Current issues in sociology of culture

Final Paper. On the last day of class (December 9) a final paper (at least 1350 words) is due. The topic of the paper is flexible. What is required is that you take the knowledge you have gained in the course, and apply it to real world experience. One option is to do some research on a current event or issue and discuss it in terms of the theories and research read and discussed in this class. Other options will be discussed in written writing assignment. If you have a unique idea for the final paper, please discuss it with me. I want to be flexible. The point is to apply what you have learned and write about it. More details about this final paper.

For the final paper, you will research and write about some current event or topic related to the sociology of culture. This can be just about anything. It can be about the latest developments within a particular genre of music, the elections that took place on November 4, what is going on in Ferguson, perceptions about global warming, the accusations against Bill Cosby, etc. Anything taking place in contemporary culture that you find interesting is a potential topic. Once you have chosen your topic, you need to think about the materials we have discussed in this course, and you need to pick at least three (3) readings that you think are helpful in understanding the cultural issue you have chosen to write about. For the paper, you will discuss the issue/topic you have chosen and analyze that topic with reference to the material from the course.

So, for example, if you want to write about what’s going on in Ferguson, you could talk about Swidler and tool-kits (What are the beliefs and discourses people are drawing upon as they choose to act in relation to this event?), you could talk about Darnell Hunt and the reading on “raced ways of seeing” (think about how different understand this event differently), you could talk about Collins and interaction ritual theory (think about the emotional energy created in the riots), etc. This is just an example. There are several other readings from the course that could be directly applicable to that issue, and there are several other issues that would perfectly acceptable for the final paper.

To get full credit on this assignment, you need to 1) meet the minimum length requirements, and follow the formatting instructions from the course syllabus, 2) intelligibly discuss some issue/topic/current event of your choice, and 3) reference at least three of the past readings from the course.

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