Sociology 250

Winter 2003

First Short Paper  (12 points)

Due: January 31, 2003

Choose one of the following topics and write a short paper on this topic.  If you wish to select a different topic, discuss this with me first.  The paper is to clearly explain and discuss the topic chosen.  If appropriate, you may want to include a short critique of views and approaches you are discussing or examples from Canadian society. 

The paper is be three to five double-spaced printed pages.  Most of the paper is to be in your own words, although you may wish to use quotes to illustrate your argument.  But do not rely on quotes to make the argument for you – I would like to read your explanation of the concepts and ideas. 

While the notes on the internet and on reserve in the University Library are for your use in this class, do not use these notes for specific reference sources for the paper.   

Avoid using “man” and “he” in the generic sense, except where they are part of a direct quote.  Otherwise, if you use “man” or “he” I will assume you are referring to males only.


  1. Select either Durkheim or Marx and explain how social changes in Europe or Enlightenment thought affected his theoretical approach.
  2. Adams and Sydie title the chapter on Durkheim “Society as Sui Generis.  Explain why this is an apt title for Durkheim’s theoretical approach.
  3. Durkheim argues that modern society has a restitutive system of law, indicating organic solidarity.  Explain and, if possible, provide examples from Canada today.
  4. Explain Durkheim’s abnormal forms of the division of labour and provide examples.

5.      “One of the social issues Durkheim attempted to explain in his theoretical approach was to reconcile individualism and social cohesion.”  Discuss.

  1. Write an essay explaining how suicide is a social fact.  Outline Durkheim’s approach and, if possible, provide an example of how other social facts in Canadian society today might be explained in a similar manner.
  2. Explain what it means when Marx's approach to social analysis is described as “dialectical and historical materialism.”  (Adams and Sydie, p. 126)
  3. How is surplus value created and how does it expand in Marx's model of capitalism? 
  4. Explain the main aspects of Marx's view of alienation, briefly commenting on the sources and consequences of alienation.
  5. Identify the social classes of Marx’s analysis of capitalism.  Describe how the major social classes form the structure of capitalist society and create changes in that structure. 
  6. Marx is often regarded as capitalism’s severest critic, yet his praise for capitalism was greater than that of other sociological theorists.  Discuss and explain this apparent paradox.
  7. Adams and Sydie (p. 137) state that Engels “tried to provide a materialist explanation of gender relations.”  Discuss and explain.



Where you do use quotes or references, these should be properly cited in footnotes or at the end of the paper.  You may use any of the common method of referencing – MLA or APA or others.  Where you have a quote or specific reference, provide the page number for the source so a reader of the paper can find these sources.

Example internet reference

Durheim, Emile, “Individual and Society,”, September 15, 2002



Paul Gingrich

January 10, 2003



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