Sociology 318

Fall 2002

Final Paper

Due December 13, 2002


The final paper is to be a longer and more intensive examination of the ideas of one or more of the classical theorists.  Aim at a length of approximately ten double-spaced pages.  The paper should (1) demonstrate familiarity with some part of the theoretical approach of one or more writers discussed this semester (i.e. Marx, Durkheim, Weber, Simmel, Gilman, DuBois) and (2) where possible, examine some part of one of the assigned texts, i.e. Capital, Volume 1, The Division of Labour in Society, or The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.  If the topic does not fit one of these works, then I would like you to use parts of other writings of the theorist or theorist examined in the paper.      


In the above context, you could develop a straightforward explanation of some part of one or more of the theoretical approaches, write a critique of these, or apply the theoretical approach to some contemporary or historical situation.  While the topics listed below are broad, attempt to focus your paper on some specific aspects of the topic – part of writing a good paper is to select a manageable set of issues and not attempt to discuss too many issues.  If you wish to select a topic other than those listed below, please check with me first. 


Possible topics:


  1. Explain Marx’s approach to capital accumulation and its relevance either historically or today.
  2. Both Marx and Durkheim consider the division of labour in capitalism as a cooperative venture.  Explain and critique their views on this issue.
  3. Discuss the differences and similarities between class consciousness and collective consciousness.
  4. Examine some aspect of current debates about globalization in the light of Marx’s theoretical approach.
  5. How could Durkheim express such an optimistic view of the division of labour when Weber adopts such a pessimistic view about the future of modern society?
  6. Explain the different approach to religion in Durkheim’s Division of Labour and Weber’s Protestant Ethic.
  7. Could capitalism have emerged without the influence of Protestantism? 
  8. Write a feminist critique of one of Marx, Durkheim, or Weber.
  9. Take some of the ideas of one of Marx, Durkheim, or Weber and show how these might be used to contribute to a feminist or postcolonial approach.
  10. How is the collective consciousness expressed in Canada today?


Paul Gingrich

October 31, 2002


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