The Merchants of Cool

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The Merchants of Cool


Watch PBS Frontline Merchants of Cool


Specifically, in the video briefs, you will (1) very briefly summarize the circumstances of the aspect/event/instance in the video you plan to analyze so that it is clear to the reader (either the professor or a TA) and (2) analyze and discuss what this aspect/event/instance of the video represents given the corresponding week’s lecture and reading materials.

You are expected to present your analysis of the video using a standard format:

• Introduction (problem statement, outline point you will make);

• Body (discuss the point or points);

• Conclusion (wrap it up the point).

What is more, you are expected (i.e., part of the grade) to use (at least) one reference from the week’s reading materials associated with the video and one reference from lecture on associated topics. That is, at least two explicit references to course materials in each separate brief.


You must also properly reference the materials you cite in your brief. Treat lecture materials the same way you would a reading. Please use standard bibliographic standards maintained by the American Sociological Association (see an example end of syllabus). Please see the form included below for quick reference.

Standard American Sociological Association (ASA) standards should be followed. See and/or go to and in the search box type in “Style Guide” and choose “Quick Tips for ASA Style.” The only ASA standard we will not adhere to is double spacing. Your briefs are to be single spaced. That is, they are finished documents. They will not be copy edited. Mistakes in grammar, spelling, sentence construction will not be graded, but will detract from the essay insofar as they detract from the reader—the TA’s and the Professors understanding of your point(s).

The formatting of the reaction brief is to strictly follow these guidelines [(no exceptions!). Again, please see the example template at the end of this syllabus for visual details]:

• No cover page

• A heading with (simply), the date, your name, the title of the video you will analyze, the course number .

• 1.5 - 2 pages (each brief 1.5 minimum, 2 maximum)

• Single spaced

• One paragraph return between each paragraph (¶)

• 1’ margins all sides

• Use of a proportional font (Times Roman or New Times Roman)

• Include a separate bibliography page for cited readings and lectures

5. GRADING VIDEO REACTION BRIEFS How we will grade your video reaction briefs.

You should consider these to be very short, yet intensive essays. Therefore, simply naming the movie and summarizing “what happened” is not nearly enough. You are expected to rely on course materials—lectures and readings—to a n a l y z e an aspect of each—the action(s) of a persons or persons in the video, a short sequence in the video, a theme you found repeated across the video, you choose and the implications of that aspect given what we have studied this quarter. Hint: think of how Collective Behaviorists and Collective Action analysts might differ in how the view the same issue/aspect/event/behaviors.

Points will be awarded based on the quality of your submissions. Quality will be judged by the insight(s), coverage, and form/clarity of your reaction briefs.

Insight - 4 pts – How insightfully you identify, discuss, and argue course relevant elements from a video.

Coverage – 3 pts – How well you explicitly integrate course concepts and course readings into your brief (minimum 2 formal references/citations per brief, in which one must be from a relevant course reading and another can be from lecture (or from reading if you like)).

Form/Clarity – 3 pts – How clearly you express yourself and follow the formatting requirements articulated above; editing, spelling, etc...


Wednesday, May 20th, 2015. Name: Social Sciences. Video: “Merchants of Cool-Documentary on the Profitable Teenage Industry.” The video “Merchants of Cool-Documentary on the Profitable Teenage Industry” is a clear and accurate depiction of how major corporate are relentlessly keeping on toes with the massive, lucrative, but unpredictable teenage market. The documentary highlights the specific emphasis that corporate place upon marketing, when it comes to the showbiz industry .These include aspects such as demographics and the culture. The video traces out the historical development of fashion, and how it has evolved over the years among the teenage generation. It clearly traces out the way in which the younger generation view fashion and fads, and to some extent, paints out the real picture of what it takes to crack into this market. In this video, the respondents, who are a representative sample of t


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