I need to do a paper and presentation related to Freedom, Privacy and Security for a Sociology class. There are hundreds of things I can talk about on this subject, as such I am having a really hard time narrowing my topic down. This is a very intense subject, and I want to try and show the lighter side of it - if that is at all possible. Any suggestions would be great.
This is a broad topic and an intense issue, with feelings of great passion on both sides, because, as you might already have noted, there are sides to be taken. However, your paper and presentation needs to be grounded in a sociological construct, and that will help you focus more narrowly on the topic. Review the theories you have learned about thus far. What effect do more freedom and privacy have on the social fabric? What effect does greater security have on that fabric? Another way to narrow your focus might be to restrict yourself to a particular time period, for example, right before and right after 9/11, which seems to be a bright red line delineating between a greater emphasis on freedom and privacy and a greater desire for security. Yet another way to approach this might be to take two contrasting countries, one in which there is more security and less freedom and privacy, and one in which the converse is true. You are bound to find marked sociological differences between the two, for instance, in the nature of associations individuals are comfortable forming. More freedom and privacy implies more trust, and greater focus on security promotes distrust. Still another area you might want to focus on is the current controversy on immigration reform. This is a clear example of the tensions between privacy and freedom and security, with one side focusing on maintaining barriers and the other side focusing on amnesty and openness. You might want to ask yourself from a sociological perspective how either side's victory will play out in American society.
Now, as to the light side of all of this, I am stymied myself because this is such a politicized area today. There are ample ways to poke fun at the Patriot Act, I'm sure, thinking about, for example, the FBI checking everyone's reading list at the local library, seeing Curious George and Cat in the Hat, but since this is an academic paper and presentation, it is probably best to keep it academic. :)