Social Theory

Be sure and write a thorough and detailed response to the questions below – you MUST answer both questions. The exam must be the computer or typewritten and double-spaced. There is a strict FIVE-PAGE limit; any exam longer than five double-spaced pages will be penalized one “step” (i.e., a B will become a B-). If you feel you can do this in 4 to 4 and a half pages, this is fine, but be sure if you decide to do this that you answer the questions completely. The midterm will be assigned a letter grade, and this grade will be worth 20 percent of your final grade. As this essay exam has two questions, devote roughly two pages to each question. If you produce your exam on a word-processor, be sure to press the spell-check button before printing your final exam. PLEASE write your exam with a minimum of a 10 point font and a minimum of 1-inch spacing on the sides, top, and bottom. Also, PLEASE number the pages. You can cite texts and quotes either in the body of the paper [i.e., “…as Weber writes (The Protestant Ethic, p. 42)”; “…‘Religions…have never overlooked the part played in civilization by a sense of guilt’ (Freud Civilization and Its Discontents, p. 99)”, or in footnotes or endnotes. You may attach a separate, additional title page if you prefer. Also, you may attach an additional page as a bibliography, as well as place endnotes in this separate page, if you prefer. Be sure to SPELL CHECK YOUR ESSAY EXAM before submitting it! A word of advice: address all parts of the essay topic. Some people find outlines very helpful in this regard. Partial answers – no matter how good –can not be given full credit. I do not accept late exams unless a student documents an emergency situation with a doctor’s notice or discusses circumstances with me beforehand. YOU ARE ADVISED TO USE THE FULL NUMBER OF PAGES ALLOWED.

IMPORTANT: You MUST submit both a print version of Midterm 2 at the beginning of class March 31st and an Internet version of this Midterm via Canvas by 6 PM the same day. To submit on Canvas, go to the Canvas site (to find this, go to the right-bottom of the UMKC main web page at (Links to an external site.) and click the Canvas icon), log-in, then click on the course in which you are enrolled; this brings you to the course home page, simply click from here on the “Assignments” on the left, then click on the appropriate Take-Home Exam and submit.

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Question 1

In The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Weber argues that, at important points in social history, non-economic factors such as religious movements may end up having broad (though unintended) causal consequences at specific times and places. Please write a roughly two and a half page essay that:

1. provides a brief outline of Weber’s theories of legitimacy, the state, and rationalization; &

2. presents an overview of his theory in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism of how Calvinist Protestantism as a pattern of religious rationalization unintentionally helped bring about the rise of Western capitalism. [HINT: Be sure to discuss Calvin’s doctrines of predestination and personal asceticism here.]

In answering this question, be sure to use some of the concepts Weber used, such as bureaucracy, charismatic authority, ideal (symbolic) interests, material (economic) interests, legal-rational authority, legitimacy, otherworldly, the Protestant ethic, the “spirit of capitalism,” this-worldly, traditional authority, etc. At some point, address why Weber is not a utilitarian.

Question 2

In roughly two and a half pages, compare and contrast the two views of personality development put forward by Freud and Mead, specifically:

a. Freud’s theory of the progress of civilization as the increasingly repressive and sublimated organization of human instinctual life; and

b. Mead’s cognitive model of the development of mind and self through internalization of “the generalized other.”

In writing your comparative study, be sure to say something about Freud’s crucial concepts of repression, the unconscious, and sublimation. Also, compare Freud’s approach to personality – which assumes the person is driven by libido and aggression – to Mead’s more cognitive approach to personality, with its focus on language in the development of mind and self. [HINT: Compare Freud’s developmental model of id, ego, and superego, to Mead’s developmental model of mind and self as the ‘me’ becomes an ‘I’ from early childhood through the teenage years.] Actively use some of the Freudian and Median concepts introduced in the course to fashion your arguments. From Freud, you might choose from aim-inhibition, cathexis, the “collective superego” [HINT: think of how Freud’s concept of “collective superego” converges with that of institution], the death instinct, Eros, the Oedipal/Elektra crisis, etc. For Mead, you might choose from conversations of gesture, the ‘me’ and the ‘I’, organizations as social games, significant speech, symbolization, taking the attitude of the other, etc. Be sure to address the different ways that Freud and Mead conceptualize conscience as you go along. [HINT: Freud uses the concept of the superego as a synonym for conscience; also, be sure to avoid confusing the distinct concepts of conscience and consciousness.] Finally, be sure you address fully and directly the (a) and (b) subsections of each question above.

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