Welcome to Rowan Wolf's Sociology 204 Instructional Website!

You may access resources from the links in the right hand column. The syllabus resides within PCC's D2L course.

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March 20, 2013

Path Breakers and Womens Gender Roles

An excellent Paper 3 example of connecting the personal (micro) to the collective (macro). Winter 2013

Margaret is an 84 year old mother of five, grandmother of five and if you ask her to describe herself she wouldn't lead with either of those facts. Margaret will tell you, "I am a chemist."

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December 13, 2012

Racial Inequality in Modern Day America

Sample Paper 3 by Lynsey Benton - Fall 2012

After watching the video "The House We Live In", and witnessing the media coverage of the occupy movements, it has been impossible to ignore the severity of inequality in America today. This inequality speaks of income inequality, social inequality and racial inequality, to name a few.

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December 8, 2012

The Cultural Masking of Poverty in America

Sample Paper 3 by Shane Johnson - Fall 2012

In middle school, our class was given the opportunity to adopt a family for the holidays. The process involved collecting money, toys, food, and other gifts for a whole month by all of the students in the class. About a week before Christmas I was selected along with three other students to hand deliver the truckload of goods to the family in need. We were told by selecting organization that it was a family of five living in poverty; however, when we got there we saw a different story. It was indeed a family of five, but the living conditions were not what we expected. The large apartment where we dropped off the goods had a massive TV (which at the time was exceptionally expensive and not myself nor my fellow students had this luxury at home), the woman who met us was exceptionally well taken care of (new manicure and hair styling), and the family kids were sitting around playing video games. On the car ride back from the delivery, I distinctly remember my teacher trying to insist that we had done a good deed even if it didn't seem like we had. As a 12 year old, I felt disappointed because I believed that the goods should have gone to a more "needy" family. As an adult when I think back on this event I question what poverty is in the United States, and I believe it is masked by consumerism and cultural intolerance.

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December 5, 2012

The Impacts of Wealth

Example of Paper 3 by Jenny Parker - Fall 2012.

In this final third of the course I noticed an overwhelming trend in the material to explain what makes individuals different in society, as compared to what makes them the same. In our articles and text we read about people being grouped by age, color, race, gender and socioeconomic status, all features that come together to form an individual or individual subgroups of society. We have moved away from looking at the larger aspects and functions of society and delve down more to the human, functional level, what separates us and makes us different from our neighbor.

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November 8, 2012

Socializations Agents Media vs. Parenting

Sample Paper 2 by Shane Johnson - Fall 2012
[The strength of this paper is the recognition that the media is not only an agent of socialization, but also socializing other agents of socialization]

When I consider becoming a parent and when I talk to parents, discussions about how to best raise children are inevitable. Every parent has an idea about the best way to bring up their children, and in the process of enacting their own ideas they are becoming agents of socialization for their children. Acting as an agent of socialization is an important factor to the continuance of the human race as it passes on valuable learning to subsequent generations. As a result of the closeness that parents share with their children I would argue, and I believe many would agree that throughout a child's life (especially in the younger years), parents and family are the most important and influential agents of socialization. However, I think that another agent of socialization is taking an important and influential role in children's lives. In this paper I will examine if media is becoming more influential than parents (or family), throughout children's lives in the United States.

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Socialization in Ladakh

Sample Paper 2 by Jenny Parker - Fall 2012

[This paper does an excellent job including the concepts of social identity, globalization, and socialization, as well as integrating Ishmael.]

In weeks 3-6 in our course we have adjusted our focus towards society and culture. Culture "consists of the values the members of a group hold, the languages they speak, the symbols they revere, the norms they follow and the material goods they create" (Giddens, 54). The complex relationship between society and culture was illustrated by the novel Ishmael and the article on Ladakh which showed two societies which were each differently affected by the similar problem of conformity.

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June 24, 2012

Social Stratification in Modern Day United States

Sample Paper 3 by Andrew Springer, Spring 2012

Popular culture of modern America celebrates equality. The United States displays it's affinity for fostering equality in nearly any facet imaginable, in forms both formal and informal. We flaunt how far we have come in our government-recognized holidays such as Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, local festivals that celebrate diverse communities, the presence of ethnic diversity in advertising and entertainment (although it could be debated that this is merely the effect of institutions formal policy that implements affirmative action to help sway public opinion of it's image). In our capitalistic society, we have easy access to the goods and services that were once limited to the ethnic groups and subcultures they are most often associated with. Popular information dictates that social stratification based upon such factors as race, ethnicity, creed, gender and sexual orientation are outdated and shameful traditions of the past. Examining current social environments of different minority groups will reveal and unspoken culture of inherent social stratification obtained and maintained by behavior including, but not limited to, institutionalized discrimination that directly opposes popularly held values of American culture.

With Liberty and Justice For All

WomenInMilitary.jpgSample Paper 3 by Robert Nebergall

Picture courtesy Women's Press.

The United States, the fabled land of opportunity, of the free, of democracy and equality. These are the promises America touts, that one can take root and be accepted with tolerance no matter your beliefs or physical makeup and, through perseverance and determination, can be highly successful, a beaming example of the American dream. The reality of our country, however, is far from this ideal, and the monikers of our nation are more fable than reality. Throughout our history, inequality has pervaded our perspectives, reinforced by the very system intended to prevent such injustices: our government.

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May 17, 2012

Developing a Sense of Self

Sample Paper 2 - Spring 2012

I'm going to be discussing the realm of developing a sense of self and how this relates most pointedly to the societal norms of our mother culture. One would think that finding oneself would lead outside any "norms" as we generally think we are somehow unique and not as influenced by our culture as we pervasively are. Instead we are shown the way of our people immediately through agents of socialization and institutions such as the hospital we were born and medical offices thereafter for check-ups. In elementary school we are shown and taught the one right way to behave and we are punished when we misbehave. So begins the start of what might be a lifetime of staying neatly in the box that our culture has shaped for us. Deviance means disapproval from the mainstream masses and often severe punishment. So, when we are driven to go inside and find ourselves, what do we see? We first see a lot of images, I believe, of expectations and norms and paths to an ideal that our culture finds the most promising (usually through power, property and prestige). We must go passed these images to the root of who we are and for a lot of people, societal expectations imposed upon us from childhood go so deep that we must burn everything to see a clean slate of potential.

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May 14, 2012

Diamonds are a Marketer's Best Friend

Sample Paper 2 by Colin Sanders - Spring 2012

Diamonds are ubiquitous in our culture as a symbol of high status. "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend" and "Diamonds are Forever" are two phrases that are often though of in association with diamonds. How did this cubic allotrope (chemical arrangement) of the ever so common carbon atom gain such prestige? What does this high value that we place on diamonds reflect? And what are the consequences of our fixation on diamonds?

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We Are Unique

Sample Paper 1 By Jennifer Headley-Osawa Spring 2012

As Americans we heavily value our individuality among our peers. I have for most of my life felt quite pleased at being one in a million, but a recent class discussion points out that maybe I am really one among a million. How can such a seemingly personal idea apply to an entire society? This is exactly what I hope to explore and clarify.

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April 28, 2012

Why We Don't See Nacirema as American

Sample Paper 1 - Spring 2012

"Body Ritual among the Nacirema" is a paper by Horace Miner that describes American culture in a unique way. While it accurately describes many facets of American life, it is written to manipulate the reader into thinking that they are reading about an "uncivilized" tribe of people who either existed long ago or exist today, somehow untouched by modern "civilities". One has to wonder how we, as Americans, could read something that so explicitly and precisely describes our own daily lives and the culture we are immersed in and not only recognize it as a description of us but to also feel both superior and sorry for the culture we're reading about, as many do.

