one article and/or mini-lecture.
Whichever topic you choose, your goal is to provide a sociological analysis of an aspect of someone’s life by applying course materials to it. This will involve integrating readings from the text, articles, and mini-lectures with the life story. The best papers are those that go frequently back and forth between references to readings and applications to someone’s life. Make generous use of quotes or summaries from the readings to help you illustrate your points and provide evidence for your arguments.
Please include the following in your paper:
1).an introductory paragraph that contains the thesis (or controlling idea) for the paper and a mention of the sociological concepts you will use and to whom you will apply them, thereby providing a brief overview of the main points you will cover;
body paragraphs that each contain:
2) a topic sentence (the main point you are making in this paragraph);
b. pieces of evidence that support the claim of your topic sentence. This is where you integrate
sociological materials from the readings with the life experiences you chose; and
3)c. a transition sentence to the following paragraph, in which you discuss your next point.
a 2- to 3-sentence conclusion that sums up your paper.