Sociological Theories

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INSTRUCTIONS: This chapter lays the foundation for sociology. You will select any social phenomenon (a behavior, a pattern, material culture, public policy, etc. See examples below) and apply all three theories to this topic. Simple as that! Just follow the format below and you’ll do awesome.

*With so many possible topics, I expect everyone will have a different topic. Don’t pick the same topic as your friend(s). Here are some examples to consider: covenant marriage, divorce, romantic love, poverty, war, racial profiling, Obama Care, Facebook, Skyping, Cell Phone Usage, online dating services, prison systems, police/law enforcement, China’s One Child Policy, Welfare, corporations like Walmart and Target, the legalization of marijuana or other drugs, select a particular law or policy related to economics, education, immigration, Megan’s Law, Amber Alert, death penalty, Affirmative Action, Voucher System for schools, Raising the Minimum wage, Social Security, Censorship, Traffic laws, Planned Parenthood/ family planning, unemployment, rise in consumerism, increase in demand for organic foods, obesity, the current economic downturn… just about anything can work for this paper. If you have an idea you want to run by me, email me and we’ll work it out.

350 words minimum. Include word count in your submission. Most students type it in at the bottom.

Consider the following questions when applying the theories:

1. Functionalism: Identify the manifest, latent functions, and latent dysfunctions and discuss how the 5 major institutions might be impacted. Thus, how are families, the government, the economy, religions, and education impacted positively (these positive social benefits/impact would be latent functions)? How are they impacted negatively (these negative impacts would be latent dysfunctions)?

2. Conflict Theory: Address the two questions examined in this theory (who are groups fighting and what are they fighting over?). Also, discuss how this theory looks at social change. Who are the “haves” in this case? What kind of power do they have over the “have nots”? Why do you think they want to keep their power? If they “have nots”, that is the exploited/oppressed group, gain some power what social changes would happen? In other words, if this minority group wins some power in this struggle, what policies might they push through? How would lives of both the haves and the have nots change due to this struggle?

3. Symbolic Interactionism: What are the most important symbols in this topic? What do these symbols mean and how do these meanings, definitions influence interactions? How do you think this symbol will change in the future?

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