Posted: January 10th, 2017
Assignment 1: Observation The Week 3 Homework 1 Assignment meets the following course objectives: Apply a sociological perspective to the social world. Analyze contemporary social issues using the sociological imagination and use sociological theories and concepts to analyze everyday life. Describe culture and socialization. Describe deviance and social control from a sociological perspective Develop written communication skills and critical thinking skills. Apply American Psychological Association formatting and citation style when completing course assignments. A norm is a social rule. There are many norms that help to frame how we are supposed to behave in our daily lives, one example is gender norms (what are social rules we follow to ‘be masculine’ and to ‘be feminine’); another example is standing in line (consider what would happen if you cut everyone in line at 8am in a Starbucks?). Note: it is important that you conduct the observations and norm breaking during this class; recalling past observations is not the same as purposefully observing your surroundings from a sociological perspective. In essay format, complete steps 1 through 6 below. 11 1. Consider the assigned reading to this point a. Define norm b. List two norms you tend to observe in everyday life. The purpose of this exercise if for you to observe ONE social setting to begin to detect patterns in human behavior – observance of norms and potentially behaviors that deviate from the norm. This week’s exercise includes two parts. First, you will need to go to ONE public place and observe the people there for 25 minutes. Note people’s behavior, their demeanor, their reactions/interactions to/with each other. Second, you will break a norm and observe people’s reactions to your norm breaking behavior. 2. 2. Identify the norm you are going to break. (**this should not include breaking the law**) 3. Choose a time and location for when you are going to conduct your observations 4. Go to the specified location and proceed with your observations. a. You must also be a keen social observer; a “peeping Tom” in the sociological sense. Take handwritten (recommended) and/or mental notes of: i. details about your chosen location (time of day, lighting, furniture, plants, sounds, temperature, smell, vibe/energy, etc) ii. the people around you, not only their behavior but general information about their sociodemographic characteristics (age, race/ethnicity, gender, socio-economic status, etc); iii. your thoughts and feelings while observing may be a brief section of the paper. b. After observing your social setting for 25 minutes, you will now go about your norm- breaking i. note: if your norm-breaking includes changing your visible appearance, you will need to conduct your general observations, and observations when breaking your norm, at two different times. ii. The setting and timing of your norm-breaking behavior will vary, but carefully observe people’s reactions to you during your norm breaking for a minimum of 10 minutes. (the longer the better) iii. If you have reservations or concerns about the norm-breaking, please contact your instructor with any questions. Also remember that deviance not only consists of negative behaviors, but can be positive as well (paying for someone’s coffee in line, greeting strangers, etc.). If you find it difficult to break a norm because of your location (such as a military deployment) or concerns about drawing negative attention, you may want to enlist the help of a friend or family member who can break a norm while you observe. 5. Write a 2 – 4 page reaction paper about your observations and norm breaking. Your paper should include a. Norm definition, examples of two norms, and norm you chose to broke b. a thick description of the location (i.e. building you were in (what is the architecture like), descriptions of people there (in terms of socio-demographic characteristics: age, race/ethnicity, gender, socio-economic status), sounds, smells, temperature, time of day and week, etc); c. clear detail of your observations; d. analysis of your observations using at least FOUR sociological concepts from the readings so far i. this should include clearly identifying the concept you are going to use, defining the concept using the text, and then applying the concept to your observation 1. because you will be paraphrasing or directly quoting from another source, you will need to use APA-formatting with in-text citations and full references to give your sources proper credit (otherwise it is plagiarism). See APA citation tips under Resources>Materials and Resources folder for more detail. e. a discussion of your experience of the situation. For example you might write how you felt when you started to detect a pattern in sociodemographic characteristics and/or behavior. f. A discussion of your norm breaking behavior, how people reacted (or didn’t), how you felt, etc.
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