3 pages doubled spaced please follow complete instructions. More details are stated below, but the basic idea is that you will summarize two ideas learned about one of our theorists, and then explain how one of these ideas has helped you to better understand any social issue or problem – it can be an issue that you experience in your own life, that you study in school, or that you have no experience with but are simply interested in.
The latter part of the paper is intentionally open-ended. I would like for you to have the space to apply these ideas to whatever is most interesting or relevant to you. I realize that some students may not work as well with open-endedness, so please don’t hesitate to contact me if you want feedback on your ideas as you begin.
You are not being asked to do any outside research for this paper, though you are certainly welcome to if you so choose.
The assignment:
First part:
Choose a theorist – Durkheim, Marx, or Weber – and give a detailed summary of two of their theories/ideas. You may choose two ideas from one theorist or one idea each from two different theorists.
These are some examples of potential choices for the summary portion, but you are not limited to these:
– Durkheim’s theory of increased suicide being primarily due to the breakdown of social bonds
– Durkheim’s idea about the corporation being the best institution to restore social bonds
– Marx’s theory that the contradictions of capitalism will inevitably cause its collapse
– Marx’s (and Engels’) theory that changes to the production system/economic order result in changes to social order and the ways that people live
– Weber’s theory of the Protestant Ethic and how it explains Protestants’ greater success in capitalism
– Weber’s idea of what bureaucracy is and why it has become the dominant organizational form
Again, this is not an exhaustive list – any idea or concept covered in the class is an option. I am just looking for you to be able to explain whichever two concepts you choose clearly in your own words.
Second part:
Explain how one of these ideas has helped you to better understand some social phenomenon or problem.
For instance, you could take on how Durkheim or Weber help to better understand religion, how Durkheim enhances understanding of suicide or mental health more broadly, how Marx helps to understand capitalism or inequality, how Weber helps to understand power. These are just examples but again, you certainly are not limited to them.
And to reiterate, if you’re unsure about the topic you want to cover, please do not hesitate to reach out and I will be happy to discuss ideas.
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Grading Breakdown:
– Introduction paragraph, stating which ideas you will summarize and which social phenomenon you will analyze in the paper – 15 points
– 3 main paragraphs, one for each of the summaries, one for your take on how a concept has enhanced your knowledge – 20 points for each
(Of course, you can have more than three paragraphs in the body of the paper)
– Conclusion paragraph – 15 points
– Good organization and clarity – 10 points