All of the people profiled in the film, 14 Up in America, are the same age, but their experiences differ substantially. How would a sociologist make sense of these different experiences? In a minimum of two single-spaced pages, please respond to the following questions:
This film highlights a number of structures discussed in the lectures that influence a person’s experiences in the world, including their geographic location (where one lives, including what part of the city one lives in), the schools they go to, the peer groupthey are socialized by, and their socioeconomic status (i.e. poor, middle class, wealthy), to name but a few. First, compare and contrast the different structures influencing the lives of at least two different individuals in the film.
Second, how do the structures you’ve just analyzed affect different people’s agency, or their ability to act and the choices they have to act upon? In your analysis, you might examine how these structures shape the opportunities different people have, their aspirations, what kinds of activities they engage in, and what kind of future they likely have ahead of them. Be sure to draw on at least two different individuals from the film when illustrating your points.
Finally, because of how society is organized, we typically don’t see how other people live. We tend to live with people who are similar to us in class background, and often similar in racial and/or ethnic backgrounds. How does seeing the experiences of all of these different people from different backgrounds help you to understand the relationship between structure and agency?
In your analysis, be sure to engage with, provide specific examples from, and cite all of the assigned materials from this week (this includes lectures, readings, videos, podcasts, etc.) to illustrate your points. Remember, these writing assignments are an opportunity for you to:
Demonstrate you understand the sociological concepts and perspectives examined this week;
Demonstrate an ability to synthesize information from multiple sources to make your claims; and,
Demonstrate an ability to use empirical evidence (specific examples) to support your claims.