Final Exam Questions:
Your Chosen Discourse
1. Name and describe the discourse you have chosen to deconstruct for this exam. Make sure to include a few of the specific expectations and assumptions that are part of this discourse, how it positions you based on your intersectional social location, and why you have chosen this discourse to deconstruct. (This should be a 1 paragraph overview)
Choose 3 from Questions #2, 3, 4, & 5 below
(you must answer ALL parts of each of the 3 questions you choose)
a. What are some important aspects of the macro and meso-level historical context of this discourse?
b. Has the meaning and effects of this discourse changed over time – and if so, how & why? (You may need to look up outside information on this)
c. How is this history connected to why (some) people in society are encouraged to use this discourse to make sense of their situation/identity?
3. Micro-Level Historical Context:
a. Where/when do you first remember encountering the promotion of this discourse in your own life? Describe the situation and its impact on you.
b. How is your personal history with this discourse connected to its Macro/Meso-Level history (e.g. when you were born, generational differences, impact of social movements on availability of discourses, etc.)
4. In what situations have you seen this discourse be influential in socially constructing “reality” – think both in terms of “types” of situations as well as specific instances (provide examples):
a. Macro: In the larger cultural conversation (news/opinions, talk shows, social media, etc.)?
b. Meso: In your own community/family?
c. Micro: In your life/by you (i.e. you used the discourse make sense of/influence a situation)? Consider the multiple domains of your life and how this discourse might operate differently in each (with family, friends, school, work, goals & aspirations, etc. – you can choose what is important to you).
5. At each level listed below, who or what are some of the main supporters of this discourse (think social locations & social roles)? Why do you think they support this discourse? Give a concrete example of how these people/institutions and their support of the discourse has impacted your identity construction:
a. Macro: The larger society/institutions
b. Meso: Your community/ies
c. Micro: Your close family & friends, etc.
Power & Effects
(Be specific & use examples)
6. Positive Effects (choose 2 out of a, b, & c):
a. Macro: Are there positive effects of this discourse in society, or do some people argue that there are positive effects (even if you don’t agree)? If so, what are they and how do they relate to social group hierarchies and privilege/oppression?
b. Meso: What (if any) positive effects does this discourse have in your own community/family? How do you make sense of these effects or the lack of positive effects? How do they relate to the positive effects and social group hierarchies you identified at the Macro level?
c. Micro: Do you experience these (or other) positive effects? Does it depend on the context? Why or why not (from a social constructionist perspective, connected to social location)? How do these positive effects influence how you position yourself in relationship to this discourse and how is “modern power” (internalization) influencing you as you do so?
7. Negative Effects (choose 2 out of a, b, & c):
a. Macro: Are there negative effects of this discourse in society? If so, in what social contexts and by whom (social locations) are these negative effects likely to be experienced? How is this connected to social group hierarchies and privilege/oppression?
b. Meso: Do you see these (or other) negative effects in your own community/family? If so, in what social contexts and by whom (social locations) are these negative effects likely to be experienced? How does this relate to the positive effects and social group hierarchies you identified at the Macro level?
c. Micro: Do you experience these (or other) negative effects? Why or why not (from a social constructionist perspective, connected to social location)? How do these negative effects influence how you position in relationship to this discourse, and how is “modern power” (internalization) influencing you as you do so?
8. The Binary:
a. What is the binary assumed with/connected to this discourse? Describe this binary and the meanings it generates in detail, with examples. How are these meanings connected to the positive/negative effects you identified above? What happens if you “flip” the binary in terms of what is valued by society?
b. Explain how this particular binary fails to account for the multiple realities/identities/possibilities connected to this discourse, and provide specific examples that exist outside of this binary.
9. Alternative Discourses:
a. Describe at least one alternative discourse that intentionally undermines the binary and/or the negative effects of the discourse you’ve chosen (you may want to choose more than one to address different contexts).
b. Explain why/how you think this alternative discourse could be helpful to you and to others.
c. Where/how/with whom have you encountered this alternative discourse and/or think you could find support for it (consider macro/meso/micro levels)? What supports you (or what do you imagine could support you) in staying close to this alternative discourse in your own life?
Positioning & Agency
10. Preferred Position:
a. Describe how you prefer to position yourself in relationship to the discourse you chose and/or the alternative discourse you identified?
b. How does this preferred position connect to what you’ve learned about your own identity construction and the values/goals you are intentionally choosing for yourself?
c. Does this preferred position change depending on context? If so, how and why? If not, why not?
a. What are some negative effects you might experience as a result of positioning with this discourse in ways you prefer? What might you do to help lessen the impact of those negative effects & make positioning in the ways you prefer easier?
b. How does this process of deconstructing your discourse and choosing a position that will allow you to experience more agency relate to your own (future) role as a helping professional and in promoting social justice?