Ascribed/Achieved characteristics (Sociology Paper)

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