Essay Questions on Utilizing Your Sociological Imagination and Applying the Sociological Perspective


Write in the first person using your sociological imagination and/or the broader sociological perspective to reflect on your experiences as you answer the following questions. Please answer each of the questions in paragraph formation. Be sure to write in complete sentences.  You should have at least two citations (use MLA citation) within your answers to each of these questions by including at least two key terms or concepts in each answer. When you use key terms/concepts you have learned in this course within your answers, underline and place the terms/concepts in bold and then please cite from websites, books, videos and/or materials contained within the course modules (using parenthetical in-text citations), but do not cite from materials outside of this course. Your completed answers should be between 275 and 550 words for each of the 6 question prompts.


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  1. How has the sociological imagination allowed you to better understand your life? Explain the precise definition of the “sociological imagination.” Be sure to explain the difference between “personal troubles” and “public issues.” Explaining how using the sociological imagination allows you to understand yourself and how it may allow you to better navigate your future experiences and interactions in society.
  2. How have you been motivated or influenced by social institutions? Which specific institutions have affected you the most? How have your life chances/access to resources been affected by specific social events and/or specific social institutions? How have these affected your life choices? You must discuss the influence of at least 2 social institutions (media, education, religion, family, economy, or government) in this answer.
  3. Name your social class. Explain how your class affects your situation and life chances. How does the current state of the economy affect your situation? How has social class (or socioeconomic status) limited or enhanced your life chances and your access to important resources in society? How has your social class shaped the communities you have lived in and the institutions you have had access to? How has your social class affected your social networks, cultural capital, lifestyle, and worldview?
  4. How does your race affect your life chances? Has your race brought you more privilege –or more prejudice and discrimination? What ethnic traditions or historical events have influenced your situation?
  5. How do expectations for men and women (masculinity or femininity) influence you? How does your situation as heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual affect your experiences? How have your sex, gender, and sexual identity affected your life chances? How have your sex, gender, and sexual identity affected your social networks, cultural capital, lifestyle, and worldview?
  6. How has this class benefited you? How can you put the knowledge you have gained to use in a practical or self-actualizing way?



Evaluation Criteria for Your Final Project:

Your grade is determined by how well you demonstrate your ability to apply sociological theories, methods, and the sociological imagination. In this project, your ability to demonstrate your own application of the sociological imagination to your own individual experience is crucial to your grade. How well you utilize sociological vocabulary –and how well you contextualize your experiences in their broader social, cultural, and/or historical context using specific key terms and concepts from the course—is also very important.

Impress me! Excellent papers:

  • are successfully organized, well-written, thoughtful, and interesting.
  • contain the required amount of key sociological terms and concepts in bold.
  • follow these instructions fully.
  • cite the bolded words from your course materials (but use no other sources beyond what is contained in the course modules) and include a “Work Cited” page at the end of the paper.
  • are carefully edited for spelling and grammar.
  • meet the word requirements provided
  • are in 12-14 point font (using either Arial, Times New Roman, or Tahoma).
  • are double-spaced.

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