General changes in Socialization or Gender Socialization / Gender Representation Assignment

Homework Assignment

Choose 1 of the topics: APPENDIX I Generational Changes in Socialization (DUE ON 3/1) A. General Description Socialization is the process through which we internalize the cultural norms, and values of our society. The agents of socialization are many (e.g. family, school, peer group, work place, and mass media, amongst others) and interact in complex ways. We tend to take for granted the significant role of these agents in the development of “the self.” Moreover, we are seldom aware of the extent to which our “individual” perspectives reflect the common values of our groups of reference and our generation. This project is designed to help you appreciate the relevance of socialization in constructing our realities by examining cross-generational variations in culture and socialization. To this end, you will interview an older person who grew up in the U.S. (or, if you were born or grew up outside the U.S., the country you are most familiar with) about his/her socialization experiences. You will report your findings in a 3-4 page paper. B. Specific guidelines 1. Find a respondent who is at least a generation (roughly 20 years) older than you; preferably someone who is at least 60 years old. You can interview anyone, but this project might be an excellent excuse to call an older relative and renew family ties. Conduct the interview face to face or by phone. 2. Introduce yourself and the project. Tell your respondent that you are conducting interviews as an assignment for a college class and that responses will be held in strict confidence. You need to make that guarantee (and mean it) even if you are related to the respondent. 3. Conduct the interview. For this project, you can be informal and chatty – try to get the respondent to relax and talk about his or her childhood. If the interviewee agrees to it, you may tape-record the interview. Otherwise, take notes in as much detail as possible. Let your interviewee know that this notes are just meant to help you remember what he/she said. C. Interview guide First, introduce yourself and assure the interviewee that her/his participation is voluntary and the information she/he gives will be confidential. You may use the following format (or an adapted version). Try to memorize the “script;” do not read it to the respondent. Hello, my name is ____________ and I am interviewing people about their childhood experiences as part of a class project for my “Introduction to Sociology” class. Your participation is completely voluntary. You have the right to stop the interview at any point or decline to answer any specific questions. The information I collect will be kept confidential. Only the instructor of the course and I will have access to this information, and all notes and records will be destroyed upon completion of the project. Your identity will be kept strictly confidential. Here are some questions you may use as interview guide: 1. What year were you born? 2. How many brothers and sisters did you have? What was your birth order (youngest, oldest, and so on)? 3. Describe the situation of your family when you were growing up. You might ask specifically about location (farm, city, suburb, social class standing, religion, etc.) 4. What was childhood like then? If your interviewee does not elaborate or wants you to be more specific, you may ask such questions as what her/his relationship with parents was, what was expected of children, what were common disciplinary practices, the chores they had to do, the nature and quantity of school work, and so forth. Did the family do things together? What did they do, as a family, for fun? Mostly, just get your respondent to talk about his/her childhood in as much detail as she/he would like. 5. Think of the things that you had then and what children have now. What is the single biggest difference between then and now? Has childhood become harder or easier because of this difference? How has this thing affected family life? Has the change been good or bad? THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME. Remember the following rule: Whatever your respondent says, don’t argue or show any negative reactions. If you’d like, you may record any thoughts you had at any specific moments. If the interview bogs down, seek further information with a gentle prompt (“Can you tell me more about that?”) D. Instructions for writing your report/paper 1. Number your pages and fulfill the required number of pages (3-4, double spaced, 12-point font in Times New Roman). 2. Give a title to your paper. This may simply be “Generational Changes in Socialization,” or you can create a title that represents the specific content of your paper. 3. Divide your paper in 3 major sections: a) An introduction, which should include: – An opening paragraph explaining the purpose of the paper. – A profile of your informant (no names) in terms of relevant socio-demographic characteristics (age, nationality, rural or urban location while growing up, birth order within the family, and, if appropriate, religion). – A general description of the interview (where did it take place, how long did it take, and any interesting or relevant aspects of the experience). b) A section describing, first, the salient elements of culture (norms, values, beliefs, practices, symbols, artifacts, etc.) identified by the respondent as part of his/her socialization; second, significant socializing agents (e.g. parents, extended family, teachers, peers, etc.) mentioned by your informant. c) A brief conclusion where you briefly reflect on what you found distinctive about the cultural and socialization experience of your respondent as compared to your own. 4. Use appropriate sociological language. Specifically, incorporate those sociological concepts you have learned in class (such as socialization, values, norms, symbols, rituals, socializing agents, etc.) 5. Be specific in your descriptions and support your statements and claims with examples or excerpts from the interview, as appropriate. 