sociology paper

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timer Asked: Jan 30th, 2021

Question Description

I'm working on a sociology writing question and need support to help me understand better.

Choose 2 of the following 3 questions to respond to. Your answer should have a clear thesis statement and you need to provide evidence supporting your thesis, using examples from readings, lectures (including videos and other materials), and/or discussion section. Your answers should be 3-6 paragraphs each.

*Note: Your grade for these questions will be based on the accuracy of your answers, the clarity of your thesis statement, and the appropriate and effective use of examples to support your thesis.

1) Some people argue that race is a biological trait. Explain how this is an accurate or inaccurate claim. Make sure to include the concepts of “racial formation” and “racial ideology” in your answer. Please also include examples of racial formation and racial ideology from course material to support your answers.

2) There are many reasons why people are or are not successful. Imagine two people: Sarah and Samantha. Sarah graduated from college and is currently the director of a non-profit organization. Samantha graduated from high school but never earned a college degree. She is currently unemployed. Develop explanations for why and how Sarah has achieved success while Samantha has not. Make sure to include the concept of the sociological imagination in your response.

3) In his article, “Masculinity as Homophobia: Fear, Shame and Silence in the Construction of Gender Identity”, Kimmel describes what he believes to be the dominant definition of masculinity in contemporary U.S. society. Some might argue that his definition is outdated. Do you agree, disagree, or partially agree? Why? In addition to explaining your answer, make sure to describe Kimmel’s definition of masculinity and to define the term “hegemonic masculinity”.

