The following excerpt on a socioautobiography is taken directly from: Kanagy, C. L., & Kraybill, D. B., (1999). The Riddles of Human Society. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press. (Pp. 287, 288,289).
“The purpose of the socioautobiography is to use the insights from sociology to better understand your own story; it is a way of using the concepts of sociology to explore our personal riddle. But the socioautobiography is not a diary or a point-by-point account of your life since infancy. It is rather a reflective exercise in which you step outside of yourself and employ sociological concepts to interpret your experiences. . . . it uses the concepts of the discipline to interpret our life in its social context. (p. 287)
“The socioautobiography follows the tradition of C. Wright Mills, a sociologist who emphasized the influence of society on the individual. He argued that personal troubles are typically rooted in larger social forces—that is public issues.” (p. 287)
The socioautobiography invites you to consider, in the tradition of C. Wright Mills, how social influences have shaped you. As you contemplate your socioautobiography, you might ask, What were the social forces that constructed the riddle of my life? How did I negotiate the crisscrossing pressures of autonomy and conformity? The connection between the micro and macro realms is an important area to address in you socioautobiography. The socioautobiography also gives you the opportunity to place your life under the sociological microscope and apply the skills of sociological analysis. Try to understand who you are in your social context using a sociological perspective. As you write your story, use sociological concepts—such as social class, reference group, conformity, norm, role, deviance, subculture, and any others that are helpful—to interpret your life experiences. You may want to focus on several events, special moments, or important relationships in...
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