Through much of this course we have focused on how ascribed characteristics can influence an individual’s life chances. For this assignment, choose one of the two prompts to write a 2-3 page double-spaced paper which considers the effects of ascribed characteristics on our experiences and/or our achievements.

The following prompts may seem simple, but I encourage you to:

  • define and apply as many sociological terms and concepts as you deem appropriate (HINT: Choose ONE theoretical perspective and apply those concepts, don’t use terms from several theoretical perspectives)
  • use (summarize, quote, and properly cite) at least one course source (text or other readings, you may cite lectures, but they do not count towards this requirement)
  • use (summarize, quote, and properly cite) at least one outside source
  • be creative.

Option 1: Ascribed

Consider how one or more of your ASCRIBED characteristics have afforded you privilege or advantage. How have you benefited? What about the social structures, institutions, and/or norms create this unequal experience? Explain this situation from a sociological perspective (functionalist, conflict, or symbolic interactionist).

Option 2: Achieved

Recently, we’ve discussed how ASCRIBED characteristics can influence a individual’s likelihood to ACHIEVE in certain areas of social life. Choose one of the following and write a mini research paper on how sociologists understand how race, gender, and/or class could have an effect on achievement in that area.

  • education
  • income
  • home-ownership
  • high status careers

Analyze this relationship between an ascribed and and achieved characteristic from a sociological perspective.

One prompt is clearly chosen and the paper is on topic. 3points

Sociological concepts are properly identified, defined, and applied 5 points
Paper uses evidence (either from personal experience for option 1 or from appropriate sources for option 2) to support the argument of the paper. 5points
Paper is sociological. It applies structural, institutional, or group contexts to evidence. 5 points
Writing and Style: Paper has a clear, specific topic sentence in the first paragraph. All outside sources are cited in ASA style. 2points
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