Your textbook describes genres as “ways of writing and speaking that help people interact and work together” (Johnson-Sheehan & Paine, 2010, p. 2). List a few different genres in which you write (such as academic papers, text for social networks, business documents, diary entries, or poetry), select one, describe the specific kind of document you typically produce, and then discuss your process for creating that document.
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Schaefer defines the sociological imagination as “an awareness of the relationship between an individual in the wider society, both today and in the past” (p. 5). Let’s begin our discussion this week by considering a particular scenario. You are walking down a street in your city or town and observe that more than half the people you see are overweight. Use the sociological imagination to explain your observation, noting how the sociological imagination helps us consider the causes and consequences of the things we observe in the world around us. What perspective do we gain by using the sociological imagination to explain social phenomena, like increasing obesity rates in American society?
George Ritzer, who we'll learn more about later in the course, has written extensively on the McDonaldization of society. According to Schaefer, this concept refers to the “enormous influence of a well-known fast-food organization on modern-day culture and social life” (p. 121). Among some of the characteristics of fast food restaurants are a highly specialized division of labor, a hierarchy of authority, written rules and regulations that govern all procedures, and impersonality. What aspects of the social and work environment in a fast-food restaurant would be of particular interest to sociologists? Of the sociological theories discussed in this week’s reading, which do you think is most helpful for understanding how the fast food industry works and its impact on American society?
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