Sociology 250

Final Examination

2-5 p.m., December 14, 1999


Answer each of the four parts.  Within each part you have choices.  There are a total of 100 points on the examination.


A. Definition or Explanation.  (4 x 5 = 20 points).  Select four of the following and explain their meaning for social theory. 

acting units                    interaction order                       dramaturgy

emotional labour           fashion                                      accounting

postmodernity               virtual class                               staple theory of Innis

social gospel                 gesture                                     Robert Park

epiphanic moments       situations


B. Differences Among Concepts.  (2 x 10 = 20 points).  Select two of the following and explain the sociological significance of the different concepts.

1. Front and back region.

2. Sex, sex category, and gender.

3. Social facts for structuralists and social facts for ethnomethodologists.

4. Social order and feminist standpoint.

5. Structural determination and creative selves.

6. Stimulus, interpretation, and response.


C. Short Answer.  (20 points).  Select one of the following and write a paragraph on the topic.

1. For Blumer, how does group action occur?

2. Goffman notes that “role distance is almost as much subject to role analysis as are the core tasks of roles themselves.”  Explain how role performance and role distance form part of social interaction.

3. Hochschild argues that emotional work can have both a use-value and an exchange-value.  Explain what this means and how this can help explain certain types of social action and interaction.

4. Explain and provide an example of how people do or accomplish gender.

5. Explain what a breaching experiment is and how it helps to understand social interaction.


D. Essay Question. (40 points).  Select one of the following and write an essay on the topic.

1. All sociologists have a theory of social action and interaction but microsociologists develop this theory in quite a different way than do classical and structural sociologists.  Write an essay comparing the microsociological approach to social action and interaction with one or more of the sociological approaches of Marx, Weber, Durkheim, or Parsons.

2. Write an essay explaining why some recent postmodern, feminist, or other approaches to sociology consider the classical theories of Marx, Weber, Durkheim, and Parsons incomplete or inadequate.

3. Mead, Blumer, Goffman, and Garfinkel each approach social action and interaction in a similar way, but each develops his ideas somewhat differently.  Explain the similarities and differences among the approach of these four sociologists.

4. New ideas in sociology develop in response to social conditions and social changes in society.  Write an essay on this topic using examples from different sociological approaches.



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