Ballantine & Roberts - Our Social World, Condensed Version, Second Edition

Author: Jeanne H. Roberts & Keith A. Roberts

Pub Date: October 2011

Pages: 560

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Chapter Resources

Tip: Click on each link to expand or collapse its content.

Chapter 1: Sociology: A Unique Way to View the World

  • Flashcards
  • Web Quizzes
  • Audio Links
    • Episode 245: Allure of the Mean Friend
      This episode discusses the cultural values of meanness and niceness.
      1. How are people using common sense to explain social behavior in this episode? How could you reframe these questions to make them worthy of sociological inquiry?
      2. Two of the acts actually use quasi-scientific research the value of niceness and meanness. Does this make you have more faith in the conclusions? Why or why not?
      3. We commonly understand that people come together for the benefit of others in the group. However, this episode suggests that this is not always the case. Why is this? In your opinion, does meanness fit in or undermine the assumptions of sociology? Why or why not?
    • Episode 389: Frenemies
      This episode is about people who are both friends and enemies at the same time.

      1. Consider what we learned in the textbook about the various types of social interactions that are studied: dyads, three-or-more groups, etc. How do relationships in this episode change based on how large or small the social groups are?
      2. What types of common sense assumptions are confirmed or challenged in this episode?
      3. Act Two follows how reality stars walk the fine line between making friends and making a name for themselves. In what ways does this Act relate to the concept of “sociological imagination”
    • Episode 75 – "Kindness of Strangers"
      This episode presents stories of people who don't really know each other, how they relate to each other, and what results. From an actor welcoming a troubled boy into his home to an obnoxious neighbor, the concept of people as social beings is explored.
      1. Do these stories support the notion that human beings are social by nature? How?
      2. What are the dyads, small groups, and larger institutions in these stories? How does the experience of Jack with Canada Lee in Act Two "Runaway" fit into the social worlds model?
      3. What does Act Three "Unkindness of Strangers" tell us about conflict and change?
    • Episode 250: The Annoying Gap Between Theory … and Practice
      This episode investigates the gap between the way we think things will happen and what actually happens.
      1. In many ways the gap between theory and practice describes the difference between common sense and scientific reasoning. Do the individuals in these stories use common sense or scientific reasoning? In the ones that use common sense, should the issues told in this episode be avoided or altered if individuals had thought more scientifically about the situation?
      2. How do decisions these individuals make at the micro-level come to have influence on the meso- and macro-level?
      3. How would you apply the sociological perspective to explain what happens to the individuals at the center at each of these stories? Explain.
    • Episode 355: The Giant Pool of Money
      This episode explores the financial crisis created by the sub-prime mortgage situation.
      1. Evaluate the credit crunch from the micro-, meso-, and macro-level. How do actors at each level of analysis contribute to the credit crunch?
      2. The sociological perspective works to understand how life chances are the product of your personal experiences and greater social factors. What social factors contributed to the current fiscal state of our society? How do individuals contribute?
      3. How would a sociologist evaluate the credit crunch? What questions would they ask? How would this vary from the questions an applied sociologist would ask?
  • Video Resources
    • Frontline: The Meth Epidemic
      This video tracks the rise of methamphetamine use across America and shows how it became a problem due to personal, community, state, and national changes.
      1. How does society try to eliminate meth use at the micro-, meso-, and macro-level?
      2. What are some impacts meth has at the micro-, meso-, and macro-level?
      3. One key benefit of the sociological perspective is that it allows us to understand people’s actions by recognizing that there are things completely under our control and other things that are completely outside of our control. How does this apply to the use and distribution of meth?
    • Frontline: The Undertaking
      This video examines a family who works in the funeral industry as a window into American feelings on death and dying.
      1. How do funeral rituals described by the Lynch family show our cultural values about death and dying?
      2. How would a sociologist create a research question to systematically evaluate the claims that the Lynch family makes about death and dying?
      3. The funeral industry arguably exists to serve micro-level relationships, consoling individuals who have just lost others central to their social existence. How is the funeral industry connected to institutions at the meso- and macro-levels?
      4. While it seems like the funeral industry is very helpful and necessary, why do you think there is a stigma against it at the society level?
    • Frontline: Young & Restless in China
      This episode presents intimate portraits of nine young Chinese over the course of four years, examining the reality of their lives as they navigate their way through a country that is changing daily.
      1. Consider the ways in which social forces are shaping each of these individuals’ lives. What are some of the causes and consequences of human behavior seen in these stories?
      2. Pay close attention to the varying levels of social relationships seen here. How do experiences differ between small groups of people (like dyads), larger groups (like employees and local organizations), and the largest groups (ethnic groups and national organizations)?
      3. List some similarities and differences in the social nature of people from different cultures.
    • YouTube: Sociology Search
      Visit the site and enter in “Sociology”. See what pops up.
      1. Many instructors require their students to make YouTube videos as part of their class assignments. Do you feel that creating media as part of a class is a useful exercise? Why or why not? Is consuming media a useful exercise?
      2. Is the sociological perspective more effective when used to evaluate media, or is it more effective when used to create media? How does this apply to what you see in the YouTube videos?
    • YouTube: Professor Vivek Sharma – A Social Theory of War
      This video from Yale University is an interview with Professor Sharma on his theories related to social interactions and warfare. He discusses why people start wars, why some wars are more violent than others, and why wars come to an end.
      1. What are Professor Sharma’s theories about warfare at each level of analysis – e.g., dyads, 3-or-more group, local organizations, national organizations, and global organizations?
      2. What does Professor Sharma say about the differences between “limited war” and “social war”? How does social interaction play a part in these two kinds of war?
      3. Consider what we learned in the text about “environments”. Does Professor Sharma believe that environment plays a role in warfare? Why or why not?
    • YouTube: Tough Guise: Violence, Media & the Crisis in Masculinity
      This is the introduction to the documentary by Jackson Katz that explores the connection between masculinity and violence in the media.
      1. How does Jackson Katz show that men’s behaviors are socially constructed and socially learned?
      2. How does the Media, a key social institution, shape how we perceive men in American society?
      3. One of Katz’s central arguments is that our society creates violence so that it is a normative expectation rather than an act of deviance or a social abnormality. How would a sociologist test this claim? Would methods of testing vary between applied and academic sociologists?
    • YouTube: The Corporation - Legal Person - 2 of 14
      This segment from the documentary, The Corporation details how corporations are legal persons and shows the impact this can have on society.
      1. This clip suggests we can examine the corporation as an individual in order to understand it. Explain how this differs from the Social World model.
      2. How would you examine the issue of global capitalism using the Social World model?
      3. Several different individuals are highlighted in this clip. Which ones, in your opinion, are applied researchers and which are academic researchers? Explain. What are the job titles of all of these individuals? What does this suggest for the employment possibilities for sociologists
    • YouTube: Major in Sociology
      This video was made by a university to show their students the opportunities available to them by studying sociology.
      1. What does the sociology examine? Were you surprised by any of the topics that sociology studies? Why or why not?
      2. What opportunities are open to people who major in sociology? Were you surprised by the any of the opportunities open to sociologists? Why or why not?
      3. Examine the sociology classes offered at your college or university? Which of them are you interested in?
      4. Which specific topics are you most interested in learning about in your introductory course?
  • Web Resources
  • Recommended Readings
    • Peter Berger, Invitation to Sociology
      This classic work explains the history and traditions of sociology and encourages the use of scientific methods within the discipline.
    • Peter Berger, The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge Here, Berger advances the field of the sociology of knowledge. He examines the ways that propaganda, science, art, and false consciousness shape what we perceive as the truth.
    • Charlotte Gattone, The Social Scientist as Public Intellectual: Critical Reflections in a Changing World , Gattone draws upon the work of contemporary and classical social theorists to argue that social scientists should feel free to act in accordance with or free from the constraints of other social institutions.
    • C. Wright Mills, The Sociological Imagination
      In this classic piece, Mills explains how he feels that sociology should be approached. He argues that we should examine the social, personal, and historical aspects of people's lived experiences.
    • Evitatar Zerubavel, Social Mindscapes: An Introduction to Cognitive Society
      In this book, Zerubavel attempts to bridge the gap between sociology and cognitive science, arguing that knowledge of cognition plays a crucial role in understanding social relations.
    • Dan Clawson, Editor, Public Sociology: Fifteen Eminent Sociologists Debate Politics and the Profession in the Twenty-First Century
      In this text, eminent scholars in the field debate whether or not sociology should engage activism alongside education. They discuss the benefits and disadvantages of incorporating messages of action in education.
    • Peter Berger, Telling About Society
      In this book, Berger discusses various mediums we can tell others or learn about society. Berger discusses popular and academic works to discuss how we can “tell about society” in numerous, meaningful ways.
    • Fabio Rojas, From Black Power to Black Studies: How a Radical Social Movement Became an Academic Discipline
      In this work, Rojas discusses how the black power movement influenced the American higher education system in a way that institutionalized itself as an academic discipline. Rojas shows how social movements and organizations influence and assimilate one another.

