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Research essay—Narcissism Epidemic —6-7 MLA-formatted pages.

Based on Twenge & Campbell’s The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement.

Due Date: Tuesday, Dec. 8th by 11:59 pm. (Note: an annotated bibliography and outline will be due before the final paper).

New sources required: at least three (3) new sources (including at least one (1) scholarly sources from a peer reviewed journal or trade publication). Please use the Modern Language Association (MLA) documentation format.

PROMPT: Choose a narrow and focused topic to delve deeper into the growing narcissism in American society (see the list of possible narrow topics below). Focus your discussion on developing several SYMPTOMS that are narcissistic or lead to narcissism. A SYMPTOM is a behavior, activity, or attitude that is narcissistic in nature or that leads to narcissism. Chapters 9-15 discuss symptoms of narcissism that we can point to, analyze, or discuss in our society. Be sure to link each symptom (behavior, activity, or attitude) to at least one facet of narcissism (or narcissistic personality trait) to justify that the symptom is in fact related to narcissism (see the list of facets of narcissism below—many are discussed in chapter 2). Lastly, analyze and discuss the consequences these symptoms are having on both individuals and the American culture as a whole.

For example, one of your SYMPTOMS in a paper on narcissism in professional sports is athletes who cheat with performance-enhancing drugs. This symptom is linked to the facet of narcissism which is winning at all costs. There are long-term consequences to the athlete who may have serious health problems in the future, to the sport or league he plays in because the fans may lose interest in the sport due to the lack of fair-play, and to youth who have unsatisfactory role-models to look up to, cheaters rather than honorable people who work hard and play by the rules. Narcissism has long-term effects on individuals, organizations, and American culture.

Your researched essay must show a strong understanding of Twenge and Campbell’s book. As support for your analysis, offer frequent quotes, examples, and statistics from The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement. An essay that rarely mentions concepts and examples from this book is not an appropriate essay. Think of Twenge and Campbell’s book as your primary source of reference.

RESEARCH REQUIREMENT: Then you must obtain THREE new sources from the college’s library databases. One of these sources should be peer-reviewed, meaning an article from a scholarly or professional journal. You should borrow two pieces of information or supporting evidence from each of your new sources. You should provide an MLA list of works cited entries in the proper typed format for these new sources. Include the works cited entry for Twenge and Campbell’s book in your works cited page as well. That means your MLA works cited page should contain entries for four sources (Twenge & Campbell’s book and your three new articles you found on the databases).

In the course of your analysis, you must connect your focused area of interest to the various “facets of narcissism” identified by Twenge and Campbell:

  • “The fish trap” –short term gains (it feels good at first)/long-term consequences (its destructive effects are felt later)
  • that others, often complete innocents, suffer the most from narcissistic behavior
  • that the epidemic pulls in less self-centered or narcissistic people
  • over-competitiveness or winning at all costs
  • antisocial attitudes and behaviors such as aggression toward others, manipulation, cheating, and lack of empathy
  • entitlement (feeling special)
  • overconfidence/high self-esteem
  • vanity
  • shallowness & superficiality
  • “shallow sexuality”
  • “rabid desire for attention and fame”
  • materialism (status-seeking)
  • “perpetual adolescence” (obsession with youth or inability to take responsibility)
  • following the fantasy principle (not the reality principle)

Some possible areas of focus:

  1. being in a relationship with a narcissist (which can include significant others, spouses, friendships, parent-child relationships, a narcissistic boss)
  2. attention-seeking and self-promotion on social media
  3. narcissism in professional sports
  4. how not to raise a narcissistic or self-important child (parenting styles that create narcissism)
  5. entitled employees
  6. the overconfident/narcissistic college student (which could include topics such as expectations for high grades (grade inflation), hooking up behavior, cheating, not taking criticism well, aggression toward teachers, etc.)
  7. a paper centered around the facet of perpetual or extended adolescence (youth obsession, which might include the appearance obsession (trying to be “hot”), especially enhancements like plastic and invasive surgery, obsession with exercise, as well as the delayed adulthood & avoidance of responsibility of many younger people today)
  8. a paper centered around the facet of fame-seeking in our society (e.g. reality TV, You Tube, live-streaming).
  9. a paper centered around the facet of cheating –in school, business, sports, and relationships
  10. a paper centered around the facet of aggression (e.g. school & workplace shootings, bullying, filming violence against others and posting to YouTube, domestic violence, sexual aggression, violence against teachers, violence in sports)
  11. narcissism in business and our economy (which might include creating market bubbles (stock or real estate) through overconfidence, self-important CEO’s, using easy credit to live beyond one’s means)
  12. tweens (the media teaching children (7-12 years old) how to act and look older and to develop narcissistic values & attitudes which rob them of their innocence too soon)
  13. narcissistic drivers (e.g. road rage, SUV’s/status cars, taking the handicapped space, risky maneuvers)
  14. a paper centered around the facet of materialism (the status-seeking type)—esp. higher expectations for what is necessary (enabled through easy credit)
  15. advertisers and marketers focusing on personalization and uniqueness to sell their products and services.
  16. the entitlement society and the decline of the work ethic and personal responsibility in able bodied individuals in the United States (“I deserve it without working for it”)– the growing expectation that the government should and can meet one’s every need (i.e. “cradle to grave” entitlement society or ”the welfare state”) and its consequences of trading personal freedom for entitlement.

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