Critical Theories

 Purpose of the Assignment: For students to use a social deviance theory to explain the activities of the sex workers at the Mustang Ranch as portrayed by Alexa Albert in her book, Brothel. 


A. Guidelines:

1. You should choose a particular theory from the following list (the order in which they appear in Pfohl):

Social Disorganization 
Societal Reaction 
Please note that the Demonic and Critical Theories are omitted. (****You cannot choose the Demonic theory because it just won’t work as an explanation. None of the sex workers were attributing any supernatural entity as the reason they were working in the prostitution industry. Critical theories also would not work at all because Brothel focuses on the categorical issues related to sex workers, yet critical theory tends to focus upon de-construction of labels and types.)

2. You must then explain at least four key factors or characteristics about this theory. For instance, what particular conditions must be met in order for us to utilize this theory? (e.g., for the Pathological perspective, we must believe that people generally commit deviant acts because they are ill, not because they are bad.) 

3. After you have explained four conditions (or characteristics), then you must explain why the actions of the sex workers, the environment of the brothel, the motivations, particular problems of the sex workers, or other issues about the sex workers’ experiences in their professional or private lives, can be explained utilizing the particular social theory you have chosen.

4. As you are persuading me why the particular theory would explain the deviant behaviors of the Brothel sex workers, I want you to cite at least six examples from this book as illustrations of the particular theory you have chosen.

B. Paper Organization: 

1. Use a short introduction, no more than 3-4 sentences, at the beginning of this paper. 

2. Tell me very quickly as you begin which social deviance theory you have chosen. The convention is to do this within the thesis statement of the paper, generally located in the last sentence of the first paragraph. For example, a thesis statement might look like this: “By using the Anomie perspective of social deviance theory, I will demonstrate through examples in this book that social norms have broken down due to the increasing complexity of our culture.”

3. Include a paragraph about what conditions or beliefs must be present in order that the particular theory is to be used as an explanation. 

4. You should then begin giving me examples from the book, but you must use the concepts, conditions, beliefs, or practices of your chosen social deviance theory to explain the nature of the deviant behavior. You should ultimately be answering these questions: “How does this theory help me in understanding this occurrence of social deviance?” or “What might I learn about human nature and human deviant behavior by utilizing this particular social theory and applying its concepts and key characteristics as I examine this particular example from the text?” You might want to have one example per paragraph, or, if you have two examples illustrating a particular concept or tenet of a particular theory in one paragraph, then that is fine as well.

5. As you move in your paper from theory to conditions to book examples to a conclusion, you want to use transition sentences when they are appropriate. For instance, “Now that I have explained the major concepts of the Classical perspective, I will use these concepts to explain several (six really) different examples found in Brothel.”

6. At the end of your paper, you want to tell me in the conclusion why you feel your chosen theory was most appropriate as an explanatory tool in analyzing Brothel. Why was your theory more useful than any of the other theories available from the list? Your conclusion is also the appropriate place where you are free to give your comments about Albert, the book, writing style, whether it was a good or bad work to be used in a social deviance class.

C. Paper Mechanics (spacing, font and style issues)

1. This paper should be single-spaced.

2. 10 or 12 character per inch font size.

3. Times New Roman or similar font is requested.

4. The paper should be long enough to address the issues listed previously. Two pages is not going to be long enough for this assignment. During past semesters, papers were generally 6-7 pages (single-spaced) in length.

5. Spell check!!

6. Proofread your paper for clarity of understanding, punctuation, and grammar.

7. Also, use developed paragraphs. Journalists use one, two or three sentence paragraphs. You as an academic writer, are going to have more weighty paragraphs of 5, 6, 7, or 8 sentences. You will need paragraphs of this length in order to fully develop and elaborate on your examples. Do not use run-on paragraphs (when you change to a new subject or major idea, then begin a new paragraph and fully explain this new idea). 

8. Always underline or italicize the title of the book. 

9. Miscellaneous comments: This is not a letter to a friend. Do not be conversational. This paper should be persuasive; you must be persuading me about this theory’s application to the examples you have chosen and why the theory helps to give particular meaning to (or helps us to interpret) the actions within the brothel environment.  



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