Here are the key things to keep in mind regarding your Core Assessment Research Paper:
- This “research paper” is worth 180points and should take at least 8-10 pages (MINIMUM 2,000 words) to adequately complete.
- One of the primary goals of this course is for you to understand the “relationship between your individual experiences and the forces in the larger society that shapes your actions and reactions” – the Sociological Imagination. So this paper will be a reflection of the sociological theories and concepts you have studied to demonstrate your understanding of the Sociological Imagination.
- This Core Assessment Paper has been designed for you demonstrate that you have understood and met the Core Learning Outcomes outlined at the beginning of the course.
- Throughout this paper you MUST include thoughtful, meaningful examples to support your work and demonstrate your knowledge and understanding.
- Your paper should include at least three (3) library references to books or academic articles (your textbook COUNTS as one resource and you can use the online Park Library Resources to support your research effort), and at least three (3) other web-based references to support your answers. PLEASE NOTE: You CANNOT use Wikipedia or any other type of “encyclopedia” as a source for this paper.
- Your research paper grade will be determined as follows:
- 60% = the sociological presentation
- 10% = style, including competence with the APA format (for information on the APA style and format go to the APA Resources link on the Course Home menu.
- 10% = logical flow and organization
- 10% = analysis, application, and examples
- 10% = evaluation and critique
- MAKE SURE you format your paper so it is easy to read. There are three (3) major parts to the assignment, so break you work into readable “chunks” based upon the major parts identified below.
- You will submit your Core Assessment Research Paper by 11:59 pm CT of Unit 8.
Part I – The Sociological Perspective
CLEARLY identify a current social problem/issue (with research support) that affects you personally. Use the “sociological perspective” to discuss the problem/issue and include these elements in your answer:
- Discuss IN DETAIL which of the major theoretical perspectives in Sociology that best “explains” the social problem/issue, and be sure to demonstrate your thorough understanding of the theoretical perspective based upon the text AND supporting research.
- Explain the “cultural” components/elements that contribute to the causes, effects, and/or solutions of the problem/issue.
- Identify and discuss the relationship of the “socialization” process to the issue/problem, causes and solutions, make sure and talk about what “agents of socialization” are important in your discussion.
Part II – Social Inequality
The focus of this section of the paper is on several key concepts; social class, gender, and race/ethnicity, and the how these relate to the overall concept of social inequality. Here are the questions/issues to address in this part of the paper:
- Identify as clearly as possible your social class as it relates to your personal (family) wealth, income, and occupational status and the relationship of your social class to your educational journey, past, present and future.
- Identify your gender and discuss the consequences of your gender on current and potential occupational status, wealth, and income.
- Identify your race/ethnicity and discuss the positive and/or negative consequences related to access to educational and occupational opportunities AND whether or not individual and/or institutional discrimination has affected your life chances.
Part III – Social Institutions
The focus of this part of the Core Assessment is on several of the dominant social institutions in society as presented in the text as “chapters”:
- Chapter 8: Social Class in the United States
- Chapter 11: Politics and the Economy
- Chapter 12: Marriage and the Family
- Chapter 13: Education and Religion
Here is what you need to do:
- Select two (2) of the chapters identified above and then focus on EACH of the institutions covered in the chapter and discuss sociologically how they affect you and others.
- Use information from the text, other resources, and your personal experiences to critically evaluate the relationship between the institutions and the social trends and their effects on you and others.
Part One – The Sociological Perspective
In the modern world, many people experience various social issues that may affect them in one way or the other and a good example; is that several people live a miserable life with minimal employment rate, poor health conditions, various family issues, too much alcohol and crime. These problems when talked about, several people perceive that they solely belong to the doers and that they and other people with the same difficulties should be blamed for the causes. However, sociology differs with this perception as it stresses that personal issues are typically rooted in problems originating from the society itself even though personal trouble can refer to problems affecting a particular person such as eating disorder, unemployment, and divorce that should be blamed on the person’s moral and personal difficulties. Various issues perceived to be private troubles are best outlined as public problems where social imagination will highlight the ability to embrace the structural basis for individual challenges.
