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Paper 1 Scott: Power and Identity

In Behind the Official Story, James C. Scott argues that nearly all social interactions involve some sort of performance or script but that in cases of marked or strong power difference, the stakes involved lead to increasing levels of scriptedness (3).

For your first paper assignment, I would like you to consider how Scotts argument about how power affects social dynamics might help us to understand identity better. In other words, how does ones relationship to power affect the way one understands ones identity?

There are different ways you may choose to go about answering this prompt: do power dynamics challenge or hurt ones sense of self, reinforce or solidify it, or does it depend? If it depends, what does it depend on? Does ones place in a power relationship create ones sense of self, or is there a more complicated dynamic at play? How so and how can we tell? Does ones sense of belonging to a group defined by relative power (or its lack) affect how one understands oneself and ones identity? How so and why? To what extent, and are there limits to this? How might Scotts discussion of theatricality or scripts come into this conversation in a positive or negative way?

To answer this question, you do not want to try to answer all of the above questions. They are merely ways to think about and narrow your focus on the bolded question.

Goals of this assignment:
First, stay away from the five-paragraph essay format taught in high school writing. This is a chance to think through what your own position is and ground that position in textual analysis. Your argument should develop from paragraph to paragraph.
Summarize effectively and succinctly. A good rule of thumb is no more than 2 sentences in a row.
Each body paragraph should begin with a claim and then involve direct evidence (cited quotations) from the reading that supports that claim.
Look for passages that you can analyze. Good quotes are relative to your intended use. Textual evidence is used to support, never replace, your ideas.
All papers are to follow MLA format guidelines. MLA is more than just citation formatting, but the structure of the entire paper: typed, 1 inch margins on all sides, 12 pt. Times New Roman or Calibri font, double-spacing etc. Consult your handout or me for any questions. Theres a sample paper in Course Syllabus and Documents for reference.

Rough Draft: Due on Blackboard, Feb 2/17. Upload as a Word doc (you can save as a word doc in Google Docs) 3 full pages (at least one word on p4).

Peer Reviews:  due Feb 19: Complete two peer reviews, returning to peer and to me (preferably using google docs, but if impossible, email to both).

Final Draft: Due on Blackboard Feb 24. 4 full pages (at least one word on p5).

Paragraph FormattingBuilding a Paragraph Around a Pair of Quotations

In an analytical essay, the paragraph, the basic unit of the essay, is built around a specific idea, ideally a connection between the ideas of two (or even more) authors.  The basic format of a solid paragraph that connects quotations from each author is as follows:

1.  Start by stating your claim (state the key concept).  This is your first sentence (topic
    sentence). This sentence should not include the names of any authors, specific individuals
    from any texts, or references to any specific examples or incidents from a text. This is a place
    for abstract terms/concepts central to the main concepts in the assignment question.

2.  Introduce, or set up, the quotation.  Where is it coming from? What is the writer taking about?
    All quotes should be integrated into your own sentences (no dropped quotes).

3.  Give the first quote make sure you cite the material properly.

4.  Give a close reading of the quote.  Break down the writers language, highlighting the
    important words and phrases and put them into your own words.

5.  Tell your reader why the quote is important.  If referring to a specific key concept, state how
    the quote relates to the key concept.  What does the quotation do? Does it lay a foundation for
    the key concept? Does it complicate it?

6.  Transition.  Give some sort of transition, providing a clue to the connection you see between
    the two chosen passages.

7.  Set up and give the second quote with citation.

8.  Discuss the quote and explain how it relates to the first one in a sentence or two.  This last
    step is crucial.  You have to explain the connection in order to really prove it.

9.  [Optional] Conclusion: Restate the main idea of the topic sentence, but this time, include
    some of the details and specificity youve accrued/earned from your evidence.

One way to construct a topic sentence, especially in a rough draft:

__________(Author 1)’s example/idea of ______________ is a good/bad example of __________(Author 2)’s idea of/that ____________ because:______________________.

The most important part of this sentence comes after the “because.” (often, what follows the because will provide the structure for your topic sentence in your final draft).

By the time you turn in your final draft, and ideally, before you turn in the rough draft, youll want to take the authors out of the topic sentence, rephrasing the connection between them as an

 

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