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SOCI 2: The Study of Society Mid-term Review (I) Irene H. Ahn Four Overarching Units 1. Introduction of Sociology 2. How are race, class, and gender socially constructed? 3. How are social inequalities involving these categories produced and reproduced in key institutions? 4. How do race, class, and gender operate in everyday life? q What is sociology? The Sociological Perspective q What does it mean to think sociologically? q How is sociology different? What is sociology? The study of society… The study of human behavior and social relationships, and how people’s lives, attitudes and actions are both shaped by and shape the societies in which they live. Sociological Research :heterogenous (education, religion, family, health, crime, etc.) Mills: What does it mean to think sociologically? When thinking about individual outcomes (e.g. educational achievement, health, occupation, home ownership etc.), popular discourse often emphasizes “personal trouble” and “biography” while overlooking “public issue” and “history”. ü The sociological imagination ü Biography and history (and their relationship) ü Troubles vs. Issues What is the sociological imagination? “Neither the life of an individual nor the history of a society can be understood without understanding both.” (Mills) How their biography is a result of historical process and occurs within a larger social context. Biography vs. History ● Biography: Individual’s personal characteristics; specific experience ○ Ex: Race, gender, personality (lazy, hardworking…), personal education, individual success ● History: beyond individual; historical development; shaped by the society; larger context of the society ○ Biography situated within history ○ Individuals are located in particular social context ○ Individual’s success/failure is shaped by social/historical context Sociological Imagination John is unemployed because: ● ● Popular discourse often emphasizes “biography”: ○ John is lazy ○ John decided not to go to college ○ John lacks adequate skills The sociologist also considers “history”: ○ Technological developments and mechanization of work ○ Globalization and outsourcing ○ Economic recession Durkheim: What makes sociology different? ● Social Facts Ways of acting, thinking and feeling that exist outside the of the individual, yet shape individual actions, ways of thinking, ways of feeling and so forth. Social facts have coercive power! ● A social fact is both external to individuals and something which exerts some form of constraint over individuals ● A good example is languagelanguage is both separate from us and constrains our expression in many ways Norms and conventions that regulate clothing and acting For example, a woman is expected to sit like a ‘lady’ with her legs closed. A man on the other hand should sit with his legs open, or else he might be labelled a sissy. Examples of Social Facts Legal rules Moral codes Religious dogmas Professional practices/guidelines ● Customs ● Conventions ● Systems of signs and symbols ● ● ● ● Common assumption: ○ Individuals are autonomous in their behavior Durkheim: ● No, we (sociologists) actually need to consider social facts. ● What social facts exist? ● How do these shape human behavior? 1. Race (Week 2) The Social Construction of Difference 2. Class (Week 3) 3. Gender (Week 4) Mid-term I: January 31, Friday (Week 4) Race ● People believes that race is fixed and innate category; sociologists debunk this idea and argue that race is socially constructed. ● Race: scientific concept based on biology; different race have different biological distinct, but sociologists show it is a social concept. ● Race shapes hierarchy: the idea of race as biology has historically been used to justify stratification ● Omi and Winant : “Race as a social concept and specifically a sociohistorical concept…. (p.13) Racial Formation ● (1) Race and meanings related to race are shaped by social, economic, and political force ● (2) Racial means also shape the social, economic and political context of a society ● (3) With racial formation, race become a central defining character of social relationship (Racial formation is a progress) Central Questions: 1) How is race a social and social historical concept? ○ Racial formation ○ Racial ideology ○ Racial myths 2) How has race been historically linked to stratification? 3) How has the category of “whiteness” shifted over time? And what does that tell us about the concept of race? Race as a social concept, and specifically a sociohistorical concept ● “Racial categories and the meaning of race are given concrete expression by the specific social relations and historical context in which they are embedded. Racial meanings have varied tremendously over time and between different societies.” – Omi and Winant pg.13 The Concept of Whiteness (Brodkin) Pre-WWII ● Jewish people faced institutionalized discrimination ● Ex: faced discrimination on education, employment, housing . Post-WWII ● Expansion of the notion of ● ● ● whiteness to include Jews Structural barriers removed; institutionalized forms of discrimination ended New opportunities opened (in housing, education, employment) More opportunities for upward mobility ● The idea of race as biology has historically been used to justify stratification ○ Reservations ○ Immigrant ghettos ○ Slavery, Jim Crow ○ Who is allowed to own property, who is not ○ Who is allowed to vote, who is not Racial Ideology & Racial Myth ● Race is imbued with powerful social meaning ● There exists a “racial order” that shapes identity, interactions, relationships, opportunities, and explanations about groups and differences between groups ● Racial formation shapes opportunities and disadvantages ● …. Differences in skin color and other obvious physical characteristics supposedly provide visible clues to differences lurking underneath(Omi and Winant) As part of racial ideology … ○ Race is used to infer information like a person’s temperament, sexuality, athletic ability, intellectual ability, interests and aesthetic preferences ○ Racial myths and stereotypes operate throughout everyday life and are central to our social order ○ Myths are so engrained that they lead to the belief that race is natural, biological, fixed. Social Class A social class is a group of people of similar status, commonly sharing comparable levels of power and wealth. In sociology, social classes describe one