Posted: December 8th, 2015
. This project is more like a standard research paper of roughly 10 pages. We want you to develop a response to this question: Is classical sociological theory relevant for understanding contemporary society? You are asked to respond to this question by analyzing a contemporary text – it can be a book, a short story, or a movie, or it can be a compilation of texts (e.g. a special series in a newspaper or magazine). We want students to focus on an issue of contemporary public importance (you decide what is “important” and why) and use this issue to critically and systematically engage a theoretical framework or set of ideas from one or two theorists. These papers should:
1) Introduce the problem/issue and describe it with enough detail that we understand why it’s a significant issue and what the basic parameters of the problem are.
2) Introduce the theory that you will use to interrogate the problem/issue. Make sure to provide enough detail that we can ascertain your understanding of the theory.
3) Use the theory to engage the empirical case(s): How does the theory help us understand what is happening? What new questions does the theory ask us to think about in relation to the case? What interpretations follow from the theory?
4) Use the case(s) to engage the theory: How does the case help to make visible the limits of the theory? What aspects of the case are covered by the theory and which aspects are ignored? If you are using two theories (e.g. Marx and Weber), which does a better job of explaining the case? Why?
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