A key component of the sociological imagination is to think about how our personal experiences/troubles relate to public issues. In this essay, you will be required to apply the sociological imagination to your own lives to write your sociological autobiographies. The challenge of this essay is to turn a critical eye to your personal/social lives and experiences which you might have taken for granted and to render them more visible by examining them through a sociological lens. To do this, you will need to become “ghostwriters” of your lives – almost stepping outside yourselves to observe your personal and social lives and then by using the guiding questions below, think critically about your experiences.
For the essay to be a sociological autobiography it must include:
(a) an explanation of your personal/social lives and
(b) a sociological analysis of the same using theoretical ideas, concepts, and sociological language discussed in the course. You are not required to cite external sources.
**The autobiography has to be 4-5 pages double-spaced, Times New Roman 12-point font, with
In thinking about your sociological autobiographies, start by examining any social experience(s) and/or personal troubles/advantages that are part of your biography as you operate within social institutions like work, family, school, social media etc. For instance, you could turn a critical lens to your experience of going to a grocery store; to your experiences finding a job; growing up in American society under the influence of the media; getting a college education etc. To think analytically, place these experience(s), troubles/advantages at the center of your analysis and write the autobiography by considering the questions detailed below.
Please consider the following questions while developing your paper. You are not required to answer each of these questions for the paper. Rather, use these to structure the topics you’d like to focus on:
The self and society – how do larger social forces shape your experience and how did you engage in social continuity or change?
The intersection of culture, history and your biography – think about the historical and temporal period during which you have that experience; would you have experienced it in the same way in another time period? How has generation and life course affected your experience?
The relationship between your private troubles and public issues – is your experience only your private experience? How is it related to larger social issues in society? Is your experience only a function of your individual abilities, nature, personality and/or how is it framed by larger social forces and processes (such as culture, norms, globalization, social location etc.)
The role of power and structural inequality – How do your intersectional position within structures of race, class, gender shape that experience? How did your group membership influence your experience?
Agency – how might you exercise agency in the constructing of your biography? In doing this, how you think your experience impacts/interacts with larger social forces within which your life/experiences are unfolding?
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