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Social Theory, Second Paper Guidelines

For the second paper, you have received a series of articles (from NY Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Wall Street Journal) concerning the Penn State sex abuse scandal. Beyond the deviance of one individual, Mr. Sandusky, the articles address the issue of institutional dereliction of duties and responsibility. The basic “substantive” value and goal of a university, as an educational institution, is the welfare of children. However, a number of people in positions of power seemed to have put the goal of protecting the football program and the university, as well as their own instrumental interests, ahead of the objective of protecting and supporting children and students.

The assignment is to analyze the information and evidence in the articles according to Weber’s theory, or some relevant part of it, and write a 7-8 page paper explaining your analysis – both the theory you are drawing on, and how it is applied to the evidence.

This paper, and your question and analysis, are NOT to be about Mr. Sandusky’s pedophilia per se. It should be about how and why his behavior occurred in the institutional context of a major university, and how and why other people in of authority in the hierarchy allowed it to continue.

The following are possible (and certainly not exhaustive, or exclusive of each other) themes (not research questions – you must devise your own) of exploration and analysis:

1. Rationalization in modern society – potential deleterious consequences for both individuals and society; neglect of values in order to achieve instrumental ends.

2. Institutions of Domination, bureaucratically organized – increasing irrationality in the social system.

3. Rational Legal Authority, implemented by bureaucratic organization – how both can be corrupted and/or lead to irrational outcomes.

4. Rational Legal Authority – conflict between economic, political and cultural values and power.

5. Power – relations and unequal distribution.

6. Ideal Types of Authority – overlap and conflict in reality.

7. Ideal Types of Social Action – overlap and conflict in reality.

8. Sources of Power – Class, Status, Party.
I will be assessing your paper based on the following criteria:

1. Identification of sociological problem/research question in a clear introduction, the latter also including a brief description of the concrete case, a thesis statement, and brief statement about the theoretical framework. Remember, the introduction should serve as a “map” of the paper for the reader.
2. Development of theoretical framework for analyzing problem, including reconstruction and creative use of major concepts.
3. Application of theoretical framework to empirical evidence, including how well the empirical data (newspaper articles) is used.
4. Strength of analysis, including coherence and cohesiveness of argument (remember to connect analysis back to theory).
5. Conclusion – clear summary, suggestions for further research, and/or opinion (based on argument in paper).
6. How well the paper is written – including paper organization, grammatical conventions (grammar, punctuation, spelling, and syntax), complete and proper citations.
7. Use and reference of course (Weber) readings, avoidance of outside course materials.
Style Guidelines/Mechanics for Paper

1. Any recognized academic style is fine, as long as consistency is maintained throughout paper, including citations, foot or endnotes, bibliography or reference page.
2. Font size: 12.
3. Double space.
4. Length: 7-8.
5. Bibliography/Reference page required but not included as part of paper length.
6. Citations. Any work or author mentioned must be cited including last name of author, year of
publication, page number (especially if quoting, see below #8). For newspaper citation, name of newspaper, and date (e.g. NYT, Nov. 6, 2011).
7. Refer to style manuals, or UHD Library website, if unclear about citations or other style issues
8. Quotations: you may use quotes from either the newspaper articles or readings. These should be rather short quotes, and must include the appropriate citation. I encourage quotes, as they can be very good support for analysis and argument; however, do not go overboard. Also, quotes from theorist don’t usually “speak for themselves.” You need to explain the quote and/or how it connects with the argument it is situated in.
9. Paper must have either Bibliography (includes full citations of all works used in paper), or Reference page (includes full citations of works/authors mentioned in paper).
10. Pages must be numbered. Do not include the Title page in pagination.
11. Title page: with paper title, name, course name
12. Check for typos, misspellings, incomplete sentences and improper grammar. I will deduct points for these. All word processing programs contain a spelling and grammar check, so there is no excuse
13. Edit paper. Do not turn in first draft. Read, edit, and revise as needed.
Whatever you do: DO NOT PLAGIARIZE

Below are general guidelines. The UHD library website has further information.

How to avoid plagiarism
1. Do not cut and paste text from websites.
2. Do not even go on the internet while writing this paper.
3. Do not use someone else’s paper, or have someone write the paper.
4. Cite properly (this where students unintentionally get into trouble):
Specific words and phrases If you use an author’s specific word or words, you must place those words within quotation marks and you must credit the source.
Information and Ideas Even if you use your own words, if you obtained the information or ideas you are presenting from a source, you must document the source.
Information: If a piece of information isn’t common knowledge (see #3 below), you need to provide a source.
Ideas: An author’s ideas may include not only points made and conclusions drawn, but, for instance, a specific method or theory, the arrangement of material, or a list of steps in a process or characteristics of a medical condition. If a source provided any of these, you need to acknowledge the source.

Common Knowledge? You do not need to cite a source for material considered common knowledge:
General common knowledge is factual information considered to be in the public domain, such as birth and death dates of well-known figures, and generally accepted dates of military, political, literary, and other historical events. In general, factual information contained in multiple standard reference works can usually be considered to be in the public domain.

Field-specific common knowledge is “common” only within a particular field or specialty. It may include facts, theories, or methods that are familiar to readers within that discipline. For instance, you may not need to cite a reference to Piaget’s developmental stages in a paper for an education class or give a source for your description of a commonly used method in a biology report, but you must be sure that this information is so widely known within that field that it will be shared by your readers.
If in doubt, be cautious and cite the source. And in the case of both general and field-specific common knowledge, if you use the exact words of the reference source, you must use quotation marks and credit the source.

Note: Just because it’s on the internet, for example – Wikipedia, does not mean it is common knowledge.

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