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Sociology Paper Essay Topics

by Audrey Farley, Demand Media

    Sociology paper essays can be polarizing, as they often address topics that are inherently political. An essay differs from other kinds of written assignments in that it allows the writer to voice his perspective with regard to a topic. A sociology essay is research-based but is also subjective, reflecting the writer’s point of view. Sociological research and analyses should be gathered objectively, and used to effectively support the arguments and conclusions of the writer.

    Attitudes About Poverty

    Research prevalent attitudes about poverty. Explore stereotypes about the poor and welfare recipients. You could keep your study broad and open-ended or focus on a particular question, such as: Are the poor responsible for their situation? Why does poverty affect certain minority groups more than others? What should be done to help the poor? How does poverty correlate with crime? Try to explore the underlying attitudes and beliefs about the poor that inform public opinion. Then draft an essay about why these beliefs and attitudes are fair or unfair, problematic or not, or how they can or should be revised, if you believe that they should.

    Media Representations of Gender

    Explore media constructions of gender. Narrow your topic by limiting your study to sitcoms, commercials, children’s television programs, magazine covers or some other constraint so you are not overwhelmed with data. Analyze how gender is portrayed in this media format and how these portrayals are problematic, reinforcing more widespread stereotypes embedded in culture. You could also study how people respond to these stereotypes by showing clips or print publications to participants and interviewing them afterward. Contrast differences of opinion between males and females or between young and old. Use research from interviews to support your arguments in the essay.

    Evolution of Attitudes About Homosexuality

    Research how attitudes about homosexuals have changed over the past decade. Television shows and movies have gradually begun to portray gays and lesbians as mainstream. Nonetheless, these shows may still reflect cultural biases about homosexuals and reinforce stereotypes. Analyze how homosexuality is more acknowledged today than it was in the past and assess how attitudes about gays have or have not evolved over the last 10 years. Interview participants young and old to assess how attitudes and beliefs have changed from one generation to the next.

    Analyze the Role of Language

    Study how language and linguistics reinforce cultural divisions by examining how language is used to include or exclude certain groups. For instance, assess how literacy tests ostracize non-English speakers from civic engagement or how standardized language tests exclude non-English speakers from higher education. Alternatively, you could explore how particular words (such as the word “freshmen”) have contributed to division between genders and how gender-specific language (such as gendered articles in certain languages) reinforce gender stereotypes.

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    About the Author

    Audrey Farley began writing professionally in 2007. She has been featured in various issues of "The Mountain Echo" and "The Messenger." Farley has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Richmond and a Master of Arts in English literature from Virginia Commonwealth University. She teaches English composition at a community college.

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