Film and Social Theory Paper


Soc 365: Film & Social Theory Paper: Part of the challenge of learning classical theory is applying the concepts introduced in class to contemporary culture. Films have been a fundamental medium for over a hundred years for having people consider social issues, problems, and other social phenomena. For this paper, choose a film (not a series or documentary) from the list supplied below (or check with your instructor for approval of another film), and write an analytical paper. Imagine watching the film you choose with an audience of four—you and three of the social theorists we have studied in the class.  Imagine them interpreting and analyzing the film, and supporting or arguing with one another as they discuss the characters, plot, setting, action , and theme  of the film.  What would Durkheim, Marx, and Veblen have to say about the plot and characterizations of one of the many film versions of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations or Hard Times or of the classic Frank Capra film It’s a Wonderful Life?  What would Marx, Veblen, and Gilman think of the themes developed in any of the various film versions of Jane Austen’s Emma (a modern version of Clueless) or Parasite?  What would Marx, Veblen, and Martineau think of the plot and characterizations of Mean Girls or The Devil Wears Prada? How would Marx, Durkheim and Truth respond to Erin Brockovich?  What would Durkheim, Simmel, and Truth make of The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly? Imagine asking what DuBois, Truth, and Comte would think of The Help or Hidden Figures. In your paper you will need to: ·       Write an introduction in which you name the film and the three theorists you have chosen, providing a rationale for why you chose each to analyze the film. ·       Provide a brief plot summary of the film, and critical information such as the year it was released, who directed it, and the main characters.  This summary must be no more than 125 words, a long paragraph, a half page, at most. ·       Develop separate paragraphs in the body of the paper.  Name and explain concepts developed by the social theorists you have chosen to analyze not only the plot, action, and setting but the characterizations of the major parts played by the actors. Using each theorist, explain what social forces have shaped the characters, and have influenced their motivations, aspirations, goals, and behaviors?  What kind of society do they live in?  How does that society shape the individual?  You must analyze and interpret the film, using the theorists; don’t get carried away with merely describing the film’s story.   ·       Balance your use of the theorists. You must use all three equally.  Choose from: Comte, Durkheim, Marx, Weber, Simmel, DuBois, Veblen, Freud. If you would like to use  Martineau, Gilman, or Truth, choose one only. ·       Academic Research: Using APA, cite and reference a minimum of three scholarly sources to support the claims you make in your paper. Also cite and reference the original writings (web readings)  of the theorists you have chosen, a minimum of two times each. Of course, you will need to cite and reference additional sources such as background information about the film. has information about all the films listed below, as do promotional webpages about the films at the time of their release. (Wikipedia and blogs are not acceptable sources but they may guide you to sources that are).    Some Film Recommendations   A Single Man A Star is Born (any) The Age of Innocence All the President’s Men American Beauty American Hustle Anna Karenina (any) Apocalypse Now Baby Boom Birdman Black Panther The Blind Side Blood Diamond Blue Collar Blue Jasmine Brazil Call Me by Your Name Captain Fantastic Chariots of Fire A Christmas Carol (any version of the Dickens’ classic) Citizen Kane Clueless The Constant Gardener The Counterfeiters Crash Dallas Buyers Club The Devil Wears Prada Disclosure Django Unchained Downton Abbey Dr. Strangelove Down and Out in Beverly Hills Emma (any version of the Austen classic) Erin Brockovich Flight Frost/Nixon Full Metal Jacket Get Out The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Girl with the Pearl Earring Gladiator Gone with the Wind The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly The Graduate Gran Torino The Grapes of Wrath Great Expectations (any version of the Dickens’ classic) The Green Mile The Help Hidden Figures High-Rise Howard’s End The Hunger Games The Hurt Locker I, Tonya Inception The Incredibles Indecent Proposal In Time Ironweed The Insider The Irishman Les Miserables Little Men Mad Max (any) Maid in Manhattan The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit The Matrix Mean Girls Megamind Metropolis Milk Mississippi Burning Mitty Modern Times (1936) Monuments Men Mr. Smith Goes to Washington Mrs. Brown Network 9 to 5 Nixon No Country for Old Men Nocturnal Animals Norma Ray Notes on a Scandal Office Space Once Upon a Time in Hollywood One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest Parasite Paths of Glory The Piano The Pianist Philadelphia Pride and Prejudice (any version of the Austen classic) Primary Colors Remains of the Day The Revenant Revolutionary Road Roman Holiday Room Sabrina (either version) Schindler’s List Secretary Selma Sense & Sensibility (any version of the Austen classic) Shawshank Redemption Silkwood Slumdog Millionaire Son of Saul Spotlight Swimming with Sharks Swing Shift Titanic (any version) Trading Places Up in the Air Wall Street Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps The Wolf of Wall Street Working Girl Zero Dark Thirty

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