You will be writing a self-reflexive paper on a particular group you belong to. Write about only ONE group that you belong to. This can be any group that you belong to. For example: club, subculture, church group (like choir), charity organization, band, or even a group of co-workers at your place of business. The group can be one that you currently belong to or from your past.
Before you begin writing, email me with the group that you want to use. If you are having difficulties coming up with a group, let me know and I will help.
You will need to touch upon each of the topics listed below and explain how each one relates to your group.
Your paper should be written in first person, and should be approximately 1,200 words (3 – 4 pages, double-spaced). Provide subheadings for each of the sections listed below. Follow the order. Also, do not simply answer each question listed – this should be written essay style. Create cohesive paragraphs that address the overarching issues of each of the main topics.
HISTORY: Provide a brief history of your group. When did it begin? Where does it take place? How has it expanded or grown? What are the reasons (cultural, social, political, etc.) for the group to come into being in the first place?
CULTURE: Describe the main beliefs, ideas, and values. Identify practices and rituals – these are situated in norms, values and beliefs. In essence, describe what the people do in your group, the reasons for their actions, and how these reinforce the overall beliefs and values of the group. Be specific and provide a few examples.
STRUCTURE: There is always some kind of structure and hierarchy in a group. Describe the internal hierarchy within your group. Is there some kind of formal leadership, or is it informal? Who’s got the power, and why? Are there categories of people within the group, and do they have specific roles? What are the different roles of the members in group?
MEMBERSHIP: Explain how a person joins the group. How do you acquire a sense of belonging? Talk about how you are able to identify others who don’t belong to the group. Address the “Us versus Them” mentality. Explain who is in and who is out, and why. Explain how outsiders are defined in contrast to insiders.
STYLE AND LANGUAGE: Describe in detail the style that goes along with your group, and include pictures in your paper if you can. Talk about the meanings associated with the style. Language – What special words does your group use? List some special words that are used and provide the meaning. Also, have any of these styles or words gone mainstream? If so, explain and provide examples.
IDENTITY: Belonging to a group affects people’s identity. How does your group affect your identity?
SUMMARY: Provide a brief summary of what makes your group unique and interesting and why it is you like belonging to it.
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