Sociology 250

Fall 1999

Second Short Paper

Due: November 23, 1999

Choose one of the following topics and write a short paper on this topic. The paper should be approximately three typewritten double-spaced pages. Do not use a large number of quotes in a short paper, but quotes or references used sho uld be properly cited. If you use only the sources listed in the class syllabus, these can be cited like (Hadden, p. 127) or (Wallace and Wolf, pp. 34-35). If you use other sources, complete citations should be provided in footnotes or at the end of the p aper. Avoid using "man" and "he" in the generic sense, except where they are part of a direct quote. Otherwise, if you use "man" or "he" I will assume you are referring to males only.


  1. Durkheim is often described as a structuralist. Explain what this means and provide examples from Durkheim's work.
  2. Write a paper explaining how Durkheim might analyze the issue of high suicide rates for young people of aboriginal origin in Canada.
  3. Some of the ideas of Durkheim and Weber are found in Parsons' sociological approach. Present some of the main ideas and arguments of Parsons that are built on one of these earlier approaches, showing how Parsons used the concepts of Durkheim or Weber.
  4. Write a paper applying the pattern variables of Parsons (Wallace and Wolf, p. 32) to some organization or situation with which you are familiar.
  5. Select one or more of the major sociological approaches that we have studied in class (Marx, Weber, Durkheim, Parsons, micro approaches) and discuss how a feminist might argue that this approach is misleading or incomplete. You could also indicate how a feminist might revise the sociological approach.
  6. "A common set of symbols and understanding possessed by people in a group" (Wallace and Wolf, p. 191) forms an important aspect of the symbolic interaction approach. Select one of Mead, Blumer, or Goffman and explain how symbols and understanding are used in their approach to the study of sociology.
  7. "Ethnomethodology studies the process by which people invoke certain taken-for-granted rules about behavior with which they interpret an interaction situation and make it meaningful" (Wallace and Wolf, p. 262). Explain with examples.
  8. Select an alternative topic dealing with Weber, Durkheim, or one of the micro-sociological approaches. If you do this, check with the class instructor first for suggestions and approval of the topic.


Last edited on October 28, 1999.

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