Sociology 319 – Contemporary Social Theories

Third Short Paper (15 points)

Due: April 24, 2006


Select a topic from the following list, different from what you selected for the first or second paper, and write a short paper on this topic.   If relevant, include a critique of the views of the sociologist or sociological perspective discussed in your paper.  The paper is to be approximately five double-spaced printed pages.  Make sure you include a list of reference sources.



1.      One of the topics from the list of topics for the second paper (but dealing with an different approach or theorist than you selected for that paper).

2.      Select an example of a current social issue and illustrate how a rational choice explanation could provide insight into the issue.

3.      Explain how interactionist and ethnomethodological approaches to sociology, which did not initially focus on gender relations, can be used to explain these. 

4.      Explain how the standpoint approaches of either Dorothy Smith or Patricia Hill Collins, or both, are relevant to a sociological understanding of the social world more generally.

5.      Select an issue from the media (e.g. TV, internet, music, film, advertisements) and analyze it using one or more of the theoretical approaches examined in the class.

6.      Select one of more articles from Baudrillard that are available on the internet and explain some of the sociological implications of his approach.  (Web sites and contains links to articles by Baudrillard). 

7.      In Redistribution or Recognition? Nancy Fraser sets her approach within the context of social justice.  Explain how the affirmative and transformative strategies she examines address principles of social justice.

8.      Axel Honneth argues that “terms of recognition” (Redistribution or Recognition? p. 113) are the appropriate framework for analyzing issues of social justice, the claims of social movements, and renewing Critical Theory.  Explain and critique his approach.

9.      Any other topic that may be relevant to a discussion of contemporary sociological theory – but discuss with me first.


Paul Gingrich

March 27, 2006