Sociological Insight: The Coming Apart of a Dorm Society

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Edward Peselman writes about social structure, social status, and social power in the essay "The Coming Apart of a Dorm Society." The essay begins with the commencement of freshman year at college, when the narrator moves into his dormitory along with five other young men from different walks of life. Not only are the six freshmen from different backgrounds, but they also demonstrate unique personalities. Dozer and Reggie are the narrator's two roommates. Eric, Mark, and Benjamin lived across the hall. Because they occupy the same geographic space, the six men develop a sort of pecking order. They create an artificial power structure in which some of the men, namely Erik and Mark, attempt to dominate the others. Ultimately, Benjamin buckles under the pressure and leaves the dorm: an act that the narrator lauds as being righteously subversive. Peselman constructs a logical argument in "The Coming Apart of a Dorm Society." The author substantiates his claims with ample scholarly references, which are cited properly. He first defines his terms, enabling the logical structure of the essay. For example, Peselman cites Randall Collins, who is a sociologist at the University of California, Riverside, to define the exercise of power as the attempt "to make something happen in society," (p. 1). The author repeatedly weaves quotes from Collins throughout the essay, rather than using an emotional appeal or relying on his personal credibility. Peselman also describes the scenario in

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