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Sociology is about the study of the world that you create through your actions, interactions, and agreement with the rules of the world. This project should have you begin thinking like a sociologist and take a close look at the two institutions that are closest to your current life experience. For example: your family, a previous or current school, a workplace, or any other organized establishment that you know. View them as institutions with structures, boundaries, and rulesand then reflect on them.

A good place to start is by identifying the rules of these institutions, but do not just focus on the generic rules (like raising your hand before going to the bathroom). Focus on the specific and implicit rules. Are all the rules applied equally? Do some people follow different rules? If so, why? What functions do the rules perform? For an educational institution, the rule of showing up on time allows the institution to carry out its function of educating you (or brainwashing you, as some might say). If it is a family, then the rule of helping clean up after supper creates equity and togetherness.

Once youve identified the rules, pay particular attention to the way that you participate, reinforce, and re-create the world. Or, if you are a rebel at heart, pay attention to how you find yourself butting against or resisting the operation of the rules. If you have questions or see things that you do not understand, write these questions down. If you like, add these questions to your Online Personal Journal on the course homepage. You do not have to worry about sounding scientific or super intelligent. And do not worry about getting the wrong answer. This project is merely about reflecting on the institutions in your life and, as such, you will be graded on the quality and depth of your reflective comments.

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