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Sociology 357: Contemporary Sociological Theory
Fall 2022:
Paper #1: Social Protest & Social Change: Structural Functionalism vs. Neo-Marxism
This paper requires you to apply two theoretical perspectives to a recent current social movement. Posted to beachboard along with these guidelines are two articles that discuss protests in the United States, “How Black Lives Matter Went From A Hashtag To A Global Rallying Cry,” by Leah Asmelash for CNN and “A Year After George Floyd’s Killing, White Allyship Fades,” by Joseph P. Williams for U.S. News & World Report. Using these articles as your primary sources, I want you to provide analyses of this protest movement from both the Neo-Marxist and Structural Functionalist perspectives.
Your paper should include the following 4 separate sections:
Part 1: Introduction: Provide a short summary of the main points from the articles, as well as several sentences where you introduce how you will be analyzing the materials from the article based on the perspective of these two theories. This section should be between ¾ of a page to 1 page in length.
Part 2: Structural Functionalist Analysis: From the perspective of Structural Functionalism, primarily based on the work of Robert Merton, present an analysis of this protest movement, using materials from the articles. Be sure to begin by defining Structural Functionalism. This section should be 1 ½ to 2 pages in length.
Part 3: Neo Marxist Analysis: From the perspective of Neo Marxism, based on the work of Gramsci and/or Marcuse, present an analysis of the information in the articles. Be sure to begin by defining Neo-Marxism and how it contrasts from Structural Functionalism. This section should be 1 ½ to 2 pages in length.
Part 4: Conclusion: As a conclusion to your paper, I want you to choose which theoretical perspective seems to best explain the dynamics addressed in the articles on this contemporary protest movement. You should be able to give multiple reasons based on your own reading of the article and the theories. This section should be between ½ to 1 page in length.
Your paper should be no more than 1,500 words (approx. 5 pages, 12-point font, Times New Roman, 1-inch margins and double-spaced). Please make sure to include your paper’s word count somewhere on the first page of your paper. While your grade will be based primarily on your content and the strength of your analysis, organization and grammar will also be part of your grade. Do not wait until the last minute to do this assignment. I highly suggest that you outline your paper and after you have written your essay, give yourself enough time to re-read and proofread your paper. I will gladly discuss outlines or specific points of analysis, but will not read or “pre-grade” full publishs of your papers. If you use only class materials, there is no need for a bibliography. Be sure to use parenthetical documentation for any references to readings, i.e. (Merton 60), or (Asmelash 2020) for the article, or (Barnes 2022) for lecture.

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