Critical Reading Questions- Assignment #2

Due Saturday, November 23rd before 11:00 PM

For this assignment you will need to adequately answer the following questions using both the assigned readings and your critical thinking skills. All responses must be typed and conform to the following format: 12 PT. Font, Times New Roman, 1 inch margins (on all sides), single spaced. Your total set of responses should equal at least1-2 typed pages (using this format). Answers should be written in paragraph form and should be long enough to explore the topic thoroughly. Both accuracy and creativity will be taken into account during the grading process. Writing style and structure are also key elements that will partly determine your grade. No outside sources are required for this assignment. Furthermore, the information you present should be taken exclusively from the assigned readings and your interpretation/understanding of these readings.

Point Value = 10% of your course grade


Which readings are included on this assignment?

1) DelSordi- chapters 2, 3 and 4 (online)

2) Schaefer- chapters 1 (pages 21-33 only), 3 and 5 (text)

3) McChesney (2012)- online

4) Agger (2008)- online



1) (DelSordi 2) Describe the major problem with the American criminal justice system. How are African Americans overrepresented in this particular system? Explain how educational attainment and income relate to the rate of African American crime and incarceration.

2) (McChesney) Why is it difficult for democracy and “unregulated” capitalism to coexist? Explain how “dollarocracy” has lead to economic deregulation, which has ultimately caused greater economic inequality for American citizens. What does the current research suggest about the negative impact that rising economic inequality has for American’s well-being?

3) (DelSordi- 4) Discuss the process by which taxes and public school funding relate to different rates of poverty and income. Describe the Montgomery Public School case and how the problem of educational inequality was solved.

4) (DelSordi- 2) Explain the global relationship between democracy and economic development. How does America fit into this pattern? What features of the American “political economy” can help us to understand why America is the most economically developed yet not the most democratic country?

5) (Schaefer- 1) Explain the concepts of “correlation” and “causality” as they are used in sociological research. As Schaefer explains, why is correlation NOT necessarily the same thing as causality?

6) (Schaefer- 3) Explain the 6 key stages of “socio-cultural evolution.” As societies pass through each phase, explain how the “material” technological changes trigger changes in the societies “non-material” culture.

7) (Schaefer- 5) Describe how World Systems, Modernization and Dependency theory each provide a different, but interesting, explanation of global economic inequality. Be specific!

8) (DelSordi- 4) Compare and contrast the “assimilationist” and “ethnic pluralist” approaches. Provide a historical example of each model. How do educational attainment, language acquisition and inter-ethic marriage (I.e. exogamy) all work together to contribute toward overall assimilation?

9) (DelSordi- 3) Explain why the U.S. ranks where it does on gender equality (based on global measurements). Your explanation should include the intricate relationship between government regulation, democratization and gender equality.

10) Agger (2008): Explain Derrida’s general critique of positivism. What does Agger mean when he says, “reading is writing?” Using “poverty” as an example (from the text), explain what Derrida would say about this topic. Explain Agger’s conception of a “public sociology” and all that it would entail.

Grading Rubric: your grade will be based on a combination of the following 5 criteria.

1) Do you follow the formatting and structural guidelines?

2) Are your responses well written? This means that there are no errors, you use language properly, and you have the correct sentence structure.

3) Is the argument that you present in your response compelling and creative in nature?

4) Do you cite the textbook or articles thoroughly and adequately and are they used to answer all the questions given?

5) Do you adequately answer all of the questions presented?

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