Sociology 225

Social Problems

Lane Community College
Fall 2006
Tuesday & Thursday 11:30 AM- 12:50 PM
Bldg. 19...Room 239

David H. Kessel

Office....................................419F Center
Office Hours.........TTH: 10:15-10:45 AM
Office Telephone........................463-5187
Voice Mail.........463-3535 (Mailbox 7804)
Home Phone...............................736-0204


Please click on each link...You will find answers to most of your questions here...look here first...before asking in class...Thanks.

LCC Catalog Course Description

Class Policies and Comments

What you'll need for SOC 225

Schedule of Topics and Readings

Required Reading Materials

Online Reader

Assignments and Instructions

Due Dates

Summary of Points in Course

Grading Scale

Grading Standards

*****Social Problems Discussion Board*****
(Instructions and Guidelines are HERE)

Web Basics
A Tutorial for beginners and veterans, too

Lane Community College

TSS Directory

LCC Catalog Course Description

An examination of selected social problems,basic facts, effects on the individual and society, and explanations. Problems will be selected from the following three areas, but not all topics will be covered each term. 1. Systemic problems: racial and sexual discrimination, inequality and poverty, militarization and war, ecological problems, overpopulation, urban and rural problems, life cycle problems. 2. Problems of specific institutions: government, economy, family, education, religion, social services. 3. Personal pathologies: mental illness, suicide, alcoholism, drug addiction.

Grading Scale

A+....98-100 (Exceptional)
A......94-97 (Excellent)
A-.....90-93 (Good/Excellent)

B+....87-89 (Very Good)
B......84-86 (Good)
B-.....80-83 (Good/Fair)

C+....77-79 (Fair)
C......74-76 (Fair/Basic)
C-.....70-73 (Basic)

D+....66-69 (Poor/Basic)
D......60-65 (Poor)

F......??-59 (Needs alot more)

Required Reading Materials

Social Problems, Second Robert Heiner

225 Online Reader

Schedule of Topics and Readings

(H = Heiner text)

Be Sure to check Online Reader for each topic.

9/26---10/26 (First 5 weeks of Quarter)

We will start out introducing the Course, The Sociology Shop, & 225 Room

Then we’ll spend some time on defining Sociology and going over some Critical Sociological Concepts…”tools” necessary to examine topics we’ll be covering.
-----The Definition and Concepts are online in the 225 Room
-----Read Heiner chapter 1, especially pp. 1-14 initially

We will then spend a good amount of time examining the Sociological Perspective, especially Critical Theory and Symbolic Interactionism, and synthesis of them, Critical Constructionism
-----Have Heiner 1 read
-----Read Online entries corresponding to “Sociological Perspective”

We will spend the rest of the 1st half of the Quarter examining the various aspects and areas of INEQUALITY.
-----Read Heiner chapter 2
-----Read entries in Online Reader

10/31---11/30 (Second 5 weeks of Quarter)

-We’ll move onto “Problems of the Family” (Heiner 3)

-We’ll then cover “Deviance and Crime” (Heiner 4)

-Then onto “Problems of the Environment” (Heiner 5)

-”Conclusion” usually ends a course (Heiner 6)

--All the chapters/topics will have links to read in the Online Reader
--Within these Topics there will be other issues we’ll discuss…see Online Reader


This course will not be a “laundry list” of traditionally-conceived social problems, although some of them will be covered as such. Rather, the focus will be on understanding and applying a critical sociological perspective (imagination or consciousness) to the interconnected areas of our social lives. This includes the large-scale realities (Macro)…the daily institutional realities we live in (Meso)…and…the individual and personal situations and relations between people (Micro). All these are related to each other…each is the producer of these realities and each is the product of these realities. Individuals have problems, institutions have problems and society as large-scale social structure has problems. As separate as these may sound/appear to be, the sociological essence is that they are the “parts” of an intricate web of living in society and a study of one of them must take into account the reality of the others. This goes beyond a mere interconnectedness of “separate” parts (i.e. merely linked together). Rather, it involves a dialectical synthesis of co-creative and co-created realities…resulting in a “whole” and often involving what appear (and sometimes are) contradictions which can’t be ideologically “explained away” by mere “declaration.”

