SOCI 1301 Unit 6


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Unit 6: Social Stratification: Social Class, Race & Ethnicity, Gender, Age



A.  Read the following selections from the Margin Notes by clicking on each link.


B.  Watch these presentations. When you click on one of the links below, a new screen will pop up. Use the scrollbar on the side of the new screen to navigate. You need Adobe Reader to view PDF filesHELP MESSAGE.


C.  (Optional) Read the following chapters from the textbook.

Chapters 08 - 10


D.  The following Optional Links will help you do better in your course but they are not required.


E.  Critical Thinking Essay (20 points)To Do Note

A critical thinking essay isn't difficult to write but it is a very structured piece of writing so it’s important that you read and follow the steps below in order.

  1. Read What is Critical Thinking? before you do any work on your essay. We cannot take the time to fully explore what is meant by critical thinking. You do, however, need to have some general idea what critical thinking means in order to write a good critical thinking essay.

  2. Read What is A Critical Thinking Essay? before you go any farther. A critical thinking essay is very similar to an exploratory essay -- a type of writing with which you may be familiar. It has a specific focus and a specific structure. Don’t try to wing this assignment!

  3. Look at your topic carefully and make sure you understand it. Try rewriting it using your own words but keeping the meaning the same


Oswald SpenglerSome seventy-five years ago, Oswald Spengler wrote The Decline of the West in which he proposed that Western culture (the US and Europe) had passed its prime and was declining. Could that be true? Have there been any occurrences in the last seventy-five years that support or challenge Spengler’s contention? Even more importantly, what does a civilization on the rise or a civilization in decline look like … would we recognize either if we saw it? And if Western civilization is, indeed, destined to decline and eventually die, what will replace it … where will the next great empire come from? There is little agreement on any of those questions.


Topic: Do you think Spengler is correct ... is US culture past its prime and on the decline?



We're not talking here about the destruction of the US government or of the country. We're talking about the decline of the culture.

We're also not talking about the decline of one particular aspect of culture - religion, education, family, etc. We're talking about the decline of the entire culture of western societies ... as opposed to Asian cultures, African cultures, Hispanic cultures or etc.

If you're not sure what culture means, review your course material before starting your essay.

Do the reading. Know what the words mean before you use them!

There is no right or wrong answer to the question posed by your topic. And I'm more interested in your rationale than I am in your answer. As an example, let's say you're writing a critical thinking essay on the death penalty. You start out in favor of the death penalty because you believe it has a deterrent effect but all of the research you find shows there is no deterrent effect. If you end your essay still in favor of the death penalty, that's okay. If you end your essay still in favor of the death penalty because it has a deterrent effect, that's not okay since your rationale is not consistent with factual information.

  1. Look at the information and research about your topic in the margin notes and presentations from your course and in the links below. Use the information from these sources to write your essay. However, do NOT use any direct quotes, citations or references from these sources. The essay is too short for direct quotes ... use your own words. As for references, I've given you the sources so I'll know where the information came from. (I've tried to give you a wide range of sources and opinions in the reference list below. Inclusion on the list does not constitute an endorsement of either the sources or the opinions.)

Oswald Spengler

Decline of the West?

Buchanan: Churchill Spurred the Decline of the West ...

The Clash of Civilizations

The New Relevance of Oswald Spengler

Spengler Speaks

Patterns in Chaos

The Paradoxes of Cultural Confidence: Is Western Culture in Decline? (PDF)

The Dying of Western Culture

Taking Measure of West's Decline

Spengler, The Decline of the West

The Decline of the West

The Decline and Fall of a Civilization

Meacham: The End of Christian America

The End of Western Civilization

Cultural Confrontation and Compromise

Decline of the West? Spengler Reconsidered

The Decline of the West – Mother Jones

Politics and Ideas: The Rise and Decline of Civilization

The Decline and Fall of Classical Civilizations

download free Adobe PDF reader

Online Databases -- Some of the links above may take you to an article's abstract rather than the complete article. If you want to see the entire article but the site requires registration and/or payment, try your college library's online database. Almost all articles can be accessed through a database ... that's why colleges purchase databases for student use. Call your college librarian and ask for your username and password and for directions.

I do not expect you to use additional sources of information on your topic. If you do, you MUST cite and reference any additional sources using one of the following formats.

APA (American Psychological Association) -- regularly used by most social scientists

APSA (American Political Science Association) -- used (in conjunction with APA) by political science publications

MLA (Modern Language Association) -- not generally used by social scientists but if you are a humanities major you may be more familiar with this format

CMS (Chicago Manual of Style)

Turabian -- a variation of the CMS

You can find style sheets and/or links for each of these styles on the Writing page, the link for which is at the top of the main Online Courses page.

  1. You may use any font and line spacing you wish when formatting your essay but the content of your essay must be a minimum of 750 words. You must also adequately cover your topic, though, and you may find it difficult to completely cover your topic in 750 words unless you are extremely concise. If you feel you need more length to cover your topic, you are welcome to write a longer essay. However, you are only required to write an essay the content of which is 750 (not 749) words in length. If the content (that does not include your name, type of assignment, citations, etc ... only the content of the paper itself) is not at least 750 words in length I will return your paper to you unread.

Your critical thinking essay should follow a specific outline. Before you begin the writing phase of your essay, read What Makes A Paper Good? and Critical Thinking Essay Format. The outline given in the second link is the one you need to follow in your essay. Too, take your time proofing your essay for spelling and grammar mistakes. If spelling and grammar are not among your talents, ask a friend who is good with spelling and grammar to proof your essay. “A” papers do not have spelling and grammar mistakes!

Under the Optional Links section at the top of this page, I have posted a link to my grading rubric for the critical thinking essay.


Essay Submission Instructions

By the deadline shown in the Course Schedule on the main page of the syllabus:

  • Send your Critical Thinking Essay in the body of a new email to

  • Put only your name and Essay at the beginning of your email.

  • Use the correct subject line.

  • Late essays will lose one point per day late, including weekends and holidays.



Copyright 1996 Amy S Glenn
Last updated:   06/01/2024 0830

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