Theoretical Journals

Theoretical Journals

Please answer a Journal prompt from five of the seven theoretical categories listed below.  Some of categories allow you to choose from one two or three prompts, and if that category is one of the five you have chosen, then you most choose one of the options.  .

Please be sure to include the question prompt at the top of the page. Place all answers in one word file and upload those answers into Canvas at the end of the semester. Be sure to refer back to the instructions to make sure you are following all of the requirements before you turn your papers in.

Category 1. Culture: Describe, in full, the concept of culture and how it relates to meanings. Afterwards, write about a time you entered a different cultural realm and had a hard time figuring out what was going on (culture shock). You might have experienced culture shock traveling to a different country, a different state or even a different city. You also might have experienced culture shock after changing schools – going from neighborhood another. What things were different in this new cultural setting? How did the meanings people assigned to their experiences (objects, gestures, feelings etcetera) differ from the meanings you assigned to those same experiences in the cultural arena you were accustomed to? Once you have illustrated your experience, write about how the meanings of three different entities differed from the meanings your own culture assigned to these same very same entities. Different entities could be food, clothing styles, concepts of time, beauty standards etcetera. (For example, “In my culture the meaning assigned to crickets is that they are not food, but in the culture realm I had entered, the meaning assigned to crickets was that they were an everyday food.)

Category 2. Marx: Please answer either A. or B.

  1. First, define Marx’s conceptions of class consciousness and false consciousness, and then write a about a friend, family member or acquaintance that you believe has developed class consciousness. Be sure to include this person’s name, age, and town of residence.  Then explain why you believe this person has come to truly understand why social inequality exists in the world. Be sure to explain how this person makes sense of the world. (If you feel that you have developed class consciousness, you can write about yourself rather than someone you know.) Afterwards, write about a friend/acquaintance that you feel has developed a sense of false conscious. Be sure to include this person’s name, age, and town of residence. Explain how this individual makes sense of social inequality and why you think his or her reasoning doesn’t reflect the true nature of the situation. Does their false consciousness stem from a religious ideology, a typical mainstream ideology or an extremist ideology? Afterwards, explain how this point of view affects their behavior?
  • Marx believed that the capitalist economic system did not allow most individuals to achieve species being. First, define the concept of species being and describe why Marx felt that species being was important for people to attain. Afterward explain why Marx did not feel that the capitalist economic system / capitalist structure of the workforce would allow most people to achieve species being. Then, think about your own life. Have the jobs you held allowed you to attain species being? Please provide specific examples about this job including the name of the company and the city in which the company was located. Also include the dates in which you worked for this company. Afterwards think about the lives of your parents. Do the jobs they hold allow them to attain species being or is the work they perform tedious and boring? Please provide specific examples about this job including the name of the company and the city in which the company was located. Also include the dates in which they held this job. Can you or your parents reach full creative potential outside of the work setting? Based on what you’ve written above, do you think that an inability to achieve species being leads to depression or feelings of agony? Why or why not?

Category 3. Durkheim: Please answer either question A. or B.

  1. First define the Division of Labor and then describe the division of labor that 1.) Durkheim felt exists in modern societies, and 2.) the division of labor that Durkheim felt exists in primitive societies. Which type induces people to become individualistic and which type induces people to think about the needs of the other individuals in their communities. Afterwards, write about the division of labor seen in your own society. Do people in your community think about the needs of others or do they think about the needs of their neighbors and assist them in times of trouble. Please provide specific examples that you have seen in your own life to make your points. Also include the name of the community that you are writing about and the relative dates the occurrences you present took place.
  • Durkheim surmised that people who were disconnected from the people around them were more likely to commit suicide than people who socially integrated. First explain how he came to this conclusion. What did he call this type of suicide? Do you think his ideas make sense? Do you know of anyone who is extremely depressed because she or he has little connection to others? Do you know anyone who has committed suicide? Do you think the individual may have committed suicide because they were socially isolated?  Please include the gender and age of the person or people you are writing about and the city in which this person or people reside.

Category 4. Weber: Please answer either A., B. or C.

