Sociology 225---Social Problems

Lane Community College
Fall 2002
Tuesday & Thursday 8:30 AM-9:50 PM...Bldg #19, Rm 119

Office...........10 Center
Office Hours:.........10-10:30 AM, TTH
Voice Mail.........463-3535 (Mailbox 7804)
Home Phone...............................736-0204

David H. Kessel


LCC Catalog Course Description
Class Policies and Comments
What you'll need for SOC 225
Required Reading Materials
Schedule of Topics and Readings
Critical Thinking Chapter
Assignments and Instructions
Online Reader
Due Dates
Summary of Points in Course
Grading Scale

Beginner's Central
A Tutorial for beginners and veterans, too

Lane Community College

TSS Directory

SOC 225 Message Board

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 = 83 - 86 (Good)
B- = 80 - 82 (Good/Fair)

C+ = 77 - 79 (Fair)
C = 73 - 76 (Fair/Basic)
C- = 70 - 72 (Basic)

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

F = ?? - 59 (Needs More)

Required Reading Materials

Social Problems, Ninth D. Stanley Eitzen and Maxine Baca Zinn (EBZ)

Online Reader


Schedule of Topics and Readings

NOTE: Click on Chapter # for Summary and Outline of that Chapter

Part I. (9/24 - 10/3)

Introduction (Syllabus and SOC 225 Room in TSS)
Sociological Concepts (HERE)
Sociological Approach (EBZ Preface and Chapter 1)((Questions)

Part II. (10/8 - 10/22)

Wealth and Power (Chapter 2)((Questions)
Poverty (Chapter 7)((Questions)
Work (Chapter 14)((Questions)

Part III. (10/24 - 11/26)

Education (Chapter 16)((Questions)
Race(Chapter 8)((Questions)
Gender (Chapter 9((Questions)
Families (Chapter 15)((Questions)
The Browning and Graying of Society (Chapter 5)((Questions)
Deviance(Chapter 10a)((Questions)
Crime and Justice (Chapter 12)
Drugs(Chapter 13)((Questions)
Health and Health Care (Chapter 17)((Questions)

Part IV. (12/3 - 12/5)

National Security in the Twenty-first Century(Chapter 18)((Questions)
Progressive Plan and Conclusion (Chapter 19)((Questions)

Assignments and Instructions


There will be two (2) Analysis Papers to write...worth 20 points each for total of 40 points. Go HERE for the topics.


You will be required to post responses to three (3) Prompts I provide...each worth 20 points for a total of 60 points. Go HERE for the Instructions.


You get to choose the kind of assignment you'd like to do...worth 100 points (To be turned in by halves...see "Important Dates"). Go HERE for the Instructions


There will be a take-home Mid-Term Exam worth 100 points. It will cover material through 10/22 (Part I and II). It is online HERE


This assignment covers five (5) chapters we will NOT cover in class or on tests. Go HERE for Instructions.


There will be a take-home Final Exam worth 100 points (covering Part III and IV)...due at our scheduled Finals Week time on Tuesday, 12/10, between 8 and 9:50 AM. The Exam is online HERE

Due Dates

10/01----------AP #1 Due
10/17----------1st Half of Discretionary Due
10/22----------PASS OUT MID-TERM EXAM
10/29----------MID-TERM EXAM DUE
11/21----------2nd Half of Discretionary Due
11/26----------All Message Board Responses Due
12/03----------Chapter Assignment Due
12/05----------PASS OUT FINAL EXAM
12/10----------Final Exam Due and AP #5 Due (8-9:50AM)

Summary of Points in the Course

40 Points........Analysis Papers
60 Points........Message Board Reponses
100 Points.......Mid-Term Exam
100 Points.......Discretionary Assignment
50 Points........Chapter Assignment
100 Points.......Final Exam
450 Points...Total

Message Board Instructions

Your assignment will be to post responses to three (3) prompts provided by me, starting Sunday evening, September 29, and continuing every Sunday evening through November 17 (None will be posted on 10/27)...a total of seven (7) prompts from which to choose. You can pick any three you like...going back and doing one you originally passed over, if you desire. You must have all three responses posted no later than 11/26.

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 you can provide one if you desire.

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 20 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.

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.

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 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.

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 your reading of of the Preface and Chapter 1 in the 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?

Analysis Paper #2

Evaluate YOURSELF in this course...not grade-wise...but rather, about the ideas, your reactions to them, your classmates (not individually, of course) discussions, and the course overall. Where and why were you reluctant or not reluctant to be swayed or,in other words, what was the learning process like for you? Also, tell me what you thought of the textbook and reading materials...and...the class assignments. Although I’ll probably get mentioned in this essay...the point of it is YOU, not me. (Do a serious job and you'll get the full 20 pts...this is a chance to get credit...literally...for being honest about yourself!!.)

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.

Extra Chapter Assignment Instructions

Since we will NOT be class or on tests...five (5) particular chapters in our textbook (3,4,6,10,13)...but since their topics are still important, this assignment has you cover them in a different way. Along the way in the course you need to read/lookover each of these chapters and select 1 quote, concept, or issue FROM EACH CHAPTER...which you find important, instructive, or just plain interesting.

For EACH of them picked, explain why you selected it...why you considered it important and/or interesting. Analyze your selections sociologically...don't just describe it. If you can, connect your selections to other ideas and concepts covered in the book or in class.

Thus, your paper will consist of a total of 5 selections with your responses. Again, I strongly suggest that you do this over time, NOT all at once. It's due toward the end of the Quarter.

