Sociology questions: behold the dreamers


This assignment will focus on the interconnectedness of book content, sociological concepts and theories, and the 2008 financial crisis. Most questions will require you to define concepts and theories, use those concepts and theories to analyze book content, and make inferences using facts about the 2008 financial crisis. 

This assignment is writing-intensive, reading-intensive, and thinking-intensive; therefore, I encourage you to reserve enough time to respond to questions in a manner that is representative of an advanced sociology major. Each question has several parts. Be sure that you respond to all parts of each question. 

  • Be certain to have your responses to the analysis assignment available for reference. 
  • Other references include Crash Courses in Sociology videos (posted in Canvas), Sociology in Action textbook, and the Behold the Dreamers book. 

1. One of the themes in the book is the American Dream. Generally speaking, the American Dream ideology suggests that through hard work, an individual can achieve upward social mobility, education, homeownership, and provide a life for children that will allow the children to exceed the gains of their parent(s). 

1a. Discuss origin stories for Cindy and Clark. In other words, discuss their early lives before they married each other. When you respond to this question, be sure to respond to the following questions: 

  • According to the book, what was the occupation of Clark’s father? 
  • What was Clark’s occupation? 
  • Based on the American Dream ideology, do you think Clark surpassed his father’s occupation in life? Why or why not? 
  • According to the book, what is Cindy’s origin story? 
  • How was she able to attend college? 
  • What is/was Cindy’s profession? 
  • According to the American Dream ideology, did Cindy surpass her mother’s social class in life? Provide support documentation from the book to support your response. 

1b. In the book, we see that the Edwards family and individual members of the Edwards family enjoy different types of privilege. Identify two types of privilege experienced by the Edwards family and/or an individual member of the Edwards family. If you choose individual family members, be sure to identify the family member by name. When you identify the types of privilege, be sure to: 

  • explain/define the type of privilege
  • discuss how the Edwards family and/or an individual family member experiences this type of privilege

If you need a review on the concept of privilege, click on the following links: 

1c. Using the two types of privilege chosen by you, discuss how these two privileges insulated the Edwards family during the recession that resulted from the 2008 financial crisis. Compare the Edwards family outcome in the recession to the Jongas family outcome in the recession. What do you notice about experiences for each family? 

2. One aside thought associated with the American Dream ideology is that immigrants can come to the United States and, through hard work and assimilation, achieve the American Dream. If you need to review the assimilation concept, see pages 186-187 in the Sociology in Action textbook. 

2a. How do the actions, activities, and decisions of Neni and Jende Jonga reflect the expected lifestyle of many immigrants? In other words, what do Jende and Neni do to “ensure” that they are/were en route to the American Dream? Provide three examples from the book that illustrate actions performed by them that are aligned with attainment of the American Dream. 

2b. Identify two factors that kept the Jonga family from achieving the American Dream. Discuss how these factors affected the Jonga family. What was the final action that influenced Jende to return to Cameroon? 

2c. In chapter 47, we read about Neni’s academic accomplishment, her encounter with Dean Flipkens, and the situation surrounding her ability to secure scholarships. 

  • What honor did Neni receive for her academic excellence? 
  • Why was she excited about receiving the honor? 
  • When she inquires about scholarships, what information is given to her by Dean Flipkens? 
  • Why do you think Dean Flipkens dissuaded Neni from her attempt to become a pharmacist? 

3. The 2008 financial crisis and subsequent Great Recession are important historical settings for the novel. Earlier in the semester, you completed several assignments that focused on the 2008 financial crisis. The author did not delve into details about the structural factors that led to the financial crisis; therefore, I incorporated assignments that would provide information for you. 

3a. In the reading published by United for a Fair Econoomy (UFE), the documentary, the Glossary and Key Players document (very helpful document), and the Charles Ferguson interview, we learn how deregulation of the mortgage industry led to the 2008 crisis. Additionally, in the documentary, we see that executives at Lehman Brothers and other financial firms were aware of the impending crisis. 

  • Define deregulation. 
  • Explain how deregulation of the mortgage industry over time provided the platform for the 2008 financial crisis? Be sure to connect information presented in the documentary with information presented in the UFE publication. 
  • In chapters 6, 7, and 15 in the book, Jende overhears conversations that Clark has with his Lehman Brothers peers before the financial crisis. Summarize these conversations. How does this book content align with information presented in the documentary and the UFE publication? 
  • Regarding who was held accountable for the 2008 financial crisis, how does Clark’s outcome align with information presented in the documentary? What specific information in the book support your response? 

4.  Merton’s Strain Theory (sometimes you will see it expressed as Merton’s Anomie Theory) of deviant behavior can be applied to several characters in the book. 

  • Explain Merton’s Strain Theory. 
  • Identify the five adaptations associated with the theory. 
  • Briefly explain each adaptation. 
  • Identify three characters in the book and explain how one adaptation can be used to analyze experiences in each character’s life. If you think that a character displayed more than one adaptation, you are free to mention more than one adaptation for the character and explain your response. Be sure to use examples from the book. 

5. Social Institutions Present in Behold the Dreamers

  • Define social institutions.
  • Why do we need social institutions in society? 
  • Identify three institutions that influence the lives of the Edwards and the Jongas. 
  • What is the purpose of each social institution that you identified in the aforementioned question? In other words, why does society need each social institution that you identified in the aforementioned question? 
  • How did each institution influence the lives of the Edwards and the Jongas? Be sure to use examples from the book to support your responses. 
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