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March 26, 2012

Forgetting the Past Erases Racism and Gender Issues in Movies

Racism.jpgBy Augustin Mendoza

Sample paper 3

Movies in the United States have an enormous impact on how society constructs and deconstructs labels. This media for the masses has a fairly long history and has been around for about 100 years. Eadweard Muybridge was perhaps most influential in the idea of "moving pictures." It was his scientific work sponsored by Governor Leland Stanford of California to prove that all four hooves of a racehorse were off the ground at some point in a racehorse's stride. Stanford won his $25,000 bet as a result and Muybridge inspired other inventors of his time to create more moving pictures. According to inventors.com, Louis Lumiere was one such inventor and in 1895 he created a portable motion picture camera capable of capturing, processing, and projecting motion. The truth though, is that many different inventors of the late 1800's were developing ways to capture and play motion pictures. What Lumiere did (with the help of his brother) that was most significant, was to present projected "motion pictures" to a paying audience of more than one person. Thus, the use of motion pictures for scientific purposes crossed over into creating a media which would be able to sway the masses by making a strong association between science and what was presented. This potential to use film to portray messages the creator wanted his audience to absorb was taken advantage of early at the turn of the 20th century and is still a tool that is used today to perpetuate age old stereotypes regarding race and gender roles in the United States.

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January 1, 2012

Differences Between Sociology and Anthropology

Students sometimes wonder what the difference is between anthropology and sociology. Here is one attempt at an explanation.

Anthropology is the study of humankind and its culture in the past, present and future. This broad definition allows students to study anthropology as a social science and to pursue specific areas of interest such as archaeology (human cultures in the past), cultural anthropology (the study of modern cultures), linguistic anthropology (language, its history and development) and physical anthropology (including evolution, paleoanthropology, primatology and forensic science).

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June 9, 2011

How the Gender Gap Works

Sample paper 3 Student - Spring 2011

They say that the United States is the land of opportunity. I have a hard time just really getting this to sink in. It seems like becoming a citizen of the United States just locks you into this prison of social class, debt you will be paying off forever, and a constant worry of making money to live. We are born into or move into a country where social stratification effects everyone's lives.

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Redefining Social Class in America

Sample paper 3 by Kristin Nxumalo - Spring 2011

There is a myth in the United States that if one works hard enough there will be no limit to what he can achieve. In fact this myth is the very foundation that many of our ideas about politics, law, education, health care and business are built on--the idea that whether we succeed or fail is ultimately up to our own ambitions and capabilities. Sociologists like to refer to this as the Horatio Alger Myth; which refers to the popular 1800's stories depicting young men making it from rags to riches based on sheer tenacity (Henslin 221). In fact, if you just turn on the news tonight you are bound to hear a story about someone making it "big" by nothing other than "hard work" and "grit". However enticing this story may be, and however much we have invested in it, the story is not true. The truth is that most societies, and ours is no exception, are built upon a social stratification system. This system helps organize society, and more importantly society's assets and resources, based on where an individual falls on the 'strata' or level in the system. In order to fully understand this system we have to understand how it functions in US society, how individuals are categorized, and what categories constitute the 'master statuses'--or predetermined, unchangeable categories that are so pervasive they influence all aspects of your location in society.

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June 8, 2011

Exploitation or Opportunity?

Sample Paper 3 by Ivana Krog - Spring 2011

Do you think that the low-wage factories of the multi-national corporations, located in countries such as China, Bangladesh or Mexico, represent exploitation or opportunity?

"Every exploitative relationship begins with an initial inequality that makes the taking advantage possible. In exploitative relationship the rich get richer and the poor fall further behind. "- Robert Mayer

Exploitation, in this case economic exploitation, can be defined as using somebody's labor, but in return giving an unfair compensation, or taking unfair advantage of laborer. Exploitation is nowadays mostly taking place in factories of undeveloped countries of Asia, Africa and South America. The workers in factories are paid low, sometimes paid under the minimum wage and also placed to work in very bad conditions. According to Robert Mayer there are two kinds of exploitation: discretionary and structural exploitation. Karl Marx viewed the whole capitalist class as exploitative thing. On the other hand those people in between those multi-national corporations and oppressed workers are in dilemma to call it exploitation or opportunity. The question also is: Is exploitation ok even if it is not harmful and mutually beneficial?

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June 4, 2011

Gender Pay Gap Is A Worldwide Problem

Sample Paper 3 by Virginia Thompson, Spring 2011

No matter how many degrees or experience a woman may have there is still inequality with the pay they receive compared to men, and this problem is global. Henslin states, "one of the most remarkable areas of gender inequality at work, the pay gap."(1) Women have become a large part of the work source through out the world, yet they are continually discriminated against in the form of compensation. Women and men do the same jobs, with the same vivacity and expertise but women receive much less pay for the same work. There is still discrimination going on throughout the world for women and there does not seem to be much change in sight. This discriminatory social process is being viewed and studied but not changed. This trend is a worldwide problem that affects the workplace and the economy all across the globe. Women continue to be victims of discrimination and being told they will never be as good as men, and it shows in their paychecks.

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May 22, 2011

Institutional Peer Pressure

Sample paper 2 by Samuel Morasch - Spring 2011

All I can think about is where to start. I was thinking about the beginning but that might be a little too early in the life I speak of. I wish I had more life experience I could work with but maybe the experiences I can objectively speak of can help me and others around me have more understanding of some of life's core values and social norms that can be better understood. In society I have lived constantly adjusting my values and norms to fit those acceptable by society's standards. Sometimes situations arise in the free world that are very aggressive and I work with what good experiences I have to reflect on to avoid the negative group pressure and discover more productive ways of dealing with different situations throughout the course of life. Coming from a good upbringing I was like many others, very foolish in my teenage years. With my parents never teaching me anything about jail or prison I was schooled as soon as I showed up to McLaren "Juvenile jail" and unlike so many other people that came before me in what is referred to as the testing situation, a fight for ones safety, I stood against many by myself with those watching making wagers. In that instant when It was all over I knew that whatever I had done was the right way to act in this place I was sent to live receiving pats on the back from people I have never met and hugs while getting cuffed. Being forced into a living situation where violence is the first and only way to really get your point across did, in a way, corrupt my way of life for a while.

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May 16, 2011

Let Us, Now, Step Back Toward Evolution

By B. Kester. Spring 2011
Excellent paper 2

In the novel Ishmael, Daniel Quinn takes his readers on a journey to de-construct the notion of civilization. Our culture is examined over the course of a lengthy dialogue between a teacher and a student. Through this discourse, it is established that our current methodology of living has set us on a path toward destroying not only our own civilization but much of the life on the planet. As products of the very construct from which this dilemma has arisen we, as individuals and society as a whole, find it nearly impossible to see the way out. The answer, according to Quinn, lies in observing nature and uncovering the laws which govern all other systems on the planet. The decision to ignore these laws has landed 'civilized man' in dire straits and, if we are to survive, we must learn to play by the rules on peril of extinction. In essence, we must commit to participating in the competition of the natural world while abstaining from destroying our competitors- either through outright attack or by interfering with their food source. This, the peace-keeping law, is at the core of the evolutionary process and is responsible for the longevity of our world, as well as it's diversity and in turn it's resilience. When we make the commitment to return to living in accordance with this law we will begin the next phase of humanity. Quinn's vision is that humans will realize their place in evolution as being the first to evolve a higher consciousness and that, in a revised climate of supportive coexistence, others will follow- evolution will continue and humans will lead by example. Working toward this inspiring vision will replace our ongoing enactment of a faulty viewpoint which has brought us to the current situation. Ultimately, the all-important question arises: "What do I do?" This question is the crux of the message, yet receives little enough attention by Quinn in the novel. It is this question that baffles individuals on a daily basis as we are presented with a laundry list of problems and enemies that seem so much greater than ourselves. The answer? Teach others, change minds.

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April 13, 2011

Bias Manipulation, Group Mentality, and Consumerist Culture

By B. Kester - Spring 2011

In the article 'Body Ritual Among the Nacirema', Horace Miner has set out to use our cultural biases to color our view of our own culture. The language he has chosen and the point of view from which he writes masks the fact that he is describing our own customs and culture. By appealing to many aspects of our shared cultural perspective, we come to view ourselves as very separate from the Nacirema. I would like to focus on three qualities which we value as a cultural group and the ways in which these were used to trick us into believing the Nacirema to be something other than American. These notions are: science, sophistication, and religion. Finally, I will propose to utilize what we've learned to guard against this type of manipulation within the framework of our country's consumerist culture.

