Each student will complete a research project in which he or she will analyze an aspect of social class. This paper should draw upon the concepts and themes we have covered this semester. Some suggested topics are:
Representations of social class in the media (you can choose news, talk shows, sitcoms, or reality TV): Watch several episodes of a particular type of program. Describe and analyze how members of different social classes are portrayed. Do you think that these representations are accurate? What values and beliefs underlie Americans’ view of different social classes? Do the media reflect these views, contribute to them, or both? Explain.
Research the economic problems of American blue-collar workers. What is their position now, compared to 50 years ago, and why? What are the prospects of manufacturing jobs returning to the U.S. in significant numbers? Explain your position. In this paper, you may use any of the course readings, as well as information drawn from news sources.
Analyze class, race, or gender stratification in the U.S. and one other developed nation, noting their similarities and differences, public opinion regarding inequalities, and social policies designed to address these inequalities.
Compare two ethnographic studies that focus on class/race/gender (or their intersections). You might, for example, examine working class life in two different time periods or among two groups that differ by ethnicity, race, or citizenship status. Or, you might compare class positions, lifestyles, and attitudes within a particular group.
Research current efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA, “Obamacare”). What are the key issues? Who benefits and who has been disadvantaged by the current law, and by the GOP’s replacement plan? How do Americans feel about the ACA and its proposed replacement, according to opinion polls? What does social class have to do with these issues?
Paper Format: The paper should be 5-6 pages of content (i.e., not including title page and reference list), and must be typed (double-spaced, 11-point Calibri or Times New Roman font). Please use a minimum of five scholarly sources. When writing your paper, be sure to attribute all quotations and ideas not your own to their proper source. References (author’s last name and page number) should be placed in the body of the paper; the complete citations for all works used should be listed at the end.
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