Sociological Reflection Papers are the primary way for students to prove to me they are actually listening during clas

Sociological Reflection Papers are the primary way for students to prove to me they are actually listening during class discussions, participating in class activities, and making an effort to keep up with class readings. The paper is a ‘reflection’ of a student’s experiences so far this semester. The task is to synthesize all the parts of class (discussions, activities, EQ’s, games, readings, etc.) into a coherent and interesting narrative.

The minimum amount of effort gets you the minimum amount of points. So really think about how awesome your paper needs to be if you turn in the minimum page length of 1 page.

Format Requirements:

Title page with title, name, class, and date. Paper will be 1-page minimum (text must extend the full length of page for full credit), single-spaced, 12-point font size, and Times New Roman font. No bullet points. I will reformat any paper I think does not comply to requirements and grade the reformatted version.

Citation Requirements:

You must provide a citation (author’s name, year of publication, and page number/link to website) for EVERY key term, direct quote or paraphrase in your paper.

You have to use at least four key terms from the current unit in your paper for an “A”. Key terms should also be inbold type to make it easier for me to identify how many key terms you actually defined/used/cited correctly. You do want credit for all your work, right?

Learning Objective:

(1) Briefly synthesize what you have learned during the unit (from class discussions/activities, group activities, PPTs, and unit readings) in order to reflect on our taken-for-granted assumptions of social reality. Basically, what have we been focused on in class.

(2) Practice using your new skills by analyzing real-life experiences and/or pop culture sociologically. You will do one (short) mini-project associated with the current class content and provide your sociological analysis in your reflection paper. You get to pick one option from a list of research activities I will provide for each reflection paper. Depending on the activity, you will either observe real-life, do interviews, or analyze pop culture. You are required to take notes and/or answer questions during your data collection (aka, fieldnotes). You will need to provide your fieldnotes separately as evidence of learning. If you write your fieldnotes out by hand, you can turn them in during class. If you type them, attach the fieldnotes at the end of your reflection paper. I will provide a student example of fieldnotes before the first reflection paper.

3. Wrap-up your reflection with a strong normative (taken-for-granted) vs. sociological (empirical evidence) perspective conclusion.

Mini-Project #5 – Norm Breaking on Television
Learning Objective:
For this mini-project, you will be using existing sources and doing a content analysis of one episode from two
different TV shows. Choose two contemporary TV shows that are available for multiple viewings, either by
recording it or accessing it online or on DVD. You need to be able to watch both shows more than once in order
to verify your data collection. As you watch each episode, take ‘thick’ notes about the content and try to
document all the ways in which deviant behavior is portrayed on the show. I suggest creating some deviance
codes to organize your work. Refer to Week Two course materials to review content analysis as a research
It’s clear that deviance is a fascinating subject not only for sociologists but for millions of television viewers as
well. That’s why we’ve seen a proliferation of shows in recent years that feature people breaking almost every
kind of social norm imaginable, from folkways to taboos. We might expect to see deviance covered in a talk
show or news-magazine program, but it’s a staple of many other genres. We see it in reality TV shows like Teen
Mom, which focuses on how high schoolers deal with pregnancy and parenthood, and Mafia Wives, which
portrays women whose husbands may be criminals with mob connections. But it’s not just reality TV shows
that feature deviance. Dramas such as 13 Reasons Why, Riverdale, House of Cards, American Horror Story,
Billions, The Umbrella Academy, etc., comedies such as Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt or Mom, hybrids such as
Transparent or Orange Is the New Black, and even animated shows such as The Simpsons or Family Guy all
deal with various elements of the pathological or dysfunctional. There are many more TV shows we could add
to this list.
Why is there so much deviance on television? Are these shows merely entertainment or is there something more
going on here? When we watch them, do we feel morally superior or get some kind of vicarious thrill? Does
exposure to so much deviance help reinforce our social norms or serve to erode them?
Data Collection:
Choose two current TV shows that have some type of deviant content. Start out by watching one episode from
first TV show and take very detailed notes. I highly suggest conceptualizing your terms by defining and coding
them before looking for them. Think about the questions below as you watch the episode as many times as you
need for good data. Next, watch one episode from second TV show and repeat the process. In the end, you
should answer the questions below twice, once for each episode you watch.
1. Who is the intended audience for this program? Why did you choose it?
2. What kind of deviance is featured? Give specific examples of situations, scenes, dialogue, or characters,
and explain why they are examples of deviance.
3. What kinds of deviance are missing from media portrayals?
4. Is the deviance celebrated or condemned?
5. How does it make you feel to watch the program?
6. What effect do you think the show has on other viewers?
7. Do you think the program supports or challenges prevailing social norms?
Research Analysis:
After collecting you data, reflect on your experiences conducting this content analysis. What do you think these
shows tell us about contemporary American society and our attitudes toward deviance? Attach your field-notes
to end of paper and include a citation for each TV show episode you viewed.

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