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March 21, 2011

Gender Roles

Sample paper 3 By K. Nienaber Winter 2011

How have gender roles changed in society? Historically gender roles have been associated with male verse female inequalities and inequities. Social construction of gender differences throughout history have made males the dominant gender. They have been praised and worshiped for thousands of years as if they were the superior gender. This is also known as patriarchal based society. Societies have perpetuated this form of social behavior of men all throughout history accommodating for hyper-masculine social infrastructures. For centuries patriarchal based societies have flourished and it was not until recently that gender equality was regarded as a successful social behavior.

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March 17, 2011

The Media as a Reinforcement of Racism

By Tiara Cline Winter 2011

In America the struggle for racial equality has become an every growing battle with no end in sight. This can't be blamed completely on Americans and their lack of knowledge about racism and the actual definition of race, though it does play a role. The main factor that I'm focusing on is how the media that surrounds everyday life is constantly reinforcing racism amongst Americans without their knowledge. This inequality among races isn't only displayed in the media, but also in other very important aspects of everyday life, such as the workplace. Racism in the media can be as simple as seeing a poster with an all white community to watching a movie where the main characters are white and they happen to be fighting against another race. Examples like these go unnoticed until they are pointed out, which needs to be happening more often. The power of race in America has become so overpowering that is has become deeper than just the color of one's skin, it has become their identity entirely. And with the media backing people's views about race, the future of racial equality has a long way to go.

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February 12, 2011

Socialization into Gender

Sample paper 2 by Erica Spencer - Winter 2011

My seven year old has never fit into his specified gender role like most kids do his age; growing his hair long, preferring dolls and Barbie over traditional boy toys, at school preferring the company of girls to play with and happily avoiding correcting people when they mistake him for a girl. I never really understood the pressures society puts on people's gender until I watch what my son goes through. Whether a man or woman, society dictates that one's gender also comes with a set of rules- standards for clothing, activities, how people should perceive themselves, and sets expectations regarding appropriate behavior and interactions with others. Our family, peers, social institutions, work, religion, and media help to enforce the guidelines about specific attitudes about gender roles.

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February 8, 2011

Language Ideology, Loss, and Culture

Sample Paper 2 by Lauren Langley - Winter 2011

Henslin (2009) discusses language as something that allows the human experience to be cumulative, cooperative and goal directed (p.57). Language allows culture to exist. It gives us the opportunity for a collective experience that includes a shared past, present, and a social future. Furthermore, languages are not universal - just like gestures, mores, values, and customs (which consequently are supported by language), language is a unique way of perceiving the world around us and making sense of it all. The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis states that embedded in language, each and every language, are these unique ways of looking at the world. Learning a language is part of the sociological experience - we learn the perceptions, knowledge, history, traditions, and attitudes of our respective cultures. In this way, according to Henslin, "language both shapes and reflects our cultural experience." (p. 44).

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No Name or Bar Code Only

Sample Paper 2 by Tamison Kilmer - Winter 2011

Often times you find yourself having to deal with customer service representative either over the phone or in person. You are asked a series of questions to prove your identity so you may inquire about your accounts. No longer do the banks or companies have any personal ties with you. The customer is now either a bar code or a name flashing on the screen. Most if not all big corporations are set up bureaucratically. Each worker has their defined role and what tasks they are to accomplish within that bureaucracy. With more and more companies outsourcing their customer service departments for cheaper labor; Americans are searching for that personable touch to their daily business interactions that were there in yesteryear.

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December 10, 2010

From One American to Another:"What did you do to get so poor? Must have been something..."

Sample of Paper 3 by K. Nelson - Fall 2010

Democracy does not guarantee equality of conditions - it only guarantees equality of opportunity. Irving Kristol

The unequal distribution of wealth in the United States is a condition that remains unchallenged by many, if not the majority, of citizens. The existence of "haves" and "have nots" has become an accepted reality and, going beyond economics, is often used as a way to judge the moral fiber of a person. We live in a relatively young country that boasts of unlimited opportunity for the individual to fill any role that they desire. Our society grants respect to individuals who manage to to amass material wealth, recognizing wealth as a reward for hard work. How does this affect the beliefs and behavior of the people affected by this system and continue to reinforce the gap between rich and poor Americans?

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December 6, 2010

The Dying Middle Class in America

Excellent example for paper 3 by Sarah Fulcher - Fall 2010

In today's world it's hard to get by. There have been many who have lost their homes and jobs do to nothing more than a failing economy. Since the fall of the United States' economy the unemployment rate has hit a high at 9.6 percent as of November 5, 2010 (Month). With so many individuals being down and out many have had to downsize and tighten the belt. The bankruptcies claims have increased by 20 percent in the last year (U.S.) and many have had to move out of the homes that they have had for years. With all of these statistics it has lead many into poverty. Individuals who once considered themselves to be middle or even upper middle class have found themselves with a new title, poor.

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How Advertising Reinforces Racism, Sexism, and Classism

An excellent final paper by Kristen Tatkovski - Fall2010

Every day we are bombarded with marketing - messages doing their best to entice us, the consumer, to buy a particular product or service. It is nearly impossible to avoid. Ninety-nine percent of households own at least one television where a good portion of one's viewing time is filled with commercials (Television & Health). If you are one of the few crafty enough to avoid television commercials, then you are certain to be reached through print ads in magazines or newspapers, on billboards, buildings, buses, park benches, or any other available surface. Most of us have become accustomed to the marketing machine to which we are exposed each day. So much so that we hardly notice the covert, and sometimes overt, messages of racism, sexism, and classism much of advertising conveys.

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November 4, 2010

A Mango In the Middle of Oregon's Winter: The Agricultural Revolution Continues

An excellent example of paper 2 by Keets Nelson - Fall 2010

"Everyone wants to eat like an American on this globe... But if they do, we're going to need another two or three globes to grow it all" --Daniel Basse

Population is tied to food supply and due to our incredible capacity to grow food, humans are rapidly overpopulating the planet. Our options are to either decrease the population or increase the food supply. A drastic reduction in population, whether through permitting starvation or mandatory sterilization programs, would be considered inhumane and is subject to extreme social bias when determining which groups should or should not receive aid or be allowed to reproduce. However, aside from China's one-child incentive program that led to infanticide of baby girls, which has drawn major criticism from human rights activists, voluntary population control has not been demonstrated in most modern cultures (1). In societies with seemingly abundant resources, there are fewer motivations to limit reproduction.

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November 3, 2010

Are social networks like Facebook and MySpace bringing us closer together or making us less social?

An excellent example of paper 2 by Adeline Brainard - Fall 2010

Some people spend hours on social network sites. Most of our society is not a gemeinshaft anymore and it is not always common to have a sense of a close small community. People may not talk to their neighbors but they may interact with hundreds of people on a social network each day. According to Facebook's statistics page there are more than 500 million active users, 50% of active users log on to Facebook in any given day, the average user has 130 friends and people spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook . Could this new way of socializing be a way to keep personal ties or make our social ties more superficial?

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October 31, 2010

Cultural Values and the Judgment of Others

An excellent example of paper 2 by John Simpkin - Fall 2010

Instructor note: Of particular worth in this discussion is John's highlighting that material comfort is visible and therefore has significant influence on other's judgments of us. This is demonstrative of original and integrative application of concepts.

