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. In this assignment, you will reference
appropriate Terminal Course Objectives (TCOs) that relate to your socioautobiography. You
can find the TCOs in this course listed in the Syllabus and in the weekly objectives. This
assignment can be related to any and all of the TCOs.
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. At the end of the paragraph where a concept is used, indicate which TCOs 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
. Consider the following example.
As I think about my experience growing up, I realized that I was at an advantage compared
with some of the other students. I came from a
. In my family
didn’t matter, boys and girls were raised with the same expectation that they would be
going off to college right after high school. As such, writing and speaking properly was
considered a high priority. (TCO 3 and TCO 6).
Note how, in this mini-socioautobiography, there are references to social class and gender.
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
Refer to and properly use at least six sociological concepts covered in the lectures or
Underline and boldface these concepts.
Connect your concepts to the TCOs. Indicate the TCOs covered in parentheses, as
demonstrated in the assignment instructions.
Cite the textbook and/or lecture for the concepts and the Syllabus or course
objectives for the TCOs in addition to any outside source material used both in body
and on your reference page.
Socioautobiography Assignment Guidelines
Submission refers to at least six sociological concepts covered in the lectures or
textbook reading and uses them correctly.
Submission underlines each concept and puts them in
and relates them
to the appropriate TCO.
Submission meets minimum length requirement of three-to-four pages of text not
including title page or reference page.
Submission is well-written and well-organized and free from mechanical errors
(errors in spelling, punctuation, word choice, and grammar).
Submission properly referenced course lecture and/or text for the sociological
concepts and the Syllabus and/or course objectives for the TCOs in the body of
the paper and on a reference page.
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–
“The 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)
“The 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.
Socioautobiography Assignment Guidelines
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. (pp. 288-289)