Think of a problem you have experienced during your life—or are currently experiencing. Discuss in a six-paragraph essay (minimum 3 double spaced pages) the ways this problem connects to central concepts in this course.
Essays should be structured as follows:
(grading rubrics on p. 2)
Paragraph 1: Introduction – What is the problem? Be as precise as possible so your analysis can be systematic. How is this personal, private trouble related to public issues? Foreshadow how Unit 2’s topics – The State, Political Culture, Political Economy, and Social Institutions can illuminate your understanding of your problem.
Paragraphs 2-5: Body – Discuss the problem sociologically.
Use the following questions to guide the construction of your essay:
What role do the state and specific concepts from our unit on the state play?
What role do culture and specific concepts from our unit on culture, media, and ideology play?
What is the role of economics?
What is the role of social institutions, (particularly one of the ones we discussed in our unit on this topic)?
Paragraph 5: Conclusions – How has this problem and the ways it is connected to politics influenced who you are or how you see things today? How does political sociology and its theories, concepts, and methods, help you to understand your personal trouble as a public issue in ways you could not before enrolling in this course?

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