Rethinking the social essay


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ARTS1870 – Rethinking the Social
Essay Questions (1250-­-1500 words) Please write a response to one question:
1. In your own words, explain what Durkheim means by a ‘social fact’. Use an example to illustrate.
2. In The Philosophy of Money, Simmel argues that ‘Freedom exists in conjunction with duties’ (Simmel 2005:283).
Discuss Simmel’s statement and illustrate with an example. Refer to Week 7’s reading on ‘Exchange’.
3. How do you understand Michel Foucault’s idea of “discipline”? Refer to Week 8’s reading, and illustrate with an example from the reading or everyday life.
4. For Elias, how does the transformation of manners reflect the emergence of different forms of social distinction? Refer to the reading for Week 5 and illustrate with an example from everyday life.
5. Discuss your understanding of Roland Barthes’ essay on photography (Week 11’s reading) and give one example from the text or your own life to illustrate your argument.
6. What is ‘social time’? Refer to Week 9’s reading, and illustrate with an example from the reading or everyday life.
7. What do you understand by the relationship between the ‘modern mind’ and technology? Refer to Simmel’s reading in Week 10 and consider the blasé attitude. Illustrate with an example (that is different from your in-­-class exercise).
What we are looking for in the essay:
1. Understanding of main ideas.
2. Clarity of Expression
3. Ability to apply ideas to an everyday example.
4. Properly referenced quotations and a reference list



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