Creating and Challenging the Status Quo


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Rules that sustain many forms of domination are typically created and imposed by the state. Laws can be used to stabilize power, especially by means of the state’s bureaucratic apparatus and by means of its coercive resources for monitoring and enforcing compliance. But domination and effects of rules are never total--people have agency and can resist. In this activity the class will be challenged to find ways to both support and resist a law of the class’s choosing. Suggested assessments of student learning are included in the resource.


Resource Type(s):
Class Activity 
DaShanne Stokes, University of Pittsburgh 
Date Published:
Subject Area:
Political Sociology 
Class Level:
College 400 
Class Size:

Usage Notes:

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My students loved this activity. I found it helpful to distribute flyers describing the activity (using the first two pages of the acitivity as a hand-out or "flyer") beforehand so that students would be aware of what we were doing and so they could ask questions before starting.

Learning Goals and Assessments:

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Goal 1:
Students will learn to compare and contrast different theories of political sociology concerning rule making, rule breaking, and power.
Assessment 1:
Instructors assess student understanding through in-class discussion during the activity, drawing upon student questions and responses as indicators of understanding and analytical ability, and through essay exam questions. Samples included.

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