"Whatever the human mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve!" So said Napoleon Hill, author of "Think and Grow Rich" which, although printed in 1937, remains a hugely popular book. This one phrase sums up ideal culture and most of the U.S. values identified by sociologist Robin Williams (1), including achievement and success, individualism, activity and work, efficiency and practicality, science and technology, progress, and material comfort. Achievement and success because, as Hill implies, achievement is what bridges our work to our rewards. Once a person reaches his or her goals, rewards (often material) will follow. Individualism is necessary because what we conceive and believe must be our own, and no one else's. If others are involved in our achievements, they must be viewed as helpers or underlings, not getting any credit for our ideas. Activity and work are what are necessary for our ideas to become achievements. Even if an achievement only required minimal work, it is good for one's image to brag about the work that was involved. Efficiency can show one's innovation, and may be also be used to explain how something was carried out with less work involved. Science and technology reflect our desire to either invent new things or to utilize the latest inventions. Progress is tied to this, in that every idea should be bigger and better than its predecessor. Sometimes this is actual progress, such as a car with better gas mileage than last year's model. But we also praise people whose ideas achieve the same results as their predecessors but in what is claimed to be a better way. (We can only wonder how much better Gillette's next razor will be than their latest, top of the line model). Material comfort represents the rewards for our achievements. Once we have achieved something, then we deserve to reap the benefits.

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October 7, 2010

Trying to Think Sociological

Excellent example of paper 1 by Sarah Mantia Fall 2010.

If I were a sociologist I would want to use Conflict Theory in my daily practice. Though I found significant importance within all three of the theoretical perspectives, Conflict theory made the most sense to me.

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American Healthcare from a Sociological Perspective: Who Gets to Be a Doctor, Who Gets to See a Doctor?

Excellent sample paper by K. Nelson. Fall 2010.

"You are special and you can do anything or be anything that you choose." I have had numerous conversations with friends who also grew up hearing something along those lines from their parents; those of us in our mid-twenties might as well be referred to as "Generation Unique." But to what extent can one take credit for being unique if our ideas and behaviors are heavily influenced by something as arbitrary as social location? Social location is described by James Henslin as "the corners of life that people occupy because of where they are in society." (1) Gender, age, race, nationality, education, and economics all play a role in determining where a person exists socially. For the most part, those factors are not under the control of the individual who is influenced by them, which is why I consider social location to be fairly arbitrary. For example, one cannot control their skin color but many of their experiences, positive and negative, will be directly related to having skin of a certain color. A person's perception of the world, while unique, is more a product of experience rather than a creation stemming from within the individual.

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September 29, 2010

Sociological Perspectives

Here is an online presentation on sociological perspectives as a refresher, and for those who missed the class when we covered this. Please forgive the rough spots.

This presentation discusses the differences and distinctive aspects of the major sociological perspectives. Total presentation time is slightly over 9 minutes.

Go to Sociological Perspectives

September 16, 2010

What is a sociological imagination, and can it affect how we live our daily lives?

An excellent example of paper 1 by M.H. Fall 2009.

Why are we the way we are, and how has the society in which we live subconsciously influenced the decisions we make in our day-to-day lives? Every culture is unique, and it shapes our lives in more ways than we know. In his book, Essentials of Sociology, Henslin states "Sociologists look at how jobs, income, education, gender, age, and race-ethnicity affect people's ideas and behavior." (4) When we learn to think sociologically, we can begin to understand how our society's culture influences and ultimately helps shape our own personal life experiences. This "sociological imagination" is a way to look at a society's culture and "see" general social patterns that can affect an individual's day-to-day decisions. Additionally, it helps us to reach beyond the individual to try to understand how the society in which a person lives help shape them as individuals and how society influences their behavior and the decisions they make.

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August 6, 2010

Stereograms - Seeing beyond the image

Stereograms are 3D images hidden within another picture. In order to view the 3-D images. They are a picture within a picture. Gazing at the picture we see an image or picture. However, if we look just right, we see a totally different picture emerge. These types of images are also sometimes called "magic eye."

Here are a couple of links to examples:

Magic Eye image of the week

3d Stereogram examples

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March 12, 2010

Media Influences Dominate Parental Influences

Excellent example of paper 2 by Julianna Banse-Fay - Winter 2010.

Before modern technology, when an adolescent had a question, most would ask their parents. If the parents were unsure, then the adolescent would ask their grandparents. From there, they might ask a neighbor or a close friend. Then probably ask a member of a social group, such as church, for the answer. Information came from agents of socialization, or family, school, peers. The information was obtained from the geographical area one grew up in meaning the information received would usually be of best benefit in that area. After the expansion of technology (telephones, television, and in particular the internet), children most often go to the online world for answers. Then instead of going to their parents second, they chat online with friends. Sometimes they chat with people they have not met. The agents of socialization are now mass media, peers, family. The parents are left behind and close relationships with them are sparse. This happens because the internet offers very specific information about topics and the resources to chat with professionals of a topic. In comparison, parents' knowledge is microscopic. In this world, socialization creates who we are, thus technology advancements play an important role in the type of people we become.

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February 22, 2010

Age-Based Stratification

By Rowan Wolf, PhD. September 2005

Social Stratification by age is the most fundamental of stratification systems. One could argue that the way a society structures itself and its cultural ideology around age is indicative of how it constructs other forms of stratification. For example, one of the primary ways of "putting people in their place" is tone of voice. Higher status groups are generally talked to in a "respectful" tone of voice. Those with lower status are often "talked down" to - or talked to as if they were children. This early socialization into age status rules and roles is often reflected in the way other status group rules operate.

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Video on Structured Inequality

Here are links to the video "The House We Live In." that I showed (or tried to show) in class. The first link is to the entire 57 minute video, the second link is to the same video broken into 6 parts. If you have high speed access, then the first link will work fine for you. If you do not have high speed internet, then the 6 part video is the better way to go. In either case, you must enter user name wolf and password wolf.

Full 57 minute "House We Live In" (high speed modem)

6 part "House We Live In" (lower speed modem)

This video is part of a 3 part series called "Race: The Power of an Illusion".

February 17, 2010

Distorted Looking Glass

An excellent example of paper 2 by Eric Peek - Winter 2010

In a time when survival was entirely unorganized and unpredictable people valued a different assortment of attributes. You were respected for being a good hunter, gatherer or someone who was physically fit and had the ability to go beyond the laws of nature. As time continued on, man discovered innovative ways to make life more adaptable to fit our needs. We found ways to bring resources in closer proximity to where we lived by creating cooperative social groups known as societies. With basic life sustaining resources in a manageable position, humanity found themselves in a world where we could use our brains for more than just survival. This allowed humanity to invent new contraptions and concepts that further improves the quality of life. In this evolved western based society, people strive to modernize in order to be viewed as a success. We've come to value modernizing, because it allows us to be more productive and efficient. This momentous appearance has attracted other societies to join our ambitions. Not all societies see modernizing as a means to success.

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February 15, 2010

Modernization -Globalization- Culture

This is an excellent example of paper 2 by Kelly Sittser - Winter 2010

As Americans we believe to view our way of life as the best way to live. We have developed technology that makes life easier for us. You want to talk to a friend send them a text message, you want to go out and take photos poof your digital camera will not only take the photo but you will be immediately able to see the image. We can log into a number of social networks to say "hello" to any acquaintances or family members that maybe on your friends list. We are a society that loves technology so much so that actual personal relationships seem to be a thing of the past. In American culture we tend to place value in materials, looks, and science/technology. The core family value is a thing of the past, education is not nearly important as it use to be; it seems more like a fashion show. Who's wearing the latest and greatest fashions? Parents give kids credit cards as a way to show their children that they are loved. Where are the family traditions that are to be passed down? Have we lost all core values that make us lose sight of a true family culture?

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January 5, 2010

Accessing the Electronic Version of Henslin

With your purchase of the Henslin text you automatically purchased access to the electronic version of the text. I recommend that everyone activate the ebook access.

During your registration you will be asked to "Join a Class" Use the appropriate course id to enter in the correct class.

Your Course ID: cm613138

When you go to access your ebook, enter the following ebook course id to access my ebook.

The eBook ID: Course ID: Wolf00458890eb.

There are a number of online resources that come with this text. We may need to use some of them if our school gets hit with H1N1 flu.

Purchasing the Electronic Version of Henslin

If you purchased the text, you automatically have access to the electronic online text. However you can purchase the electronic version only from the publisher. Here are the directions for doing that:

To purchase the EBOOK ONLY.
(Do NOT do this if you purchased the regular text and are tring to access the online text. For that you should use the card in the text and the codes I provided to you.)

