External Constraints Shape Individuals' Lives (Essay Sample)
Required to write an essay of 2500 words using one of the theory and double spacing as indicated in the attachment.
Choose ONE of the following essay questions to answer:
1. How is the ‘subject’ produced and reproduced in society and what role does this
argument have in understanding the reproduction of social inequalities? Discuss with reference to Althusser’s theory.
2. To what extent are the lives of individuals shaped by ‘external constraints’ in modern societies? Discuss with reference to Durkheim.
3. Power relations are the basic fabric of social life. Discuss with reference to Foucault’s work.
4. How are human societies and social meanings formed and understood through symbolic interactionism? Discuss with reference to Mead.
5. How are social meanings and social interactions organised and produced? Explain this by using four concepts of Goffman’s sociology.
6. How can ‘habitus’ and theories on ‘capital’ be applied to understand inequalities in
contemporary society? Discuss with reference to Bourdieu.
7. To what extent does gender exist? Discuss this with reference to feminist theory and Butler’s Gender Trouble (1990).
General Coursework Guidelines for Presentation of Coursework
Read this section very carefully. Some basics for handing in your coursework:
• Use ID Number on your work.
• Your answers must be legible i.e. typed.
• You must not exceed the word limit by more than 10-15%. We are looking for concise, accurate answers.
• Securely fasten your work together but do not enclose it in plastic folders.
• Double space your work, use font size 12 and provide page numbers
• You MUST include a full citation or reference for your sources of information e.g. for a reference from a book using the Harvard format: (Author, (date) Title, Publisher)
You also must provide the reference of the sources used in your bibliography: e.g: Referencing a text:
Giddens, A. (2009) Sociology, London: Polity Press.
Referencing a journal article:
Hazelden, R., (2004) ‘ The Pathology of Love in Contemporary Relationship Manuals’,
The Sociological Review, vol.52, No. 2, May, pp. 201-217
External Constraints Shape Individuals’ Lives
The subject of free will is one that has been contested for years on end. To date, there are still debates on whether a person has the ability to make their own choices without being subjected to the same by their constraints in their lives. On one side of the social divide are those that feel that persons are in a position to make their own decision without the worry of the repercussions that may result from the pressures in their lives (Carls, 2012).
On the other side of the divide are those that feel that, there are constraints that shape the decisions of every person in the form of external and internal factors. This therefore means that a person’s life is controlled by the number of constraints that they have intheir lives. For the former group, freewill does actually exist for the persons involved to tap into and make the best of their lives and the resources that they have access to. On the other hand, the latter group feels that, free will is more of an illusion, as there are constant factors that are going to affect the ability of any one person to make any fundamental decisions in their lives (Cf.ac.uk, 2014). This therefore implies that that the latter group relates to the inability of shaping one’s life devoid of the environment and the abound influences.
According to one of the philosophers called Emile Durkheim, human lives are controlled in part by the external factors that are found in the society within which the individual lives. Emile had been a sociologist from France and rose to the level of immenserecognition during the early 20thcentury from the late 19th century. In the same ranks as the likes of Max Weber and Karl Marx, Emile is credited as one of the cofounders of the modern sociology. According to Emile, the society is formed of different parts and among is them are different individuals that come together (Lukes, 2014). When the individuals and the other element interact, they create a reality that is much greater than the sum of the total parts involved in the reality creation. It is not possible to understand from the context of the psychological and biological studies.
In his argument, Emile felt that, it was possible to study the subject of human societies and life scientifically (HubPages, 2014). According to Emile there are collective elements in the lives of every individual as presented in the society, which exist in independent states but still have the ability to influence the individuals in question. In his argument, Emile called these elements the social facts.Using the idea behind social facts and their influence on the individuals in the society, Emile published a number of works in which he evaluated various social institutions and effects that they have on the lives of persons within the society. Some of these works include; The Elementary Forms...
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