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The paper is due on the last day of class before the final. Papers will be accepted up to the day of the final, but with a significant penalty assessed, so try to get your work in on time. The paper should be at least five pages in length, although you might need more space to do a really good job. The paper should be double spaced printed or typed, and have a cover sheet with your name, the class time and days of the week your course meets (i.e. 9:30MW), and the title of the paper. Font size should be 12-14 pts. The cover sheet does not count towards the page requirement. It is likely you will need to do some research so any sources should be referenced on a works cited page. This also does not count towards the length requirement. The paper should be stapled or paper clipped. There should be no binders or any other type of folder. Keep it simple.
In the paper you will exercise your sociological imagination to take a look at some of the sociological forces that are at work in shaping your unfolding biography and how they might affect the outcomes you will experience in your life. C. Wright Mills defined sociological imagination as "the vivid awareness of the relationship between personal experience and the wider society". Having a vivid sociological imagination means understanding that much of our experience is shaped by sociological forces beyond our control. Time and place of our birth, our birth date and birth year, age, gender, ethnicity, nationality, the type of family we are born into, social class, birth order, generation and generation size, cultural inheritances, family inheritances, and the timing of our own personal biography with much larger historical events and processes all help determine the outcomes we experience in life and whether we succeed or fail. While none of these factors alone will determine your destiny, they will interact with your personal beliefs, actions and the choices you make in your life to create a unique human experience. Like a strong current in a river they will influence the ultimate direction your life takes.
In the paper you will discuss how each of the above variables has influenced your own particular life. You will also discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each particular variable. For example, what are the advantages and disadvantages of being born in your particular birth year? Is college more expensive for your generation than past generations? Are there any advantages to being an immigrant to the United States? What are the disadvantages? How is being a white male advantageous in early 21st century America? How is it disadvantageous? What are the advantages of being eighteen in today’s world? What are the disadvantages? What kind of family do you come from- are there any family inheritances? Are you from a military family, an immigrant family, a musical family, a law enforcement family, an alcoholic family? What are the advantages and disadvantages or each? What are the advantages of being an American in the early 21st century? What are the disadvantages? What cultural inheritances do you have? What are the pluses and minuses of each? Do this for as many variables as you can. You can also add to the list if you discover some that are not listed.
You will likely need to do some research to complete the assignment. Find out what generation you are and read about its characteristics. Research your birth year. Was it a large birth year or a small birth year? Include your sources on the works cited page. Try to have fun with the assignment. Building your sociological imagination will help you achieve your life’s goals. Like a swimmer who swims with the current, it can lead you to more effective choices, and make you a more aware and compassionate member of society
The paper is due on the last day of class before the final. Papers will be accepted up to the day of the final, but with a significant penalty assessed, so try to get your work in on time. The paper should be at least five pages in length, although you might need more space to do a really good job.