As observed by Western, B., & Pettit, B. (2010), unemployment is a modern social problem that has personally affected my mode of living. Since, when a few given group of people are unemployed, there are views that some of the factors contributing to their unemployment can be derived from laziness, poor job habits, and lack of commitment. The situation can best be described as a personal problem since it is profoundly contributed by personal behaviors and the methods of handling cases. Consequently, when several people are unemployed, then it is reflected to be a social problem as the very composition of opportunities fades away. Both the statement of the issue and the degree of possible solutions need the contemplation of both the economic and political bodies of the society.
There are three different theoretical perspective that guides sociological thinking about social issues; they comprise of the functional theory, symbolic interactionist theory and the conflict theory (DiMaggio, Nag, & Blei, 2013). The three perspectives focus on the same social difficulties; however, they do so in various ways and perceptions, and when combined, they offer a broader view of social issues more than a particular look can offer. Therefore, the conflict theory best explains the cause of unemployment which has since become a social issue within various groups of people across the globe. The theory explains that in every society, it is divided into two groups based on the ownership of the means of production that includes factories, tools and the like. Moreover, in the ruling category, they are typically in charge of production while the working class does not own anything thus can be subjected to exploitation by the ruling class. Conflict theory further describes that various groups in the society bear different interests deriving from their various social standings that leads to several perceptions as a result of significant social issues (DiMaggio, Nag, & Blei, 2013). Consequently, the theory best explains the sources of unemployment that are driven by ethnicity, gender, race and another dimension of society’s hierarchy that at the long run leads to inequality among the members of a particular community.
Culture can best be described as the customs and beliefs that are implemented by a given group of people in a society hence can possess both positive and negative effect on the behavior, attitude, ideas, and values of various people. Some cultural components have significantly contributed to unemployment as a social affecting several societies across the universe leading to poverty. Moreover, having to identify cultural elements is a critical factor towards building cultural competence. Language and communication style are cultural components that lead to unemployment and is mostly associated with the language barrier that arises when two different groups of people cannot communicate the same language efficiently (DiMaggio, Nag, & Blei, 2013). Therefore, employing these two distinct groups of people in one organization becomes difficult hence leading to unemployment. However, this remedy can be solved through encouraging the learning of diverse languages in a group through engaging translators that will aid in easing communication among employees and employers. Also, gender role is a cultural component that leads to unemployment as it is considered to be responsibilities, appropriate and acceptable behavior of men and women. Gender roles have led to discrimination against women and lack of gender equality as they are perceived to be only responsible for household duties. It can be solved through an equal allocation of roles among the society members where women can also be in charge of managing resources within the community.
According to Western, B., & Pettit, B. (2010), socialization is a technique through which people are educated on how to act proficiently in a given societal set up where they develop an understanding of the norms and expectations, embrace society’s beliefs, and know the various societal values. Unemployment can have multiple setbacks to the organization including economic impacts where individuals with less money will resolve to purchase fewer goods and services thus imposing a reduction in profitability. Moreover, it leads to a mental problem where issues such as depression and hopelessness emerge as the sense of purpose fades away. The solution towards this remedy merely is to come up with activities that in turn lead to the creation of employments such as opening up an industry within the community (Western & Pettit, 2010).
Socialization assists individuals to operate successfully in their social groups as this is achieved through adopting different agents of socialization which comprise of peer groups and families, formal and informal social organizations. Through intuitional agents that are social groups in the society, they are useful in enlightening people more about socialization where agencies such as workplaces, schools and the government will educate its citizens on how to behave. Other organizations such as the media fraternity encourage socialization through disseminating information concerning norms and expectations (DiMaggio, Nag, & Blei, 2013). Religion also plays a significant role towards socialization where it brings people together to worship and learn more about norms of a particular society.
Part Two – Social Inequality
According to Dorling (2015), social class is the status of hierarchy where different people are categorized or classified by their esteem and level of prestige acquired in various ways such as economic achievement and accumulation of a fortune. Moreover, social class can refer to a given level in such category where there are four favorite groups of these social types; upper class, middle class, working class and the lower class. The lower social class is typically characterized by poverty, homelessness, and unemployment where a majority of individuals in this group are viewed to have completed secondary level of education. Also, they suffer from lack of proper healthcare, safety, food, and suitable housing as they are characterized as welfare mothers who exploit the system by giving birth to too many children. The working class is considered to be the group of people such as maids, waitresses, and cashiers who continuously engage in manual labor as a way of acquiring status. The middle class is those people who are neither rich nor poor hence they fall into the “sandwich” class and are divided into two distinct groups according to their education level, wealth, and status (Dorling, 2015). The lower middle class are regarded to be the less educated people such as lecturers, clerks and small business owners while the upper middle class are highly educated and professional individuals with high salaries.