6. Pay attention to the organization of your paper. The narrative should flow smoothly, including appropriate transitions between topics. 7. Proof-read your paper (if need be, take it to the Learning Commons) to make sure that it is well-written, contains no typos, spelling errors, incomplete or redundant phrases, or statements that are too vague or general. E. Evaluation Introduction: 20% Description of elements of culture and socializing agents: 40% Conclusion: 10% Writing, composition, and organization of the paper: 20% Format (number of pages, page numbering, font, etc.): 10% APPENDIX II Gender Socialization / Gender Representation Assignment (DUE ON 5/3) Gender is a socially constructed reality, wherein different agents of socialization and symbols we constantly use help delineate and shape our identity and view of the world. The specific guidelines for the “Gender Socialization / Gender Representation Assignment” are described below. You will have two options for this assignment. See, below, alternative #1 (“Gender Socialization through Toys”), and alternative #2 (“Gender Representations in Cards”). Choose and carry out only one of these. Alternative #1: Gender Socialization through Toys One important, though often taken for granted, form of gender socialization is play, since it serves to informally train children to engage in activities that they will be expected to perform as adults in real life. This becomes more apparent when we pay attention to and reflect upon the symbolic meaning of the toys given to girls and boys. The purpose of this project is twofold: first, to understand the significance of toys and play in the socialization of boys and girls into gender roles; second, to apply the three sociological paradigms studied in class (Structural Functional, Social Conflict, and Symbolic Interaction) in making sense of the process of gender socialization through toys. To carry out this project, you will visit a local toy store and take notes on the type of items found in boys and girls’ sections and discuss, in your final report, the type of behaviors and roles that playing with such toys stimulate. The specific guidelines for carrying out this field experience are the following: A. Planning your field research: 1. Choose a local toy store and plan on staying for at least half hour, observing and taking field notes. 2. Take a notebook to use as a “field diary” and write detailed notes on the spot (don’t wait until you come back home). B. Making observations of the locale: 1. Observe the location of the store, noting the size, the position with regard to other businesses in the area or mall, the external decoration (e.g. colors, pictures, drawings), and any written messages (from the name of the store to any advertisements). 2. Observe the organization of the store, taking note of all details you may consider relevant to the central topic of this project, from decoration to the presence of clearly segregated “zones” or sections specifically designed for boys and for girls. 3. Be as specific as possible. Do not take any details for granted. As you write your notes, make sure you specify the “indicators” of any observations or claims you make (e.g. if you noted that there are gender-segregated zones, how do you know? What did you see that led you to this conclusion?) C. Making observations of the toys: 1. Observe the type of toys in display including seemingly minor details such as their packaging and the color and decoration of boxes, in addition to the toys themselves. 2. Take note of your own interpretations, e.g. are the toys typically associated with specific spheres of action (e.g. domestic or public)? Do you identify toys that may serve educational functions in each section? D. Writing your report: 1. Content: Write a 3-4 page report describing your observations. Be as specific as possible without taking any details for granted. For example, make sure you specify the “indicators” or observations that support any claims you make (if you noted that there were gender-segregated zones, how did you know this? What did you see that led you to this conclusion?) Make sure your report addresses the main issue, i.e. in what specific ways toys function as gender socializing agents. Describe at least three- four sociological insights you gained from this experience by using each of the three sociological perspectives (Structural Functional, Social Conflict, and Symbolic Interaction) studied at the beginning of the semester. Recall that the Functionalist perspective emphasizes societies’ functional integration; the Social Conflict perspective emphasizes power inequalities between social categories; and the Symbolic Interaction perspective emphasizes the role of symbols in socialization and interaction. Make sure that you discuss this in a separate section of the paper (rather than “sprinkling” here and there comments that may relate to Functionalism, Conflict, or Symbolic Interaction), so that I can clearly assess your ability to apply your sociological-theoretical insights to the topic at stake. 