Socioautobiography Assignment Guidelines

The purpose of this assignment is to give you the opportunity to apply the sociological imagination to your everyday life: to make connections between your everyday life and the broad sociocultural structures within which you live.

The Socioautobiography is a reflective paper that allows you the opportunity to explore the interconnections between biography (a slice of your life), the social structure, and culture. In preparation for this paper, please read this document, Socioautobiography Assignment Guideline boldface and underlined. At the end of the paragraph where a concept is used, indicate which your sociological concept refers. This should be done using parenthetical citation. An example of how to do this is provided below.

The final paper will be due at the end of Week 5. It should be three- to four-pages in length and may be in any format you choose. Feel free to get creative. You may choose to do a standard APA style paper or you can do your socioautobiography as a news story, movie review of your life, letter home to family, obituary, poem, lyrics, dialogue, old time radio program, or Shakespearean play whatever format you choose. Be sure to identify your format, double-space your paper, and correctly use a minimum of six sociological concepts covered in the weekly readings or lecture. Your six concepts should be in boldface and underlined. Consider the following example:

As I think about my college experience, because of my lack of English language skills, I realized that I was at a disadvantage with other students who were from upper-middle-class suburbs. I grew up in a farming community and, while there was the expectation that farm kids were going off to college, the community’s educational policy was based on the idea that farm kids would take over the family farm. As such, learning proper academic language was not a high priority.

Note how, in this mini-socioautobiography, there are references to social class, education, and place of residence.

Below are guidelines to follow as you work on your socioautobiography assignment.

Papers should contain 3-to 4-pages of text, double-spaced (this does not include the title page).

Refer to and properly use at least six sociological concepts covered in the lectures or textbook reading.

Underline and boldface these concepts.



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Submission refers to at least six sociological concepts covered in the lectures or textbook reading and uses them correctly 
at entry on the topic that opens cleanly with no advertising.


Submission underlines each concept and puts them in boldface and relates them to the appropriate TCOs.


Submission meets minimum length requirement of three- to four-pages of text.


Submission is well-written and well-organized and free from mechanical errors (errors in spelling, punctuation, and grammar).


Submission properly referenced course lecture or text for the concepts and the Syllabus or course objectives for the TCOs.




You might find the following excerpt on a socioautobiography helpful as you are thinking about what a socioautobiography is. It is taken directly from: Kanagy, C. L., & Kraybill, D. B., (1999). The Riddles of Human Society. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press. (pp. 287“289).


œThe purpose of the socioautobiography is to use the insights from sociology to better understand your own story; it is a way of using the concepts of sociology to explore our personal riddle. But the socioautobiography is not a diary or a point-by-point account of your life since infancy. It is rather a reflective exercise in which you step outside of yourself and employ sociological concepts to interpret your experiences . . . it uses the concepts of the discipline to interpret our life in its social context. (p. 287)

œThe socioautobiography follows the tradition of C. Wright Mills, a sociologist who emphasized the influence of society on the individual. He argued that personal troubles are typically rooted in larger social forces”that is public issues. (p. 287)

The socioautobiography invites you to consider, in the tradition of C. Wright Mills, how social influences have shaped you. As you contemplate your socioautobiography, you might ask, what were the social forces that constructed the riddle of my life? How did I negotiate the crisscrossing pressures of autonomy and conformity? The connection between the micro and macro realms is an important area to address in your socioautobiography.

The socioautobiography also gives you the opportunity to place your life under the sociological microscope and apply the skills of sociological analysis. Try to understand who you are in your social context using a sociological perspective. As you write your story, use sociological concepts”such as social class, reference group, conformity, norm, role, deviance, subculture, and any others that are helpful”to interpret your life experiences.

You may want to focus on several events, special moments, or important relationships in your life that have impacted you in significant ways. Recall key themes, events, or circumstances that have contributed to the construction of your identity. You may want to discuss the importance of some of the following influences: significant others, family structure, residence (urban, suburban, rural), ethnicity, religion, social status, group memberships, economic status, leisure, work, death, and crisis. Regardless of which themes you discuss, be sure to interpret them with some of the sociological concepts that have been introduced throughout the book.

Questions like the following may be appropriate: how have social forces”groups, larger social trends, and cultural values”molded my behavior and world view? In what sense am I both a produce and producers of culture? How has my family background expanded or restricted my opportunities and life chances? How might I be different had I been born into another culture? What have been the most influential social forces in my life?

In crafting a socioautobiography, we have the opportunity to reflect on the construction of our self-identity. Only as we begin to understand how we have been socially created can we become fully empowered to act. Many of us go through life repeating patterns given to us by the faces in our mirror without realizing that we have the power to change those patterns in our own lives. As we begin to understand how we have been created, we have greater freedom to control how we shape and produce the culture around us.