Social Rituals Report

You will do two writing assignments in this class.

I am less concerned with page length for these assignments than I am with quality and depth of analysis. I usually expect the papers will be roughly 4-6 pages. You will not be graded down if your paper is fewer pages than that, however know that fewer than 4 pages probably means you have not done enough to earn an A for the paper. It is possible to write an excellent paper that analyzes the topic at hand and includes all parts assigned in fewer than 4 pages, it’s just not common.

Make sure you read the directions carefully, and do everything that is asked of you. Students mostly lose points on these papers by simply not following the directions or leaving out parts.

Writing Assignment Option #4: Gender and Work

Interview at least two fellow college students regarding their work and family expectations (these can include, but are not limited to expectations regarding marriage, children, household responsibilities, career goals, etc.). You should interview at least one man and one woman. Describe their career and family goals. Given what you know about sex-segregation in the labor market, the gender pay gap, the gendered division of labor within the family, the meaning and experience of family caregiving and other pertinent issues discussed in class, do their expectations seem realistic? In what ways might their expectations change as they enter the full-time work- force? As they enter relationships? Are their expectations guided by traditional family arrangements? By traditional work arrangements? Is it likely that their goals will need to be curtailed or amended? Explain your assessment of these issues by backing them up with evidence from the readings and other course materials.

Writing Assignment Option #5: Dating Rituals

Identify prominent heterosexual dating rituals among young people in the U.S. today. Detail these rituals through all aspects of dating (from initiating a date to the conclusion of a date). Compare these dating rituals to those described by Bailey. Does an “economy of dating” still exist or has this economy disappeared? If it has disappeared, explain why and describe the system of dating that replaced it. If it has not disappeared altogether, explain how it operates differently today. How does “rating” factor into current dating rituals? Consider the extent to which changes in gender roles have impacted dating rituals from the fifties (the time period analyzed by Bailey) to the present. Be sure to also mention similarities between the two time periods. [Alternately if you have some knowledge of gay/ lesbian/bisexual dating rituals, you may write about these and compare them to Bailey’s account of heterosexual dating rituals.]

Writing Assignment Option #6: Holidays and Kin Work

Analyze a holiday celebration (such as Yom Kipper, Easter, etc.) in your family using the concept of kin work developed by di Leonardo. Consider such questions as: Who facilitates family visits on this day? What preparations are made in advance of the day? Who makes these preparations? What types of rituals does your family enact in celebrating this holiday? Are gifts, cards, or other tangible items exchanged? Who facilitates such exchanges? Are intangible items (affection, phone calls, etc.) exchanged? Who facilitates these exchanges? How does this holiday help to strengthen kinship ties? How are relationships of power produced through kin work in your family? You may consider other issues as well, depending on the nature of the celebration in your family. Be sure to make connections between your family’s celebration and di Leonardo’s concept.

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