Regardless the genre, music stirs people emotionally or moves them physically (and in some cases, does both). The soon due (May 16th) SOC200 writing project for my Social Life classes involves examining a song that relates to a social issue or social problem. If you recall, the first project essentially was a “compare and contrast” between personal and social issues and problems involving terms like “self-efficacy” and “locus of control.” Now, we step beyond the basics and try our hand at an everyday practical application: hearing social issues and problems in music.
The choice of song is yours: select one that describes/illustrates a social issue or problem (or one of its causes or consequences). The style or type of music is also your choice, with the only restriction being that it must have lyrics; environmental sounds, clapping thunder, or a tree frog symphony at midnite are not acceptable for this project. If you want to flex your foreign language skills, you may select a non-Anglophone song; just be sure to include original and English translation of the lyrics. Regardless your musical bent, now you have an opportunity to explore music you never ventured into... and get credit for it!
Song information necessary includes artist/band, writer, title, album, year of production, and your reason for selecting this song. I urge you NOT to select a favorite love song or relationship song because students who do so get caught up in the personal level of issues and problems and are often are unable to get beyond the psychology of it (after all, this is a sociology course).
Name ONE social issue or problem in the song. You already know what makes an issue or problem social (rather than merely personal). Keep that distinction in mind as you are thinking about and writing this paper. Some issues and problems “could” be either personal or social, but your duty is to notch it up to the social level. To do that effectively, think about the ripple effect that situation creates for the larger society if enough people experience or are part of the problem or issue (as either victims or perpetrators).
Discography or biographical information about the song writer, performer, band, or lead singer can be found on line by Google-ing the person’s name or song title. Unless it is an unknown garage band, there will likely be official and unofficial sites popping up from your search engine. This part of your paper requires at least 250 words AND must be paraphrased (NO DIRECT QUOTATIONS -- but in-text citations are still required).
Lyrics can usually be found by running an internet search of the song title. The same title might be two different songs; be sure to get the one you really want. If you copy and paste it, be sure to convert it to the font of the rest of your paper. While you are there, be sure to get the album cover graphic (required for your cover page).
So far, so good… Now we get theoretical. Based on the tone and perspective of the song, determine which of the 4 sociological theories best explains the song: functionalism, social-conflict, SI, or feminist. State why you think it fits.
Conclude your paper with lessons learned by completing this project.
The assignment sheet and grading rubric (posted in the Course Studio) provide the details of this project. I have discussed most of them in this blog, but other requirements are use of MLA formatting, in-text citations, and cover page elements.
Pegah and I are available to look over your draft to let you know how on-target you are, but you must bring us a hardcopy to class or during office hours prior to the due day (no e-mail submissions please). Also, if you plan to make use of the Writing Center, make an appointment soon. This is their busy time of the quarter and un-arranged walk-ins will likely be unserviced immediately. Plan ahead. Remember Parkinson’s Law!
Please respond or acknowledge the usefulness of this blog in understanding or completing your project. Thank you for your time.