1) conduct some research to provide support of your critical analysis of the advertisement via two sources of scholarly, peer-reviewed, sociological evidence (e.g. supporting why this type of cultural mediation is a problem – appealing to wider implications/historical context)
2) synthesize: demonstrate your understanding of the main scholarly arguments used to support your position by summarizing in your own words/demonstrating the ability to relate general evidence to a more specific example (e.g. framing the advertisement as an example of a contemporary cultural issue)
3) practice standard elements of style commonly used in research papers e.g. how to cite sources and document source references
After completing this assignment, you should:
1) better understand how a sociological approach can help identify and connect with ‘big issues’ in real-world, every-day examples
2) be able to distinguish between popular media sources (e.g. newspaper articles, magazines, documentaries) and peer-reviewed, scholarly research sources (e.g. academic journals)
3) have acquired experience reading scholarly research and summarizing in your own words
4) have experience relating general evidence/research to a more specific, current example
Give your ad analysis a unique title relevant to a social problem and the way it is represented in popular culture. There is no need to make a separate title page; the title should be on the first page at the top of the page, centred, and underlined. It might be helpful to try to create your title last (after you have already selected your topic and advertisement and put some thought into analyzing how the social problem.
First, write a paragraph or two describing the social problem that is the focus of your analysis while situating the problem based on how it isrepresented in the advertisement. The goal here is to introduce both the social problem and its relation to the advertisement, describing how the advertisement perpetuates and/or is an example of a manifestation of the problem. This introduction should be clear and concise; in other words, stay focused and to-the-point (e.g. while you may briefly address the cultural and historical context that will be developed further beyond the introduction, avoid using an overgeneralization about ‘human nature’ as a jumping-off point).
The following questions may help you get started:
• What was the focus of the advertisement (i.e. what was centred in the promotion as being of value)? At the same time, what elements or dimensions of the social problem are portrayed?
(How) are these two questions related?
o Does the advertisement focus on a product which is itself problematic or was something about the way a product is advertised the issue? Both?
o Does it seem it was the advertiser’s intent to stir up cultural controversy or was this more likely an unintentional outcome (if there has been some cultural opposition) – i.e. was the social problem a manifest or latent function of the advertisement? (In other words, is it implicitly or explicitly part of the ad? Is it central or peripheral to the product being
• Describe specific elements of the advertisement so that the reader can follow your analysis without having seen the ad (i.e. “give them a visual” – with words/descriptive language). After identifying the social problem and how it is represented in the advertisement generally, focus on further developing the critical analytical question of how this raises a ‘bigger’ issue about cultural interpretations or representations of social problems; use the scholarly, sociological research to situate the problem from this advertisement within a broader cultural and historical context. Make specific reference to elements and descriptive details from the advertisement.
The main purpose of these developing paragraphs is to identify and describe ways that advertisements from popular cultural contribute to cultural interpretations of social problems, how they play a role in (re)producing meanings which mediate the understanding and experience of social and cultural reality. To accomplish these goals, address the following questions using two peer-reviewed, sociological sources (i.e. journal articles or books from university presses) to help you develop and support your arguments:
• How is what is being portrayed in the advertisement problematic? How does the advertisement (re)produce cultural meaning in a problematic way according to the scholarly evidence?
• How might this example be extrapolated to the broader cultural and historical context of the social problem’s existence?