Go to the site: www.mysoclab.com
Click on registering as a student

Click on 1st choice: Mysoclab

Click on I want to buy mysoclab with ebook

Click on Henslin 8e essentials

Follow registration process.......

December 15, 2009

Global Stratification

Excellent example of the final paper by M. H. - Fall 2009

There are many different types of stratification within a society. A societies' particular value system based on their cultures ideology of how power, wealth, and prestige are allocated determine where a person is placed in their stratification system. These basic stratification processes can also be used to categorize countries around the world where the distribution of wealth, power and prestige is extremely unequal. An individual country's position in the stratification process is established by its relationship to other countries and its ability to achieve economic power. This is global stratification.

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The Exploitation of Guestworkers in the United States

Excellent research paper by M.H. - Fall 2009

"Human history is the chronicle of class struggle, those in power using society's resources to benefit themselves and to oppress those beneath them - and of opposed groups trying to overcome domination." (Henslin 2009)

This quote from Henslin's book, "Essentials of Sociology," shows us that all throughout human history, there has been class struggle, and there have been those in power, whether it is political or corporate power, who will use society's resources to benefit only themselves.

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December 13, 2009

The Rose City by Any Other Name Still Smells Like Segregation: Gentrification in Portland

An excellent research paper by Maggie Hodges Fall 2009

I admit it, I am a Californian transplant. Unable to afford the rising housing trends of my home state, I moved northward where rumors of better prospects existed. When I asked locals where I would be able to buy a house in the Portland Metro area, I was unanimously directed (by whites) to what was referred to as "the Ghetto," or the inner Northeast. I was informed that there was a revival of areas where the prices were cheap and the neighborhoods were on the "up and up."

Continue reading "The Rose City by Any Other Name Still Smells Like Segregation: Gentrification in Portland" »

December 12, 2009

The Socialization of Bureaucracies

An excellent research paper by A. Abero Fall 2009

When you go into any franchise market, restaurant, or store, you often encounter this rather impersonal and insincere attitude from the workers in these establishments. You are often thought of as a number, another customer that is adding to the company's profit, and not as a human being or individual. I remember going into a Walmart store in Virginia Beach, VA a long time ago, and experiencing first hand just how impersonal a big franchise could be. The cashier barely looked at me in the face, and had this rather monotonous tone in their voice that voided them of any personality. Most big companies are typically set up bureaucratically. This means that jobs are divided up, and the hard labor tasks are done by workers that make the company functional who, incidentally, all working under the supervision of CEOs and managers. After having experienced such an undesirable situation at a Walmart store, I made a conscious decision to start supporting local businesses because of the personal interaction and care you get from the workers when you buy from them, and not to mention you are supporting the local economy and making it thrive. The rise and expansion of big companies and franchises such as McDonald's and Walmart, has clearly made a negative impact on society by standardizing the way people live their lives.

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November 30, 2009

What Culture Do I Belong To?

Excellent sample paper 1 by A. Abero Fall 2009.

Being born in the United States a Filipino-American, I have always had this underlying feeling of being "different" from the majority of my classmates growing up. Most of my classmates were predominately Caucasian, and I would always be part of the "few" who stood out from the rest. My parents and close relatives (who all immigrated from the Philippines some 30 years ago), never taught my brother or I how to speak Tagalog, which is one of the native languages spoken in the Philippines. My Mom would cook traditional Filipino fare, such as Pancit, a noodle dish, to Adobo, which is any kind of meat (usually pork) that is marinated in soy sauce and other spices). We would also eat a lot of Taco Bell, McDonalds, and Round Table Pizza, the typical "American" fast food. Although I knew my heritage is Filipino, having been raised in society that is "American", I associate and relate more to this western culture, rather than my Filipino heritage.

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November 25, 2009

The effects of the media on our society

An excellent example of paper two by K. K. Winter 2009.

Perception is everything. What we perceive as reality and what is actually truth can be two VERY different things. Propaganda has proven to be an effective medium for imposing certain views on a group. Not all media poses negative results, but for the majority of our society is has become one of negative effects. During World War II, flyers depicted a Japanese soldier attacking an American soldier. Underneath the image was a clip from the newspaper, headline reading "5200 Yank Prisoners killed by Jap torture in Philippines (1)". The government used the media to illustrate the Japanese as harsh, inhumane people who should be killed. This helped increase the amount of soldiers recruited and also helped settle the conscience of the American people. The media was used to change the way that we viewed the Japanese. If the American society viewed the Japanese as human beings, soldiers that were only following orders, it would have been almost inhumane to be Pro-War. The Government wanted the American people to view the Japanese as "mean", so that going to war with them would be the right thing to do. The media negatively effects how we as a society behave and think.

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November 15, 2009

Social Class In The News

Here are some articles that are pertinent to social class and the current economic situation.

UN investigator accuses US of shameful neglect of homeless:

UN special rapporteur says wealthy US ignoring deepening homeless crisis while pumping billions into bank rescues

A United Nations special investigator who was blocked from visiting the US by the Bush administration has accused the American government of pouring billions of dollars into rescuing banks and big business while treating as "invisible" a deepening homeless crisis.

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November 12, 2009

Social Construction & Culture in Recent Bailouts

An excellent example of paper 2 by Katrina Weener, Fall 2009.

Situations that are defined as real are real according to Berger and Luckman. If we believe or are told by a trusted authority that the "value of bailing out financial institutions" is real, then it is real and we/they set about objectifying the, "value of bailing out financial institutions," so that it takes on a life of its own and it becomes part of an objective reality. "Letting banks fail, would ruin the economy," "If Wall Street falls, we all fall," "Why our country has to bail out GM." Finally, when we hear on Fox News that congress is rallying around the Wall Street, Banks and GM to save the economy, we are not surprised; in fact, we think it's the right thing to do. We have done it in the past a couple times; during the Great Depression and the S&L failures in the 1980s. Bailing out financial institutions has become an internalized, shared, and accepted social, "fact," and a Trillion dollars sounds OK.

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October 27, 2009

Subtle Ethnocentrism

Excellent example of paper 1 by Jillian Garrison Fall 2009.

If the "norm" in this society included wearing socks on your hands instead of mittens, carrying weights around to keep your balance, and raising your hand when you didn't have a question, that is the way we would live our lives, without questioning it. As individuals, conforming to society simply means fitting in with the social environment in which you have grown accustom. Thus, "norms" of the society become daily life that most individuals do not question as irregular. Ethnocentric values of our culture allow us to view ourselves as superior to all others. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, Ethnocentrism means "Belief in the superiority of one's own ethnic group." From the culturally-based assumption that the world was created for man, to the personal belief that our culture is better, ethnocentrism appears in everyday life. In small ways, such as giving children unconditional praise and confidence, self-superiority is encouraged. Even the right to one's private property often promotes the mentality of, 'I deserve to have this, even though I did nothing to earn it', thus supporting cultural superiority.

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Stay Objective

Excellent example of paper 1 by Katie Mayer Fall 2009.

Stay objective: that should be the number one rule in sociology. In practicing any kind of sociological study, it is essential to view a culture from an impartial point of view. How can sociologists hope to understand how any society or group functions if they judge them by their own cultural standards? They cannot. However, maintaining objectivity is easier said than done, and it is easy to make ethnocentric judgments without realizing it.

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What do you think of the idea that we "are captives of a civilization system that more or less compels us to go on destroying the world in order to live?"

Excellent example of paper 1 by Catie Draney Fall 2009

The awareness for our global deterioration has become known around the planet. Deforestation, smog and global warming are concerns of everyone today. Everywhere we look there is the "green movement". Reusable bags, recycled plastic, biodegradable clothes and environmentally safe soaps are consuming our markets. People are riding their bikes to work and changing their engines to biodiesel to help preserve the planet. But even though being green is so in right now, only a small percentage of people are acting on it. Organic and green products are more expensive and not everyone has the ability to ride their bikes to work. It is so much easier to live the way we do without regard to the planet. Why did it take so long for us to notice our harsh habits? And how did this destructive cycle begin? These questions bring up answers we don't want to know about ourselves. The system of our society holds us captive in this destructive cycle because of our sense of entitlement brought on by our culture.

