Sociology – Social Theory

Your assignment is to write an essay addressing the question below. This is a short essay that is expected to be between three and four pages in length (assuming traditional font size, margins, and spacing). The essay must be typed and it is due on Tuesday, November 10, 2015, in class. You should use a classical essay format containing an introduction, thesis statement, body of evidence designed to prove your thesis, and a conclusion in which your thesis is repeated. A grading rubric is on page 2 of this document.
The successful essay will make direct use of lectures and readings. A few short quotes from the readings are welcome and worthwhile, but extensive quotes are not appropriate in a short essay format such as this. You do not need to do any outside research to write your essay. However, proper citations and use of quotation marks is mandatory! As with all written work, you must write your own essay. Sharing ideas with classmates is good, but any form of plagiarism will be dealt with harshly.
Your essay should be edited for grammar, spelling, and clarity. I suggest you identify a friend or class colleague who can critically read your essay before you submit a final draft, or go to the Learning Assistance Center in LIB 450. Set up an appointment for a tutoring session by going to For additional assistance, go to the essay writing tutorial posted earlier this semester on Moodle.
Topic Question
Emile Durkheim, Max Weber, and Georg Simmel all addressed concerns about life in the modern world. Each had a different perspective, but each theorist was captivated by rapid urbanization and the fast-paced social changes of their era (they all were born and died within a few years of each other). Some of the issues addressed by the theorists included the decline of traditional villages, life in large cities, anomie, bureaucracy in modern society, the iron cage, and the pace of urban life. In short, Durkheim yearned for a simpler world to which we could return. Weber saw no point in trying to reproduce the past and felt the thing to do was to work towards a better future. While Simmel found cities liberating from the constraints of small-town life, but warned of the downsides of modern cities.
You have a three-part job in this essay;
1. Choose two of the three theorists above; do not choose all three as this essay is too short to write about three theorists.
2. Briefly describe their theories regarding life in the modern world.
3. Address whether or not you find the concerns and perspectives of your chosen theorists relevant now that almost 100 years has passed since they wrote about this issue. Be sure to make some comparisons between the two theorists you choose.
I have a couple of suggestions to get you started. 1) You will start with a thesis statement which identifies your response to item number three above. 2) First describe, then compare and contrast the two theorists (items two and three above), you are able to build a case as to whether or not these theories are still relevant 100 years later.


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