“Imagining the Industrial Revolution”

Exercise: “Imagining the Industrial Revolution”

Early sociologists lived and worked in a particular historical period and social context that influenced their theories

about the nature of society. Imagine what life would be like

if you were living in Europe or had migrated to the

United States in 1890. (Please view the videos on the Industrial Revolution for background). For the most part, you’ll

be trying to picture yourself as someone who was a white European (from England,

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Ireland, France, or Germany, for instance), like most of the early founders of the discipline of sociology. Even more narrowly, you should try to picture

yourself as a young peasant, someone with little skills or education. This imagined person may be a different race/ethnicity, social class, age, or even gender, than your own real identity. You can also play with other biographical details. Once you’ve chosen who you are imagining to be, answer the following questions as if in the

past. Remember–in 1890 the average person did not have indoor plumbing, electricity, automobiles, or many other modern conveniences. Write as much detail as possible about the various aspects of your fictional life in this time of great change.

 

Picture yourself living in a small, rural (agricultural) village. Describe who you are and the community in which you

once lived

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Now picture yourself moving to a large, urban (industrial) city that is foreign to you.

Describe your living arrangements and the environment of this new city

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Describe what you do for work and the conditions of your workplace

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What are your greatest challenges or fears?

What are your greatest hopes or dreams?

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