The study of social problems has been inextricably intertwined with the field of sociology as a whole.
Rubington and Weinberg

This course represents an advanced-level study of social problems while engaging the sociological imagination. We will be drawing a link between micro, meso and macro-level analyses, linking private troubles with larger public issues. Most theory in sociology focuses either on the micro level, such as symbolic interactionism, or at the macro level, such as structuralism, and ignore middle-range theories regarding how the micro-level and macro-level connect and are interrelated. That connection is critical to our understanding of society. With this in mind, we will explore the following questions: How do social problems develop? What impact do they have on individuals and society, and what is the connection between them? What has been and/or can be done about them? In this course, students will conduct a case-study analysis of one social problem, bringing library and interview research together with a service-learning project and analyzing the issue at these multiples levels.




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Recent Topics:

Spring 2014—Immigration

Spring 2016—Racial Oppression and Inequality

  • Defining a Social Problem
  • Private Troubles and Public Issues: The Personal is Political
  • Review of Service-Learning Sites and Course Assignments
  • Intensive Interviewing: Formulating Questions and Conducting Interviews
  • The Somali Community + Field Trip
  • The Hmong Community + Field Trip
  • The Latino Community + Field Trip
  • Coding Data
  • Examining the Data: Immigrants in Eight Major U.S. Cities
  • Incorporating Immigrants: The U.S. vs. Canada
  • Private Troubles, Public Issues, and the Macro/Micro Link
  • Defining a Social Problem
  • Private Troubles and Public Issues: The Personal is Political
  • Intensive Interviewing: Formulating Questions and Conducting Interviews
  • Seminar Discussions: Critical Race Theory
  • Seminar Discussions: Education for Extinction
  • Race, Genetics and Social Meaning
  • Video & Discussion: Precious Knowledge
  • Examining the Data: The Impact of Race
  • Seminar Discussions: Generations of Exclusion
  • The Ideological Underpinnings of Racism
  • Race: The Augsburg Context (panel)
  • Seminar Discussions: The Asian American Achievement Paradox
  • Coding Data
  • Seminar Discussions: Black Feminist Thought
  • Achieving Whiteness and Policing the Racial Divide
  • Racial Oppression as a Social Problem