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Summarise Gramsci, Habermas and Althusser on the relationship between the state and society.

Dr. R. P. Datta SACR 3910-30 Winter 2021 p. 1
HANDOUT Essay 1, SACR 3910-30 Winter 2021.
Essay 1, 1250-1500 words excluding references. Must be consistent with course
material, demonstrating a serious engagement with required readings and following
instructions on this detailed handout. SafeAssign checked. Submit PDF via Blackboard.
Weight: 35% of final grade.
Due 5PM, Feb. 12, 2021 (submit PDF via Blackboard).
Note: Students must follow all instructions on this assignment handout.
*Please carefully read through this handout twice and consult the links contained
in it BEFORE beginning to work on your essay.
Students are to write a well-crafted and organised scholarly essay with a clearly stated
and reasoned thesis addressing one of the following topics:

  1. Summarise Gramsci, Habermas, and Althusser on the relationship
    between the state and society. Then, make an argument about which
    has the more persuasive theory. Why do you think one is better theory
    than another? See also Dr. Datta’s 2020 piece for criteria used when
    assessing theory.
  2. Would Althusser say we’ve been “interpellated” by surveillance capitalism (see also Zuboff; Lafrance)? What might this imply about contemporary forms of
    subjectivity and consumerism (cf. Wolff)?
  3. Marx levelled a critique of ontological idealism in his famous “Preface…,” offering
    a materialist alternative. The “Preface” spurred a great deal of debate. Drawing
    on Marx, Gramsci (see Bates), and Althusser, discuss how these thinkers try to
    theorise the connections between the realms of ideas, consciousness,
    subjectivity, and materiality in their respective accounts of social dynamics.
  4. Habermas is famous for his theory of four types of crisis but Gramsci also has
    important theoretical insights about crises. Drawing on both Habermas (see
    Pusey) and Gramsci (see Bates) discuss whether the emergence of “surveillance
    capitalism” (see Zuboff; Lafrance) is playing a role in social crises today.
    The essay must demonstrate a serious engagement with the pertinent required course
    readings.
    Dr. R. P. Datta SACR 3910-30 Winter 2021 p. 2
    ELABORATION
    • Not confident about writing an academic essay? Check out this incredibly helpful
    website from Trent University. It covers all the steps in an accessible way.
    https://www.trentu.ca/academicskills/how-guides/how-write-university
    • The assignment asks you to seriously engage with the required readings and
    your study in the course.
    • Your paper is to be based on course material alone. The use or inclusion of
    material external to the course will not be assessed.
    • You are being assessed on your ability to read, understand, summarise and
    apply required course texts. Remember to define key concepts/terms.
    • Do not use “long quotations”; you may sparingly use short quotations of 1-2 lines.
    Instead of long quotations, you are to concisely and accurately summarize
    course material in your own words.
    • Make sure that your paper discusses the required course readings related to
    your chosen topic.
    Citation and Referencing Requirements
    • You must properly cite and reference material used in your essay.
    • When pagination is available, include the page number for specific passages
    used in your in-text citations.
    • You are required to use the ASA/American Sociological Association style guide
    for citations and referencing.
    • For instructions, guidance, and examples, see:
    https://leddy.uwindsor.ca/citation-style-guides#asa
    https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/asa_style/in_text_citation_references.html
    https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/asa_style/references_page_formatting.html
    Writing Style Requirements
    • Quality academic writing is expected (avoid spelling mistakes, grammatical
    mistakes, colloquialisms, rambling, errors in citation style, sentence structure,
    word choice etc.).
    • You are free to write in the first person.
    • You are free to use headings (they are optional but they are helpful to your
    reader).
    • Aim for concision and clarity; avoid wordiness and rambling.
    • Readers of academic material want to know what authors think so take that
    authorial license. This does not mean writing your opinion, but your learned and
    reasoned and argued position, based on the course material and themes. (Think
    of arguing a case in a court of law).
    • The paper should be well organised, readable and have an accessible flow
    (connect the building blocks of your argument together for your reader). Not sure
