In her sociology sections, Nicole Deterding used a controversial pop-sociology article written by Kay Hymowitz, the author of Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men into Boys, as a case study for Professor Mary Brinton's theory on the relationship between institutions and individual behaviors and actions. Prior to class, students read an excerpt of Brinton's book, in which she gives gives scholarly sociological treatment to the supposed bad behavior of "the lost generation." The class first went over Brinton's theory, mapping it out on the board. After this discussion, the class came to understand the main question as: "How did the range of life choices used to be constructued and how are they coming to be constructed now." At that point, Nicole handed out the pop-sociology article by Kay Hymowitz, which was printed in the Wallstreet Journal. The students took about 8 minutes to read the article.
Afterward, they discussed Hymowitz's argument and evidence, and the limitations of her analysis. They then discussed how they would conduct a study of Hymowitz's "child-men" using Professor Brinton's work as a model. What questions would they ask? How could they better research the topics presented in Hymowitz's work.
The goal of the discussion was to assess the weaknesses and limitations of Hymowitz's argument by applying insights from Brinton's study. The idea was also for students to realize that popular explanations often rely on shoddy evidence, and that students should be aware of this and be ready to interrogate such articles.
See below for the article and lesson plan.