Both Durkheim and Weber offer historical accounts demonstrating how a change in the structure of society is accompanied by a change in our shared meanings and beliefs. However, each theorist offers us a different perspective on the relationship between these changes. Drawing on examples from course readings, lecture and discussion, explain the relationship between social structure and shared meanings for both Durkheim and Weber. Does one cause the other, do they each happen independently, or is it something else? As you offer your response, make sure to think through how each author works out this relationship between change in social structure and shared meanings or beliefs in specific terms. What aspects of social structure and what expressions of shared beliefs or meanings do they highlight? How do they argue these pieces fit together, exactly? Pinning things down in this way will allow you to explore how the relationship between social structure and shared beliefs and meanings really operates in each theorist’s work, and will help keep you on track in writing your response. (3.) The evaluation of written work We’ve gone over all of the parts of this in class at different times, but I wanted to put it all in one place, since we’re still receiving questions. The rubric of evaluation for response papers and for take-home exams identifies three components we focus upon: responsiveness to the question; support drawn from the text, lectures and discussions; ; and clarity of the argument you offer. To further assist in understanding these three components, let me say a little more about each. –Responsiveness gets at the notion of actually answering the question asked, including all of its parts. –Support in the sense we’re using it here involves identifying central claims a theorist makes regarding particular processes, phenomena or outcomes of interest AND laying out how the theorists contends those processes work or those phenomena/outcomes arise–both why they unfold as they do, and the logic by which they unfold. In this sense, you’re supporting the theorists’ contentions about what they say is going on, by identifying and working through why and how they say it works this way. You can draw from the texts themselves, from lecture and class discussions, or from outside sources as you lay out these claims made by theorists. Two additional notes: (i.) If you draw from outside sources, be certain to use them appropriately as support for your claims about how to understand a theorist’s work; and (ii.) all quotations — from the text or outside sources — need to be EXPLAINED or INTERPRETED by you, in your words, so that you bring it into the paper as support. Quotations DO NOT speak for themselves. –Offering an argument means making a claim about how you’d like us to understand the theorists’ work in terms of the question asked. This is YOUR ARGUMENT about the theorists’ writing. It does not require you use ‘I think’ formulations; but nonetheless, this is YOUR statement about what you think is important, AND it involves YOUR ANALYSIS of the theorists’ work. A clear argument includes a direct statement of what you’d like the reader to take away or understand; movement through the parts of YOUR ARGUMENT that brings the reader along and makes your claims about the theorists’ work understandable; and discipline–that is, all of the parts of the paper should advance your argument in some way.
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