SOCI 2010 Final Exam
Before you begin, a few notes to observe:
Be sure that your usage of theory is congruent with the concepts and elements within the theory you are using. What I mean by this is that if a theory says to focus on economic factors in explaining an effect, then your exploration of contributing factors will focus on economic relationships and conditions. But if a theory says that the way society is ordered has everything to do with rituals and population density, then this directs your choice of contributing factors away from economics and towards other aspects of social life.
On formatting, please double-space your responses and use a minimum of 2 full pages to answer (I have decided to restrict responses to a .doc or .docx document upload). Be sure to properly cite sources. Whenever the textbook introduces major theories, they provide citations of the authors of these theories, or in some cases they cite where the theories are explained or interpreted. Use these same citations if you “use” a specific theory cited in the textbook. If you use an opinion or a statement that is made by the editors of the textbook, make sure you understand that this is what you are doing and cite these editors correctly. If you use some other source beyond the textbook, cite that appropriately. All citations should look like this: (last name, year of publication); placed directly behind the cited content. Try to avoid quoting text beyond one short sentence, as this takes away from your limited space for a response. Don’t forget to spell and grammar check. Make sure you are putting together coherent sentences that help make your argument.
In terms of a grading matrix, I don’t truly have one. However, I can offer you some general rules of thumbs that I use:
A response that provides a good sociological analysis by connecting appropriate contributing factors to a situation through use of theoretical concepts will lose no more than 3 to 7 points (depending on depth of analysis).
A response that weakly or incorrectly connects contributing factors, or that applies theory components incorrectly, or that for some other reason fails to provide an adequate sociological response can lose 7 to 15 points.
A response that barely rises above summary or description can expect to lose 15 to 20 points (sometimes more, depending on how egregious).
A poorly executed attempt in which none of the above happens will generally lose at least half the possible points.
Ok, that’s that.
For your exam, choose one question below and provide a sociological response that 1) fully addresses all elements of the question AND 2) appropriately uses sociological theories (make sure to cite any specific social scientist you use in your response). Also, please indicate which question you are answering in your response (preferably as a heading).
Finally, keep in mind that my 2-page minimum means 2 pages of response, not half a page of titles and headings, but also, there shouldn’t be a need to use more than 3 pages to answer any of the questions.
Question 1.
We had some really good conversation in class about the problems in the U.S. K-12 educational system. Discuss at least two social factors (historical or ongoing) that have contributed to ongoing inequities in access to quality education for all students in the U.S. and provide a potential solution for the future.
Question 2.
In class we talked about how one cannot look at today’s segregated urban spaces and think that where people live and how properties are valued are a natural outcome of market forces or of competition. Explain why this cannot be so and provide a sociological analysis of the type of activities that have created (and continue to create) ongoing segregated spaces based on race and class.
Question 3.
In class, we explored how our everyday concepts of gender become norms that tend to blur what we know about our biology and how this translates to who should occupy what social roles. Explore sociologically how these “gender norms” create social problems for us in politics, employment, sports, and household life.
Question 4.
When it comes to crime in the U.S., media portrayal and popular knowledge consistently lead us to believe that crimes are committed by overwhelmingly non-white, typically lower income people. Additionally, what is punished by long jail sentences and even death across the U.S. are crimes that overwhelmingly involve direct bodily harm (think homicide, rape, assault, illicit drug distribution, etc.) and not those that involve indirect bodily and/or social harm. For example, the producers of oxycotin, through their intentional businesses practices, were found guilty in misleading the public, which resulted in thousands of overdoses. Their punishment was a substantial monetary fine, but no jail time. Use a sociological theory (or set of theories) that helps explain which this difference in punishment plays out this way.
Question 5.
In our final discussions on the body, I made the point that one has to connect how we think of and regulate the body to what other sociologists have said about patriarchal and white supremacist social systems. Using sociological analysis, provide an explanation that connects how the body serves as a foundational piece to the Western social structures and systems that govern the majority of modern societies.