  1. First explain how Weber felt about Bureaucracies. Next, describe a time when you had to try and solve a problem with the assistance of a person working in a bureaucratic setting. Please include the name of the bureaucracy and the relative date of when you experienced the problem. Did your experience correspond to Weber’s analysis of bureaucracies? Did the person you worked with act like a robot? Did that individual provide you with a set of scripted answers to your questions? Was that person able to solve the problem for you or did the individual tell you that your problem could only be resolved by going to another department?  Did you enlist the assistance of an individual working in that second or third department? Was your problem eventually resolved? Why or why not?
  • Weber felt Bureaucracies were like an iron cage. First fully explain, what Weber meant by the metaphor of an “iron cage.” Then describe a time when you worked in a bureaucracy. Please include the name of this bureaucracy, the date in which you worked there, and the work you were required to perform. Did you yourself feel as though you were in an iron cage? Were you expected to follow rigid rules without deviating from them in any way? Were you expected to suppress certain emotions? If so, which emotions were inappropriate. Were ever you reprimanded for expressing the “wrong” emotions or behaving in a way that wasn’t in keeping with bureaucratic rules? Did the bureaucratic job allow you to express any kind of creativity or was that prohibited. Please provide specific example to illustrate your experiences.
  • Weber asserts that ideas are powerful social forces that help to bring about change. First describe the Protestant ethic as well as the Calvinist notion of the calling. In their attempt to follow this ethic (religious idea), what behaviors did the Calvinist Puritans engage in?  What type of social change did Weber think came about as a result of people adhering to the Protestant ethic? Afterwards, describe a religious or secular ideology you subscribe to. Then explain in full, how the ideology guides your behavior. Please be sure to include specific examples to illustrate your point – the name of the ideology and the behaviors you engage in that can be specifically linked to the dictates of the ideology.

Category 5. Simmel: Please describe in full Georg Simmel ‘s conception of a Dyad and a Triad. Write about a time when you were involved in a dyad that eventually became a triad. Be sure to include the first names of the people in the triad, the ages of these people, your relationship to these people (were they friends or family members?) and the town the situation took place in. How did the interactions you had with your first partner change when a third person was added to the group? Were these changes consistent with the changes that Simmel states can occur when a dyad changes into a triad? Why or why not?

Category 6. Mead: Explain what Mead means when he states that “humans have the ability to mentally step outside themselves and view themselves as “objects.” Then, write about a time when you have mentally stepped outside yourself and looked at yourself as an object. That is, you put some thought into how your behaviors and appearance would be perceived by the people around you.  What actions did you take to ensure that your audience saw you in a positive light? Examples of times you might have engaged in this process include getting ready to go to a wedding, a prom, a school presentation, a job interview etcetera. Please include the town the situation you write about took place in, as well as the relative date and time in which the situation occurred. Also include who your audience was e.g friends, family members, classmates, colleagues, strangers etcetera. 

Category 7. Gilman / Du Bois: Please answer either question a. or b.

  1. Charlotte Perkins Gilman felt that life was especially hard for married women who stayed home to perform housework and childcare while their husband went off to work in the cutthroat world of commerce. If you grew up in a traditional family with a stay-at-home mother and a father who worked outside the home for pay, what was this experience like for your mother? Did she feel that your father compensated her for all the work she performed in the home? Did she have access to the money he brought in, or did she have to ask him for cash? Did being a homemaker make her depressed or did she enjoy the work she performed? Did she wish that she worked outside the home for pay? Did she hope to further her education? Please include the first names, relative ages of your parents, and the town they live in.

Then think about your own future. Would you like to have a traditional family where one parent takes care of the children and the other travels to the city to work for pay? Would you like a family where both spouses work together to when performing housework and childcare? Would you like to live in a family in which both spouses work outside the home for pay? Why do you hope to one day have this particular family type? Since this question is derived from the Gilman lectures, please be sure to integrate her theoretical framework into your answer.

  • Describe Du Bois’s conception of the “veil” in full. Then write about at time when people have looked at you as though you were wearing a “stereotypical veil.” What assumptions did people make about your character? How did you know that these individuals could not see you for who you really were? Was the stereotypic lens they looked at you through negative or positive? Did you internalize their stereotypes, or did you refuse to think about yourself in this manner? How did their stereotypical assumptions about your character make you feel? Please include the dates and times these incidents occurred as well as the town they took place in. What was the age, race, and gender of the people you are writing about?

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