Chapter 2: Examining the Social World: How Do We Know?

  • Flashcards
  • Web Quizzes
  • Audio Links
    • Episode 75: The Kindness of Strangers
      Here are stories of the kindness, and unkindness, of strangers. All of this episode’s stories take place in a place that many people consider the least kind location in America: New York City.
      1. Propose a study to scientifically examine the commonsense phenomenon of “The kindness of strangers.” What related questions might you be able to ask?
      2. How would you set out to test your hypothesis and collect data? Would you use a survey, field observation, or a controlled experiment?

      After listening to these stories, what do you think your results might be? Do you think they would be different in a scientific study compared to casual observations like the ones discussed here?

    • Episode 112: Ladies and Germs
      This episode chronicles the irrationality surrounding our fear of germs.
      1. From a rational choice perspective, should American's use so many antibacterial products? Why do you think we do?
      2. From a functionalist perspective, how do you explain our fear of germs?
      3. From a conflict perspective, how do you explain the finding that women are primarily responsible for keeping their families safe from germs? What happens if they fail?
      4. From a symbolic interactionist perspective, why do you think we're so willing to purchase apple cider given its inherent risks?
    • Episode 250: The Annoying Gap Between Theory … and Practice
      This episode discusses the numerous times in which things that seemed to work in theory actually fail in practice. Examples such as running for office and budgeting properly while living in poverty are used as examples.
      1. Given what you now know about theory testing, why do you think the theories these individuals had failed to work in practice? What steps of research were these individuals missing?
      2. Which of the four types of sociology (scientific, humanistic, critical, or feminist) would you use if you wanted to analyze Steve Tobocman's experience in office? Why would you choose that type?
  • Video Resources
    • Frontline: Private Warriors
      As the Army struggles to meet recruitment numbers, FRONTLINE takes a hard look at private contractors servicing U.S. military supply lines, running U.S. military bases, and protecting U.S. diplomats and generals. While there is nothing new about the military’s use of private contractors, the Iraq war has seen outsourcing on an unprecedented scale.
      1. Examine this episode from the perspective of Conflict theory. Do the people followed in the episode seem to agree or disagree that conflict is inevitable?
      2. What are the manifest functions of private military contractors? What are the latent functions? What are the dysfunctions?
    • Frontline: The Persuaders
      This video details the individuals in advertising whose jobs are to convince us to purchase particular products that we might not actually need.
      1. What methodologies do the advertisers use to determine how to best market products to individuals?
      2. From a rational choice perspective, what factors do you use to determine whether to purchase a particular product?
    • YouTube: 1950 Family Date, Dinner in a 1950’s Home
      This video features a 1950’s family sitting together around the family table. This video can be used to analyze the “traditional” family from four different theoretical perspectives.
      1. What would a functionalist theorist say about the actions of the family within this video?
      2. What would a conflict theorist say about the actions of the family within this video?
      3. What would a symbolic interactionist theorist say about the actions of the family within this video?
      4. What would a rational choice theorist say about the actions of the family within this video?
    • YouTube: Did You Know? Predicting Future Statistics
      This video by Dr. Karl Fisch introduces students to a number of very interesting statistics. Everything from the number of babies born per minute to the number of MySpace users is covered.
      1. Which of these statistics surprised you the most? The least?
      2. What did you learn about the possible topics that can be studied using statistics?
      3. What research method do you think was used to collect most of these findings?
    • YouTube: James Dobson distorts research...again!
      Dr. Carol Gilligan comments on Dr. James Dobson’s distortion of her research on a lesbian couple raising a child.
      1. What ethical violations in social science research has Dr. Dobson committed, according to Dr. Gilligan?
      2. What does this example teach us about the research we read/hear?
      3. As a researcher, what steps could you take to help minimize others misquoting your work?
    • YouTube: Symbolic Interaction Theory
      In this student project, a team of undergraduates elaborates on symbolic interactionist theory using the Boston Common as an example.
      1. Using symbolic interactionist theory, how would you explain how much you trust you place in the source of this video?
      2. What critique do you have about these students’ presentation of the theory?
    • YouTube: How SAGE Has Shaped Research Methods
      Founder and Chair of SAGE, Sara Miller McCune, reflects on forty years of publishing research methods books, journals and electronic media.
      1. According to McCune, in what ways has research methods changed over the past 40 years? How has SAGE contributed to these changes?
      2. In what ways do these changes represent improvements on the way the field used to be? How does SAGE hope to enhance scientific research in the future?
  • Web Resources
  • Recommended Readings
    • Peter Berger, Invitation to Sociology: A Humanistic Perspective
      This classic work explains the history and traditions of sociology and encourages the use of scientific methods within the discipline.
    • Dan Clawson, Robert Zussman, Joya Misra, Naomi Gerstel, and Randall Stokes (Eds.) Public Sociology: Fifteen Eminent Sociologists Debate Politics and the Profession in the Twenty-first Century. Here, a number of prominent sociologists debate the usefulness of moving sociological work outside of academia. This book would be helpful for discussing applied sociological research.
    • Barry Glassner and Rosanna Hertz, Our Studies, Ourselves: Sociologists' Lives and Work , In this book, Glassner and Hertz explore what motivates sociologists to study particular topics and how the topics they study impact their lives outside of academia.
    • Erving Goffman, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life
      In this book, Goffman lays out his symbolic interactionist theory of the presentation of self in which each individual uses an act to influence others' impressions of her.
    • George Ritzer, The McDonaldization of Society
      In this text, Ritzer uses Max Weber’s theory of bureaucracy and applies it to a familiar example, McDonald’s restaurants. His treatment of the theory makes it very accessible and fun to read.
    • Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
      Diamond integrates modern functionalism theory into a discussion of economic and social development in the world over time. He shows the role these three central and interconnected elements play in societal development.
    • Joel Best, Stat-Spotting: A Field Guide to Identifying Dubious Data and Damned Lies and Statistics: Untangling Numbers from the Media, Politicians, and Activists, In these books, Best does as excellent job of explaining how non-specialists should think about and interpret statistics. He explains that problems exist among people who present as well as people who interpret statistics.

