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This assignment is a short essay that utilizes the metatheoretical approaches first covered in module 1. Specifically, it asks that you apply either the question of order or the question of action to the recent controversy over mask mandates imposed during the Coronavirus pandemic. The goal is to indicate how the approach you have chosen would analyze this phenomenon.

To complete your paper, please use these sources:

  1. The assigned reading (ie., chapter 1 and/or lecture notes) as the source for meta-theory;
  2. The link to the news source provided below as your source for the topic.

Citing Sources
Be sure to use properly cite your sources using both in-text citations and a list of references following the convention of the American Sociological Association (ASA). It is important that you use in-text citations throughout to indicate the source of ideas or data. Do so even when you are not using direct quotes. [Example of statement followed by an in-text citation: A number of Neo-Marxists were critical of the economic determinism of early Marxists (Ritzer 1996).] If you’re citing class notes, simply type (Lecture Notes.) Do not use footnotes or endnotes. Note that I use Turnitin—an online plagiarism detection tool. I’ll permit 20% “unoriginal” work.

Note: This is an exercise in applying a theory. My main interest is in the degree to which you can demonstrate knowledge and understanding of meta-theory as explained in this course–more so than the topic.

The paper should contain three sections:

Section 1: Introduction (One paragraph):

  1. Briefly describe the questions of order and action and the two possible answers to each of these questions. What are these questions designed to do? Indicate which of the two questions you have chosen to use in this paper thus: “For this assignment, the question of order [OR the question of action] ____________ will be used to analyze the ongoing controversy over mask-mandates.”

Section 2: Body

  1. Provide an overview of our topic (mask-mandate controversy.) What was it all about? What were the different “sides” or “positions” and what evidence was used to support these positions? (One paragraph)
  2. Describe the “common sense” understanding of the topic. That is, how do people who are not using a theoretical lens understand the issue? What do people (ordinary citizens, political pundits, politicians) say? E.G. Do they see it as a political or partisan issue? (One paragraph)
  3. How would a theory falling under the metatheory you have chosen seek to understand, explain, or analyze this controversy? (One-to-two paragraphs) To answer this question:
    1. Think of what the question (order or action) asks, then of the two possible answers.
    2. Apply the answers comparing approaches:
      1. What specifically would adherents of the two positions (collectivist/individualist OR rationalist/non-rationalist) say? What evidence would they provide?
      2. For each approach use at least ONE example from “real life.” E.G., A collectivist approach to examining language use (specifically, the phrase “Slide into my DMs”) one might identify the prominence of social media and how they now shape the way we speak. By contrast, using the individualist approach, one would focus on day-to-day use of various platforms as means of communicating with people we know and don’t know.

Section 3: Conclusion: (One paragraph)

  1. What are your final thoughts about the theoretical approach you have chosen?
  2. Has it been useful for helping you to understand this controversy? How so (or not so?)
  3. Has it helped you see the controversy in any way that is different from the commonsense understanding described above?

Refer to the Mask Mandate Controversy Sources Below:

  • Review the Assignment prompt in the section above.
  • Write out your response in essay format.
  • All submissions should be in a Microsoft Word Document, two-to-three pages typed, double-spaced, and using 12-point font.
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