Midterm Exam---Take-Home...DUE: Tuesday, 10/29...IN CLASS
You will need to copy this and paste it into a word processor document...then print it.

Sociology 225...Social Problems
Lane Community College
Fall 2002
David H. Kessel
Take-Home Midterm Exam

There are 3 categories of questions, each worth a different amount of points Read all carefully.

ID’s...PICK 5...each worth 4 points = 20 Points Total
(Short explanation...most concise thing to say about it)
(Selected Sociological Concepts)

1. Presupposing
2. Ignorance
3. Social Act/Relation
4. Levels of Reality
5. Radical
6. Obvious
7. Empathy
8. Definition of the Situation
9. Bracketing
10. Synergism

Short Answer...Pick 4...each worth 7 points = 28 Points Total
(Basic, but full, details)

1. What is the relation/connection between the “core or radical class structure” and “social/cultural class structure”?

2. Why and How does Berger (and me) critique the idea of a “social problem” being defined as “something that doesn’t work the way things are suppose to”?

3. Explain: In addition to being a lack of resources for basic survival needs, “poverty” is a relationship between people, not a “thing.”

4. Summarize Eitzen’s contrast between “capitalism” and “socialism.”

5. From Chapter 14, select and explain one (1) of the following issues Eitzen discusses: Segmented Labor Market...Unemployment...Changing Nature of Jobs.

6. Explain Marx’s distinction between “labor” and “work.”

Long Answer...Pick 4...each worth 13 points = 52 Points Total
(Detailed responses with analysis)

1. Which do you think are the three (3) most important related to social problems...that Madison expressed in the Federalist Paper #10...and why?

2. Portray “ideological thinking” by reversing each of the Motifs of Sociological Consciousness and give each “reversed motif” a title/name.

3. Pick one (1) of the following Online Reader links...and summarily explain its details...i.e. what is it showing and telling us? Capitalism: Three Perspectives...OR...Types of Societies

4. Utilizing the concept of “paradigms,” explain the “person-blame approach” and the “system-blame approach” that Eitzen discusses in Chapter 1. i.e. Through details, in what sense is each a paradigm?

5. Your instructor clearly prefers “dialectical logic” over “formal logic.” Why? (i.e. what are the characteristics of DL which make it preferable to FL as a way of describing, explaining, conceptualizing, and understanding social reality in general and social problems in particular?).

6. Speculate and describe “non-alienated labor” by reversing Marx’s components of “Alienation.” In other words, what would the objective and material conditions of work be like if alienation were reversed? (Please, don’t spend any of your time telling me it isn’t possible...speculate and see what you find, period)

7. On the basis of the variation in answers to the question of "Who Governs?" best do you think this question is answered?

(PICK ONE (1)...+ 1 TO 5 POINTS)

1. Given the way this course has been presented, in what sense could we say that our most serious “social problem” in our society is...”thinking”?


2. I ended class one day by saying...a social problem involves the way people orient themselves to one another. What did I mean by this?


1. Put NAME on 1st page only...or on a title page...NOT on test pages themselves.

2. Prefer typed...good and neat handwriting (ink only) is acceptable.

3. Label your answers per question answered (i.e. ID4, SA5, LA2, B1 or 2)

4. Be sure to check to make sure you do the correct number of questions for each category

5. Use any and all materials to improve or fill out your responses...esp. on Long Answer Questions.

6. If you work with someone on this exam, fine. HOWEVER, write your OWN answers for turn in.

7. The fuller the answer, the better...this isn’t an OPINION’s an EXAM...TINEW!!!

8. Suggestion: if you can avoid it, don’t do the entire exam in one “sitting” and certainly not the night before it’s due. Do a little at a time over the week you have to complete it.

9. NO EXTENSIONS will be given...only verifiable reasons will be accepted for late exams.

10. DUE: IN-CLASS...Tuesday, 10/29...period.

Social Problems Take-Home Final

Social Problems
SOC 225
Lane Community College
Fall 2002
David H. Kessel
Take-Home Final

EXAM IS DUE on Tuesday morning, 12/10/02...between 8-10 AM in our Classroom

I will not accept any Exams or late papers after 10 AM...period!

(I will have all assignments graded and returned that morning)

Please type or handwrite clearly

We started this course calling into question exactly what a social problem was...critiquing the notion that a social problem equaled something "gone wrong" within the political/economic/social system of our society. . .even posing that this "very system" may be our biggest or greatest social problem of all...critically understood.

So, as we imperfectly conclude our study together, and as I said at the very end of class last Tuesday, after taking this class, I feel confident that most, if not all, of you have a different perspective on what a social problem is all about. We may not all agree on the exact details, nor on how to change the situations, but we all now share to some degree a sociological perspective about them.

So, utlizing the text, online materials, and lecture material...tell me what YOU the four (4) most important or serious social problems in and about our society.

I'm looking for analysis, not mere description. If you utilize a "traditional" problem (i.e. racism, poverty, etc.), please be UN-traditional about explaining it. If you list an "UN-traditional" problem (gender socialization, hierarchial relations, etc.), explain why it is one.

Four (4) "problems"...four (4) detail...please justify your answers. If you want to dabble in "solutions" that's fine...but the analysis of the "problem" is the core focus here.

FINAL NOTE: This exam is wide open, clearly. It's worth 100 points...a considerable chunk of the points available. It's your final chance to really and substantively tell me what you've learned this quarter...treat it with seriousness and I'll notice it, I promise. Treat it as something to just get done or past, I'll notice that too.

Thanks for your efforts