Chapter 3: Society and Culture: Hardware and Software of Our Social World

  • Flashcards
  • Web Quizzes
  • Audio Links
    • Episode 165: Americans in Paris
      This episode explores Paris and Parisian culture from a non-romanticized prospective.
      1. Were you surprised by some of these accounts of Paris and Parisian culture? Why or why not? How do you believe that cultures come to be romanticized? Does this distract from our understanding of cultures?
      2. Contributor David Sedaris talks about his experiences assimilating to French culture after his move to Paris. What role does language play in his integration in the French culture?
      3. We often think of culture as something that is shared and universal for all residents of a society. Is this necessarily the case? How so or how not? Should culture be shared and universal, in your opinion? Why or why not?
    • Episode 38: Simulated Worlds
      This episode evaluates manufactured and recreated cultures .
      1. In your opinion, are the ‘hardcores' being ethnocentric or culturally relative? Explain. What about the ‘farbs'? Explain.
      2. How do the cultural values of the present get socially constructed as part of our understanding or recreation of the past?
      3. Are people able to reconstruct the culture of the past? Or is it something that will never be understood by people who did not experience life at that time.
    • Episode 197 – "Before It Had a Name"
      This episode, especially Act One, "Mr. Border Vanishes" and Act Two "Of Course I Remember Your Name," explores the importance of language and labels by examining the meaning of things or events before they are named. Additionally, it discusses how these things or events are changed after being named.
      1. How do these stories illustrate the evolution of culture over time?
      2. How do beliefs and values come together in the stories of language in this episode?
      3. What was the impact of the development and application of a label on society?
    • Episode 109: Notes on Camp
      This episode uncovers the meaning and importance of summer camp camp based on the narratives of people who experienced it.
      1. Do you agree that camps have a distinct culture? Why so or why not? What examples of non-material culture are used in the episode to convince you that they do? What about examples of material culture?
      2. When listening to the camp stories, what do the listeners come to cherish and value about their camp experiences? Do these values mirror non-camp life? How so or not?
      3. What role does ritual play in camp life? How does this contribute to the creation of the camp culture?
    • Episode 279: Auto Show
      Act One of this episode investigates the world of db drag racing.
      1. Could db drag racing be considered a culture? What kind, and why?
      2. What seems to drive the people participating in these competitions? Do these reasons reflect at all on a larger culture?
  • Video Resources
    • Frontline: American Porn
      This video is an expose into the multi-billion dollar pornography industry in the United States. It examines how an industry that is so seemingly out of line with our values can become so successful.
      1. What is the influence of pornography on American culture?
      2. Given porn’s popularity, is it possible that pornography exhibits cultural values and beliefs supported by mainstream America? Why or why not?
      3. Is pornography consumption subcultural, countercultural, or mainstream? Explain.
      4. How would you apply the Social World model to understanding porn in the United States?
    • Frontline: Growing Up Online
      This episode is about the impact of the Internet on the current generation. It shows how the Internet is reforming key social institutions, but particularly the relationships of young adults.
      1. What role does the Internet play in defining youth culture? What about mainstream American culture?
      2. In your opinion, does user-generated media play a different role in defining culture than non-user-generated media? Why or why not?
      3. The video claims that the Internet has “created the greatest generation gap since rock’n’roll.” Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not? Do you see differences between younger and older Americans in terms of Internet use as a social problem? Why or why not?
      4. In your opinion, how problematic is the digital divide, or the inequalities that exist in access to media, both among groups in our nation and between affluent and less affluent nations?
    • TED: James Surowiecki: When Social Media Became News
      James Surowiecki points to the 2005 tsunami, an event which he considers the moment when social media became a critical, legitimate tool in gathering and disseminating news. He argues that social media can provide both great benefits and drawbacks in the process of sharing and understanding information.
      1. Can social media sources sometimes provide a clearer picture of breaking news and current events than mainstream news media? Why?
      2. What are the drawbacks of exclusively relying on social media as a source of news?
    • Frontline: The Merchants of Cool
      This video describes the people who design marketing campaigns geared towards American teenagers. Are their marketing campaigns simply reflecting the desires of teens, or are they creating these desires in an attempt to capture a rich market?
      1. What is responsible for the creation of youth culture, according to Rushkoff? Do you agree with his assessment? Why or why not?
      2. Although this film is from the 2000s, it is very dated in terms of describing youth culture. What does this say about youth culture?
      3. What does youth culture look like now, i.e. what material culture defines youth culture? Are there similarities between the youth culture portrayed in the video and youth culture today? Differences? Explain.
      4. Rushkoff suggests that individuals and entities who are non-members of youth culture play a large role in defining it. Should non-participants be able to define a culture? Why or why not? How are they able to do this?
    • Frontline: The Mormons
      This episode examines the rise of the Mormon Church and explores Mormonism in comparison to other mainstream religions.
      1. In your opinion, do the Mormons represent a subculture, a counterculture, or mainstream culture? Explain.
      2. What material and non-material elements are central to the Mormon culture?
      3. How does the missionary work by Mormons address issues of cultural differences and cultural lag?
      4. Religion as a social institution is unique because it often socializes people into other social institutions. How does this apply between the relationship between Mormonism and family life? Explain.
    • Frontline: The Persuaders
      This video examines the advertising industry and how they use branding and market research to make their products become part of culture.
      1. A lot of effort goes into trying to understand culture. What is the value of understanding culture from a business perspective?
      2. Is manipulating culture for profit (like emotional branding and coolhunting) an ethical business practice? Are businesses able to market in a way that doesn’t interfere with the production and consumption of culture? Why or why not?
