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Assignment 1: Exploring the Self: A Social Biography (1000 words)

ACU Melbourne SOCS100 2022

Due: 25th March 2022; Submission: Turnitin

We are all individuals, but we have various associations with groups or collectives that influence who we are as a person and socialise us into various roles. To better grasp your relationship with the associations you have and to begin thinking sociologically about the world around you and your place in it, this assignment asks you to write about your impressions of belonging to a group, how the group influences your behaviour, and what the group means to you.  

Specifically: What is the group that you belong to? How long have you belonged to the group (apart from your family)? What is your role in the group/how do you belong? In addition to formal rules are there unwritten rules/values that you detect? How is authority exercised? How are disputes settled? How important is the group to you: do you have a strong attachment or a weak one? Does what the group expect ever come into conflict with your own values/thoughts about what the group offers? If relevant, how does the group deal with change? How do you act when in the presence of group members? Are there various constraints (verbal/emotional/expressive) that apply (even if not explicitly stated) when you are with the group? To what extent can you be yourself with the group? How formal/informal is the group?

  • Not all of these questions may be relevant, choose the ones that are. Use (a) specific example(s) to answer these questions with, such as an event, episode, or situation to illustrate your answers.  
  • Please make relevant use of concepts such as values, norms, rules, and roles in your answers.
  • Reference readings from weeks 1 and/or 2 in your answers also.

Your assignment can be from the following group types:

Community – town, suburb, street, in which you live or have grown up in (or have experienced prior)

Friendship networks

Family

Club/leisure group: e.g. sporting club, a band, a reading group

Political group/rights-based group

A religious group

School

Workplace

Online community

Further Notes to the 1st assignment

Writing Style

The writing style associated with this assignment is not a formal essay style with an introduction, body, and conclusion. You only have 1000 words to work with so there’s no room for that kind of formality. Rather, you are encouraged to write in a narrative or conversational style about yourself (1st person is fine).  However, you are to include sociological ideas such as roles, values, norms etc associated with the group and to reference these ideas from either or both of the first two weeks’ readings.

Referencing

Referencing in this unit is the Harvard or ‘in text’ form of referencing. You’re to use ideas from the first two weeks’ readings to make your reflection sociological. The ideas that you ‘borrow’ are to be acknowledged by indicating to the reader where you found them. – author, date, page(s), and a reference list at the end of the essay with the full reference. 

e.g. “I work casually at Coles at nights and sometimes at weekends. A key aspect of my work there is customer engagement. Interaction with customers appears pretty casual but is actually highly structured to produce a certain effect – selling groceries. Staff are encouraged to uphold the values of friendliness, politeness, and a willingness to assist, even when customers are rude. Alexander and Thompson (2008:7) define values as….

Or

e.g. “I work casually at Coles at nights and sometimes at weekends. A key aspect of my work there is customer engagement. Interaction with customers appears pretty casual but is actually highly structured to produce a certain effect – selling groceries. Groups such as employees and customers and various types of interaction are often governed by values (Alexander and Thompson 2008:7). Values, according to Alexander and Thompson are… (2008:7) At Coles, the values of friendliness, politeness, and a willingness to assist, even when customers are rude are strongly encouraged. 

Here is a link to the referencing guide in the library for sociology Harvard – Referencing – Library guides at Australian Catholic University (acu.edu.au) 

Marking

The essay will be marked on a range of criteria. Certainly, expression and referencing, but mostly on how well you have been able to use the sociological perspective in describing the group and situations associated with the group on yourself and your behaviour.  If you mess up the referencing this time it won’t be a huge problem, just have a go at it. 

Thinking Sociologically, about yourself

The point of the essay is to interpret a personal experience or experiences sociologically via some analysis of a group that you are associated with. So, the material should be thoroughly familiar to you, but be communicated using key sociological ideas such as values, norms, rules etc. what is about the group that allows/constrains your behaviour in certain ways?  

Word limits: I tend to allow around a 10% margin on word limits, so you can be a little over or under.

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