The key to thinking sociologically is looking beyond popular explanations of things and understanding how social forces (or things external to the individual) influence individual behaviors, beliefs and attitudes. The purpose of this assignment is to allow you to think sociologically in analyzing events in the world around you, and to understand the influence of culture status on beliefs, attitudes and opinions.
As one way of thinking about how culture might influence behavior, attitudes and opinions, refer to this list of core American values compiled by Robin Williams (the sociologist, not the actor) http://www.jflory.org/soc205/values_williams.htm.
Select a news article or story that interests you. (HINT: The story can be about any topic, but should be something that illustrates the influence of one or more of the values outlined in the link above, and that will allow you to reflect on how culture can shape behavior, attitudes and opinions.). Sources for news articles include yahoo.com, news.google.com, news websites like CNN.com or foxnews.com, or local news sources like WCPO.com, WLWT.com or Fox19.com, or any other news source.
Write a 300-500 word essay in which you:
Briefly summarize the article. In doing so, analyze the article or story sociologically by using specific terms, concepts, and theories covered in class or the textbook to describe or analyze the story. In other words, relate the article to this class in some way.
Discuss how your example illustrates the role of culture in shaping attitudes and opinions, as well as any influences on behavior evident in this example. Are any of the identified values (from the link above) driving the behavior, attitudes or opinions of the individuals/groups the story is about? The author of the news story? The attitudes or opinion of the reader (ie, you)?
Reflect on the influence of culture in shaping your own attitudes and opinions of this example.
Include a copy of the article or a link to a video at the end of your paper (actually copy/paste the news story into your paper—if the news story is long, you may just copy/paste the section(s) of the story that are relevant for this assignment.)
Make sure to reference your sources (the news story, and any other sources you use) using ASA format. See examples of ASA reference format here: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/583/03/ or Google “ASA reference format example.”
I will post a few examples of news stories that you may use for this assignment if you are unable to find a news story on your own:
Attorney Mike Allen files class action lawsuit over Elmwood Place speed cameras: http://www.wcpo.com/dpp/news/region_central_cincinnati/elmwood_place/attorney-mike-allen-files-class-action-lawsuit-over-elmwood-place-speed-cameras
Solar industry grapples with hazardous waste: http://news.yahoo.com/solar-industry-grapples-hazardous-wastes-184714679.html
Frank Gore fined $10,500 for wearing his socks too low: http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nfl-shutdown-corner/frank-gore-fined-10-500-yes-10-500-210744767–nfl.html
Kindergartner suspended over bubble gun threat: http://gma.yahoo.com/blogs/abc-blogs/kindergartner-suspended-over-bubble-gun-threat-174618051–abc-news-topstories.html
Practically human: Can smart machines do your job?: http://news.yahoo.com/practically-human-smart-machines-job-052642993–finance.html
Flu season fuels debate over paid sick leave laws: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/flu-season-fuels-debate-over-paid-sick-time-160609193–finance.html
iDoctor: Could a smartphone be the future of medicine?: http://www.nbcnews.com/video/rock-center/50582822#50582822
IRS: High tech tools track your digital footprint: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/irs-high-tech-tools-track-202006116.html
Motorist can’t use handheld map: http://news.yahoo.com/calif-court-motorist-cant-hand-held-map-215700890.html
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