What is Home- Social Institutions

What is Home? Project Assignment

Our course culminates in a final project where students demonstrate the following learning outcomes:

  • To be able to identify the functions of a given social institution.
  • To examine the interrelated workings of multiple social institutions in a single society, and probe the social consequences of their interconnectedness on people’s lives.
  • To exhibit political awareness and social responsibility by assessing and critiquing how well a given social institution serves the best interests of the wider society. This involves describing how particular groups are oppressed by the social institution and how other groups benefit.
  • To leverage theoretical insights and empirical examples to propose ideas that work in the service of resolving existing problems in a given social institution in ways that promote social justice for disenfranchised members of society.


Write a 10-15 page paper (it was formerly 12-18 pages, but section 6 has been removed) that includes each of the following sections. Double spaced, standard 12pt font, standard 1” margins. Texts and resources from outside the course are permissible, however the paper must demonstrate your mastery of our course materials. Use APA citation format for in-text citations and a references sheet (the references sheet is not included in the 10-15 page count).

Section 1 (approx. 1 page):    

What is home? Offer a definition of home that resonates with you personally. Your definition can focus on the people who share a home; the physical shelter where people reside; the neighborhood, city, or other geography, or some other aspect.

Section 2 (approx. 2-3 pages):           

Identify 2 or more social institutions that shape people’s experiences of home, as you have defined it. Clearly state the function of each social institution, e.g. what are the main social goods it provides to society?  Next explain how each social institution you identified shapes people’s experiences of home. This discussion must be grounded in course materials. Perhaps government’s role of creating housing policies. Perhaps family’s role of providing a home for its members. Perhaps marriage’s role of determining who shares a home. Perhaps education’s role of assigning schools to children based on neighborhood boundaries. Perhaps the economy’s role of stratifying the quality of neighborhoods and physical shelters based on how much they cost.

Section 3 (approx. 2-3 pages):           

Explain how these 2 (or more) social institutions have an interconnected effect on people’s experiences of home. This discussion must be grounded in course materials. For example, families can buy homes for adult children which gives those children and advantage in the economics of home ownership (higher quality neighborhood and/or higher quality physical structure) regardless of the child’s job or personal income, and it further gives the children of those adult children (let’s call them grandchildren) an educational advantage because they can live in the district of a higher quality public school.

Section 4 (approx. 3-4 pages):           

Assess and critique how justly these 2 (or more) social institutions are delivering the social goods you identified in section 2. Which groups benefit and which groups are disenfranchised or oppressed? This discussion must be grounded in course materials.

Section 5 (approx. 2-3 pages):           

Apply your definitions and explanations to a particular example of home. It can be your own home or someone else’s. Interview all the relevant people to learn details about this particular home, the decisions made on how to acquire it or modify it, any policies or laws that affected those decisions, etc. How did this home come to be your home (or the person whose home you are writing about?) What are the consequences on your life (or the life of the person whose home you chose) from the home you have?

Section 6 (approx. 2-3 pages):           

Draw on a theory or text from the course to propose a change to one (or both) of the social institutions you discuss in this assignment that would work toward social justice. It can be a radical change, such as requiring the government to provide all housing or eliminating public schools, or dissolving the government’s role of regulating marriages. It can also be less drastic change, a modification of the existing social institution in some way. Explain what problem this change will resolve and how it will promote social justice for disenfranchised members of society. This discussion must be grounded in course materials.

Section 6 has been removed from the assignment. Happy writing.

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