2. Format, structure and organization: Number your pages and fulfill the required number of pages (3-4 double spaced, 12-point font, Times New Roman). Give a title to your paper. This may simply be “Gender Socialization through Toys,” or you can create your own title that represents the specific content of your paper. Divide the paper in 2 sections: Section 1 should contain an introductory paragraph explaining the objective of the project and a detailed account of your observations and their relevance to the topic. As noted above, be as specific as possible, specifying the r observations that support any claims you make. In section 2 you should describe the sociological insights you gained from this experience, using the 3 sociological perspectives learned in class (Functionalist, Social Conflict, or Symbolic Interaction). Use appropriate sociological language. Specifically, incorporate those sociological concepts you have learned throughout the semester. Pay attention to the writing and composition of your paper. The narrative should flow smoothly, including appropriate transitions between topics. Proof-read your paper (if need be, take it to the Learning Commons) to make sure that it is well-written, contains no typos, spelling errors, incomplete or redundant phrases, or statements that are too vague or general. E. Evaluation – Description of observations: 30% – Sociological insights and application of sociological paradigms: 30% – Writing, composition, and organization: 30% – Format (number of pages, page numbering, font, etc.): 10% Alternative #2: Gender Representations in Cards Gender is a fluid social construct that encompasses the meanings attached to different sex categories and the power relations that derive from them. One of the topics sociologists examine in this regard is the way “masculinities” and “femininities” are constructed through various different institutions, such as family, schools, the work place, and the media. Something as apparently innocuous as greeting cards, for example, is packed with symbols that convey common social perceptions of how men and women are supposed to act and what their tastes and inclinations are expected to be. The purpose of this project is twofold: first, to understand and be able to explain the significance of social expectations (expressed by means of words, images, and “good wishes”) and symbols in the construction of gender identities and roles; second, to apply a sociological perspective in the analysis of your observations. A. Planning your field research: 1. Go to the greeting card section of any card store, drugstore, or supermarket and check the section that displays birthday congratulatory cards. 2. Take with you a notebook to use as a “field diary,” so that you don’t wait until you are back at home to register your observations and thoughts. B. Making observations of the cards: 1. Observe and take note of the colors and shapes and of any drawings and pictures displayed on the cards. What colors and objects tend to appear on cards designed to congratulate women? How do they compare to those on cards congratulating men? 2. Read and analyze the words/phrases/poems/jokes written on the cards. What wishes, expectations, and implicit values do the cards convey? Are they the same regardless sex? 3. Analyze the symbolic message conveyed by both pictorial images and words. What attributes do they represent (e.g., beauty, tenderness, intelligence, strength, etc.)? C. Writing your report: 1. Content: Write a 3-4 page report describing and analyzing your observations. Be as specific as possible without taking any details for granted. For example, make sure you specify the “indicators” or observations that support any claims you make. Make sure your report addresses the main issue, i.e. how is gender constructed and represented in congratulatory cards? Describe at least two-three sociological insights you gained from this experience, drawing on the concepts or premises of any of the sociological perspectives (Structural Functional, Social Conflict, and Symbolic Interaction) studied at the beginning of the semester. Recall that the Functionalist perspective emphasizes societies’ functional integration; the Social Conflict perspective emphasizes power inequalities between social categories; and the Symbolic Interaction perspective emphasizes the role of symbols in social interaction and communication. Make sure that you discuss this in a separate section of the paper (rather than “sprinkling” here and there comments that may relate to Functionalism, Conflict, or Symbolic Interaction), so that I can clearly assess your ability to apply your sociological-theoretical insights to the topic at stake. 2. Format, structure and organization: Number your pages and fulfill the required number of pages (3-4, space and a half, 12-point font, Times New Roman). Give a title to your paper. This may simply be “Gender Representations in the Cards,” or you can create your own title that represents the specific content of your paper. Divide the paper in 2 sections: Section 1 should contain an introductory paragraph explaining the objective of the project and a detailed account of your observations and their relevance to the topic. As noted above, be as specific as possible, specifying the observations that support any claims you make. In section 2 you should describe the sociological insights you gained from this experience, using any of the sociological perspectives learned in class (Functionalist, Social Conflict, or Symbolic Interaction). Use appropriate sociological language. Specifically, incorporate those sociological concepts you have learned throughout the semester. Pay attention to the writing and composition of your paper. The narrative should flow smoothly, including appropriate transitions between topics. Proof-read your paper (if need be, take it to the Learning Commons) to make sure that it is well-written, contains no typos, spelling errors, incomplete or redundant phrases, or statements that are too vague or general. D. Evaluation – Description of observations: 30% – Sociological insights and application of sociological paradigms: 30% – Writing, composition, and organization: 30% – Format (number of pages, page numbering, font, etc.): 10%

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