form of social stratification. Gain basic vocabulary for discussing social mobility and stratification ● Social mobility ● Horizontal mobility and vertical mobility ● What is a mobile system of stratification? What is an immobile system of stratification? Social mobility ● Transition of any social object (individual, social groups) from one position to another; involves vertical or horizontal mobility ● Social status (position) : refers to our rank in the social hierarchy ( occupation, wealth, achievements, education) Vertical mobility ● Vertical mobility: the movement from one social status to a different social status; a change within the lifetime of an individual to a higher or lower status than the person had to begin with Horizontal mobility ● Horizontal mobility: the movement from one position within a social status to another position ; a change in occupational position or role without a change of position in the social hierarchy 1. American Dream (Meritocracy) ● American Dream: success is an individual endeavor ; character, work ethic, attitude etc. determine your success ; thinking positively ; very pervasive in the US society 2. Factors beyond the individual that shape mobility: ● Educational tracking (Bowles and Gintis; 1976) ● Differences in quality of schools (think poor neighborhood vs. wealthier neighborhood) ● Social networks and social capital (success can be influenced by who you know) -The “dark side” of social networks ● Lack of jobs in a community and related factors What are dominant explanations for social mobility? ● ● The American dream (idea of meritocracy) : when we think about success, think about individual characteristics (positive, independent of a your attribute): if you try to hard we all will be successful! Social structure (structural factors) ○ ● Beyond individual shape mobility ■ Educational tracking ■ Differences in quality of school ■ Social networks and social capital (success can be influenced by who you know) MacLeod Presents a third perspective : we should look at together (this is an empirical Mill’s theory or idea) ○ “ain’t no making it” ■ Aspirations and expectations ■ Hallway Hangers vs. Brothers Sorokin’s piece ● Immobile (shared interest, completely understand each other; closed system; you will be very unified; solidarity will be very strong) An example is India. Traditionally, hierarchically closed, caste system, historically caste system dictate all life (privilege, giving more power, lower class denied; allowed job depends on your caste system); India and the caste system (Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, Shudras, Dalits (street cleaner, menial tasks) ● We can see a great amount of social cohesion; ● Social antagonism between class; relationship between slaves and masters (tenants and landlord) the same antagonism like between bourgeoisies and protelians ● Solidarities based on class position (immobile societies) ● Mobile system: individualized, isolated, classes less solidarity; solidarity and cohesion based on class ideality (but class ideality is weak; people are solidarity based on their tastes, interests (but not clear as much as immobile system) ● Solidarities based on interest (mobile societies) -- because of shared interest (For example, I like playing soccer ) 4 myths about class in the U.S.: ● ● ● ● We are a middle-class nation Class doesn’t really matter in the U.S. We live in a land of upward mobility Everyone has the chance to succeed Sex vs. Gender ● Sociologists make a distinction between sex, which is biologically determined, and gender, which is socially constructed ● People are socialized to perform the gender that corresponds with their biological sex (for example, by behaving in ways that are considered typical for their gender). ● The normative pressures to perform gender can be strong, and individual who don’t perform gender in expected ways can face bullying and exclusion. Social construction of Gender ● Operation of gender and gender differences in societies ● Society and culture create gender roles and, and these roles are prescribed as ideal or appropriate behavior for a person of that specific sex Borderwork ● Refers to the interactions between genders that tends to strengthen and perpetuate gender boundaries Activities often lead to same-gender teams Contests between the sexes Thorne: ● Schools are sites in which notions of gender and gender boundaries are (re)produced. ● Gender is an organizing factor around which interactions between boys and girls are organized. ● Gender boundaries (and definitions) are created through play and other similar face-to-face interactions. ● “Borderwork” ● When gender boundaries are activated, the loose aggregation ‘boys and girls’ consolidates into ‘the boys’ and ‘the girls’ as separate and reified groups. In the process, categories of identity that on other occasions have minimal relevance for interaction because the basis of separate collectivities… These stylized moments evoke recurring themes that are deeply rooted in our cultural conceptions of gender, and they suppress awareness of patterns that contradict and qualify them. (1993: 65-66) Changing sex (or gender) vs. changing race Rachel Dolezal vs. Caitlyn Jenner Brubaker’s Question ● Paradoxically, while sex is a biological category in a way that race is not, sex and gender are understood to be more open to choice and change than are race and ethnicity. The distinction between sex and gender? ● The distinction between sex and gender – and the irrelevance of ancestry to definitions of sex and gender – has made it possible to construe gender identity as subjective individual property that is uncoupled from the body. ● Racial identity, however, is understood to be tightly couple to the body and to be grounded in social relations, specifically in family and ancestry. This holds even more strongly in North America, where racial classification has historically depended not only on phenotype but also, crucially, on ancestry. What might Durkheim say? ● Racial ideology is too ingrained in our society ○ Race trumps gender in organizing social life ○ Maybe people are too invested in existing racial order ● Race is linked to culture in a way that gender is not ● Broader LGBTQ+ movements ● People of different races are more divided than people of different genders Thank you! Good luck with your mid-term! See you next week!! J ...
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