      3. Is the modern American culture a consumer culture? Why or why not?
      This video is a remake to a 1980s documentary that followed people in a parking lot prior to a Judas Priest concert. It examines the heavy metal subculture
      and PART
      1. Are metal fans a subculture or a counterculture? Why or why not?
      2. What norms, values, and beliefs define the metal community? What elements of material culture seem to define the metal community?
      3. What gender differences do you notice among members in the metal community?
    • YouTube: 1967 Hippie temptation TV documentary
      This mini-documentary examines the Hippie movement from the 1960s and 1970s. It clearly displays the rift that exists between the Hippie culture and mainstream culture.
      1. The Hippies are constantly framed as a counterculture. Would you agree with this assessment? Why or why not? Your text defines countercultures as groups with expectations and values that are in sharp contrast with mainstream society. Do you believe the Hippies exhibit differences from the mainstream culture in 1967? Describe the differences, if any.
      2. What material and non-material elements define the Hippies?
      3. Which theoretical explanation best explains the behaviors of the Hippies, in your opinion? Why?
    • YouTube: The Outsiders: Amish Teens – Parts 1-7
      Amish teenagers are allowed to explore the mainstream world before deciding whether they want to permanently join the Amish church. This testing of the outside world is called Rumm-Shpringa, which means "to run around". As was discussed in the textbook, Amish culture is very different than mainstream American culture, and it’s often quite shocking to Amish teenagers. This documentary from ABC News is presented on YouTube in 7 parts. The first part is linked below, and the rest can be accessed on the right-side links. – Part 1
      1. Do you see Amish culture as being a subculture, microculture, or counterculture? Why?
      2. Did the Amish teenagers who participated in Rumspringa have generally positive or negative experiences interacting with mainstream American culture?
      3. Why do you think so many Amish teenagers return to join the church?
      4. Are there any ways in which Amish culture influences mainstream American culture? Does American culture influence Amish culture in any way?
  • Web Resources
    • CultureWeb
      The website of the culture section of the American Sociological Association; serves as an excellent resource for current research and hosts many discussion boards where top scholars discuss cultural issues and topics.
    • Portals to the World
      Maintained by the Library of Congress and intended to provide factual links for research into other nations’ policies and cultures
    • Pop Matters
      Dedicated to the study of popular culture more from a social science perspective than a media studies perspective
    • What Is Culture?
      The website provides resources for the critical analysis of popular culture in the US, including the impact of that culture beyond national borders.
    • The Human Nature Daily Review
      Features in-depth coverage on issues of human nature, paying specific attention to the “nature versus nurture” debate; draws from research in both the natural and the social sciences
    • This Blog Sits at the Intersection of Anthropology and Economics
      Cultural anthropologist Grant McCracken’s blog mainly dedicated to the issues of the meaning of culture and goods in a consumer-oriented society
    • Understanding the Face of Globalization
      An online resource compiled by the Center for International Education discussing issues of culture in a global society
    • Culture and Cultural Studies
      SocioSite’s pervasive look at the subject broken down into categories for good research
    • Cultural Studies Central
      A website that looks at culture and many of its sub-sets
    • The Globalization Website
      Located at Emory University, this site provides resource material relevant to various aspects of global culture.
  • Recommended Readings
    • Andy Bennett, Cultures of Popular Music. In this book, Bennett details various genres of music and their associated youth subcultures. Genres detailed include rock, pop, heavy metal, and rap.
    • Jonathan Epstein, Youth Culture: Identity in a Postmodern World
      Epstein uses examples of everyday life (such as being at the mall or "hanging out" in one's bedroom) to explain how youth create a culture that is separate from that of their parents.
    • Herbert Gans, Popular Culture and High Culture: An Analysis And Evaluation Of Taste. In this classic piece, Gans examines the differences between an elitist high culture and a pop culture that appeals to "the masses".
    • Barry Glassner, The Culture of Fear: Why Americans are Afraid of the Wrong Things. Glassner examines the way that the mass media has led to a culture of fear among Americans, leading us to be afraid of issues that we are statistically incredibly unlikely to ever encounter and to ignore the scientific evidence surrounding the "real" issues in the United States.
    • Robert S. Lynd and Helen Merrell, Middletown: A Study in Modern American Culture. In this classic book, the daily social rhythms of small-town Muncie, Indiana are examined.
    • George Ritzer, The McDonaldization of Society. Ritzer scrutinizes the ways that the principles of predictability, calculability, controlling, and efficiency employed by the McDonald's chain of restaurants have spread to other industries, including health care and banking. He argues that the impacts on American culture have been immeasurable.
    • Eric Schlosser, Fast Food Nation. Schlosser argues that, in their pursuit of speed and profits, fast food companies engage in questionable and potentially dangerous practices. Still, the idea of fast food has become incorporated into American culture.
    • Robert Wood, Straightedge Youth: Complexity And Contradictions of a Subculture. In this book, Wood uses interviews and content analysis to describe the punk-rock subculture of "straightedge youth" (those who have militant oppositions to casual sex, drinking, and drug use.)
    • John de Graaf, David Wann, Thomas H. Naylor, and Viki Robinson,
      Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic
      . This campy book looks at the American addiction to our stuff and the lengths we will go to attain it.
    • Ariel Levy, Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture
      Levy explores the myth of female empowerment through the exploitation of women's bodies and sexuality.
    • Watson, James, Golden Arches East: McDonalds in East Asia
      Watson explores cultural difference by examining the differences between the McDonald's fast-food experience in North America and Asia.
    • Rebecca Mead, One Perfect Day. In this book, Mead examines the wedding industry in the United States and discusses how modern cultural changes lead to the reformation of the American wedding in the name of tradition.
    • John Ogbu, Black Students in an Affluent Suburb: A Study of Academic Disengagement. In book details an ethnography Ogbu conducted in a middle-class suburban school. He details the difference between White and Black students in this suburban school system and offers a cultural explanation for the difference in their performances.

