Park University Unit 1 Fake News and False Stories Discussion


In this paper complete all the required activities and answer the reflection questions. This assignment will help extend your understanding of the unit topics and concepts to applications in everyday life.


Please respond to all of the questions in paragraph form with the question numbers labeled. You should incorporate concepts from the readings into your answers and cite the readings as needed. The paper should be 2-4 pages.

  1. “Fake news” is a current issue within political and social media. Gergen challenges the idea of truth and a singular reality. Use Politifact (Links to an external site.) to identify a false statement or news story in our current public conversations. 
    • Explain the case, the origins of the story, and describe how this misinformation was communicated.
    • How can the concept of social utility and cultural traditions be used to explain the proliferation of “fake news” and wildly divergent definitions of what “truth” and “facts” are in the news?
    • How does the concept of the social construction of reality apply to this case?
  2. Watch the short clip telling the story of a unique animal relationship: The Cat & The Ducklings (Animal Odd Couples) (Links to an external site.) 
    • How does this clip relate to socialization and the important of social environment over biology?
    • Using this clip and the assigned readings, how would you debate a friend who claims that “nature is more powerful than nurture” in shaping people’s behaviors and identity?
    • How could you effectively argue that socialization largely determines who we are?
  3. Language as a symbol system is also connected to power. Watch and analyze the following clip of a speech given by Nelson Mandela in 2000 at the World Sports Awards, Monaco (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.).   
    • What kind of language and symbols does he use when speaking?
    • What does this language emphasize?
    • What does it conceal?
    • How does it frame the “issues” the speaker addresses?
    • How and why is language an important aspect of exercising power and promoting social change?
  4. Look up the lyrics of two or three popular songs from the past or present that focus on romantic love. 
    • Identify and describe each of the songs.
    • What do the lyrics suggest about what it means to be in love?
    • What do they say about what you should notice, emphasize, or ignore in an intimate partner?
    • What do they say about how you should experience and act upon feelings of romantic love?
    • What do the lyrics suggest about what is irrelevant or taboo when it comes to love?
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