Personally, I belong to the high or upper class that is viewed to be holding a significant portion of the global fortune which is further subdivided into two levels that include the lower-upper and upper-upper divisions. The lower-upper group is people with money generated from various investments and business entities while the upper-upper constitutes the noble who are people that have been rich for a long time. The upper-class individuals are typically subjected to gaining higher degrees from more effective schools and are likely to achieve better education techniques and qualifications. Another possibility associated with being educated from more prestigious schools is that there are higher chances of getting a well-paying and stable career which in turn results in excellent wages. Upper-class parents are not only able to send their young ones to elite personals colleges but also to public state-funded classes which are of high quality (Western & Pettit, 2010). Well-fortuned people provides more property taxes typically as revenues which results in higher-quality schools. Hence, education inequalities are among the factors that prolong the class difference among generations.
Personally, am a female; and several differences that are portrayed in employment distribution of both men and women within careers, have been a debated factor and have continued to a projecting feature of the employment market. Currently, gender determines the kind of professions that can be successfully articulated by both male and females. Other factors that contribute to the degree of careers that women can handle are determined by personal preferences, societal perceptions about gender roles and how family activities affect the occupational nature. Women tend to be more represented in clerical and services occupations; for instance, a majority of the male gender are disproportionally employed in laborer, operator and craft works (Western & Pettit, 2010). The female sex has dramatically shifted to occupations which have recorded an extension over the last decades and have significantly participated in development projects. Moreover, women have significantly increased their dominance in various careers with a majority of women working in managerial and professional positions. In the modern society, women continue to dominate in services occupations more so in private household occupations and protective services.
Regardless of the efforts made in the professional industry, there still exists wide gaps between male and females in economic empowerment and numerous opportunities that arise; hence, the policymakers still need to handle this difference urgently. In many countries, there are a majority of men that work as compared to women, and they are well paid with similar job group as to that of the female gender. Due to lack of gender equality, most men are likely to be wealthier than women, and this imposes a vast economic cost as it interferes with productivity and slows growth. Some of the reasons that lead to gender and income inequality include; gender gaps in labor force involvement where men get more employed that women thus resulting in income inequality. Furthermore, women are likely to get employed in the informal sector of an organization which records fewer earnings thus stretching the gender earning space and encourages income inequality. Lastly, the disparity of opportunities which includes imbalanced access to health services, biased access to education and finance are prevalent between men and women hence leading to inequality in the level of income (Western & Pettit, 2010).
In the United States, there are some ethnic groups with people from various parts of the globe which have affected access to education and occupational changes as a result of discrimination (Dorling & Dorling, 2015). Personally, am a Native American (Caucasian); several kids of foreign-born parents possess an immigrant advantage about educational achievements in the United States learning organizations. In safeguarding the socioeconomic status, many immigrants from Asian and Latin American nations reflects a valuing education advantage and are reported to be putting more effort in their education performance. Moreover, ethnicity has resulted into racism wherein a classroom, a large number of teachers continuously have conflicts with the black African-American and Caribbean students (Dorling & Dorling, 2015). It will lead to the creation of an anti-school subculture which embraces some values, characters, and attitudes in opposition to the primary objectives of the school. Racism in schools has resulted in reduced performance among students since there is not enough encouragement and support from the teachers hence they will be less bothered with education. Some other factors which are considered to be outside school factors also affect the performance of students. Several teenage people from racial backgrounds are subjected to disadvantages typically about their public circumstances such as inadequate housing, congestion and staying with jobless family members. Thus, if a student’s parents are unemployed, it implies that they are likely to have no interest in the academic progress of their kid’s school achievement.
