Sociology 319 – Contemporary Social Theories

Winter 2006

Second Short Paper (15 points)

Due:  March 20, 2006


Select one of the following topics and write a paper on this topic.  If you wish to select a different topic, check with me first.  The paper is to be approximately five printed double-spaced pages. 



  1. Select a section of Gender Advertisements by Erving Goffman (HF5827 G57 1979) and write an essay explaining how he uses the symbolic interactionist approach to analyze how images of gender are presented.   You could update Goffman’s examples and analysis by selecting some examples of current advertisements. 
  2. Explain Goffman’s view of the self.
  3. How can emotions be introduced into a sociological model that concerns structure, reason, interpretation, and meaning?
  4. Explain how rational choice theorists explain social interaction and social relationships. 
  5. In “Dilemmas of the Self,” Giddens argues that modernity is both fragmenting and uniting.  Explain and illustrate with examples.
  6. Critical theorists and Giddens approach modernity in different ways.  Compare and contrast ideas from “Dilemmas of the Self” with the approach of critical theorists.
  7. Feminist approaches are more compatible with some sociological perspectives than others.  Select a sociological perspective and write a paper explaining how feminist theory might be integrated into it.
  8. Smith develops a sociology of experience.  Compare her approach with symbolic interactionist perspectives.
  9. Both Collins and Smith develop models of dual consciousness.  Compare and contrast their approaches.