How to Write an Essay as a Socio-Autobiography Using Sociological Concepts

How to Write an Essay as a Socio-Autobiography Using Sociological Concepts

Although you're probably familiar with the term "autobiography," "socio-autobiography" is a bit more confusing. However, a "socio-autobiography" is a story you tell about yourself, like an autobiography, that focuses on how your interactions with society have shaped you to be the person you are. Typically, socio-autobiographies are assigned in entry-level sociology classes. They help students understand that sociology is not an abstract science but that it plays an important role in students' daily lives.

Review sociological concepts to include in your paper. Your teacher might provide you a list of concepts that she wants you to consider when writing. If not, become familiar with some of the major sociological concepts, like how sociologists define "sociology," "community," "culture" and "customs." Because conflict is what shapes all stories, also review sociologists' explanations of helpful and harmful consequences of conflict.

Reflect on the concepts listed in step one, considering how they might have affected your personal development. For example, consider whether racial tension in your society shaped how you view people who are different from you or whether a community value of hard work in your neighborhood helped shape your attitude toward academia. Write these reflections -- without worrying about spelling, grammar and if they really make sense -- on a blank word processing document or in a journal.

Reread your reflections and decide which you would like to include in your paper. Create a timeline that maps your story out from the beginning to end. Place each of these events along the timeline. Reread the timeline and determine if there are any unnecessary details you need to remove, or if there are events you need to include to make your story make sense. Add or cross out events on the timeline.

Using the timeline, write your essay with a beginning, middle and end. At the end of the essay, include in your conclusion some reflection about how you view society as shaping or not shaping you as a person. Reread your essay, and include sociological terms when necessary and relevant to meet class requirements.

  • Your teacher might have specific requirements for your assignment, such as using certain terms or comparing your sociological experiences with others. Follow your teacher's rules and regulations throughout the assignment.
  • The more you understand your introduction to sociology class, the easier the socio-autobiography assignment will be for you, as including sociological terms and concepts will occur naturally. Pay attention to and study for your sociology class in the weeks or days before the assignment is due.

Miranda Morley is an educator, business consultant and owner of a copywriting/social-media management company. Her work has been featured in the "Boston Literary Magazine," "Subversify Magazine" and "American Builder's Quarterly." Morley has a B.A. in English, political science and international relations. She is completing her M.A. in rhetoric and composition from Purdue University Calumet.