In essay format, analyze a life (either your own or that of another individual you
know personally) from a sociological perspective. Provide a description of the person
and his or her life up until the present day. Factors you should consider during your
analysis includes, but is not limited to, the following: age; race and ethnicity; gender;
place of birth; educational level; economic status; religious beliefs; occupation; career
goals; marital status; number of children, if any; and childhood background (social class
of parents, etc.). You should also include any additional information that you consider
relevant in explaining this person’s behavior.
The sociologist seeks to go beyond opinion and common sense. As such, the
question that should guide you throughout this paper is simply: “Why?” Anyone can
observe an individual’s outward behavior; explaining how it was influenced by the
person’s social environment and interpersonal relationships is more difficult (and
rewarding!). When discussing your subject’s attitudes, values, and beliefs be sure to
focus on the social factors that you believe shaped them. In other words, you must
examine the context of the person’s socialization experiences. In what ways has the
social world shaped this person into who he/she is today?
Some social content to keep in mind include the cultural expectations that
shaped your subject’s life. Factors such as social expectations for marriage, childbearing,
divorce, education, employment, race relations, gender relations, religious beliefs, and
sexual activity are some you might decide to explore. Remember, these expectations
are very different depending on where and when the person lives (or lived).
After discussing the main reasons you believe this person is “how they are”, offer
your educated prediction for what the future holds. What, if anything, do you think this
person would change about his/her socialization process? What, if anything, do you
believe have been the social advantages this person has enjoyed? Will the coming years
be better, worse, or more of the same? Very important: back up your prediction with
facts from the person’s life that lead you to believe as you do.
Please use a fictional name for the subject of your profile. In addition to depth
and quality of analysis, students will also be graded on grammar, formatting, and length
of paper. Consult the section VII A. of the syllabus for specific details on formatting and
paper length. See the Course Calendar of your syllabus for the due date. The instructor
is more than happy to accept “early” papers and encourages students to not wait until
the last minute. Technical difficulties are NOT excused, so PLEASE give yourself ample
time to get the paper in early and/or contact me in advance if you having problems.
There are no “excused” late papers. You are accountable not only for the content of
your paper, but also for making sure that you meet the deadline.