CONTEMPORARY SOCIAL PROBLEMS
BS110 Contemporary Social Problems. 3 hours credit. A study of selected serious problems facing the American and global societies in which we live. The problems discussed include war, population dynamics, environmental issues, urban problems, inequality, crime, family level problems, and health care. TEXTBOOK:
Soroka, Michael P. and Bryjak, George J., Social Problems: A World at Risk. Prentice Hall, 1995. COURSE OBJECTIVES:
At the completion of this course, the student will be able to: 1. formulate a sound basis for assessing both the dimensions and the prognoses for social problems in their own society by examining similar problems in other societies. 2. synthesize and form a basic understanding of the main sociological perspectives. 3. develop an understanding of conflict and war and evaluate the cold war and its aftermath. 4. examine the dynamics of population, the environment, and development. 5. analyze the different ways in which people act, feel, think, and define their situations based on their sex, social class, age, ethnic group, geographic region, family or nationality. 6. identify fundamental patterns of conflict that are present in social life on the interpersonal level and among groups and nations. 7. begin to interpret some of the underlying causes of what we call social problems and to see how sociological data enter into policy decisions. 8. assemble a basic understanding of the various terms used in the sociological arena. 9. process the major contributions of the leading sociologists and their impact on the discipline. 10. investigate and become a more informed consumer of social science data. 11. transform and improve writing skills for better expression of our analyses of social life. TOPICAL OUTLINE OF UNITS:
Preface and Introduction
Chapter 1. The Sociology of Social Problems
The student will be able to:
1. appraise how social problems affect the development of the field of sociology. 2. define the difference between a natural problem and a social problem. 3. indicate in what sense all social problems are subjective in nature. 4. explain why it is impossible to engage in a completely scientific study of social problems. 5. paraphrase the social pathology interpretation of social problems. 6. define and provide examples of cultural lag.
7. contrast the difference between a manifest dysfunction and a latent dysfunction. 8. comprehend from a Marxist conflict perspective what is the underlying cause of social problems in any society. 9. illustrate how non-Marxist conflict theorists explain social problems in modern societies. 10. evaluate the main argument of the social constructionist interpretation of social problems. 11. differentiate from the labeling theory perspective, the difference between primary deviance and secondary deviance. Part One - Global Level Problems
Chapter 2. The World at War: Apocalypse Now
The student will be able to:
1. tabulate how many people have been killed in wars fought around the world since 1900. Translate why conflicts in this period of history have been especially deadly. 2. describe the major symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. 3. specify during the 1980's how much the nations of the world spent each year for military purposes. 4. outline the major explanations for why nations go to war with one another. 5. list the major explanations of war crimes.
6. explain the most significant problems associated with dismantling and controlling nuclear weapons. 7. identify which countries are involved in the new arms race. Detail what can be done to halt the arms buildup in these countries. 8. predict the problems associated with the economic conversion of a country heavily dependent on arms production. Define what is the so-called peace dividend. 9. compare how future wars will differ from...
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