Contemporary Society Autumn 2018
You must consult at least five (5) scholarly texts (academic sources) in researching this essay, and reference them in a reference list. At least four (4) of the five (5) scholarly texts must be from outside the essential (weekly) readings (Sociologic textbook). You are expected to engage in independent scholarly research. Scholarly texts include books, an essay from a collection or an article from an academic journal. Please do not use general websites, including Wikipedia, or any dictionary definitions. Any scholarly texts from the Internet MUST be from a reputable academic or university website. If you are not sure, choose only university-based websites for your sources. You must not use any other Internet-based material in your essay unless it is directly related to answering your question and relevant.
Referencing: All quotations MUST be in quotation marks with page number references using a recognised referencing system, for example, Chicago or MLA. All material that is not your own MUST be referenced. Students are required to follow the UWS style guidelines in relation to references, quotations and bibliographies. The University of Western Sydney has proactive plagiarism rules in place and all essays must be submitted to Turnitin. Please see the library site for more details: http://library.westernsydney.edu.au/main/guides/referencing-citation
Essay Writing: An essay is an extended intellectual engagement with a particular question. A written essay must demonstrate not only an ability to write to an acceptable university standard but, just as importantly, an ability to think to a university standard. Students are required to research the question, and to show evidence of that research in the form of appropriate reference and bibliographic material being used in the essay. As students, you are asked to query and evaluate all material that you read, or notes and recordings you have accumulated from lectures and tutorials and, through a critical engagement with this information, express your own ideas and concepts in the essay. These ideas and concepts must be argued and substantiated by rational means, and presented in a logical, cohesive order that develops your essay’s argument or position.
This essay will be assessed on: A clear response that demonstrates an understanding of the essay question chosen. Correct use of concepts from the course. The appropriate use of examples and evidence to support your arguments. Your facility to undertake independent scholarly research and correctly reference that research, and your ability to write clearly and concisely.
- In his book General Economic History, published in 1961, Max Weber wrote (p. 265): “Since Judaism made Christianity possible and gave it the character of a religion essentially free from magic, it rendered an important service from the point of view of economic history. For the dominance of magic outside the sphere in which Christianity has prevailed is one of the most serious obstructions to the rationalization of economic life. Magic involves a stereotyping of technology and economic relations.”From a sociological viewpoint, compare and contrast religion with the magic of Steven Frayne, commonly known by his stage name “Dynamo”. Is religion often just another form of magic, with people like Dynamo among its high priests or mullahs? Are magic and religion simply both similar social constructions? In your response to this question, specifically consider both how irrational social factors influence everything, and the relationship between faith and proof.
- What are the issues and challenges of studying society? Closely considering the concept of the sociological imagination, compare and contrast the distinction between an individual person’s troubles and the broader public issue, using a specific contemporary example.
- How does the myth of Australia being a classless society continue to circulate when the Prime Minister of Australia Malcolm Turnbull can “bankroll” his party’s election campaign to the amount of $1.7 million? Compare and contrast the recent actions of different Australian politicians, exploring how this myth may allow a wealthy and privileged minority of Australians to reinforce ongoing inequality while making their exercise of power all but invisible? Some aspects to consider more closely in your analysis should include means of production, middle class, and alienation.
- In an article in The Guardian, the sociologist Zygmunt Bauman said: “The task for sociology is to come to the help of the individual. We have to be in service of freedom. It is something we have lost sight of”. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2010/nov/03/zygmunt-bauman-ed-miliband-labourCompare and contrast this statement with James Arvanitakis’s understanding of sociology explained in Chapters 1 & 2 of the textbook Sociologic.
- In March 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini decreed mandatory hijab, which is still in force in Iran. Vida Mohaved is a woman who removed her mandatory headscarf in Enghelab Street in Tehran on December 27 last year.In a Huffington Post article, activist Leila Mouri says, “Unfortunately, Iranian women’s deprivation of one of their primary rights — the right to wear what they want in public — has yet to garner attention in the era of ‘Islamophobia.’ In progressive circles of civil society, debates on hijab and Muslim women’s freedom of expression are typically rationalized by their right to wear a burqa in European countries. A consequence of this is that the Iranian government’s policy of compulsory hijab is either supported or ignored by cultural relativist apologists”. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/leila-mouri/compulsory-hijab-in-iran-_b_1698338.html
Compare and contrast the religious and political aspects of the current Iranian government policy with the views of Leila Mouri in relation to the quotation on page 141 of Sociologic: “But what is power? According to [Robert] Dahl, the simplest way to understand the concept is to think of power as enabling the possibility of imposing one’s will upon the behaviour of another (or others)”.
- Roller derby has frequently been considered an ‘alternative’ sport, but ‘alternative’ to what? Compare and contrast roller derby with the sport of dressage, exploring what this comparison tells us about ideas of class and class relations in Australia.
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