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Analysis of the American Dream

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Perhaps no abstraction has more political and emotional power in American society than “The American Dream.” This single abstraction is claimed by both revolutionaries and traditionalists alike. To assess your ability to use social theory to make sense of social reality, this short paper will address a single question:

Which traditional social theorist (Marx, Durkheim, or Weber) offers the best theoretical framework for making sense of “The American Dream”?

Directions: Your response to this question will be in two parts:

Part 1 (50 points total, approx 2-3 pages) – Which theorist offers the best framework for making sense of this abstraction?
• First, be sure to offer a definition of “The American Dream,” either of your own creation or from a trusted source.
• After offering a definition, make the case for why your preferred framework is best able to make sense of this abstraction. Be sure that your paper accurately presents the key concepts and ideas from your chosen framework, and creatively applies these concepts and ideas to “The American Dream.”

Part 2 (50 points, approx 2-3 pages) – Why is your preferred theoretical framework superior to other frameworks?
• In this section, you will compare and contrast your preferred theoretical framework to the frameworks of the other two traditional social theorists.
• As you construct your argument for why your chosen framework is superior to the other two alternatives, be sure that you are using key concepts and ideas from the other two theorists both accurately and creatively.

Format:

Your paper should be 4-5 pages long, typed and double spaced in 12-point, Times New Roman font with 1 inch margins. As stated in the syllabus, this format policy is not meant to be punitive, but to ease the task of grading and make sure that all students are writing from within the same space constrictions. If this format causes problems for you or your computer, come see me.
Given the short length of the papers, it is important to get right to the point and not waste a lot of time on build up, introduction, or concluding repetitions. Also, be sure to avoid excessive spaces in your paper…use the space you have to develop your ideas. Before turning your paper in, be sure to check it for grammar, style, presentation, and typos – no matter how good your ideas are, a paper that looks sloppy or hastily thrown together will not go down well with your reader.

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