Finding the Social in Film
PURPOSE: To understand and appreciate the power of Mills’ sociological imagination in a real world
context beyond the classroom and textbook, students will distinguish between personal issues and social
problems and use film to illustrate the connection between individual biography and social circumstances.
must be submitted in hard copy (no electronic submissions will be accepted). Each day late may result in a fullletter
deduction of the grade. A weekend (Saturday and Sunday) counts as two days.
ASSISTANCE: The instructor is available to students for a general review of their papers for completeness and
satisfying project requirements prior to the due date of the project. HOWEVER… Questions about the use of
APA format and other technical writing issues are to be directed to the WSU Writing Center (775-4186), WSU
Writers Hotline (775-2158), and/or style manuals (available on-line on the WSU library homepage, and
available in hard copy in the reference area of the WSU library). THIS PROJECT REQUIRES APA FORMATTING
EVALUATION: This graded project is worth 35% of the overall course grade. In order to receive maximum
credit for this project, all requirements listed below must be met (See rubric).
REQUIREMENTS: To satisfy the requirements of this project, the student shall do the following.
PART 1. CHOOSE A SOCIAL ISSUE OR SOCIAL PROBLEM. Although NOT required, it is strongly recommended
that you have your social issue/problem approved by the instructor BEFORE you begin your project. After you
have selected an issue or problem of focus, choose a film that highlights your selected social issue/problem.
PART 2. WRITE THE PAPER. Turn each of the following items into paragraphs or sections of your paper in the
following order:
a. Definitions: Define the terms “sociology” and “sociological imagination.” Explain the value of using
sociological imagination to understand social life (100 words minimum).
b. Social Issues and Personal Problems. Explain the differences between social issues and personal problems.
Be sure to include terms and definitions of personal efficacy and locus of control (200 words minimum).
c. Film Information: Include the film name, director name, lead actor(s) names, and date of production. Also
include your reason for selecting this film.
d. Social Issue/Problem. Name and describe ONLY ONE social issue or problem you found in the film. Explain
why you consider it to be a social rather personal issue or problem (150 words minimum).
e. Reality. Show how relevant, widespread or significant your selected social issue or problem is by bringing in
at least TWO facts/figures from the textbook or other sources. You may use information pertaining to the
United States or worldwide. Be sure to cite your source(s).
f. Biographical Information. Provide background information on the director of your selected film. DO NOT COPY/PASTE this information; be sure it is in the same font and style as the rest of the paper. YOU MUST paraphrase the biographical information. No direct quotations permitted in this section, but you still must do an in-text citation (200 words minimum).
g. Theory. State which ONE of the sociological theories (functionalist, social conflict, or symbolic Interactionist perspective) your chosen film seems to support. Briefly explain why you think this theory applies to your film (100 words minimum).
h. Lessons Learned. State what you personally learned by doing this project (50 word minimum).
MECHANICS: In writing your paper, be sure to follow these instructions:
1. Use APA format. That means proper punctuation, in-text citations, and works cited page referencing all sources of information contained in your project, whether directly or indirectly cited (text, books, the internet, class notes, or other sources). No outlines. Be sure to use complete sentences and formal writing style (margins, page numbering, font size, line spacing, etc).
2. Cover page. You MUST include a cover page with the following items: a creative/informative title, your name, instructor name, course name and section number, and project due date. Include a graphic of the film cover on the cover page of this project. This graphic may be in color or black-and-white.
3. Format. The written portion of this project is to be typewritten or word processed, double-spaced and using 8.5x11" paper. In the interest of being “green” and environmentally conscious, you may use both front and back sides of the paper (duplex printing) if you like. Use computer font size 12. Projects are to be stapled in upper left corner. No slip covers or binders. Spelling, punctuation, and grammar are included in the grading of this project. Number your pages (except for cover page).
STRONG RECOMMENDATION: This is an excellent opportunity to explore your interests, academic major, stereotypes, and pet peeves about people, film genres, and social life. Being a “college kid” gives you the opportunity to delve and stretch your envelope to help make you more well-rounded and knowledgeable (even beyond your chosen major). Use this project as a means to broaden and deepen your own perspectives.

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