I'm also aware that there will be some of you who have never taken a Sociology, the initial coverage will be designed to give you a "mini" introduction to Sociology. This also applies to those of you who haven't had me as a teacher of Sociology. A review of some well as an introduction to an overtly critical perspective will help.

Assignments and Instructions

Assignments Required of all Students (100 pts)


There will be two (2) Analysis Papers to write...worth 25 points each for total of 50 points. Go HERE for the topics.


You will be required to post 2 responses to Prompts I provide...each worth 25 points for a total of 50 points. Go HERE for the Instructions.

Assignments for Student-Selection (300 pts)
See BELOW for Instructions

ARTICLE REVIEW: You will be asked to sociologically review an online Article...worth 50 points. The article must be selected from The Sociology Shop. INSTRUCTIONS are HERE.

QUOTE ASSIGNMENT: This is an assignment utilizing the archive of "Quotes of the Week" in The Sociology Shop...worth 50 pts. INSTRUCTIONS are HERE.

MOVIE REVIEW: You can sociologically review any entertainment movie pertaining to some aspect of our course...worth 100 pts. Movie list of possible selections is HERE. INSTRUCTIONS are HERE.

DISCRETIONARY ASSIGNMENT: This is an assignment which allows you to pick the kind of work you'd like to do...worth 50 pts. INSTRUCTIONS are HERE.

BOOK REPORT: This is an assignment which allows you to read and report on any book (fiction or nonfiction) related to our course material...worth 100 pts. If you need help selecting a book, ask me. INSTRUCTIONS are HERE.

INTERNET ASSIGNMENT: This is an assignment which asks you to explore the Internet for sites/articles related to the various subjects/issues we are covering...worth 100 pts. INSTRUCTIONS are HERE.

INTERNET RESEARCH ASSIGNMENT: This is an assignment asking you to research a topic utilizing only the Internet...worth 100 pts. Instructions are HERE.

FINAL EXAM: This is a Take-Home Final Exam...covering all material...worth 100 pts.

There are 400 points in the course. You have 100 points worth of REQUIRED assignments…everyone must do these. The other 300 points consist of student- selected assignments---you may pick the ones you want---just so they total 300 points. Both the Required and Selected Assignments have Due Dates, as indicated in print and online. You may want to factor these Dates into your decisions.

Two of your choices are an either/or choice. These are the Internet Assignment and the Internet Research Assignment…each worth 100 points. Although you don’t have to pick either of them, if you do pick one of them, you cannot pick the other one. Otherwise, you are free to compile your total of 300 points with any combination of assignments you desire.

Specific Instructions for each assignment are above---please follow the format called for in each.

I will need your selections by next week (Tuesday 9/3)...either via email or in print in class. Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter. Once you turn in your selections, they are final. If I don’t get them by next week, I’ll make them for you...but I don’t want to do that, so please give this your attention right away.

Due Dates

10/03----------AP #1 Due
10/10----------Discussion Board (DB) #1 Due
10/17----------Article Review Due
10/31----------Movie ReviewDue
11/07----------DB #2 Due
11/09----------Discretionary Assignment Due
11/14----------Book Review Due
11/21----------Quote Assignment Due
11/30----------Internet Assignment Due
11/30----------Internet Research Assignment Due
12/07----------AP #2 Due
12/07----------Final Exam Due

Summary of Points in the Course

50 Points........Analysis Papers
50 Points........Message Board Responses
300 Points.......Student Selected Assignments

400 Points...Total

Message Board Instructions

Your assignment will be to post responses to prompts provided by me. I will post at least 2 or 3 Prompts. You can pick any you like...but you cannot go back and do any you originally passed over. There are two (2) DUE DATES by which you need each done. Your response must be posted by MIDNIGHT of date it's due.

How? The Message Board is fairly simple to login, just go to it and post. You can "reply" to the Prompt I've can post a "new" message with "Response to Prompt# ??" in the subject line. Either way, please use your CODE NAME only. No email address is required...but a NAME and SUBJECT (which will be filled in for you if you are "replying"...if it's a new message, you must put in a Subject) are required.

There is one step to posting anything...first, compose your message and just click the "send" button. Look over your message before clicking SEND. I suggest writing your reponse in a document and pasting it into the text box...then sending it.

ALSO, you can put links to other web pages...if you know "html code" you can make it a "live" one (I'll show you how in class). If you don't, just put the url in your message and others can copy it into their browser address bar themselves.

