Any event or issue from print or television
news,documentary films, or internet sources that impacts 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 youd like suggestions or help finding an appropriate topic, please ask.
Using the information from your media account(s), personal knowledge/experience with 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 one of the macro theoretical perspectives,
Functionalism or Conflict Theory, and the micro perspective, Interactionism, as a basis for your analysis.
Feel free to be creative in your analysis of the issue, but make sure you are addressing questions such as the
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?
How 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
srpts, roles, symbolic meanings, and reality constructions? How do these things shape the actions of
the people involved?
Can the social action 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?
A potential outline of your paper might look similar to this:
I. Introduction and desrption of the issue or phenomenon using sociological terms.
II. How would a Functionalist or Conflict Theorist analyze and explain this issue?
III. How would an Interactionist analyze and explain this issue?
IV. Which theoretical perspective is the most useful for analyzing the issue? Why?
V. Concluding Remarks
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