CSE 175: Social and Ethical Issues in Information Technology
Makeup Assignment for Midterm

The midterm has been given 30% of the total grade. If you wish, you may chose to reduce this to 20%, substituting your grade on the optional essay assignment described below for the remaining 10%. Note that only those who did poorly on the midterm should have much incentive to do this additional work. Since the average grade was 71, which is a solid B, it is likely to be worth your effort to do the makeup only if your grade is well below that; note that you could conceivably end up losing points if you did well on the exam and do poorly on the makeup.

The essay is due in class on Monday, 17 November. There will be no exceptions.

Your essay should consist of approximately 2 typed double spaces pages (i.e., about 600 words) on each of the following three topics. Your answers should go beyond the level expected in an in-class exam, and demonstrating a thorough understanding of the concepts and material. A good way to achieve this is to draw from current events, e.g., the business section of a newspaper from this week. You may of course draw on the course notes and readings, but simply quoting from them will not be considered a sufficient demonstration of understanding.
  1. Discuss the concept of residual category, its meaning, its significance, where it comes from, and its relation to actor-network theories. You should draw on course readings and at least three examples from current events in developing your argument.
  2. Discuss the concept of grand narrative (also called master narrative or heroic narrative), explaining its relation to actor-network theories, and perhaps technological determinism, and offering three examples in the general fields of technology and science.
  3. Give three significant cirticisms of classical actor-network theory, and develop arguments, drawing on concrete examples, for why these criticisms are, or are not, justified.

Guidelines for Essay Writing

Your essays should conform to the usual standards of good academic writing, for which the following are some rough guidelines:

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