For this assignment, you are required to analyze, interpret, and explain the subcultural behavior and/or speech you encountered while carrying out your ethnographic observation. The assignment has three components:
- First, you should describe the things that stood out to your during observation. Your commentary should be as analytical as possible. For example, did some people in the setting seem to have more status than others? What did people in the setting seem to be concerned with? Did there seem to be theme or meaning associated with the subcultural style people were adorning? How did other people in the setting respond to and/or interact with people in the subculture?
- Second, you should draw from concepts and/or theories that we have discussed in class to interpret, explain, and implicate the patterns and themes you observed. For example, you might consider:
- whether the behavior, speech, and interactions you observed support strain theory, British resistance theory, or post-subcultural theory;
- whether the objects, knowledge, or behavior you observed were forms of subcultural capital;
- whether the behaviors you observed constituted a form of resistance to mainstream society (e.g., gender maneuvering, prefigurative politics, lifestyle politics, etc.)their subcultural identity is helping them live a better life, or whether it’s a magical solution to their problems;
- whether their ideas about authenticity are similar to or different from the conceptions of authenticity that people in other subcultures hold;
- and so on.
- Third, you should cite your sources in ASA format. Full citation information for each course reading is listed at the end of the syllabus.
Please see the attached rubric, which lists the criteria I will use to grade your memo. And please use this template
to format your paper.
Here are a few additional tips for writing your paper:
- You should make liberal use of vignettes from your fieldnotes to support your claims with evidence
- Develop a thesis statement that outlines the main point you want to make about the subculture
- Your paper should have a center of gravity; avoid making disparate points that donâ€™t relate to each another
- Having one or two well-developed points (depth) is typically superior to having multiple superficial points (breadth)
- Your paper should have a sense of purpose: it should help readers understand something about the subculture you examined, and it should explain why understanding that thing is important
- Example: Do your ethnographic observations provide insight into the subculture/post-subculture debate (e.g., whether subcultures with distinct ideologies/styles still exist today)?
- Example: Do your ethnographic observations show how people use subcultures to cope with or adapt to problems in their lives?
- Example: Do your ethnographic observations show how race, gender, or other statuses are tied to perceptions of subcultural authenticity?
- Example: Do your ethnographic observations show how people use subcultures to resist mainstream society?
- Example: Do your ethnographic observations show that adults, authority figures, or sociologists are misinterpreting people in the subculture in problematic ways?
- Thoroughly and accurately summarize the concepts and/or theories you apply
- Demonstrate that you understand the concept/theory by explaining it in your own words and illustrating it with examples
- Cite the course readings, and include excerpts, where appropriate
- If none of the concepts/theories we have discussed are relevant to your subculture, you can draw from outside sociological theories/concepts to analyze it
- Ensure that your applications are accurate and convincing
- Carefully show how the concepts/theories you have invoked explain what people in the subculture are doing
- Support your application/analysis with concrete evidence from your description (e.g., behaviors you observed; statements, thoughts, or lyrics people expressed; style you saw; etc.)
- Do not base your analysis on speculation or wild inference