Understanding social structure through personal experience: the creative use of status and role as explanatory factors

03 Jul 2020

IT?S ALL UP to the individual!? Most soci- ology instructors have encountered this re- sponse from students who have internalized the dominant ideological perspective of ?personal responsibility? and therefore re- sist our efforts to encourage a rigorous ex- amination of structural forces. A number of articles in recent issues of Teaching Sociol- ogy (e.g., Coghlan and Huggins 2004; Dun- des and Harlow 2005) advance experiential learning techniques for promoting the socio- logical imagination. Building from this ob- jective, I have devised a comprehensive lesson which includes two specific exercises that incorporate the symbolic interactionist perspective to generate a more personal understanding of matters of social structure. This paper provides details about the exer- cises, the rationale for their implementation, the ethical issues involved, and the mean- ingful outcomes for students.