Choose ONE of the following options
1. The goal of this summary-response paper is to compare two different cultures – perhaps comparing a culture where you grew up to what you find here in the U.S. – or two different subcultures or a counter-culture to mainstream culture.
Using the following chart as a guide you will choose five different parts of culture that are located in at least three different institutional settings. For example, you can choose one from each column: “family norms,” political attitudes,” “economic values, “educational beliefs,” “religious traditions” (see the *** in the chart), or one from three different columns and two from another, or two from two different columns and one from a third column. Just be certain that at least three different institutional settings are covered.
Family Polity Economy Religion Education Beliefs *** Values *** Attitudes *** Norms *** Customs Traditions ***
Briefly describe and compare the two different cultures, subculture, or counterculture you choose on these five parts of culture, making sure that you define the appropriate concepts (i.e., beliefs, values, attitudes, norms, customs, traditions) that you use in your analysis.
Your essay should contain seven paragraphs: an introduction, five “labeled” examples (i.e., “family norms,”) and a conclusion.
2. Summarize the main points and arguments presented by Karen Musalo in her article on female genital mutilation, “When Rights and Culture Collide.” Do you agree with her position? Why or why not? Be certain that you provide definitions of the key concepts (cultural universalism, ethnocentrism, cultural relativity) that you use in your analysis.
3. The Prelinger Archives: Moving Images contains short educational films depicting American culture that were produced and shown in the 1950s. These short films are in the “public domain” and may be downloaded for personal use.
For this summary-response paper you will view three (3) short educational films – each is 10 to 15 minutes in length – on “interpersonal relations” and “family life.” Your goal is to investigate cultural continuity and change – you will compare culture in the U.S. as it was presented in these films in the 1950s with our culture today. A list of films with a short synopsis is presented below.
In your essay you will first, summarize the “messages” these educational films present linking them up with sociological concepts that pertain to the different aspects of culture – i.e., the cultural norms, beliefs, values, attitudes, customs, and traditions of the times. Be certain to define the appropriate terms. Next, discuss how they have either changed or remained the same in today’s culture.
“Are You Popular?” (1947)
One of the best examples of post-World War II social guidance films, with examples of “good” and “bad” girls, proper and improper dating etiquette, courtesy to parents, and an analysis of what makes some people popular and others not. A sobering document of postwar conformity.
“Dating: Do’s and Don’ts” (1949)
Classic instructional film for teen daters.
“What to do on a Date” (1950)
A high school senior learns how and where to ask a girl for a date, where to take her for a good time, and how to avoid spending too much money or being bored by commercialized amusements.
“A Date With Your Family” (1950)
Advises children to do whatever is necessary – even lie – to achieve harmonious family relations. This portrait of manners among the affluent places a premium on pleasant, unemotional behavior, and contains some interesting do’s and don’ts sequences. Key line: “These boys treat their dad as though they were genuinely glad to see him, as though they really missed him…”
“How Do You Know It’s Love?” (1950)
Gives students a basis for thinking clearly about real love and shows that mere conviction of love is not enough to insure lasting happiness.
“Are You Ready for Marriage?” (1950)
Two teenagers, wishing to marry early, visit their minister for advice and receive counseling, some of it quite pragmatic, the rest a little strange.
“Going Steady?” (1951)
Attempts to provoke teens into discussion on the complex issue of going steady. Provides little support for the practice.
“How To Say ‘No’: Moral Maturity” (1951)
How to say no to unwanted smoking, drinking and petting, and still keep your friends.
“Beginning to Date” (1953)
An insecure young teen boy who has just reached dating age learns how to plan and enjoy a date (with a girl at least one foot taller than him).
“Sex Attitudes in Adolescence” (1953)
“Toward Emotional Security” (1954)
A teenage girl reflects on her emotional growth, remembering episodes in which her love, fear, anger were not always under control, and decides not to go “park” with her boyfriend.
“How Much Affection?” (1958)
How far can young people go in petting and still stay within the bounds of personal standards and social mores?