    Dr. R. P. Datta SACR 3910-30 Winter 2021 p. 3
    how to do this? See the advice from Trent University’s very helpful website on
    academic writing for different ways to outline and organise your ideas.
    • Craft concise, clear introductory and concluding paragraphs (see “Sample
    Schema…” below).
    • Remember to edit your work carefully, and several times over—this is the best
    way to improve your writing-craft while also disciplining your thinking. Sloppy,
    disorganised, rambling writing will cost you marks.
    • Remember to be generous to your reader.
    • Not sure about how to start? See this this website from Trent University
    [hyperlink].
    Formatting Requirements
    • Do not include a title page.
    • Include an informative, topical, concise title at the top of your paper.
    • Ensure that your name, course code, semester, year and pagination is placed in
    a footer at the bottom of each and every page. Follow the example of this
    handout.
    • Double space your work, use 1” margins all around, and a size 11 or 12 font.
    • Include a word-count at the end of your essay.
    • The formatting requirements are important for filing and record-keeping practice,
    etc. so follow them strictly. Failure to do so will cost you marks.
    Stuck? Need Help With Your Essay?
    • Review your handout, your course readings, notes, and slides.
    • Take a walk and talk to yourself about your ideas—no kidding, it can help a lot!
    • Carefully review the links on academic writing.
    • Consult the writing resources and supports available through Leddy Library:
    https://www.uwindsor.ca/success/writingsupportdesk
    • Consult with either Dr. Datta or Lauren (GA).
    o For the best experience and advice, please come to office hours well
    prepared having carefully completed course readings, reviewed the
    handout, pertinent webpages, prepared your own notes, etc.
    • The teaching team does not read papers before they are submitted. Need
    another set of eyes for feedback on your paper? Buddy-up with a peer!
    • If you have sent an email but have not received a reply within 1-2 business days,
    this is because the answer is contained in the course readings, this handout, or
    in the content on a website hyperlinked in this handout. Please review the
    material again.
    Helpful tip: Before submitting your paper, go through this handout one more time to
    check to see that you have followed the instructions and satisfied the requirements. (Not
    following the requirements and instructions will cost you marks).
    Dr. R. P. Datta SACR 3910-30 Winter 2021 p. 4
    Sample Schema for Organising Essays:
    Put an informative title at the top, e.g.,
    LEE’S MODEL OF SOCIETY AND FINANCE: A CRITICAL ASSESSMENT
    INTRODUCTION (One Paragraph)
    • Hook: provide a short compelling statement of why your topic is pertinent to
    social theory and advancing the understanding contemporary social life.
    • Topic: clearly state the topic of your work.
    • Thesis: clearly articulate your thesis in one or two sentences.
    • Briefly outline the remainder of what you will be doing in your essay. This helps
    your reader gain a sense of how your argument and analysis will be developed.
    MAIN HEADING 1:
    • Provide a helpful heading title, e.g., LEE’S MODEL OF SOCIETY
    • Supporting paragraph(s): In each paragraph include the following:
    o Thematic focus of paragraph
    o Exegesis of reading(s)
    o Argument pertinent to the question/issue at hand
    o Link to main thesis
    o Transition sentence (clarifying the flow of ideas for your reader)
    MAIN HEADING 2:
    • Provide a helpful heading title, e.g.,
    o LEE’S ANALYSIS OF FINANCE AND CREDIT IN SOCIETY
    • Supporting paragraph(s): In each paragraph include the following:
    o Thematic focus of paragraph
    o Exegesis of reading(s)
    o Argument pertinent to the question/issue at hand
    o Link to main thesis
    o Transition sentence (clarifying the flow of ideas for your reader)
    MAIN HEADING 3:
    • Provide a helpful heading title, e.g.,
    o CRITICAL LIMITATIONS IN LEE’S MODEL
    • Supporting paragraph(s): In each paragraph include the following:
    o Thematic focus of paragraph
    o Exegesis of reading(s)
    o Argument pertinent to the question/issue at hand
    o Link to main thesis
    o Transition sentence (clarifying the flow of ideas for your reader)
    CONCLUSION (One Paragraph)
    • Remind the reader of your focus and themes addressed in your work
    • State how you have addressed the topic directly
    • Tie the key elements of your reflections together
    • Finish on a strong note e.g., with a compelling thought or insight that best reflects your
    research and thinking.

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