Continue reading "What do you think of the idea that we "are captives of a civilization system that more or less compels us to go on destroying the world in order to live?" " »

October 1, 2009

Urgent Need in the Philippines

From Claire OIiveros and Christian Aniciete

On Saturday September 26th, Typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana) struck the Philippines with the heaviest rainfall recorded, followed by the worst flooding, in 40 years. As of this writing, there are at least 246 people dead or missing and 435,000 victims who are homeless, injured or have lost all of their belongings. There are still as least 1 million people without electricity. Scenes are eerily similar to "Hurricane Katrina" and the devastation of Typhoon Ondoy has only just begun.

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June 10, 2009

What features of society cause different groups to have different opportunities?

Excellent sample research paper by TaiAnn Thompson - Spring 2009

In this paper I want to explore the causes of affluency and poverty. In our society it seems that the rich are continually getting richer and the poor are getting continually poorer. The rich are admired for their "opulent displays of consumption", while the poor are rebuked for the inability to save or work hard enough. My question is, why does our society continue this pattern of destruction? There is a very unequal allocation of society and world resources, with a majority of the resources going to the smallest population with the smallest amount of resources stretching out to take care of the world's biggest population, those at or under the poverty line.

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May 16, 2009

Language and Culture

Excellent example of paper 2. Name withheld by student request. Spring 2009.

"The formation of culture among humans is made possible by language. Learning the language of a culture is essential to becoming part of a society." (Andersen/Taylor, 2008:59) This is something I never really critically thought about until recently. Ideas had floated around in my head, but until reading this chapter in our text on culture and language I had taken language for granted. Language is powerful in that meaning is given to words and symbols and these meanings then shape our society and its culture with our thoughts and expectations.

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April 23, 2009

What is Ideal?

Excellent example of paper 1 by Jillian Ensign - Spring 2009

Dashing into Macy's shopping center, I stroll pass the perfume counter and smell a hint of sweetness and bitterness all at the same time, while approaching the juniors section I spot the perfect pair of jeans and they are even on sale. After trying the perfect pair of jeans on, I have an epiphany that the junior department at Macy's will never have the correct length for my five foot tall stature because they don't make them in my length. As I have been reading the text "Sociology in Everyday Life" the authors discuss, many ideas about the significance of how society shapes our minds and what the "Ideal" may mean to our social structure. Looking onward, I would like to talk about how the "Ideal" within our social structure and institutions has resulted in us placing labels on almost everything in our society.

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April 22, 2009

I'm Not Part of What They Call the Model Minority

Excellent example of paper 1 by Alyssa Phimmasone - Spring 2009

I've always grown up with people (by "people" I mean people of a non Asian ethnic background) assuming I was part of the "model minority. " In elementary I seemed to have somewhat of an advantage, I excelled academically; but who doesn't in elementary. The majority of students don't have a hard time getting through elementary. I grew up in Milwaukie, Oregon; we probably had a handful of Lao and Cambodian - American students in our neighborhood. There weren't many Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese or Filipinos; the few Asians that we did have were Lao and Cambodian.

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March 24, 2009

How Fast Food is Hurting our Society in the United States

Sample research paper by Jennifer Bailey - Winter 2009

With everyday that goes by, healthy food is becoming increasingly expensive to buy in our society. Whether it is a bag of groceries or going out to a restaurant, people (especially within lower income families) are only able to get by with cheaper types of food which in return causes major health issues which we are already seeing today and they will only become worst overtime. This problem is decreasing our life expectancy rates for not only adults but also especially children within our society. If something is not done about this problem we could have a health catastrophe on our hands. We have always been taught through education that eating healthy is important. However, looking through advertisements and commercials the media portrays unhealthy food more often than healthy food. Many advertisers know that people do not either want to spend a lot of money on food or they simply can't afford to buy healthy food, therefore advertising cheaper foods will be more appealing to the customer. Even though fast food is cheap it will only cost our society in long run more money due to health problems. We need to find a better way for people to eat healthier but to also maintain the prices so that healthy food is affordable for everyone and so that obesity rates can be lowered, life expectancy rates can be raised and in return it would decrease health problems.

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March 19, 2009

Gender Socialization and Rape

Sample research paper. Ashlyn Olson. Winter 2009

In the society we live in, we are constantly being fed information. From how we should act to what we should strive to look like; none of us are exempt from experiencing this on a daily basis. From very early on in life, men and women are socialized to be nearly opposite of one another. This has serious implications for the relationships between men and women. Our society constructs men to be dominant, strong, and forceful and women to be quite the opposite. Unfortunately, the gender roles men and women learn from a very early age ultimately lead to the horrendous act of rape.

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February 17, 2009

The Function of Grades in College Courses

Excellent example of paper 1 by Edward Sleigh - Winter 2009

Grades in college courses are a far broader topic than A through F or a scale of percentage. They function in many different ways, motivating some and challenging others. The decisions we make have direct and indirect consequences. Robert Merton suggested that human behavior has both manifest and latent functions. "Manifest functions are the stated and open goals of social behavior. Latent functions are the unintended consequences of behavior" (Andersen 21). The classroom environment may be the easiest to study from the functionalist theoretical framework because much like the functionalist view on society, the goal of a classroom is to produce an environment for learning, with consensus and order, with stability. With a classroom as our example of society, we can study how grades in college seem to have more latent functions than manifest functions.

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Third Culture Kids

Excellent sample paper 2 by Mika Nakazawa - Winter 2009

The term Third Culture Kid refers to the "third culture" created by individuals who have grown up in multiple cultures when they are in the process of relating their societies, or sections thereof, to each other. Third Culture Kids was a term that Sociologist Ruth Hill Useem first coined.

In summarizing that which we had observed in our cross-cultural encounters, we began to use the term "third culture" as a generic term to cover the styles of life created, shared, and learned by persons who are in the pro-cess of relating their societies, or sections there of, to each other. The term "Third Culture Kids" or TCK's was coined to refer to the children who accompany their parents into another society. (Useem, par.6)

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February 10, 2009

Can We Become Better People?

Excellent example of paper 1 by Hanna Hramyka (Anya) - Winter 2009.

The image of America radically changed during the last eight years. Its face is now scared with incompetence in international relationships, failed policies and a war which might last for many more years to come. But regardless of all the above, America is still the place one wants to be to make his dreams come true and to live to the best of his potential. I was one of these people as well. I always wanted to prove to myself that hard work pays off and that good things happen to good people.

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February 4, 2009

The Social in the Personal

An excellent example of paper 1 by Chvonne Wardrop - Winter 2009

Upon reading Body Ritual among the Nacirema By Horace Miner, I was painfully relating to their suffering and how our culture is too living this way, also how they do not even realize the torment they have afflicted upon themselves. These poor people, even worse off then us! That is what I thought as I read this article. To probe into the depth of my story I will discuss a question that stems from C. Wright Mills argument about sociological imagination. How did the context of society shape my life in such a way that living daily in torment was my "norm".

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February 2, 2009

Seeing the American Culture from a Detached and Outside Perspective

Excellent sample first paper from Chloe Mills - Winter 2009

The American culture as a whole is a very self conscience culture focusing on appearance and success. The steps people take to be culturally accepted by society in America are seen as important daily acts, such as taking a vast amount of time preparing one's hair or makeup, or deciding the clothes that they wear. Other times this striving for acceptance goes to greater lengths and sometimes becomes expensive, such as surgically altering cosmetic features. Yet these rituals that the people of the American society perform upon themselves are seen by a person of this society as normal things to do. These customs are all socially acceptable and are perhaps necessary so that one can fit into the culture and conform.

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January 21, 2009

Economic Crisis - Subprime Mortgages

Some of you have expressed an interest in what happened in the financial markets, and particularly the sub-prime mortgage crisis. The link below points to a cartoon type explanation. I did not create this, but it does an amazingly good job of laying out the sub-prime portion in particular.

Warning: The language in this "explanation" may be offensive to some.

Subprime Primer

December 9, 2008

Latino Youth and the U.S. Educational System

Excellent example of the Research Paper by Tamas Baker - Fall 2008.

