Sociology 250

Winter 2003


Second Short Paper  (12 points)

Due:  March 10, 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 be on a topic from the middle part of the semester, although you may wish to compare one of the writers from this section with the perspective of Durkheim or Marx.  If appropriate, include a short critique of views and approaches you are discussing or examples from Canadian society. 

The paper is to be three to five double-spaced printed pages.  Provide references for any quotes or sources used and cite these in footnotes or at the end of the paper.  A reader of the paper should be able to find all sources used in the paper.  Avoid using “man” and “he” in the generic sense unless they are part of a direct quote.  Otherwise, if you use “man” or “he” I will assume you are referring to males only.



1.       Explain how the analysis of Weber, Simmel, Mead, or other theoretical approaches discussed in this middle section of the semester, could be relevant for an analysis of some social issue or aspect of Canadian society today.  Explain the theoretical approach of the author and provide examples and limitations of the theory.

2.       Marx and Weber each discussed social class.  Compare and contrast the Marxian and Weberian approach to class.

3.       Explain and critique Weber’s view of the relevance of religion to the emergence of capitalism. 

4.       “Rationalization plays the same role within Weber's theoretical system that the division of labour does within Durkheim’s theoretical approach.”  Comment on and critique this statement. 

5.       Suppose Marx had been able to return to write a book review of Weber's The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.  Write this review.

6.       Compare the approaches of Simmel and Weber with respect to rationalization of modern society.

7.       According to Simmel, modern, urban society dominates the individual but also allows for individual flexibility and freedom.  Explain this apparent paradox.

8.       Select one or more of the classical theorists (Marx, Weber, Durkheim, Simmel, Mead) and write a feminist critique of their theoretical approach.

9.       Explain how symbols and meaning are an important part of Mead’s approach to mind, self, and society.

10.   Select a set of photographs in Erving Goffman, Gender Advertisements and write an essay relating these to Goffman’s and other sociological perspectives.  (Identify the numbers of any photographs you discuss).

11.   Hochschild argues that emotions can be included in a sociological analysis of human interaction.  Explain and critique her perspective.


Paul Gingrich

February 10, 2003