Assignment Theory Sampler Annotation 01

Task: Read one selection and write a practice annotation. Submit electronically (email attachment) AND on paper in class on Tuesday.

What is an annotation?

For our purposes, it will consist of (1) Full and Correct citation for THIS excerpt (that means, cited as an excerpt that appears in this anthology with information as to its "actual" origin; (2) Tweets by paragraph; (3) 100-250 words summarizing and explicating the excerpt. This would normally include both quotations with explications ("in other words") and paraphrases. It must stand alone as a useful document for your later work on this topic or study for an exam; (4) Background and "see also" — what did you learn from doing a little background research?


Full Citation

Goffman, Erving. 1955. "On Face-Work." Pp. 338-343 in Social Theory: The Multicultural Readings (2010) edited by C. Lemert. Philadelphia: Westview Press.

Original source: Pp. 5-9 and 41-45 in Interaction Ritual (Garden City, NY: Anchor Books, 1967 (1955)).


  1. This is the tweet of the first paragraph and it is a great summary of what that paragraph says. (338.5)
  2. This is the tweet of the second paragraph and it is a great summary of what that paragraph says. (338.7)
  3. etc.

Annotation (about one page)

Some Basics

  1. Don’t equate an annotation with notes – that is, the things you jot down as you read the article. The annotation is a summary of main points that you put together AFTER you’ve read the piece. It often requires hard thinking – what WAS this really about – and a review of your notes or marginal notations.
  2. You don’t need to include a lot of window dressing (e.g., “In this very comprehensive summary of the complex and gigantic field of social control, Smith…”).
  3. Stick to the one page limit for each annotation.
  4. Do not write an annotation AS YOU READ. It's something you do afterward, looking back, perhaps using notes you took while reading.

Sample Annotations (of mixed quality — can you identify what is missing?)

Black, Donald. 1998. “Preface,” pp. xxiii-xxvi in The Social Structure of Right and Wrong. Academic Press.

This reading was mainly a summary of the chapters to follow in the book – a preface. It discusses a range of issues – from morality to the factors that make up social control. It also discusses crime and criminology as social control, and goes on to define the strategy of pure sociology.

The handling of right and wrong is known in sociology as social control or conflict management. Social control occurs whenever there are people, in all places, classes, and situations. Social control includes litigation, ostracism, violence, mediation, sorcery, suicide, sabotage, and has many variable aspects, such as the form, style, and quantity it comes in. Social control can be unilateral, bilateral, and trilateral, depending on the amount of people involved or type of situation. Even suicide and homicide can be seen as social control – the self-help side of social control.

The five modes of handling grievances are self-help, avoidance, negotiation, settlement, and toleration, all of which can involve the usage of a third party. Some of these third parties are known as partisans, settlement agents, negotiators, or healers. These different titles all depend on the nature of their intervention in the situation.

"Philosophy as Rigorous Science", translated in Lauer, Q., ed., 1965 [1910] Phenomenology and the Crisis of Philosophy. New York: Harper.

The current article, Phenomenology as a Rigorous Science, is very interesting. I found myself enthralled by the notion of "unusual" vs. "strange". What is unusual, I ask myself? To lose ones teeth in this way is, in fact, unusual…what is more "strange" is to come upon a crowd all gathered to either form an audience, or as participants in aiding the poor soul who flung them from his mouth. It is always strange when a crowd gathers to assist, rather than view, an event…on the other hand…it is more succinctly human to form an audience than to participate, isn't it??

On the gentleman who seems to garner some personal satisfaction by repeatedly asking for directions, one must ask whether or not this man is a)crazy b)lonely c)literate in English. Further, one must inquire as to how much time the audience views such a performance as to ascertain its strangeness.

It is, indeed simply strange to be human, and without extraneous information that adds to the overall theme of the dramaturgy of the situation, it almost always will appear to be mundane.

Situations demand background information, personal empathy/sympathy or enough patience to figure out what's actually going on. Is anything really strange? Or do we simply not allow ourselves enough time to ingest what is occurring, and why.

Note: This student seems to have missed some of the point of the article, but no matter: she is using a few paragraphs to try to grasp what the article is saying.

Iris Marion Young. 1990. “Pregnant Embodiment.” Pp. 160-172 in Throwing Like a Girl and Other Essays in Feminist Philosophy and Social Theory Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Pregnant Embodiment: Subjectivity and Alienation

No works in the card catalog about or from the perspective of the pregnant subject. Not surprising in a culture that omits women’s experience from our discourse on human experience.
Structure of article

  1. Some bodily existence things specific to pregnancy: decentering/splitting/doubling of subject: self/not self; body boundaries shift; split eroticism; temporality that splits past and future. Builds on Merleau-Ponty & Straus but also questions idea of unified subject and sharp boundary between immanence and transcendence.
  2. Encounter of pregnant subject with institution of medicine. Pregnancy as pathological.
  3. Limitations:
  • experience of women in technologically sophisticated Western societies.

Part I
Straus and Merleau-Ponty. Overcoming dualistic metaphysics (mind v. body). Break against the mutual exclusivity of I/world. But they maintain a dualism of subject/object, two ways to experience body – transcendence and mere immanence/facticity.
Young: pregancy challenges even this dualism. (162.3)
First person description of bodily changes (e.g., “this elastic around my waste…”). Only I can feel the movement within and yet it doesn’t come from me. Inside and outside, normally distinctly separate, merge somewhat. Boundaries in flux. Bodily integrity threatened. Moving around in the world, I take up more space than usual. Body as resistance, obstacle, source of imbalance.
Positive mode. Experience body in “aesthetic mode” – cf. aging, illness. Body as part of one’s projects. But can be hard during pregnancy to be fully absorbed by one’s other projects and unaware of one’s self embodied.
Part II

Alienation – separation from; objectification; appropriation of my subjectivity by another subject. Medicine takes great pains to call menstruation, pregnancy, etc. “normal” but echo of pathologizing remains. “Normal” changes are read as symptoms needing treatment. > Second part is male bias toward seeing healthy body as unchanging.

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