Expectations? I expect serious responses...analyzes or points of view which are well thought out and spelled out. Length is a difficult issue, but it's fair to say that short "in and out" just "get it done"...won't garner many of the 25 points each response is worth. This is an opportunity to let others know what you're thinking...with the security of well as to hear what others have on their minds. We often think we're the only one thinking this or that...and Boards like this help us to dispell that notion. So, do a serious job and I'll recognize it.

In addition to the Required Responses, you can also post anything about anything...any time you want. You can respond to required posts by your classmates, but you can also post whatever you want...apart from your required posts. In other words, while the Board is for a class assignment, it is also there for general communication about class-related ideas and topics. PLEASE USE A NAME OTHER THAN YOUR "CODE NAME"...YOUR REAL ONE OR ONE MADE UP, I DON'T CARE.

Finally: You may be reading some ideas you strongly disagree with or think are "wrong," "silly," or even "offensive." That's fine...critique them thoroughly if you want. However, do NOT engage in "ad hominem" attacks. These are posts which attack the individual rather than the individual's ideas. It is an all-too-fairly-common practice in our society...we discredit (and thus avoid dealing with) ideas by discrediting the idea-haver, often inferring judgments about the individual on the basis of their ideas expressed (Think of the standard procedure used in "american politics" today and you'll get the point I'm making here). So, lets avoid "ad hominem" attacks, shall we? Again, tear apart an idea if you want...just not the idea-haver. We really don't know enough about each other to do that. Agree, disagree, agree to disagree...whatever...ok?

You can get to the SOC 225 Message Board by clicking HERE

Analysis Paper Topic

Analysis Paper #1

As we begin our journey into the tangled web of "social problems" I'd like to focus our thinking about just what a social problem IS...and ISN'T...& TO WHOM...and WHY (among other things). Clicking HERE you will find an excerpt from Invitation to Sociology by Peter L. Berger about "Social Problems." I'd like you to read this (along with pages 1-14 in Chapter 1 of our textbook) and see what personal and analytical sense you make can out of it. If Berger is correct...and many including myself think he is...then what are the implications in terms of looking at our "system" other words, in what sense is IT a social problem itself? Consider this like a "pre-test" which will enable me to guage just where you are in your thinking about "social problems." What is a "social problem" to you...what are the major and minor ones you've thought of before?

Analysis Paper #2

You are to evaluate yourself in this course. This is NOT about the grade you expect to have earned. Rather, it's about how well you handled the course content...nor is it about the teacher, per se. (Yes, I know I'll probably get mentioned, but the focus is on YOU, not ME) Rather, it's about how well you handled the course content. It would include what you learned and its impact on you. How hard did you work at the process of learning? How did you feel about the various assignments and the teaching approach in relation to your performance? In short, what did you learn, overall, and how well did you go about learning it? Needless to say, honesty is an essential component of this analysis paper.


Do a serious and thorough job and you'll get the full 25 points
Do a lesser job and you'll get less points...simple as that
Take yourself seriously and I'll recognize it.


Reminder...this is NOT an evaluation of ME. Also...this AP is the one I keep for my records.

What You'll Need for SOC 225

& SOC 225

You are going to need access to a Computer for this course with access to The Internet. Whether its your own computer or one in a Lab or a friend's computer or one at a Library or even one at a place like Kinko's, they're not that difficult to find these days. Why? Well, I've decided to copy less and post more for this course...saving on paper as well as costs.

That also means you'll need to learn a basic minimum of skills in navigating The Internet. It's a tool that's quickly become necessity in today's world especially as it relates to academics. If you have no experience in doing this, there's plenty of help available especially at LCC and on the Web itself. I've put a link in the Menu to a "beginners" tutorial. Then there's me. I'll help as much as I can. So don't panic if you're in this category, it will be okay.

You will need an EMAIL Address for this course...if you don't have one, please get one ASAP...I can help if you need it...then email ME with your name so I have it accurately.

Finally, The Sociology Shop, my own website, is essential for this course. We have our own "room" in TSS, the SOC 225 Room (the Room you're in NOW) where you'll find links to the stuff I mentioned above. There's also other rooms which you may find helpful. I will help you become familiar with TSS and how to access information, especially in our classroom.