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Contemporary Sociological Theory

Instructions: Write an essay of at least 1,500 words on the following topic.

Topic: Select an example of any social situation of your own choice. This may be a situation taken from a novel, a magazine, a movie, a documentary news report, an autobiographical or personal experience, or any other fictional or non-fictional account of a particular set of social relations. Using any of the social theories discussed in this course, analyze your example in terms of the key concepts, basic assumptions, and underlying arguments of the theory of your choice. Try to show how your sociological analysis adds to our understanding of the topic. You may use either a macro sociological or a micro sociological framework of analysis.

Examples of topics might include such novels as Lord of the Flies, by William Golding; The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood; Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley; or Nineteen Eighty-four, by George Orwell. Examples of movies might include Pulp Fiction, American History X, or The Piano. News events might include media coverage of the events of September 11, 2001, Middle East conflicts, or anti-globalization protests. Personal experiences might include work, home, or other situations.

The important thing to remember is that you need to choose a theory that is compatible with your topic. You also need to have some documentary content for your analysis. If you are analyzing a movie, you will need to reference the dialogue. If you are analyzing a set of interpersonal relations, you will need to record and analyze some conversation.


  • Functionalism
  • Conflict-Theory
  • Neo-Marxism
  • Systems Theory
  • Symbolic Interactionism
  • Ethnomethodology
  • Exchange, Network and Rational Choice Theory
  • Feminism
  • Theoretical Issues
  • Modernity
  • Post-modernism

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