Sociology writing

Purpose: To apply the sociological imagination to real-life examples and to reflect on the relevance of course material to our own lives and personal observations.

Task: Write a word count at least 850 analytical paper that reflects on your own life and trajectory to date.

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Prompt: How and why did you decide to attend college? What social forces have impacted your social mobility and life chances to date. If you do not feel comfortable writing about your own life, you may interview someone else for 30 – 60 minutes to learn about their life history. Your paper should integrate at least two assigned readings to analyze and reflect on your personal experiences.

Following C Wright Mills’ argument that an “individual can understand his own experience and gauge his own fate only by locating himself within his period, that he can know his own chances in life only by becoming aware of those of all individuals in his circumstances,” write a paper based on reflecting on your own life (or interviewee) and locating yourself (or interviewee) with your/their period. Highlight those aspects of your (or interviewee’s) social background you find particularly pertinent, keeping in mind Mills’ advice that all societies have particular essential components. Not all aspects of a person’s location are as important as others in explaining their life chances and the place they presently occupy in society. You may reflect on specific personal background and social contests that would be important to focus on such as: social class, race, gender, immigration etc.

Points to think about:

1) You are applying a sociological lens to understand personal experiences. As a sociologist you are using information about social background to understand a person’s life chances.

2) Remember that this is an analytical paper not just descriptive. You are trying to analyze the effects of a person’s social location on them.

3) Always remember to pay attention to the local contexts and circumstances as well as broader social structures

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