For Week 2, your assignment is to participate in a class discussion focused on the readings for this week. You should first do the readings, then watch the lecture and review the notes. After having covered all of this material, you are asked to reply to both of the two prompts below (a response of approximately 250-300 words for each prompt). You will lose points for not replying to two other students, not actually/fully answering what is being asked in the prompts, for not putting ideas into your own words/copy pasting from notes or websites, and for not developing/clearly putting effort into the discussion. You will be able to develop responses to the prompts below if you do the readings and watch the lecture and review notes. I am really looking for you to just show that you did the reading and that you understand and can explain the key ideas from it.

  1. C. Wright Mills describes the idea of the sociological imagination. The sociological imagination helps us understand different ways of looking at social issues and the world. When a person utilizes their sociological imagination to look at social issues or problems, they use a wider lens to try to connect several factors that may contribute to how a certain person, social situation, or even major event is viewed and understood (i.e., the sociological imagination asks us to examine the bigger picture and to place something within greater context to help us understand why something is the way it is). As such, Mills describes several key components of the sociological imagination and utilizing one’s sociological imagination, and some of these include the ideas of biography, history, and social structure, as well as the ideas of troubles and issues. I want you to explain what the idea of the sociological imagination is, how biography, history, and social structure fit into the sociological imagination, and what troubles and issues mean in the context of the sociological imagination. Your response should be approximately 250-300 words. Using an example to walk through these different components may help develop your response.
  2. The first three chapters of Howard Becker’s Outsiders all focus on the idea of deviance and how views on deviance is subject to a number of different considerations. Becker’s work is crucial to explaining societal views on crime and deviance and how theory can be used to understand where these views come from and how they come to be. That is, Becker helps explain how things come to be defined and treated as deviant and criminal and why this matters from a lager societal perspective. After having read the first three chapters from Becker’s book, I want you to explain and discuss a few key ideas from these chapters. First, you should explain Becker’s argument for why deviance is ultimately relative, how deviance comes to be defined, and who has the power to define deviance. That is, you should explain variations in deviance that Becker mentions that help support this relativistic view and what it means to take a relativistic view on deviance, you should explain what an “outsider” is, how things are labeled as deviant or come to be labeled as deviant, and who has the power to do this labeling. Finally, I want you to also briefly explain, according to Becker, how doing a deviant action (for Becker using Marihuana) can lead to a greater understanding of that action as normal and even enjoyable, and, subsequently, for continued or increased participation in that action. That is, Becker explains that part of learning to use marijuana includes learning how to understand and appreciate its effects while also rejecting the societal label of marijuana use as deviant, and I want you to explain this idea in your own words (as best you can, based on your understanding – an example that you explain could really help). Your response should approximately 250-300 words.
  • 7 days ago
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