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1. Upload unit
four’s sci-fi essays on “Economy and Work” and “Politics and
Government” here. No more than two
pages in length *each*, double-spaced.
Remember to bold all sociology concepts used. This is the last set of sci-fi essays for the
course. (Unit five requires the final
paper instead.)

For this class, you have to complete a series of science
fiction essays. Here are the steps and requirements you should follow.
1. Choose two
films from the following list. You will use these two sources for all of your
Sci-Fi essays this term. Please check
the ratings on these films in advance if you are concerned about ‘mature
themes.’

Mad Max: Fury Road
Children of Men
In Time

Gattaca
Equilibrium
Waterworld

2. The main
purpose of this assignment is for you to relate sociological concepts
(presented in each chapter of the textbook) to the material presented in the
films. Your final version should be precise in referring to the films. Here are
just some of the things that should figure in your paper:
1) Culture. (Write two double-spaced pages on culture, talk
about BOTH films.) The films present us with a vision of futuristic societies.
You should provide an analysis of this society as if you were an anthropologist
discovering a new culture. What seems to be the rules, norms, values, laws and
symbols of this culture? Is there a dominant culture? Are there any subcultures
or countercultures, describe them (and indicate why some are subcultures and
others counterculture)? Describe a few elements of material and nonmaterial
culture.
2) Socialization. (Write two double-spaced pages on
socialization, talk about BOTH films.) In the chapter on socialization, you
have learned that even though we tend to think of our “self” as the core of our
identity, what makes us unique individuals, the reality is that self is a
social product; our self is the product of our interactions with other people
and our culture, or the part of the culture we have access to. How do you see
this phenomenon reflected in the books and films? Additionally, very often,
science fiction, a central character is presented with a challenge to his/her
self. A common plot is for the central character to see the integrity of his
self challenged. Describe how this happens. Who or which group poses such a
challenge and how does the character detect, react and cope with such a
challenge? In the books and films, can you identify examples of
resocialization, total institutions and social devaluation? If yes, explain.
3) Social interaction and social structure. (Write two
double-spaced pages on social interaction/social structure, talk about BOTH
films.) Interactions are an essential part of our lives and our “self”. Are the
characters confronted with role strain or role conflict? In the films, describe
the main character’s ascribed and achieved status(es). Are the societies
described based on mechanical or organic solidarity? Are they more Gemeinschaft
or Gesellschaft societies?
4) Groups and Organizations. (Write two double-spaced pages
on groups/organizations, talk about both films.) What are the most important
groups (primary and secondary) and formal organizations / bureaucracies
presented in the books and films? What kind of leadership is present? Identify
examples of ingroup / outgroup, conformity and obedience.
5) Deviance and crime. (Write two double-spaced pages on
deviance/crime, talk about the book and the film.) What kinds of activities are
presented as deviant or criminal in the films? How do these societies treat
deviant? What kinds of punishments are applied to them (formal / informal)? Is
there a criminal justice system? How does it work?
6) Dimensions of Stratification. (Write two double-spaced
pages on stratification, talk about both of the films.) Are the societies
presented in the books and films stratified? Give specific examples of systems
of stratification, different social classes, racial / ethnic groups and gender
issues. Is there any racism, sexism, prejudice of all sorts and discrimination?
Are there any examples of global stratification (stratification between
societies rather than within societies)? Identify patterns of race relations
(genocide, assimilation…). Describe the gender roles in these societies.
7) Economy and work. (Write two double-spaced pages on
economy/work, talk about both films.) What types of economic systems are
described in the films? Describe the labor market. What seem to be the major
economic issues for these societies? What are the main occupations, professions
and other forms of employment described?
8) Politics and Government. (write two double-spaced pages
on politics/government, talk about both of the films.) Describe the different
political systems presented in the films. Are these democracies, monarchies,
authoritarian or totalitarian governments? Which individuals or groups exercise
power and/or authority (which type of authority)? Do these societies seem to be
more on a pluralist or power elite-based? Does the military play a role in
these societies? What is its importance?
3. For each
unit, you will have to focus on the corresponding chapters in the textbook in 2
double-spaced pages. For instance, for unit 1, you will have to write 2 pages
relating to culture and another 2 pages on socialization for a total of 4 pages
of writing for unit one. (Chapters 1
& 2 are not required.) You will need to bold the sociological concepts you
use in your essays, please do not forget to do this.
These unit assignments are expected to be thorough; it is
clear that you will not have read the complete book by the unit one deadline,
but it is important that you start the reading and get an initial idea of what
you have to do. The first few chapters of a book or the introductory scenes of
a film usually tell you a lot about a given society and its culture.
You are expected to be specific. For instance, it is not
enough to write that a government is totalitarian; you are expected to provide
detailed explanations to support this assessment and to give precise examples
from the book and film of your choice. Also, don’t write that a society seems
technologically advanced. This is science fiction: societies are very likely to
be technologically advanced. As sociologists, we are much more interested in
the effects of technology on society and vice versa.
The unit sections and final paper should be Microsoft
Word / Open Office documents. Please, do
not use any other format. If you do not have Microsoft Word and use another
word processor (such as Microsoft Works, WordPerfect, etc); save your document
in Rich Text Format (the extension of your file should be .rtf). Alternatively,
you can type your assignment directly in Blackboard but be sure to format it as
required.
Finally, turn in your Sci-Fi essays by uploading them into
Blackboard. Please upload only ONE file,
that file will contain all of the 2-page essays required for that given
unit. Please label all papers so I know
which essay I’m reading, and who wrote it (your name). Go to Assignments and select Sci-Fi Essays.
If you have any questions after reading through class
material, don’t hesitate to email me at [email protected] Also, if you want to recommend a new (or old)
science fiction film that would lend itself well for these essays, please let
me know. I will watch it and consider it
for future classes. I get the best
recommendations from students!

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