Sociology 318

Fall 2002

First Short Paper (15 points)

Due: October 16, 2002

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 the class instructor 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 to be approximately five double-spaced 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. When using quotes or references, 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. Use aspects of Marx’s or Durkheim’s theory to illustrate the parts of the theoretical frameworks diagram discussed in the September 13 class. Focus particularly on the "Formal structure" part of the diagram and illustrate with quotes from the writer selected.
  2. Select either Marx or Durkheim and explain how ideas from the Enlightenment or changes in European society are reflected in his writing.
  3. Write an essay explaining how either Marx or Durkheim might have dealt with issues surrounding 9/11.
  4. Transition from a society characterized by C-M-C to one where M-C-M is dominant represents a great advance but results in new contradictions. Explain with examples from Volume I of Capital.
  5. An ox has the capacity to work more hours than the number of hours required to produce subsistence for the ox. This seems to imply an "ox theory of value" instead of a labour theory of value. Explain whether or not the ox theory could adequately serve as the basis for a theory of capitalism.
  6. Explain what is meant by commodity fetishism, how it emerges, and some of its consequences.
  7. Explain the difference between absolute and relative surplus value and provide examples illustrating the difference and its consequences.
  8. In Capital, Volume I, Marx appears to have abandoned the concept of alienation. Explain how some aspects of this concept are found in Marx’s political economic analysis.
  9. Explain the meaning and importance of primitive accumulation and provide some examples.
  10. Explain the meanings of organic solidarity and discuss the extent to which it applies to contemporary Canadian society.
  11. Take some current issue such as divorce, abortion, or crime and discuss how Durkheim might have explained it as social fact, in a manner parallel to his analysis of suicide.


Example internet references


Durkheim, Emile, "Individual and Society,", September 15, 2002

Gingrich, Paul, "Classical Social Theory – II,", September 15, 2002.


Paul Gingrich

September 17, 2002



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