Course Writing Assignment Instructions:
Find a social issue or social phenomenon covered in the media. Any event or issue from reputable news sources (NY Times, LA Times, documentary films) that involves many people or some structural aspect of society should be fine. Issues that have had recent coverage in multiple media sources tend to work best and typically provide the most in-depth examples. Please stick to issues that occur in our society or that at least directly involve the United States. If you'd like suggestions or help finding an appropriate topic, please ask.
Using the information from your media accounts, personal knowledge of the issue, and any relevant class materials (the theoretical perspectives table and course text, for example), perform a sociological analysis of the social phenomenon. Use at least two of the theoretical perspectives (Functionalism, Conflict Theory, Interactionism) as a basis for your analysis. After your application of the perspectives, think about how a sociologist might do further research on the issue. Feel free to be creative in your analysis of the issue, but make sure you are addressing questions such as the following:
• What is the basic social issue/event/phenomenon? What makes it a social issue/phenomenon?
• What aspects of social structure (statuses, groups, organizations, and institutions) are involved? How can the structural elements of the issue be examined from a macro perspective?
• Now would a sociologist examine this issue for things such as functions/dysfunctions, equality/inequality, power imbalances, integration/disintegration, cohesion, and agreement or disagreement on values and norms. ***Depending on your topic, some of these may not apply.
• What is the symbolic interactionist view of this phenomenon? Can you give examples of cultural scripts, statuses and roles, symbolic meanings, and reality constructions? How do these things shape the actions of the people involved?
• Can the action in the issue be explained in terms of dramaturgy or exchange theory?
• Which theoretical perspective, in your view, is most useful for understanding and explaining this issue from a sociological standpoint? Why?
• How could a sociologist do research on this issue to understand it better? What methods. of data n collection would be the best to use? Why? ***Explain a rough research design or plan
A potential outline of your paper might look similar to this:
I. Introduction and description of the issue or phenomenon using sociological terms.
II. How would a Functionalist and/or Conflict Theorist analyze and explain this issue? (Apply concepts to multiple examples you found in the media)
III. How would an Interactionist analyze and explain this issue? (Apply concepts to examples)
IV. Which theoretical perspective, in your view, is the most useful for analyzing the issue? Why?
V. How could a sociologist do further research on this issue? (What methods would work? Why?)
VI. Concluding Remarks
Assignment Guidelines: Essays will be submitted via Canvas as a (pdf or doc file) in the designated "Course Paper" assignment. Submissions should be a minimum of 3 pages (750 words), typed, double-spaced, with 1" margins. There is no maximum length, You should have at least two distinct media accounts of your issue to use as cis source of examples. The use of outside, academic sources beyond your media examples of your topic not required. Any sources used should be cited with a formal citation style (MLA, APA, ASA) . Grading will be. based on effort, originality, depth of analysis, and proper application of terms, concepts, and theories to examples from your issue. This essay is worth 100 points, which is 20% of your course grade, so be certain that it meets college-level standards and is an example of your best effort to demonstrate what you've learned in Introductory Sociology. Essays must be uploaded to Canvas by 11:59PM, Thursday, 07/25/19; no late submissions will be accepted without prior approval.