Writing Assignment

Formatting Write-ups should be typed in 12-point Times font, page numbered, and double-spaced with 1” or 1.25” margins. They should be between 1,400 and 1,750 words (i.e., 4 to 5 pages at 350 words per page).

References and In-Text Citations Students should integrate in their write-up a minimum of three scholarly sources. They can find these sources doing library searches. They are welcome to use readings on the syllabus that are scholarly. Essentially, any discussion post reading on the syllabus qualifies as a scholarly source. Scholarly course readings are identified in the third column “Read (Scholarly)” on the Module Summary spreadsheet.

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All references and in-text citations should follow the American Sociological Association Style Guide (ASA). A “Quick Tips for ASA Style” sheet (PDF) is posted in the Writing Assignment link.

Objectives This course introduces students to a social constructionist perspective of the body and embodiment. Via several axis of social identity (i.e., gender, sex, ability, race/ethnicity, and class), students explore meanings associated with the body and embodiment and how these meanings are important for understanding the self, everyday life, and/or social outcomes, particularly social inequality. This writing assignment provides students the opportunity to explore one or more axis. Specifically, they will (1) explain the concept of social constructionism, (2) explain how this axis (or these axes if they choose to write about two or more) is socially constructed, (3) illuminate this social construction using examples, (4) discuss the implications of this social construction, including implications for social inequality, and (5) propose suggestions to address social inequalities pertaining to this social construction.

Specifically, the paper should address the following:

Social Constructions: What does it means to say that something is socially constructed? Clearly conceptualize this notion.

The Social Construction of Bodies and Embodiment: Select one or more axis of social identity, e.g., gender (masculinities, femininities, and/or transgender), inter/sex, disability, race/ethnicity, and/or class, and discuss how bodies and embodiment pertaining to this axes are socially constructed. (You can also select an axis not covered in this course, e.g., age, sexuality, religion, etc.) In your discussion be sure to provide examples from the world around you. These examples can be from any source, such as cultural or institutional discourses (e.g., news, popular film, Internet websites, etc.). They can even be anecdotal (i.e., based on your experiences).

Implications of Social Constructions: Assess and discuss the implications of these social constructions. Do these construction matter? If so, how? What are the consequences of these constructions for identity, everyday life, and social outcomes, including social inequalities?

Addressing Social Inequalities: How might we, as a society, address social inequalities related to these social constructions? Discuss a few thoughtful approaches.

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