Chapter 4: Socialization: Becoming Human and Humane

  • Flashcards
  • Web Quizzes
  • Audio Links
    • Episode 120: Be Careful Who You Pretend to Be
      This episode details the stories of individuals who are pretending to be someone else. They include a woman who disguises herself as a man for her job and a man who has a role at a historic reenactment museum as a slave owner.
      1. How do these individuals use the looking glass self to maintain their roles?
      2. How do you think these individuals’ core selves are impacted by the roles that they have to play?
    • Episode 27: The Cruelty of Children
      This episode is full of stories of children being mean to each other, and possible explanations for why they do it.
      1. In Act One, David Sedaris discusses why he acted mean to other children at school. What caused him to act mean? What role did socialization play in making him dislike the way he was? What other processes of socialization affected David later at summer camp?
      2. Act Three tells the story of a kindergarten teacher who set out to make her students be less cruel to each other. Was this teacher acting as an “agent of socialization”? What affect did her experiment have on the children?
    • Episode 330: My Reputation
      In this episode, individuals learn that their views of themselves are very different from the ways that other people see them.
      1. What sanctions do these individuals receive that let them know that others view them differently than they view themselves?
      2. What agents of socialization do you think have impacted these individuals’ personalities and behaviors the most? How did those agents of socialization contribute to the differences between the ways they view themselves and the ways others view them?
    • Episode 340: Devil in Me
      Act One of this episode tells the story of an Iraq War veteran who returns home with feelings of hate and anger towards Muslims.
      1. What encouraged Sam Slaven to try and change his outlook on Muslims? How exactly did Slaven overcome his feelings of hate?
      2. Did any person mentioned in this story function as an agent of socialization? If so, who was it? Who did the agent or agents of socialization help socialize?
  • Video Resources
    • Frontline: The Released
      This episode explores the lives of mentally ill prisoners both during their time in prison, and following their release into society. According to the episode, nearly two-thirds are rearrested within 18 months of being released.
      1. The chapter discusses the concept of a “total institution.” In what ways is a prison a “total institution”? How does this type of society differ from that of the outside world?
      2. The chapter also discusses the process of “resocialization”. In what ways are prisoners “resocialized” when they enter prison? How are they resocialized when they re-enter general society? Does it seem like these prisoners are actually being resocialized after their release? What agents of socialization could be utilized to ensure resocialization takes place after prisoners are released?
    • Frontline: Growing up Online
      This video explains the experiences of today's youth including social networking sites and internet predators.
      1. How does the internet socialize adolescents?
      2. Since the internet can have so much power over children, do you think the government should regulate internet content the way that they regulate television content? Why or why not?
    • TED: Nicholas Christakis: The Hidden Influence of Social Networks
      Nicholas Christakis explores how social networks between people can influence people in unexpected ways, and spread a variety of traits across individuals.
      1. Why does Christakis consider the kind of social networks he studies as "living things"?
      2. According to the speaker, what is a major influence on a person’s location in a social network?
      3. Why are social networks so important? Can you pinpoint examples of traits or emotions that spread through your own personal social networks?
    • Frontline: Merchants of Cool
      In this video, advertisers who determine what will be considered "pop culture" and sell that pop culture to young people are featured. Their systematic study of teen culture is featured.
      1. Do you think these teens are being socialized into a real or artificially created version of adolescence by watching teen media and purchasing teen products? Why do you feel that way?
      2. How do you think being socialized as a "mook" impact young men’s adult development?
      3. How do you think being socialized as a "midriff" impact young women’s adult development?
    • Frontline: Young and Restless in China
      Here, the stories of 9 young Chinese men and women are told in light of the rapid social changes that China is undergoing.
      1. Which agents of socialization have most affected these individuals?
      2. How have the social changes that China is experiencing impacted these young people’s socialization experiences?
      3. How does the socialization they have undergone differ from the way previous generations were socialized?
    • Frontline: Living Old
      This video focuses on America’s “oldest old” (over age 85) and explains the social and cultural changes that the country should undergo as a result of this growing population.
      1. Would you consider a nursing home to be a total institution? Why or why not?
      2. How was Elliott Haak socialized into the end-of-life process?
    • YouTube: Music, Culture, and Early Childhood Development
      Roger Brown, President of Berklee College of Music discusses the importance of music as a form of communication throughout history for families, groups and civilizations, and ties this to the ways in which music is central to the social and mental development of very young children.
      1. What role does music play in the intellectual, social, and cultural development of young children?
      2. Could music be considered a type of “symbol”, according to George Herbert Mead’s theory?
      3. After watching this interview, do you think music could be considered an “agent of socialization”? Why or why not?
  • Web Resources
  • Recommended Readings
    • Juliet Schor, Born to Buy: The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture Schor examines the influence of the consumer society on children and how they are targeted to become desiring spenders.

    • Ben Bagdikian, The New Media Monopoly
      This book details what happens when corporations own most of the mass media and the ways that the change from multiple media owners to a few corporate owners influences us as individuals.

    • Roberta M. Berns, Child, Family, School, Community: Socialization and Support In this book, Berns explores the additive effects that multiple institutions have on the socialization of young children. She uses an ecological model (similar to the Our Social World model) to explain the effects that family, school, and community have on children.
    • Sucheng Chan, Chinese American Transnationalism: The Flow of People, Resources and Ideas between China and America during the Exclusion Era
      In this book, Chan details the experiences of Chinese immigrants living in the United States during the exclusion era and the ways that they maintained their Chinese and American identities through their economic and political connections with China.
    • Alicia F. Lieberman, The Emotional Life of The Toddler
      Lieberman's book focuses on the emotional development of children loosely using Erikson's stages as a framework.
    • J.I. Simmons, It's Happening: A Portrait of the Youth Scene Today
      This classic book focuses on youth culture in the 1960s and the factors that led to the socialization of teens into the hippy culture
    • Sarah Chase, Perfectly Prep: Gender Extremes at a New England Prep School. Chase describes her findings from an ethnography she conducted living in a New England boarding school in this book. She discusses gender differences that emerge and the role social class privilege plays in the distinct cultures and social learning processes that emerge in this context.
    • Alyssa Quart, Branded: The Buying and Selling of Teenagers
      Quart provides a detailed analysis of the relationship between marketing and American teens. Quart argues that many of the white, female tweens and teens she studies in the book use money and products to construct their identity.

