This course approaches some of today's important social and political issues from a sociological vantage point. The course begins by asking where social problems come from. The main sociological perspectives of Marx, Weber and Durkheim are developed in connection with the issues of inequality, social conflict and community. We then turn to the social construction of social problems by examining how various issues become defined as social problems. This involves a consideration of the role of the media, social experts and social movements. The last section of the course considers how social problems are addressed. Here we discuss the relative strengths and weaknesses of government programs and regulations versus market-based approached. We also discuss the role of philanthropy and volunteerism. Finally, we consider the risk of unanticipated consequences of reforms. Along the way, we will consider a variety of social issues and social problems, including poverty, immigration, crime, global warming, and education.
Section 301 - SEM