Create a field log (sample field log is provided below). For one day, observe and record the key interactions and institutions in your lived experience. Starting with waking up, who is the first person you talk to? What do you do next- take family members to school, go to the gym, go to work and interact with coworkers? Throughout the day you will take on different roles by interacting with different people and in different situations, and be in contact with different social institutions (education, government, health, etc). Type or photograph your field log and submit it with your written Assignment.
Try to wait one or more days before starting this step. Revisit your field log and apply sociological analysis to your observations.
Reflect on your role as a larger part of society (i.e. your motives, instincts, feelings, and/or structural constraints). Discuss ways other people affected you and the ways you affected others in the social experiences of your day.
Sample Field Log
Below is a brief field log to give you an idea of the social interactions and institutions you might look for in your day. With the observations are sample course concepts that relate to the observations. Be creative in exploring and applying concepts- we will all apply concepts differently even if the scenes we observe are very similar.
5:45am: Wake up, interact with children.
Gender roles, nuclear family, folkways
6:30am: Interact with spouse and children. Eat breakfast, run, shower.
8:00am: Arrive at airport, check in interaction with airline customer service; interaction with TSA.
Social structure, bureaucracy, norms, mores, social control
9:00am: Wait with other passengers to board flight; purchase a drink at coffee shop; employees have a tip jar; a family sitting close by is watching the news and commenting on what they think is wrong with other cultures.
Emotional labor, ethnocentrism, Piaget’s stages of development
9:30am: On flight with family having a difficult time with small children; flight attendant offers to help them.
Emotional labor, gender roles, family
12pm: Arrive at destination airport; drive two hours to see extended family. Along the road there are farmers with fruit stands. See homeless person asking for assistance in exchange for work.
4pm: Extended family arrives for potluck dinner; look at family photos together and share family memories. Watch evening news- local robbery and assault.
Social deviance, material culture
6pm: Stop at church to meet family friend, see a bible study group inside; lots of religious symbols; someone remarks on a new church being built to accommodate a different racial group.
Religion, race, monotheism
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