SOC 208 Contemporary Social Problems

SOC 208 Contemporary Social Problems

Theme: ‘Global understanding and Local problem solving”
Instructor: Colin Adams

Catalogue Description:
An analysis of social problems in contemporary American society from a sociological perspective. The course explores theories of problem causes and proposed solutions.
Prerequisite: SOC 105 or PSY 107 or permission of the instructor.
General Description
Some observers have described this century as the global century to draw attention to the rapid interconnections of social life globally. We will take a critical look at the globalization thesis as it relates to social problems.

Some observers have described this century as the global century to draw attention to the rapid interconnections of social life globally. We will take a critical look at the globalization thesis as it relates to social problems. This course will analyze social problems in contemporary American society and the world from a sociological perspective. Theories and empirical research that explains the causes of social problems will be explored and possible solutions will be evaluated. The theme of globalization will be a central focus in this course. Service Learning is possible in that students will have the opportunity to work with a local agency that is involved in the solving of a social problem. This will give the student opportunity to research a social problem and inquire into solutions.

Types of analysis employed in this course:
• A theoretical analysis: Gaining insight through sociological theories Functionalist, Conflict, social-constructivist and other relevant theories
• A comparative analysis: Making comparisons between countries
• Social historical analysis: examining change over time
• Applied analysis: Critically assessing social policies and program
• Empirical analysis: Focusing on research findings

• What makes a problem a local, national or a global social problem?
• What causes a social problem?
• What can be done about social problems?

1) Students will be able to explain the sociological theories and concepts as to what makes a specific social issue a local, national or global social problem.
2) Students will be able to analyze the differences in the occurrence and scope of social problems in the USA and other countries.
3) Students will be able to evaluate the research findings on social problems of researchers from around the world as well as demonstrate how a research method may be used to study a local social problem.
4) Students will be able to apply a sociological perspective to study and critically reflect on the causes and possible solutions to address a specific social problem.
5) Students will be able to examine and assess the socio-historical forces that have influenced the ability of policy makers to create a peaceful, equitable and sustainable world.

  • Topics
    Modules Lecture and Discussion topics
    The sociology of social problems 1.1 Understanding Social Problems
    2.2 Studying Social Problems:
    2.3 Social problems and the American Culture
    Social problems and well being 2.1 Alcohol and Other Drugs
    2.2 Crime and Delinquency
    2.3 Violence
    2.4 Sexual Deviance
    Problems of Inequality 3.1: Economic Problems: Wealth and Poverty
    3.2 Gender and Sexual Orientation
    3.3 Race, Ethnic Groups, and Racism
    3.4 Aging and the Life Cycle
    Problems of Social Institutions 4.1 Government and Politics
    4. 2 Work and the Economy
    4.3 Education
    4.4 Family Problems
    4.5 Health Care and Illness: Physical and Mental
    Part 5: Social change and Global Social Problems 5.1 War and Terrorism
    5.2 The Environment
    5.3 Urban Problems
    5.4 Population and Food

Success in the course requires full participation, which means doing the readings and involvement in all activities. Students are required to read all assigned readings and complete class assignment within the time allocated for discussing each topic. This will enable each student to contribute intelligently and knowledgeably to classroom discussions. Students are required to attend all classes.
Students with Disabilities
Students with disabilities who qualify for academic accommodations must provide a letter from the Disabled Student Services (DSS) and discuss specific needs with the professor, preferably during the first two weeks of class.
Academic integrity:
No form academic dishonesty will be condoned in this class. Any student caught cheating will automatically fail and will be recommended for expulsion.

Students’ grades will include the following: Points
Online forum Discussion 100
Four Quizzes online (multiple choice and short answer essays) 200
2 Papers (Short papers=100 points each) 200
TOTAL: 500

Final grade:
Final grades for the course will be assigned according to the following scale
A= 450points and over (90%) B= 400– 450 (80%)
C= 350 – 400 (70%) D= 300 – 350 (60%)
F= 299 and below

There will be fives quizzes consisting short essay questions mainly to the understanding of the key concepts discussed in class. There will be no makeup quiz. Students will be able to drop their lowest score.

You may choose to do two papers any of the social problems discussed. A description of the focus and structure of papers will be given on the class Moodle site. The length of each paper will be dependent on the approach the student take and nature of the social problem to be addressed, but generally each paper should be 5-8 pages long. They are to be typed and double-spaced. All material must be properly cited (APA style) and direct quotation must be included a page reference.
Each student may earn a maximum of 50 points for extra credit assignments (for example – a paper on a subtopic of the course)
Required Reading:
• Social Problems, 6/E By John J. Macionis Published 12/01/2014 ISBN-10: 013390959X
• Social Problems: Readings with Four Questions, 4th Edition by Joel M. Charon and Lee G. Vigilant – ISBN-10: 1111185956 ISBN-13: 9781111185954 © 2012 Published

Recommended Reading:
Global Problems: The Search for Equity, Peace, and Sustainability, Plublisher: Prentice Hall
Author: Scott R. Sernau february 2009 ISBN13: 9780205578849 ISBN10: 0-20557-884

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