Your first sociobiography will be written about a person with whom you disagree politically.
Pick a person in your life who you know has distinctly different political views from your own. This should be a person that you know. Explain how you know this person and give the reader some sense of the context of your relationship. Please assign a pseudonym to this person and use the pseudonym throughout your paper to respect their privacy, even if you think they will not care about their real name being used. For best results, choose someone whose beliefs are dramatically different from yours, not just slightly different. You do not absolutely *have* to talk to them in order to write this paper, but I do strongly recommend that you to get in touch and ask a few clarifying questions so that you can most accurately represent their beliefs on paper. After the conversation, thank them for their time and willingness to share (even if you do not like their beliefs!)
Introduce your paper in an engaging introductory paragraph that includes a thesis statement that more or less describes the point and arc of your submission.
Explain in clear terms what this person’s general political position is, what yours is, and how they are different. Describe 2-3 particular moments from your own history with this person. How did you come to realize that they held different political beliefs? In what ways did that affect your relationship? In what ways did it not affect your relationship? What has happened in the past with them when/if you have ever tried having open discussions about politics? How have you dealt with conflict? Your description should include particular words they used, thoughts they had, feelings they expressed, experiences they had, or actions and behaviors they engaged in. Knowing that your reader will likely never meet this person, your job is to provide enough detail that the reader has a mental image of the person you are describing.
Analyze your person in terms of meaningful social categories and distinctions (i.e., race, class, gender, sexuality, ability, documentation status, employment status, political affiliations, etc.).Deconstruct the persons political views and explain how they were socially constructed experiences rather than idiosyncrasies or exercises of free will. To do so, allow your lens to zoom out from the individual person and search for the broader social conditions that shaped that persons life (i.e., the political, economic, and sociocultural factors). Then, put the pieces back together to demonstrate how those social conditions shaped the choices the person had or the conclusions they came to.
Do a briefer but similar analysis of yourself, demonstrating through the use of clear and explicit examples of how you and your person might have come to view the political world so differently.
To aid you in analyzing and explaining those social conditions, you should refer to at least 3 distinct readings from our class (anything that is NOT in YMA, i.e., only the readings that you could to logs on), as well as 5 different sociological concepts from lecture and/or YMA. Please highlight the concepts you choose in bold, using them in ways that demonstrate your understanding of them, and include a Works Cited list at the end of your paper. Your reading references can be paraphrased or directly quoted, but either way, both readings and lecture material should be cited parenthetically in the text. An example of a proper parenthetical citation for paraphrased material is (Hochschild 2016) and quoted text from page 46 is (Hochschild 2016:46). For lectures, cite as: (McNamara, lecture, and the date of the lecture). Please refer to the ASA style (Links to an external site.) guidelines for help. For direct quotes, if you choose to conduct a brief interview or conversation, cite as: (Pseudonym, interview, and the date of the interview).
Conclude with a brief discussion about the ways that the Sociological Imagination could help both you and your person be more understanding about your ideological differences, and perhaps to even build bridges across those differences. What is at stake in your relationship with them (whether or not you actually like them)? How can a more compassionate reading of their views make a difference to both of you, and to the world at large?
The fine print:
Your total paper length should be between 1000-1200 words (4-5 pages) and use 11- or 12-point font and the standard 1-inch margins. Use guidelines for strong sociological explanations at the sentence level. Make sure each paragraph serves a distinct and clear purpose. Give your written work a professional appearance. Ask a friend to review it for you; other people’s brains will see errors that our own brains cannot.
Edit silently, using spell check and grammar check. Then, read it aloud again to check for typos and grammatical issues that your eyes may have missed. A few things to triple-check before posting your submission to Canvas:
Each sentence should make sense on its own.
Each paragraph has a topic sentence and logical body sentences.
You should have smooth transitions between paragraphs.
Your first paragraph should be introductory in nature, setting the scene and attracting the readers attention.
Make sure that the conclusion feels and reads like a conclusion, rather than simply stopping in the middle of an idea.
Make sure that your name and word count are at the top of the essay before posting it on Canvas. Pages should also be numbered.
ASA format: https://www.asanet.org/sites/default/files/savvy/documents/teaching/pdfs/Quick_Tips_for_ASA_Style.pdf