SOC402 has no prerequisites
This course presents an analysis of major contemporary social
problems, especially in the United States. Attention is given to the
problems of poverty, racism, sexism, drug and alcohol abuse, and
illiteracy, and their impact on the contemporary workplace.
Consideration is given to diverse sociological perspectives regarding
the causes, consequences, and solutions to these problems.
This course takes the point of view that major contemporary
American social problems such as poverty, racism, sexism, drug and
alcohol abuse, and illiteracy, have profound impacts directly and
indirectly on the "workplace," which is to say on individual workers, on
the work process, and on the organization and management of work.
The impacts to be explored include, but go far beyond, the economic
costs to firms and consumers that are often cited in popular
discussions of social problems such as alcoholism and illiteracy. They
include, for example, the diminished capacities of managers to
motivate and enlist the best efforts from work forces divided along
racial, sexual, and class lines; the communities' costs suffered when
"footloose" industry suddenly moves out; and they include such costs
to workers as unsafe working conditions, and the application of new
technologies in ways that de-skill work and increase alienation.
Lastly, the course emphasizes the rich array of theoretical
perspectives, largely drawn from the American sociological tradition,
that are available to participants wanting to analyze the causes,
conditions, consequences, and solutions of social problems. The text
has been selected because it is a readable summary and
compendium of such perspectives. It is broad enough to provide
students with a clear sense of the alternatives, the debates among
social theorists and experts, and the diverse policy consequences
resulting from the selection of different theories.
Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
Examine how diverse perspectives on social problems shape our
understanding and actions.