The Sociology Of Everyday Life Research English Language Essay

One: ‘What we all do everyday, what we take for granted and can rarely explain. . . [may] reveal a great deal about ourselves and modern life’ Finkelstein, J 1994. Slaves of Chic: An A-Z of Consumer Pleasures. Melbourne: Minerva p. xiii

Choose a topic or aspect of everyday life and explain what it tells us about the people who consume/participate in it, as well as what it says about modern life.

Note: Your analysis should focus on a single activity, product or space in everyday life. You may want to use Finkelstein’s entries in her ‘A-Z of Consumer Pleasures’ as a template. (The book is on reserve in the library and there are chapters of the book on SOC 180 E-reserve). You may focus on any of the themes/ topics discussed in the unit, or you may select any other topic that interests you. However, in your essay you need to employ at least one of the concepts and/or theories studied in the unit (for example, gender, class, taste, presentation of the self, rationalization, consumption, commodification, ritual, modernity, postmodernity), as well as cite scholarly references in support of your interpretation.

Question Two: Select an advertisement from a recent newspaper or magazine. Utilizing a semiotic analysis try to decode the meaning of the image. How does the image generate meaning? How does it connote /denote meaning? Is it polysemic? Does it play with social convention? Does it work? Secondly, what does the image/advertisement say about contemporary everyday life and the people who consume and participate in it?

Note: In answering this question, use in your analysis at least one of the concepts and theories studied in the unit (For example, gender, fashion, class, modernity, postmodernity, consumption, commodification, individualization, identity etc), as well as cite scholarly references in support of your interpretation. Please attach a copy of the advertisement with the hard copy of your essay that you submit.

ESSAY DUE: Monday 12 October 2009 by 5pm

Hints for Essay


Please submit your essay at the Faculty of Arts reception, ground floor of W6A. Make sure to attach a cover sheet to your hard copy with your name and student number, tutor’s name and tutorial time. Email submission of essay is not permitted.

The essay MUST be passed through the antiplagiarism software TURNITIN. Make sure your Turnitin ID number is clearly written on your cover sheet when you submit your essay. To submit your essay you must first access the TURNITIN Webpage at


As a general rule your essay should be at least 1.5 spaced and font size should be 12 point. Make sure to number each page.

General Rules:

Relevance. The content of your essay should be relevant to the question.

Your paper should be well-informed. Make use of the articles in the course reader and do further research in the library. Use current sources and cite them appropriately in your text. While it is not possible to give you an exact number of references that you must cite since this will depend to a certain extent on the topic and your argument, make sure you have sufficient number of references to show that you have read around the topic and that you are able to apply at least one of the sociological concepts discussed in the course. (Come/listen to the lecture in week 7 where researching your essay will be discussed!).

Your own thinking and your own words. Familiarity with the literature is essential but not sufficient. Your essay must be based on your own thinking. Only a minor part should be direct quotations and these should be used judiciously only to make a point that you could not possibly make yourself. Extensive quotation or paraphrase is not acceptable as it does not evidence your own thinking about your reading.

Think for yourself and say what you think. By this we don’t mean to encourage rash unconsidered statements. Rather, we hope you will be stimulated by your reading and will make the effort to think through the issues raised.

Organization. Your essay should be constructed in a way that shows the logical steps in your argument. Remember that paragraphs are the organizational ‘building blocks’ of an essay and each paragraph should have a main idea or theme. Never have a ‘one sentence’ paragraph! Good organization can only be achieved by careful planning and revision and review of the essay as you go along. Good writing is about re-writing!

Write an outline. This step may seem like an unnecessary waste of time to some, but it does not take much time to write and it forces you to organize your thoughts. An outline, in the end, will save you time.

Write a strong introduction. Your introduction should provide the reader with an overview of your topic. A weak introduction indicates to the reader that the topic is not clear in your mind. The introduction should include a thesis statement. The thesis statement tells the reader what you are writing about. For example, “The purpose of this paper is to . . . ” I will be discussing. . . “The essay will focus on . . . “etc. The introduction should give the reader an overview of your topic and how you are outlining the essay.

Develop your argument in the body of the essay. Develop your discussion progressively and coherently. Ensure that sentences and paragraphs follow logically from one another.

Write a strong conclusion. The conclusion should basically restate your introduction and summarize the points you have made in the body of your essay. The conclusion should draw together the threads of your argument and present a final assessment of your research on the topic.

Written Expression. Take care to express your ideas as clearly and as concisely as possible. Write complete sentences and keep them as short and as succinct as possible. We are interested in what you know and think and we will not penalize occasional errors in expression. The best way to find out whether your essay is well-written is to have someone else read it. An alternative is to read it aloud yourself in order to recognize any awkward bits. Always proof read for spelling errors, or better yet, have someone else do it for you.

Referencing Style. For how to reference in sociology essays please see the guide to referencing in appendix to the SOC 180 Course Outline. (See also note on plagiarism p. 29.) As a general rule you must never use an author’s work without acknowledging it and you must always indicate in your essay where you obtained your information, concepts or points of view discussed. Always, make sure to include page numbers where you use direct quotations or paraphrase material from other authors.

Reference List. Your essay should include a reference list where you show all the authors you have referred to in your essay. The reference list should contain only the authors you have used and mentioned. It should not include others that you may have read and found interesting, but who you do not mention in the essay. The reference list should be arranged alphabetically and contain all the information about the publication, for example, date, publisher and place of publication. (No bullets).