Sociology

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Assignment 1: Private troubles and public issues (Academic writing exercise)
In this unit, we will be considering a range of issues and themes related to the broad idea of ‘society’. To get you thinking about these themes, we want you to write about an issue that is of interest to you. You will also have a chance to engage with a short introductory text by a key thinker in Sociology.
The writing exercise will also introduce you to some of the important conventions of academic writing at university.

The task:
In his famous work, The Sociological Imagination, C Wright Mills discusses the relationship between “private (or individual) troubles” and “public issues”.
1. In your own words, explain what Mills meant by this, along with some of the examples that he gives (refer to weekly activities week 2 and you we find the link to the article).
Thinking about your own experiences of growing up, identify a particular ‘private trouble’ you have observed in someone else’s life experience – it could be one experienced by a friend, a fellow student, a relative, someone living in your street etc.
2. Provide your own account of this trouble and then discuss how you see it relating to a broader ‘public issue’, of the type identified by Mills.
To help you identify a suitable experience/issue, think about some of the broad themes we will be covering in the course: ethnicity, gender and sexuality, religion, class etc.
Length: 800 words
Some requirements:
• You should include at least two references in the work. One will be C Wright Mills; the other can be from any source that is relevant to or provides support for the issue you have decided to focus on. It could be from a newspaper, a textbook, a website, a television documentary etc.
• All cited work must be appropriately referenced using the Swinburne Harvard system (see: http://www.swinburne.edu.au/lib/researchhelp/harvard_style.html) – we will introduce you to this in class
• Your work should be well structured with an introduction, body, conclusion – and with the use of clear paragraphs, topic sentences, signposting etc.
• All work should be carefully edited with correcting of any grammatical/spelling errors etc.
Assessment: This task is worth 20%
Your writing will be marked using the following criteria

Criterion
1. Effective structuring of work, with use of paragraphs, topic sentences, signposting
2. Clear summary of C Wright Mills article
3. Effective identification and discussion of an issue – both as a private trouble and public issue
4. Effective use and referencing of source material (C. Wright Mills and other)
5. Careful editing of work, including sentence structure, spelling, punctuation

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