My own personal experience is that the U.S. Educational System is failing Latino Youth . One example is at my daughters' high school, Sunset High School, where I have served for seven years as a mentor in their College & Career Center. I mentor high school juniors and seniors on post high school plans. It is frustrating being assigned Latino students because there are so many opportunities available to them, but I (and other mentors) cannot get them to even come in so we can talk with them. Another example occurred last spring at a Sunset High School parent meeting where a Vice Principal expressed concern at the difficulty the school was having keeping Latinos students engaged in school. Lastly, my husband is a first year high school teacher and struggles to successfully reach Latino students. This is relevant to me because I am applying to a School Counselor Masters program this winter and I wondered is this just me (and my experiences) or is this a universal issue.

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December 5, 2008

Culture and the Paradigm of the Letter 'E'

Excellent example of paper 2 by Krystal Riley. Fall 2008.

Is it possible to write an objective analysis on human values? Of this I am uncertain, although I feel it must require being a master of contradictions. From what I can tell, nothing can exist entirely outside of the context from which it was created, and we humans tend to play with this relativity through awareness and our being intentional. The meaning interpreted through a word is often dependent on its placement in a sentence, and that sentence rests almost entirely on the thesis of the whole. If society is drafting a story, then it is almost certain that I would be doomed to ridicule if I was to loudly assert myself as merely being the letter 'E'. Standing alone, this letter carries no message, except to suggest that at some point it has strayed from its original home. Sure, as a vowel I can boast of my adaptability and the fact I am in high demand, but it is quite clear that if I were to attempt to truly alter the spelling of any word where the letter 'E' does not belong I would quickly be shunned, and my creation misunderstood. Culture, both material and non-material, is often just the interaction between symbols, rituals, and the environment in which they are occurring; just as we likely are all in agreement on the order of our alphabet, its pronunciations, and the corresponding definitions to the words it can build, humans have assigned meaning to every facet of existence.

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November 24, 2008

Hate Violence and Hate Groups

Here are additional resources on Hate violence and hate groups.

2006 Hate Crime Statistics US Dept. of Justice.

Map of Active Hate Groups Southern Poverty Law Center.

White extremists lash out over election of first black president. Howard Witt. LA Times. 11/23/2008. (or here)

The Ku Klux Klan is emerging from decades of disorganization and obscurity, and the turnaround is acutely evident -- more than 200 hate-related incidents have been reported since the Nov. 4 election.

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November 17, 2008

American Beauty

An excellent example for paper 1. Fall 2008.

Every day all over America, women strive to be beautiful. They make choices from how to style their hair, to what clothes to wear, what make-up to apply and perhaps what surgical improvements could be made to help them match the idealized version of physical beauty. There seems to be no limit to what some women will do to attain this perfection. Why are women willing to spend large amounts of time and money, while sometimes risking their health to try to attain the unattainable?

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June 12, 2008

The Strategic Use of Rape as a Weapon in War and Ethnic Cleansing

An excellent research paper by Kristy Reddick - Spring 2008

Throughout the countless wars of human history, rape and other forms of sexual violence have been perpetrated against citizens by advancing soldiers and occupational military forces. While in the past, rapes and other sexual aggressions have been considered as random occurrences taking place in the "fog of war", increasing evidence may prove to debunk this social myth, especially in cases of ethnic cleansing and genocide. The opportunistic rape and pillage of previous centuries has been replaced in modern conflict by rape used as an orchestrated combat tool, (Smith-Spark, 2008) used to humiliate and demoralize individuals and cause ruinous rifts between spouses, extended family members and whole communities.

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June 11, 2008

How the poor stay poor

This is an excellent research paper by Jeremiah Ashbaugh - Spring 2008

I chose this topic because there does not seem to be a week that goes by that I hear some comment from a friend, family member, the media, or just someone in passing that seems to falsely explain the poverty situation. It has become obvious to me that American's in general really buy the "pull yourself up by bootstraps" theory, hook, line and sinker. My mother, who raised me, came from a poor family of twelve brothers and sisters and sometimes around mealtime, it was survival of the fittest. Needless to say, I have also been socialized to think that the homeless and poor create their own problems and if they wanted to do better, they could, just like my mom and her siblings. That the lower class and poor are lazy and that they do nothing but drain the money out of the hard working pockets of people who have pulled themselves up by their boot straps. Through much observation, life experience, a decent amount of reading, and some informative classes I have concluded that this issue is far more complex then the general public understands.

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June 9, 2008

Women incarcerated: Why life behind bars?

An excellent example of a research paper by Tiffany Rozee - June 2008

Today, roughly149,000 women are incarcerated throughout the United States. (TIME Magazine Tammerlin/ Drummmond, Miami 2000) What has contributed to women being sent to jail, and how are they treated in prisons that were designed and structured for men? When a new methodology was introduced called the feminist scholarship (Belknap in 2001) there was more information brought to light on why women committed crimes, and how gender plays a large part in the type of crimes.

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June 5, 2008

A Societal and Cultural Perspective: The Takers and the Leavers

An excellent example of paper 2 by Autumn Kniel - spring 2008

Through reading Daniel Quinn's Ishmael, the reader is introduced to two very different societies that live on Earth together, but not so harmoniously or cooperatively. These two societies are the Takers and the Leavers. The Takers can be seen as the people of "civilized" cultures and the Leavers as those of "primitive" cultures (Quinn, 39). In other words, the Takers are you and I and culture of Ishmael's pupil, while the Leavers are those people of all the other cultures besides our own lumped together (Quinn, 39). Also, according to Ishmael, a story is a scenario interrelating man, the world, and the gods, while culture can be seen as a people enacting a story (Quinn, 41). To enact a story is "to live so as to make the story a reality" (Quinn, 41). It is here where we dissect the stories that the Takers and the Leavers are enacting, as well as the effects of having the Takers and the Leavers co-inhabit our planet.

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May 20, 2008

What is the Perfect Body?

An excellent example of paper 2 by Aliesha Powers

What is the perfect body? Who gets to decide such a thing? Most importantly, why does a person care so much about their image? These are all legitimate questions I would love to ask to our so called "mother culture". You can see these body image "standards" all across our country everyday. They are strewn across our televisions and magazines daily. " The perfect body" consisting of a 6'2 girl that has tan skin and weighs 110 pounds. Women in our culture strain and strive in unhealthy ways to achieve such a body.

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The Effects of Advertising on Adults and Children

An excellent example of paper 2 by Tiffany Rozee

Advertisers work as social agents, a social agent is defined as "those who pass on social expectations"(Andersen, m & Taylor, F "Sociology in Everyday Life; chapter 4 2008) we know that Family, Religion, Peers and Media are all strong influences in the socialization process, but how do advertisements fit into the picture. We view them all over the world, there are studies to prove you can not ignore adds, even when turning off the sound, the visual picture alone can influence us. Even on a subconscious level we still absorb the message. It has been said that "People are most influenced, when they are not paying attention at all" ("The Ad and the Ego" Boihem, H. 1997") "Advertising monopolizes our space by reaching the culture by which we live"(The Ad and the Ego" Boihem, H. 1997")

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May 14, 2008


Excellent example of paper 2 by Devin Rentz

It is the sound pounding in peoples' heads that is so loud, most people have become accustomed or even deaf to it. Culture is the essence of mainstream. It is the dominant system of language, norms, folkways, mores, beliefs and values of a given society. It is imbued in children from the time they are able to be instructed. Its presence is overlooked simply because it is everywhere one looks. It is not necessarily a sinister bunch of ideas lurking in the shadows, but to realize the effects, both positive and negative, it has on the thoughts and actions of people, it deserves a closer examination. Mother Culture, which will be explored more after an understanding of culture is established, is a term used in Daniel Quinn's novel, Ishmael, to describe a peoples' early culture, their perception of this culture, and its relevance to the offspring culture they are presently a part of.

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Reshaping Nonmaterial Culture: The Global Affect of the Material Culture of the West

Excellent example of paper 2 by Kristy Reddick.

