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Questions and answers about Socials Essays

What are some of the roles played by fashion design in contemporary culture?

You're really stretching me because I was an English major and I'm one of the least fashionable people you might ever meet!

The whole point of the fashion industry is to get us to consume more. New clothing, new shoes, new kinds of makeup and hair products. It completely feeds into the consumer mentality which is killing this planet.

You can look at how fashion pushes values concerned with modesty, sexuality and gender relations. Fashion also has a role in defining how women should look, setting an ideal for women (which has become younger and more skinny over the decades); and telling men which women they should be attracted to. By moving from full sized women to 14 year old tall girls as models, fashion also creates a type of pedophilia which is socially acceptable. There's probably some good stuff about it too.

Question: I'd like help on this particular topic. I have some points but before I start putting them together, I'd like you to give me some help.The topic is "Why and under what circumstances are people likely to buy brand names rather than their generic counterparts?"

As an English Lit major I'm better at criticizing your writing than contributing to the content of your marketing essay but my sister is in advertising so perhaps there's some genetic contribution.

In my opinion people buy brand names for several reasons. I think we can assume that the generic product is usually priced lower than the brand name. The first reason that people choose brand names is that they are influenced by advertising which leads them to choose familiarity over price advantages. It is more than familiarity, however, because advertising has not only made them familiar with the brand names but has also told them that the brand names have qualities which they are not sure exist in the generic product. Even when they have been told that the generic product is often exactly the same product as major brands, just with different packaging, there is an element of doubt which lingers: is the generic detergent really Tide or will they be left with 'ring around the collar.' In every purchasing decision, a consumer has to make a choice between price and quality. Often it is clear that price is directly related to quality. Sometimes it is hard to make the decision and familiarity tips the balance. This is the role that brand names make in purchasing decisions.

Question: I need to write an Essay on Ancient Rome entertainment. I have all sorts of information for it, but the problem is I cannot think up a thesis or three subtopics. What are some ideas I could use?

Let's start with subtopics.What kinds of entertainments were there? We are aware of gladiatoral fights. But were there also drama performances? Sports? Competitions? Games? Gambling? Each type of entertainment could be a subtopic.

Next, you want a thesis. Well, what do you want to say about the entertainments? Do you just want to describe them or do you want to put them in some kind of context to understand them better. That is what your thesis does.What is the role of entertainment today? Maybe some parallels can be drawn.

Perhaps your thesis might be that entertainment is also a form of social control. Wasn't it a Roman who said "Give us bread, not circuses"? So perhaps there are political implications of entertainment. Maybe you just want to look at whether or not the types of entertainment the Romans were interested in are really the same as entertainment we have today. What are the parallels between football and gladatorial combat? Is reality TV just a high tech kind of Roman game? With this kind of thesis you could look at each subtopic and draw parallels.

Why do we study the different cultures of the world?

My gut answer is "So you don't remain an ignorant doofus!" But more nicely, it has been said that those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it. If one does not study different cultures of the world then one will never really understand their own culture. When we study other cultures we can explore some of our own assumptions about gender relations, about property relations about economics. Studying other cultures helps us to become less self-centred which is one of the most destructive forces in our modern age.

Additionally, people are moving all about the world these days and many conflicts arise out of cultural misunderstandings. As citizens we have the duty to understand cultures of the world so we do not blindly follow leaders who want to impose their cultural values on other peoples without understanding the traditional values. Now, if you think this is just a jab at George W. Bush, perhaps it is. But if a democratic institution can be transplanted into Iraq and become as valued to the Iraqi people as the US constitution is to the American people then it will be because those introducing the institution understood the values of the receiving culture and were able to create an institution which works in that culture. If they fail to be able to communicate in an understanding way with that culture, the institution will fail and the US will be viewed in the end as an invading army seeking nothing more than oil. History will be the judge. All I am saying is understanding culture is the key to success here.

Here's another reason to study cultures. The spread of western industrial culture is wiping out cultures and languages at an alarming rate. In a century, or two, if we survive, culture studies may be only part of the history department at universities. Can we make statements about the importance of cultural diversity being parallel to the importance of biodiversity? I think so. What an amazing world when you can travel to regions where people speak Punjabi, Mandarin, Tagalog, Dogrib or Swahili and every language and culture incorporates a different world view. We will be much the poorer when they are all speaking English and shopping at Mega-Low Mart. Studying other cultures is a vital part of being a responsible citizen in the global village.

I need help in psychology, for an 'evaluate the evidence' question. It's based on a quote from an article about predicting psychopathology from early social relations. Should I descibe what psychopathology is first? I'm stuck on the introduction.

Absolutely. Your introduction should begin with general observations and procede toward your thesis statement. Although to a certain extent in academic papers you assume a certain level of familiarity with the subject by the reader, it would make a lot of sense in this case to define psychopathology early in the paper. Find a reliable academic source and cite it properly. This definition will become a reference point as you evaluate the evidence to decide the predictability of psychopathology.

I need help on developing an essay and thesis on Muslim extremists.

You want to be very careful when discussing religion, because it's easy to stray into the territory of prejudice and ignorance. If you are not Muslim, then make sure you get information about what Muslims believe from a reliable source (ie, not Fox News!) You need a clear thesis statement that is not inherrently biased. Think about this: does Islam lend itself to fundamentalism more or less than other religions? Get some statistics. Remember, violence has been perpetuated by adherents to many religions, not just Islam. No one has a monopoly on either virtue or vice. The first question you must ask is 'what does extremist mean?' You may want to differentiate between 'extremist' and 'fundamentalist' by specifying that 'fundamentalists' believe in and wish to follow the literal truth of the Koran just like Christian fundamentalists believe in and wish to follow the literal truth of the Bible. 'Extremist' on the other hand, refers to the willingness of individuals to go to any length, including harm to others, to impose their agenda. These are just my thoughts, perhaps you could use a dictionary or encyclopedia to come up with definitions of your own. Is extremism good or bad? Are there people who can be considered extremists who are not harming anyone? Are there people who are doing harm for their own reasons who are hiding behind the cloak of extremism? You have to find a thesis in there somewhere and use it to focus your research.

The first steps in a broad topic like this are to read as much as you can about the topic before you narrow down your thesis. One place to get information which is not in the mainstream media is Znet. This alternative news source will give you some good alternate perspectives. You can contrast these writers with ones at Time or some other better known publication to come up with your thesis.