Please answer each question below in a short essay of approximately one page (approximately 250-400 words). Each essay should consider the question(s) and should pull from the course readings, as well as your own experiences and opinions, if applicable. Show me that you’ve really thought about your topic and that you have a full understanding of this issue. Your essay should have both an introduction (with a thesis statement that clearly states your argument) and a conclusion.

1. Value contradictions occur when commonly held values conflict. Describe at least two value contradictions that are occurring between the traditional values and the emerging values in the United States.
2. Discuss the “nature vs. nurture” controversy. Define each term and the types of research that should provide data to support each argument. Then look at your own life and analyze yourself: look at your own traits, habits, socialization. Can you pinpoint where your self emerged from? How can you apply the “nature vs. nurture” controversy to your own life?


Sociology Essays

Essay One

            In every society, value systems tend to be characterized by contradictions. They may occur due to conflicting views about the acceptability of communal or personal values. In other situations, contradictions within the value systems themselves can contribute to societal conflict. Consequently, society attempts to promote harmony in its value systems with a view to reduce conflict. There are two major value contradictions in the American society today. Firstly, parents go to work to give their families a good life but they end up failing to set aside adequate time to be together with family members. Secondly, the American media serves the role of promoting diverse viewpoints and informed debate to prevent abuse of power, yet concentrated media ownership greatly limits the diversity of viewpoints provided. These contradictions represent a clash between America’s cultural values and the country’s economic realities.

            The first value contradiction is related to parents’ efforts to work hard to provide for their families. Due to growing economic uncertainty, many breadwinners are forced to work two or more jobs, leaving them with little or no time for their family members. Today’s difficult economic circumstances make it difficult for family members to meet as often as stipulated by the American cultural values. Yet the pursuit of these same values is the reason Americans are preoccupied with jobs at the expense of family relations. Similarly, economic realities are responsible for value contradictions in the media sector. Concentration in the ownership of mainstream media outlets constrains diversity of viewpoints that the sector was established to promote in the first place. In conclusion, Americans must reconcile their cultural values with prevailing economic conditions in order to reduce value contractions.

Essay Two

            The “nature versus nurture” controversy involves the question of whether some basic realms of knowledge are innately available to man or whether all knowledge and mechanisms for attaining it are acquired through sensory experience. Some people argue that human life primarily shaped by hereditary factors (nature). The opposite view is that every human being is a product of the environment in which he or she was brought up (nurture). Research data that supports the former view should be based on a realist and empiricist perspective while the one that supports the latter view should be based on an idealist and rationalist approach. I emerged from nature and not nurture. Without the hereditary factors that enable me to assert my character traits and personal identity I would not be who I am today.

            To start with, throughout my life, I have observed many personal attributes that demonstrate the power of nature over nurture. The first attribute is my own personality traits. I am the only introverted member in our family of two brothers and two sisters. Since we were all brought out in the same environment, one would expect that all of us would exhibit the same character traits. In terms of habits, I have also observed several nature-related differences. For example, all my siblings are cheerleaders who like to be at the forefront of all activities at home, at school, and in the workplace. In contrast, I am a reserved person who likes to work behind the scenes. I always try to conceal my presence until I have attained the intended goals. My siblings have always mistaken it for cowardice. Yet all of us were socialized in the same environment. At the same time, an element of “nature versus nurture” controversy has manifested itself because growing up with very talkative siblings has greatly influenced me to become an even more introverted in a desperate attempt to assert my personal identity. Nevertheless, nature remains the primary determinant of the kind of person I have become. In conclusion, I am a product of nature and not nurture.

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