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Modern Social Problems

Reading and Class schedule
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This is the revised reading and class schedule for Summer 2016. Revised June 08, 2016.  Please note that we can change the schedule as we go through the class, to accommodate student interest and debate! 


June  13

Chapter 1 The Study of Social problems

  What is sociology?

How is social research conducted?

What are social problems?

American values and norms


June 14

Chapter 1 The Study of Social Problems

Who decides?

Theoretical perspectives

Do we want to solve them?



June 15

Chapter 15

Social Problems of Marriage and Family

What is a family?

Who is a family?

What should the government do for families?

Should paid parental leave be mandated by law?


June 16

Essay 1 due

Chapter 11 Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Why is there a war on drugs?

Should marijuana be decriminalized or legalized?

Web page for Peer-reviewed journal questions assignment:


June 20

Chapter 10 Physical and Mental Health Care

How much responsibility should the government take for our healthy diets? How much should our choices be limited by law? Or should we be solely responsible for what we eat and the health consequences?


June 21

Essay 2 due

Continuation of Mental Health Care

Why is suicide projected to be the number one cause of death in 2020?

Chapter 6 Aging and Ageism


Why do old people get so much free stuff?


June 22

Chapter 3 Race and Immigration

What does “immigration reform” mean?

Should affirmative action be continued?

Everyone’s a symbolic interactionist when it comes to talking about illegal immigration.  What should we be doing?


June 23

Essay 3 due

Chapter 4 Gender

Why are women so angry?


June 27

Chapter 02 Inequality, Poverty and Wealth

Why don’t the poor just get jobs?

Do we want equality?

Do we need a middle class?


June 28

Essay 4 due

Chapter 17

Globalization and Inequality

Chapter 18 Population Problems

Why do Americans have so much stuff?


June 29

Chapter 07 Work and the Economy

Should government or the private sector be responsible for solving social problems?


June 30

Essay 5 due

 Chapter 08 Politics





July 5

Chapter 13 and 14 Crime and Criminal Justice

Additional Reading:

Michel Foucault, “Discipline and Punish”,

Introduction/Chapter 1

On reserve in the library or online (see “links”)

Should prison be warehousing, punishment, or rehabilitation?

Death penalty: Yes or No?



July 6

Essay 6 due

Chapter 12 Sex and Sexuality, Sexual Orientation

Should Prostitution be legalized?

Should Caitlin use the Ladies’ room?


July 7

Peer-Reviewed Questions due

Chapter 09 Problems in education

Should the federal government take over education for the country? How can we judge our schools?


July 11

Essay 7 due

Chapter 19 Environment

Chapter 16 Urbanization : Social problems from the Growth of Cities


July 12

Essay 8 due

Media and Technology

Should we let the media determine social problems?

Facebook, cell phones and real life

Science as God

Technology and privacy: Paranoia?


July 13



Chapter 20

War and Terrorism

Surviving the zombie apocalypse

How scared should we be?

Can the government do anything?



July 14


Free-for-all screaming debate and brawl!

No answers, just more questions

Please read the chapter assigned for each class and turn in your essays at the beginning of class.