While various systems of trade and currency exchanges have spanned the globe for thousands of years, the late 20th century and early 21st century has been witness to the advent of a bona fide global economy. Rapid advancements in industry, technology and the birth of the "information age" have had dramatic effects upon business's ability to produce and market goods and services the world over. The West, most notably the United States, has been at the forefront of the commercialized global economy, exerting an incredible influence upon fellow industrialized states and developing nations. The fashion icons, franchise logos, foods, and film industry of the United States have radically impacted the material cultures of other parts of the world. Yet the affects of the globalized commercial economy and world wide information network extend beyond the absorption of US products and services. The nonmaterial aspects of world cultures are being vastly influenced by globalization. This phenomena is being embraced and celebrated by many people the world over but is met with opposition by others who view our cultural influence to be detrimental and dangerous to their societies. My intent is to briefly explore how nonmaterial aspects of culture in nations such as those in the Middle East have been influenced by the inclusion of material culture from the West.

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April 28, 2008

Troubles and Issues

An excellent example of paper 1 by Ngan Nguyen.

Hong Nuong was born and grew up in a poor farmer family in Southern Dong Thap in the Mekong Delta Region. When Nuong was a high school junior, she left school to help her mother with the farming and take care of her sick father and younger siblings. Although Nuong and her mother worked hard in the field from sunrise to sunset, they couldn't earn enough money to support the family. Gradually, Nuong's family was in heavy debt. Nuong moved to Cao Lanh and worked at a restaurant in town to earn more money. After a few months, the restaurant's owner gave Nuong the phone number of a matchmaker in Saigon who promised to find girls rich husbands from Taiwan. Nuong thought so much about it. Nuong knew it would be difficult to live with a strange husband, who didn't speak the same language, in a strange country, but it was Nuong's only way to escape from poverty. Through a matchmaker in Saigon, Nuong married Wang Liang, the thirty-seven year old Taiwanese man, and received $5,000 from him. For Nuong, the dollars from her Taiwanese husband was significantly important to her family in paying off family's debts and going to support her four younger siblings in school. But was it really better when she put her happiness in the hands of fortune and marriage decided by dollars?

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March 21, 2008

El Prejuicio--Dominican Society's Tragic Flaw

An excellent research paper by Maggie Kercher.

"Caneo, why do you always call me, 'usted'?" I had known Spanish long enough to understand that Dominicans only use the formal pronoun 'you' (usted) for those of very high rank--the boss of a corporation, or a political official--never with an acquaintance or friend. This had bothered me for some time that Caneo referred to me in this way; I considered him a friend just as I would consider any young man with whom I'd spent some time conversing.

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March 19, 2008


An excellent example of a research paper by V.S.

It's in all the media outlets; obesity is on the rise in the United States. "More than one-third of adults or over 72 million people were obese in 2005-2006 (CDC)." These stories tell us that Americans are the fattest people in the world and the number of people who are obese is getting higher every year. How would a sociologist view what the causes are for this trend? How does obesity affect our society as a whole? Who has been affected the most? What can we do as a society to reverse the trend?

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The Effects of the Food and Oil Crisis

An excellent example of a research paper by Reid Stady.

After only taking a few glances around at this man-made American culture, it's fairly easy for most to come to the realization that our daily rituals are devastating the planet and other humans as well. The truth is that our government, which controls the most powerful army and weaponry on the planet, uses oil, at least to some extent, as a primary reason for entering into devastating wars. Now that our favorite natural resource is diminishing, a few very powerful countries around the world, including the United States, are scrambling for a new means of powering the amenities we've come to enjoy, with side-effects possibly even more devastating than the oil wars we've engaged in over the last few decades.

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Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder And The Sociological Perspectives Associated With These Diagnoses

An excellent research paper by Sonya Scott.

Imagine yourself as a parent of a young, active child. You are taking your child to a routine doctor's appointment because although your child has had high energy their whole life, this energy is not being "harnessed" properly as your child is getting older. During the appointment, numerous questions are asked regarding your child's behavior and activity level. Some of these questions may include: What is the duration of your child's attention span? What is their ability to follow directions? Are they able to sit still for long periods of time? Do they interrupt conversations frequently? After replying to the above questions, and with further discussion, your doctor informs you your child has been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Both of these diagnoses can be commonly referred to as Attention Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder (AD/HD). After this visit and diagnosis from your doctor, you are now among the millions of parents in the United States that lives with this common disorder in their children. In 2003 alone, 4.4 million children ages four to seventeen were diagnosed with AD/HD, 2.5 million were prescribed medications, and 3.3 billion dollars was spent in medical costs relating to these disorders (http://www.cdc.gov).

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February 28, 2008

Peace March in Portland

Excellent example of paper two by Jacklyn Ferraris.

It could be heard from blocks away. Drums, singing, chants, excitement as people gathered to march through the city of downtown Portland. On this Sunday there would be a "peace march" that would follow a specific path for thousands of people to protest the war. As I walked to the park blocks I was nervous and timid. The thought of leaving crossed my mind, but as I walked closer I realized there was an alarming amount of people. So many that I felt comfortable as if I blended in.

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Flight of Life

An excellent of paper 2 by J.L.

In Daniel Quinn's novel "Ishmael" the gorilla compares the Taker's way of life to a trial attempt at flight (104-110). At first I found this analogy difficult to believe, but then as I thought about perception up close compared to far away, it made a lot of sense. It was difficult to assume with so many diverse cultures on Earth that we could lump them all into two groups. Then take one group and further lump them into one person attempting flight, hardly a sufficient sample size. Of course Quinn goes on to give another example of a flight with a craft that the Takers all use together called the Taker Thunderbolt (107). The initial descent of the lone pilot seemed ludicrous. How can one not see they are dropping not flying? Then I thought if the canyon was large enough that you did not immediately see the ground and you could possibly soar, then any direction that was not nose down would seem like flight. This was the same as any situation that one is too close to see the entire reality. Life, to each person, is seen from a narrow perspective. As much as we try to look openly, we still see with the blinders of our own individual experiences. In comparing this final acceptance of the analogy I can see clearly how it compares to the Takers as well as Society today.

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February 27, 2008

The World's Greatest Lost Treasures are Cultural

An excellent example of paper two by M.J.H.

I recall reading about horrific genocides in grade school, practiced by colonizing European nations on the multitudes of Native American nations. Sometimes, it was found in my favorite childhood literature which included stories about Kit Carson, Calamity Jane, or in a T.V. miniseries special, such as The Last of the Mohicans. Bad traders would be introduced, who intentionally traded in blankets inoculated with small pox; with the horrific intent to "wipe out" entire tribes of Native Americans. Other times, the genocidal activities where retold in stories of the Trail of Tears, the name given to a historic U.S. government program, in which Native Americans where marched, the majority to their death, across huge expanses of America, in the dead of winter. Sometimes, the genocidal activities where more social or cultural, as in Spanish missionary schools, and Australian adoption programs, in which children were removed from their native cultures and families, and forbidden, often beaten or tortured, for speaking their own native languages.

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February 25, 2008

Socialization: The Impact of Societal Forces

Excellent paper 2 example. Student's name withheld.

What is Socialization? Socialization is the process by which human beings learn the social expectations of society. (Andersen & Taylor) There are numerous social expectations that come across in everyday life. These expectations, either clear or unspoken, can pervade our entire presence and attempt to shape us. Who we are; how we define ourselves and the set of values we judge ourselves by is the product of multiple forces. What is the process by which socialization shapes individuals? How does this affect the world in which we live?

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Tattoos and Society

An excellent example of paper 2 by Keaton Snyder.

Getting a tattoo has long been a discussion for many individuals. It is a practice that has been around for centuries, yet is still an evolving part of society. Not too long ago in the US it was a practice that only lower class people participated in and was looked down upon by society. But more recently society has started to change the way that tattoos are seen. This is in part because it has become much cleaner and people know more about it, as well as tattoo artists being required to have a license to practice. In fact there are even schools that teach the art of tattooing. How does having a tattoo affect the way that American society sees an individual and why does American society see it this way?

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