Part 3 – Social Institution
According to chapter twelve on matrimonial and domestic, there are some sociological interpretations or traditions that a household tumbles and get hooked on. Therefore, some of these institutions include; practical, battle and the public relations methodologies that are thoroughly discussed in this section and they may influence or alter a person livelihood in one or the other (Bijker et al. 2012). For instance, in a functional organization, the intimate executes some basic meanings for humanity with the aim of conserving public solidity and protecting the culture operational. On the other hand, the household is preferably the primary basis of passionate backing for its affiliates, for example, it offers them with nourishment, fashion and housing and new basics. Moreover, the domestic also support in modifying exciting action and erotic imitation where all the customs and prohibitions are being educated to help folks in the social order not to do certain things. Therefore, in most instances under this association, the intimate plays a vital role in the lives of the people like offering emotive and useful provision (Bijker et al. 2012).
Engagement is the other association in the marital and kinfolk, where the intimate donates to communal disparity by supporting economic difference and strengthening patriarchy. Therefore, according to community uniqueness, it affords an existence odd to its offspring, however, at the same time, it underlines a culture’s arrangement of stratification (Choo & Ferree, 2010). These happen because kinfolks tend to permit alongside their prosperity to their teenagers, and for that reason, relations very prominently in the quantity of treasure they have, then the domestic help in supporting present unfairness. Furthermore, under this association, most individuals are much affected negatively due to the corporal viciousness, brutality, and cries that take place in their relations. Finally, is the general household communications which look at how the private associates and close pairs relate on the day-to-day foundation and attain at a collective compassions of their circumstances. For example, spouses and hubbies have got various charms of a message, and the communal lesson disturbs the prospects that partners ought to their matrimonies and for both. Therefore, in this process, there is both advantage and disadvantage in it since there is sharing of each other’s situations and at the same time, the societal session upsets the anticipation of the marital.
Concerning section thirteen on the schooling and conviction, teaching is an organization where many things are being learned in the society where people stay. For instance, teenagers acquire aids, information, and comportment which are actual and essential potentials for corporate affiliates over the development of training (Bijker et al. 2012). Schooling, therefore, entails the roles and customs which safeguard the communication of these characters from one age bracket to the afterward. Thus, through this program, it has helped to instill good morals in the people and associates of the community and has encouraged the prosperity of the society as the whole. On the same note, tutoring and creed have made an association that is called instruction where wrapping of a wide variety of tactics to take place. Moreover, at the same time, it makes teaching to develop an official edification of coaching by a great exercise of educators to chart guidelines that are agreed by the representatives (Choo & Ferree, 2010). Also, learning can also be somewhat that children can perceive a senior and trail; while on the hand tuition can use the conservatory scheme to protect coaching. These, therefore, has made a massive impact in the lives of children and their parents positively in the learning and in acquiring knowledge.
Finally, personal familiarity as an institute of part thirteen which makes the paternities to decide that their young children obtain education from home-based. This was done because the parents thought that the civic institution arrangement was not satisfying their obligations, and at the similar period, they required to have extra domestic time due to more parents’ jobs which formed lesser time for the intimate (Choo & Ferree, 2010). Therefore, most the learning prospectus sessions were being measured by the mothers although it never took place in class time to time. However, this process was at the same moment good and bad because, in one way, it created a good relationship between the children and parents but on the other hand it never gave the pupils time and rights to mingle with other children in school.
Bijker, W. E., Hughes, T. P., Pinch, T., & Douglas, D. G. (2012). The social construction of technological systems: New directions in the sociology and history of technology. MIT press.
Choo, H. Y., & Ferree, M. M. (2010). Practicing intersectionality in sociological research: A critical analysis of inclusions, interactions, and institutions in the study of inequalities. Sociological theory, 28(2), 129-149.
DiMaggio, P., Nag, M., & Blei, D. (2013). Exploiting affinities between topic modeling and the sociological perspective on culture: Application to newspaper coverage of US government arts funding. Poetics, 41(6), 570-606.
Dorling, D., & Dorling, D. (2015). Injustice: Why social inequality still persists. Policy Press.
Lindsey, L. L. (2015). Gender roles: A sociological perspective. Routledge.
Western, B., & Pettit, B. (2010). Incarceration & social inequality. Daedalus, 139(3), 8-19.