Sociology 319

Winter 2000

Third Paper (15 points)

Due: April 25, 2000

Choose one of the following topics and write a paper on this topic. The paper should clearly explain and discuss the topic chosen. If appropriate, you may want to include a short critique of the views and approaches you are discussing. Select a topic which is somewhat different that what you selected for the first or second paper.

Aim at writing a five page paper, but if you need a few more pages for this final paper, that is all right. Make sure you provide proper references and bibliography, as in earlier papers. 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. Select one of the areas from the last half of the semester (Ch. 2-3, 10, 12-15, Structuralism) and write a paper discussing a topic from these sections. This should be a different topic than you discussed in the second paper.
  2. Apply one of the theoretical approaches discussed this semester to a conteporary issue with which you are familiar. For example, issues such as identity and difference (sex or gender, ethnicity, sexuality), multiculturalism, public discourse, and effects of globalization have a connection to contemporary theoretical perspectives. Alternatively, take one of the other subject areas of sociology – crime, ethnicity, political sociology, social psychology – and show how this area has dealt with contemporary theoretical debates.
  3. Contemporary sociological issues are often reflected in the media (e.g. TV, internet, music, film, advertisements). Take a current media phenomenon and apply contemporary sociological approaches to it. (I will put Douglas Kellner’s analysis of cigaretter advertisements and of the television program Beavis and Butthead on reserve as an example of how you might do this).
  4. Summarize some of the views of Habermas or Marcuse and show how they are part of critical theory, but develop this theory a new direction.
  5. Review some of the issues concerning the public sphere (Chapter 15) and show how they are relevant for contemporary public debate.
  6. Explain how the class analysis of Erik Olin Wright combines ideas from several different social theory perspectives. (References to Wright are in the notes on the web site and on reserve).
  7. Select one of the social theorists discussed this semester and show how issues of time and space are explicit or implicit in their theory.
  8. In many bookstores, most sociology books are now part of a Cultural Studies section. Explain how cultural studies is relevant for sociology (Chapter 12).
  9. Select one of the writers associated with postmodernism (Derrida, Foucault, Jameson, Baudrillard, Kroker) and explain the sociological significance of their views.


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