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March 17, 2024

SOC388H1S: Sociology of Culture

SOC388H1S: Sociology of Culture

Take-Home Test


Your test is to be submitted at the beginning of class on March 19 in TWO forms: as hard copy (please print double-sided, if possible), and electronic copy to be submitted to Quercus.

Answer two (2) of the following three (3) questions (20 points each question). Each question should be no more than 1,000 words (excluding references), double-spaced, 12-point type.

SOC388H1S: Sociology of Culture

Your answers should be written in essay form. Each answer should have an introduction, main argument, and conclusion (with or without subheadings, it is up to you). Your arguments should be analytical, solid, and well supported by academic sources, rather than evaluations and opinions based on your particular views. Make sure to note when you are advancing your own ideas, and when you are relying on ideas published by others. It is always advisable to edit your writing to make sure it is clear and polished, with well-constructed sentences and paragraphs.

SOC388H1S: Sociology of Culture

To write each answer, you should develop a central argument that relies on literature from the course, as well as from outside the course. For each answer, you must use at least two sources from the course, and at least one academic source from outside the course. The outside academic source can be from any discipline, as long as it is relevant to the argument. You can use as many sources as you would like, but do make sure to reference them all. Please see the ASA Guidelines for citations and references posted on Quercus, and follow these guidelines. If you were to use AI as one of the sources (but do not use it to write your answers), you must also reference it, note what you used and how you used it. Please see the syllabus for information on the use of AI in this course.

The goal of this take-home test is to give you an opportunity to engage with the main topics of this course in a creative, critical, and analytical manner. You are therefore expected to engage with the course materials, and to elaborate your own arguments independently. If you find that searching and relying on other academic sources is helpful for that, then by all means use other sources (and make sure you reference them).

SOC388H1S: Sociology of Culture

How to organize each answer: First, if you find that using subheadings helps structure your answer, then feel free to use them, whether naming the sections introduction, main argument/analysis, and conclusion, or using any other subheadings that you find useful. The introduction should be brief, it should state your main argument, describe how you will approach the question (e.g., using x 2 theory, y empirical evidence), and justify your approach (e.g., I will use x theory because it is best suited for explaining how y conditions have led to z). The main section should unpack your argument, explain the position(s) you are putting forth, and demonstrate your position(s), whether through empirical evidence or scholarly theories and concepts. The conclusion should summarize your main point and discuss implications.


1-Social media has become a central part of people’s social experience, and all the more so among the younger generations. While Goffman wrote about how we manage our presentation of selves and interactions with others in face-to-face situations (the internet did not exist at the time), his ideas may (or may not) be helpful for understanding how people engage in impression management and interact with others on social media. Elaborate an argument about how Goffman’s ideas may or may not apply to everyday life on social media, specifying the strengths and/or limitations of Goffman’s dramaturgical approach for understanding social media. Make sure to specify which social media you are considering when you elaborate on the similarities and differences between face-to-face interactions and those on social media.

SOC388H1S: Sociology of Culture

2-In his classic article “Becoming a Marihuana User,” Becker proposed an interactionist approach to explain how and why people may come to enjoy certain kinds of new experiences and develop new habits (marihuana was but one example to illustrate the approach). This article was published in 1953, and many new sociological perspectives have been developed since then to explain how people live their everyday lives. What other sociological perspectives would help explain the kinds of processes Becker sought to explain, wether substituting or complementing Becker’s perspective? Discuss at least one or two perspectives you’ve learned about in this class, and apply them to a concrete example that is different from marihuana use. Make sure to explain, support, and justify your arguments.

3-Cerulo and Ruane elaborate a multifaceted explanation to understand how and why people imagine their future lives the way they do. What other sociological perspectives could be used to explain the reasons why people imagine their future lives the way they do? Discuss at least one or two persepectives you’ve learned about in this class which, in your view, would productively complement Cerulo and Ruane’s analysis, or would be better instead of Cerulo and Ruane’s perspective. Make sure to explain, support, and justify your arguments. Use APA referencing style.