HOW TO WRITE YOUR PAPER
“Neither the life of an individual nor the history of a society can be understood without understanding both…. No social study that does not come back to the problems of biography, of history and of their intersections within a society has completed its intellectual journey…. The sociological imagination enables us to grasp history and biography and the relations between the two in society…. For that imagination is the capacity to shift from one perspective to another— from the political to the psychological; from examination of a single family to comparative assessments of the national budgets of the world; from the theological school to the military establishment; from considerations of an oil industry to studies of contemporary poetry. It is the capacity to range from the most impersonal and remote transformations to the most intimate features of the human self— and to see the relations between the two.” — C. Wright Mills.
This assignment asks you to write an autobiographical essay describing the intersection between your biography and the historical times in which you live using your “sociological imagination” as discussed in C. Wright Mills’ essay “The Promise”
What sociological factors have shaped your life so far? Your goal is to demonstrate your sociological understanding through an application of the sociological imagination to an analysis of your life. The key to showing a sociological understanding is to connect your personal experiences, behaviors, and attitudes to the larger social structure. For example, think about your cultural background, socialization, race, ethnicity, class, gender or sexual orientation. How have any of these factors, or the intersection of any of them, given you advantages or disadvantages throughout life?
Write your autobiography detailing the following:
Identify and consider two or more social forces explored over the course of the semester that have had a significant impact on your life, for example:
Social class/education/work history
Identify and highlight two historical events that have had a significant impact on your life;
explain why you are identifying these social and historical forces, and not some others, as the most significant to shaping your life;
analyze and evaluation how the social and historical forces you have identified have shaped your sociological autobiography, and apply them to an analysis of your life.
Make sure to use sociological concepts and theories throughout your paper, and highlight sociological terms that connect to your life story.
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