Chapter 5: Interaction, Groups, and Organizations: Connections That Work

  • Flashcards
  • Web Quizzes
  • Audio Links
    • Episode 312: How We Talked Back Then
      Act Two of this episode presents a number of stories about people interacting with each other in ways that would not be possible without the internet.
      1. What type of social interaction occurs in these stories? What is the larger social context for the interaction? How does the interaction vary from what is presented in the JenniCam story to the tale of the mother who sent an email to the wrong address? How is social status conveyed in these interactions (consider the Microsoft story)? How does the internet change interaction (consider the story about the chat rooms for gay men)? How does this relate to larger social issues (i.e., AIDS)?
      2. Use a dramaturgical framework to explain the interactions in these stories
      3. How has interaction over the internet changed in the ten years since this episode was produced?
    • Episode 203: Recordings for Someone
      Act Three of this episode talks about a solider in the Persian Gulf War who recorded the sounds of battle for his wife back home.
      1. What was John Brasfield's original intention for recording his wartime experience? What were the unintended consequences of this recording?
      2. During the war, Brasfield embodied the role of a soldier, but also one of a father and husband. Do you see role conflict exemplified between any of Brasfield's different roles?
      3. Could the incident that Brasfield recorded have caused role strain within one of his roles? Explain which one, and why.
      4. Why did Brasfield’s opinion of the incident change?
    • Episode 201: Them
      This episode looks at the way we create groups in our social relationships.
      1. According to the stories in these acts, the creation of in-groups and out-groups span the necessary to the mundane. When, if ever, is creation of in-groups and out-groups good for societies? Explain.
      2. Is it ever possible to shift from being part of the in-group to the out-group? What social events tend to spur this?
      3. What types of groups do you see individuals joining across the episodes? What examples make you categorize it this way?
    • Episode 173: Three Kinds of Deception
      This episode explores ways that individuals can recreate who they are through deception.
      1. How would you use dramaturgy to explain the central characters in these episodes? What about rational choice theory? Ethnomethodology?
      2. We tend to assume that people are genuine when they are sending us cues about who they are, but this is not necessarily the case. Why do you believe it so easy to portray a false image of who we are to others?
      3. How were in-groups and out-groups created in the various acts? How did these in-groups and out-groups shape the social relationships defined?
    • Episode 208: Office Politics
      This episode discusses the complexities and complication of work relationships.
      1. How does the creation of power relationships within an organization introduce complications into workplace relationships? When is it a benefit?
      2. Where did you see role strain exemplified in this episode? What about role conflict?
      3. How do the individuals in these stories use groups and statuses to define their relationships to one another? Does this vary across the workplaces examined? Why or why not?
  • Video Resources
    • Frontline: Breaking the Bank
      This episode explores the behind-the-scenes events of the merger that was negotiated between Merrill Lynch and Bank of America in the fall of 2008, during a major economic meltdown. Some called this “government nationalization” of the banking system, while others believed the banks had become oligarchies and were dealing with the effects of a free market economy.
      1. Given the textbook’s definition of oligarchies, do you think that the American banking system – either before or after the crash in 2008-2009 – could be classified as oligarchies? Why or why not?
      2. What role did social interaction, networking, and social statuses play in a few individuals negotiating secret deals that affected the lives of millions of people?
      3. Do you think there was a state of anomie during the financial crisis? Why or why not? If you do, what do you think led to this breakdown, and what – if anything – led to its resolution? Also, how might that state of anomie have impacted the decisions made during the meltdown?
    • TED: Alexis Ohanian: How to Make a Splash in Social Media
      A co-founder of the social media site explains how the story of a whale named Mr. Splashy Pants can show organizations how to use social media for effective marketing campaigns.
      1. According to Ohanian, what is the key to launching an effective marketing campaign through social media?
      2. Why might some large companies or organizations have a difficult time following the Ohanian's advice?
    • Frontline: Tax Me If You Can
      This show exposes how one particular structure, the tax shelter, is shaping the American economy.
      1. How do businesses negotiate the line between bureaucratic goals, like creating profit, while avoiding white collar crime (for discussion of white collar crime, see Chapter 6 of your text).
      2. What is the role of reference groups in the instance of tax shelter abuse?
    • Frontline: A Dangerous Business
      These episodes look at the dangers posed by the iron foundry industry for workers and the environment.
      A Dangerous Business Revisited
      1. Is the role of bureaucracy more or less important in dangerous industries? Explain.
      2. What are the implications of the problems in and dysfunctions of bureaucracy in places like McWane?
      3. Routinization is often cited as one of the major dysfunctions of bureaucracies. However, can you see how it might be positive in situations like working at McWane? Why or why not? Is it generally a good practice to give workers agency in their jobs? Why or why not?
    • Frontline: On Our Watch
      This episode follows Sudanese politics and how they evolved into the Darfur genocide.
      1. Is it possible to form in-groups and out-groups without conflict? In your opinion, to what extent is the genocide in Darfur an issue of in-group and out-group conflict?
      2. How did groups form to react to issues in Sudan? How did this impact conflict in the area?
      3. Apply the Social World model to the conflict in the Sudan. In your opinion, were there failures at any particular level that created or escalated the conflict? Explain.
    • YouTube: First Blog / Dorkiness Prevails
      This is the first of numerous video blogs from Lonelygirl15, someone who was exposed to be an actress later in somewhat of a media controversy.
      1. When stepping back to evaluate this as a scripted first interaction, why do you feel that the producers chose to have her manage her impression this way? How would a dramaturgical analysis understand this video?
      2. What is the appeal to individuals who post video blogs on public forms like YouTube? What is the appeal to presenting an online version of self, or presenting self to a mass audience?
    • YouTube: Danah discussing MySpace
      This video shows Danah Boyd in an appearance on The O’Reilly Factor, where she discusses her research on digital communities like Myspace and Facebook.
      1. How are teens using and to create a community and a place?
      2. O’Reilly, in this video, is assuming that individuals use online communities for personal reasons. Boyd, on the other hand, is assuming that individuals use these sites for public reasons. Which are you more inclined to believe?
      3. If you are interested in this topic, you can see a longer discussion with Danah Boyd at UNC-Chapel Hill at
    • YouTube: Do You Know Facebook?
      This clip is a lecture given by Fred Stutzman where he discusses the impact Facebook has on youth culture, privacy, and personal relationships.
      1. How do young adults use Facebook to create and define social networks?
      2. Are on-line similar or different to off-line social network? How is Facebook different from other social network sites, according to Stutzman?
      3. What is the difference between strong and weak ties in social networks? When you use Facebook or other similar sites, do you look to build strong or weak ties? Why is this?
      4. Social capital and social networks create us to other individuals. A latent function is of this is that it decreases our privacy, in that the more people we know the more people know about us. How does this impact our use of Facebook and social networking sites, according to Stutzman? How do we negotiate being a private and a networked individual simultaneously?
        1. How do you believe we can improve on-line communities? Do you believe they will become more or less important to social interaction? Why?
    • YouTube: McDonaldization
      This clip explains the process of McDonaldization and interviews George Ritzer on how he sees McDonaldization shaping the current culture.
      1. What are the principles of McDonaldization? How are they exemplified in our modern culture?
      2. How do you see McDonaldization shaping other segments of your life? Ritzer suggests religion, family, and education all show elements of McDonaldization. What elements do you see to support this in your experiences with these institutions?
      3. If you had to ‘brand’ the American experience or American culture around one corporation, which one would you select? Why?
      4. Should the corporation have the power to influence greater social trends?
  • Web Resources
    • is a company that consults on social network analysis for businesses and communities. Their website provides a detailed description of social networks and a number of interesting examples.
    • US Agency for International Development (USAID)
      The USAID website can enhance understanding of how the US government interacts with governments and agencies around the globe.
    • Verstehen: The Sociology of Max Weber
      Verstehen contains links to some of Weber’s original works. It also links to discussions about Weber’s contributions to the sociology of organizations.
    • McDonaldization
      Provides an introduction to the concept of McDonaldization proposed by sociologist George Ritzer.
    • Primary Groups
      A great website on the work of Charles Horton Cooley and his work with groups
    • Marx’s Theory of Alienation
      This website looks at how alienation can affect the individual worker and organizations.
    • Etiquette of Personal Space
      A brief and entertaining video that shows some culturally specific practices with regard to personal space.
  • Recommended Readings
    • Elijah Anderson, Code of the Street: Decency, Violence, and the Moral Life of the Inner City Anderson interviewed others in middle- and lower-class Philadelphia neighborhoods to observe the ways that issues of racism, economic problems, and political forces have led to the current problems experienced by those in the inner city. Concerns about presenting one's self as "masculine" and not "acting too white" both emerge through interviews.
    • Robert N. Bellah, Richard Madsen, William M. Sullivan, and Ann Swidler, Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life
      In this book, Bellah et al. examine the daily religious practices of a variety of Americans and the social significance those practices hold for them.
    • Stephen E. Cornell and Douglas Hartmann, Ethnicity and Race: Making Identities in a Changing World. In this book, Cornell and Hartmann use case studies and examples to describe the ways that we construct our racial and ethnic identities. In the second edition, the impacts of modernization and globalization on our personal identities are discussed.
    • Erving Goffman, Presentation of Self in Everyday Life
      Goffman, in his classic work, examines the ways that we consciously try to craft our identities. He uses the metaphor of dramaturgy to explain the ways that we attempt to shape others' views of our identities.
    • Elaine Hatfield and Susan Sprecher, Mirror, Mirror. . .The Importance of Looks in Everyday Life, Hatfield and Sprecher draw on a variety of empirical experiments to explain how we interpret one another's appearances and treat each other differently based upon our perceptions.
    • Arlie Hochschild, The Managed Heart: Commercialization of Human Feeling
      Hochschild examines those who must sell their emotional labor as a part of their careers (such as flight attendants) to examine the effects of commodifying feelings.
    • Stanley Milgram, Obedience to Authority. Milgram's controversial experiments are detailed along with the implications of our willingness to obey authority figures.
    • Viviana Zelizer, The Purchase of Intimacy.Zelizer explores the role that money plays in defining social relationships through analyzing legal case studies.
    • Kieran Healy, Last Best Gifts: Altruism and the Market for Human Blood and Organs . Healy discusses altruism, not as a nature of human kindness, but the organizationally created efforts to secure resources through a gift economy.
    • Katherine Chen, Enabling Creative Chaos: The Organization Behind the Burning Man Event. In her book, Chen details the findings of her ethnography of the Burning Man Arts Festival in the Nevada desert. She focuses on the organizational efforts that sustain the event of seemingly unregulated creativity.
    • Albert-Laszlo Barabasi, Bursts: The Hidden Pattern Behind Everything We Do
      Barabasi, a scholar of social networks, argues in the book that human behavior is predictable because of the habit of people to follow the orders and wishes of those in power. Barabasi shows that any “burst” of human behavior is only a testament to the universality of behavior throughout history.
    • Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, In this book, Gladwell argues that when small groups of people alter their behavior it can create a change in mass behavior until the whole culture adapts to assimilate the behavior. He uses many popular examples to make his argument clear and easy to follow.

Chapter 6: Deviance and Social Control: Sickos, Perverts, Freaks, and Folks Like Us

  • Flashcards
  • Web Quizzes
  • Audio Links
    • Episode 164: Crime Scene
      Every crime scene hides a story. In this episode, we hear about crime scenes and the stories they tell.
      1. After listening to these stories, what have researchers learned about why people commit crimes? Are any of the formal penalties imposed by the government successful deterrents?
      2. Given what you learned about the social construction of deviance, what explanations can you think of for why someone would return to the scene of a crime? Which theory might best explain this behavior?
    • Episode 251: Brother's Keeper: Act Three: Neighbors’ Keeper
      In this Act, members of a small town question whether they could have done anything to prevent a triple murder committed by a neighbor.
      1. How might Durkheim explain this act of deviance in an area that does not seem to have the social problem of anomie?
      2. Do you think changing the social capital of the family involved in the murder may have made a difference in the outcome of this story? Why or why not?
    • Episode 363: Enforcers
      This episode centers on people who sometimes take the law into their own hands, and sometimes break it as a result. Act One focuses on three men who consider themselves scam-baiters because they turn the tables on Internet scammers.
      1. What social theories might explain why someone resorts Internet scamming?
      2. The scam-baiters may not have been committing any crimes. However, could their actions have been considered deviant? By what standards?
      3. What social theories might explain why someone becomes a scam-baiter?
    • Episode 210: Perfect Evidence
      This episode discusses the stories of people exonerated by DNA evidence, including a 14 year old who confessed to his sister's murder under intense police interrogation.
      1. Given the number of people who have been found not guilty following the introduction of DNA evidence, do you think we should continue to use the death penalty as a form of justice? Why or why not?
      2. How would a conflict theorist explain why the 14 year old confessed?
    • Episode 218: Act V
      In this episode, the commentator tells the story of a group of inmates in a high-security prison who put on Act V of Hamlet. The commentator notes the unique viewpoint of convicted murderers who are putting on a play about murder and its consequences.
      1. Which of the social functions of prisons do you think art programs like this provide (if any)?
      2. Do you agree or disagree that prisoners should have the ability to participate in programs like this? Why?
      3. Which of the misconceptions about deviance do you think Jack Hitt believed before he learned about the types of crimes that some of these inmates committed?
  • Video Resources
    • Frontline: The Storm
      This episode examines how and why government at every level – local, state and federal – was unprepared, uncoordinated and overwhelmed in dealing with the Hurricane Katrina disaster that devastated the Gulf Coast in 2005, and killed more than 900 people in New Orleans.
      1. Which social theory (if any) might best explain the government’s lack of response and involvement after the hurricane? Which theory might best explain residents’ actions and social interactions after the storm (e.g., looting, altruism, etc.)?
      2. What are some common misperceptions about deviance that might be evident in this story?
      3. What types of crimes were most commonly committed by residents after the storm (e.g., public order, predatory, etc.)?
    • Frontline: The Meth Epidemic
      Here, Frontline explores the history, causes, and consequences of the methamphetamine epidemic in the United States.
      1. From what you saw in the video, what impact can drug use have on other crimes?
      2. From a conflict perspective, how would you explain the pharmaceutical industry's failure to cooperate with the DEA?
    • Frontline: The New Asylums
      This video explains the stories of some of the 55,000 Americans who are receiving psychiatric treatment within prisons.
      1. Is the imprisoning of mentally ill persons a form of blind justice? Why or why not?
      2. How effective do prisons seem to be at meeting the rehabilitation needs of mentally ill prisoners based on what you’ve seen in this video?
    • Frontline: When Kids Get Life
      According to Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, in the United States there are currently over 2000 inmates serving life in prison without the possibility of parole for crimes that they committed when they were under the age of 18. In the rest of the world combined, there are only 12. This video features the stories of several young men who will spend the rest of their lives in prison for crimes they committed as juveniles.
      1. What do these boys’ stories (and the stories of those like them) tell us about how well the juvenile justice system is serving the four functions of prisons?
      2. How has living in a total institution changed these boys?
      3. Why do you think the juvenile lifetime incarceration rate is so much higher in the United States than in all other countries combined?
    • Frontline: Growing up Online
      This video explains the experiences of today's youth including social networking sites and internet predators.
      1. In what ways does the growth of the internet encourage or discourage crime in America?
      2. In what ways can the internet be used to help fight criminal activities?
    • Frontline: On Our Watch
      This video details the genocide in Darfur and the United States’ failure to try to stop the mass executions.
      1. From a conflict perspective, why do you think the United States was more reluctant to intervene in Darfur than in Iraq?
      2. How would you apply the world systems perspective to the violence in Darfur?
      3. Do you think the United States government should play a role in the world criminal justice system? Why or why not?
    • YouTube: Milgram's Obedience to Authority Experiment
      This BBC TV show reenacts the famous Milgram Experiment, which measured the willingness of people to obey an authority figure, even if the commands they receive were contrary to their personal conscience. Watch all three videos before you answer the questions.
      Part I:
      Part II:
      Part III:

      1. Some "teachers" were willing to continue administering painful shocks to the "learner" after the authority figure encouraged them to continue. What does this suggest about the nature of authority?
      2. The "teachers" were not held against their will, and capable of leaving the experiment at any time. Why were some unwilling to simply leave?
    • YouTube: Lizard Man
      This is the story of Texas man Eric Sprague who has tattooed, pierced, and surgically altered his body to make himself appear more lizard-like.
      1. Do you consider Eric's appearance deviant? Why or why not?
      2. Do you think Eric would consider your appearance deviant? Why or why not?
    • YouTube: Women's Bodybuilding Finals
      This one minute clip is of a “final pose down” among female bodybuilders.
      1. Do you think that taking on characteristics (such as musculature) of another gender is considered to be deviant? Why or why not?
      2. How might you use differential association theory to describe these women’s “deviant behavior”?
    • YouTube: Countdown: War Crimes Prosecutions Possible
      This clip from MSNBC’s “Countdown” discusses the possibility that U.S. government and military officials may be tried for war crimes committed under the Bush Administration.
      1. War crimes were not discussed in this chapter. After watching this clip (and perhaps doing a little internet research), how do you think they are similar to and different from hate crimes, predatory crimes, organized crimes, etc.?
      2. The textbook did discuss “state organized crime”. Do you think that war crimes are included in “state organized crime”? Why or why not? Do you think that government and military officials should be prosecuted for committing state organized crimes or war crimes?
      3. After watching this clip (and perhaps doing some more research), do you think war crimes are socially justifiable? What are some possible pros and cons to states committing such acts?
  • Web Resources
    • Internet Crime Archives
      Information on notable crimes and criminals; this site could be used in formulating examples, sparking student interest, etc.
    • National Criminal Justice Reference Service
      This site provides comprehensive information on a wide variety of crimes and crime-related research, including international crime, drugs, law enforcement, and family violence
    • The American Society of Criminology
      The website of the American Society of Criminology with accompanying links and reports
    • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
      The website for the FBI with numerous tables and reports about U.S. crime trends
    • Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
      The website to the CIA, which is an independent US government agency responsible for providing national security intelligence to senior US policymakers
    • Uniform Crime Reports
      Website for the FBI’s uniform crime reporting program with links to various annual publications on crime
    • Southern Poverty Law Center
      The Intelligence Project monitors hate groups and extremist activities throughout the U.S. and publishes the Center’s Intelligence Report
    • Human
      An internet resource that monitors and seeks to prevent international human trafficking activities.
  • Recommended Readings
    • Phillippe Bourgois, Selling Crack in el Barrio
      For his dissertation, Bourgois lived among crack dealers to learn the inner workings of the business and much more about the young dealers themselves.
    • Erving Goffman, Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity
      In this classic piece, Goffman focuses on those who are considered deviant simply because they are different. He uses the examples of people who are physically disabled, former mental patients, prostitutes, and those who are addicted to drugs to make his case.
    • Edward Humes, No Matter How Loud I Shout: A Year in the Life of Juvenile Court. Humes tells the stories of individual youth to argue that the juvenile justice system does more to make children into future criminals than it does to reform them.
    • Katherine S. Newman, Cybelle Fox, Wendy Roth, and Jal Mehta Rampage, The Social Roots of School Shootings. The authors interviewed 163 people impacted by school shootings to determine what social factors the shooters, their families and their communities had in common
    • Jocelyn M. Pollock-Byrne, Women, Prison, and Crime
      In this comprehensive book, Pollock-Byrne covers such topics as the history of women's crime and sentencing as well as the lives the women lead within a prison itself.
    • Stephen M. Rosoff, Henry N. Pontell, and Robert Tillman, Profit Without Honor: White Collar Crime and the Looting of America
      Here, the authors detail the temptations and aftermath of a variety of white collar crimes in settings ranging from corporate America to schools and hospitals.
    • Eric Schlosser, Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs, and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market. Schlosser examines three "black market" economies: marijuana, pornography, and immigrant labor. He questions what the unequal justice afforded to those who participate in these crimes says about culture and criminal justice in the United States.
    • Kody Scott/Sanyika Shakur, Monster: The Autobiography of an L.A. Gang Member. In Monster, Shakur tells his story of joining the Crips at age 11 and the positive and negative consequences he has endured throughout his lifetime as a result of that decision.
    • Philippe Bourgois and Jeffrey Schonberg, Righteous Dopefiend. In this ethnography, Bourgois describes his ethnographic experience of living with homeless heroin addicts in San Francisco. His account is strengthened by Schonberg’s photos of the addicts and their social context. The book fantastically demonstrates how personal troubles and social issues influence addicts’ lives.

Chapter 7: Stratification: Rich and Famous—or Rags and Famine?

  • Flashcards
  • Web Quizzes
  • Audio Links
    • Episode: 62: Something for Nothing
      This episode features stories of people trying to get rich quick. However, as the saying goes, there’s no such thing as getting something for nothing.
      1. The prologue tells the story of people trying to win the lottery. Given what you learned about social stratification, conflict over resources, etc., which social class would be most likely to play the lottery?
      2. What common aspects of Property, Power, and Prestige do you see throughout these stories? How do each of these relate to people trying to get rich quick?
      3. How are these ideas of ‘getting something for nothing’ perpetuated throughout society? What could be done to give people (especially young children) a more realistic view of people’s access to resources and social mobility?
    • Episode 113: Windfall
      This episode examines what happens to people who rapidly experience social class mobility.

      1. In your opinion, is social class something defined by how much money you have or other factors? Does quick inheritance of lots of money, then, equate to mobility? Why or why not?
      2. Which story did you find most interesting? Why? Which story do you think reflects the most change due to shifts in income? Why?
      3. The individuals interviewed in these Acts have vast differences in how they view money, how money should be spent, and the importance of money on social life. What creates these differences in your opinion? Explain.
    • Episode 19: Rich Guys
      This episode explores the lives of three wealthy men who pursue ventures that are not what we would expect from them.

      1. How can the story of Maury Taylor, the Presidential candidate, illustrate the symbolic interactionist perspective on stratification (consider cultural capital)?
      2. How would structural-functionalists explain the candidacy of Maury Taylor?
      3. How would a conflict theorist explain the case of the wealthy man's suicide and the postmortem insemination?
    • Episode 303: David and Goliath ACT 2 – Begins at 19:13
      This episode is all about efforts to even the playing field by giving the edge to the ‘little guy'. Act Two, which will be most interesting from a social inequality perspective, examines the textile industry in Cambodia.

      1. When introducing the Act, host Ira Glass states that there are battles that are important for the Davids of the world but are unnoticed by the Goliaths. How is this exemplified in the Cambodian textile industry? What about in the fight for global economic development?
      2. How did stratification in Cambodia shift when changes in the textile industry and trade relations with the U.S. shifted? How has this impacted garment workers?
      3. What does the Cambodian experience suggest about fair trade and fair labor policies in poor nations? What does this mean for inequality?
    • Episode 344: The Competition
      This episode examines the impact of social forces, particularly market economy, on individual lives.
      1. How did Pickle transform the role of the worker in his factory? What was his motivation in doing this? Do you agree with his intent? Why or why not?
      2. Do you believe that what Pickle did was ethical? Why or why not? What if Pickle had not displaced the workers to America and set up his plant in India. Would this have been ethical? Why or why not?
      3. How has the Pickle case, ironically, improved labor cases since?
  • Video Resources
    • Frontline: The Secret History of the Credit Card
      This show highlights the growth of the credit industry, the structural changes that allowed it, and the impact it has on American consumers.
      1. In your opinion, are the problems created by credit uniform across social classes? Why or why not?
      2. Do you see credit literacy as a form of cultural capital? Is it uniformly available to all individual in the United States?
      3. What role does credit play in the American social class stratification system?
    • Frontline: Close to Home
      This episode chronicles the effects the recent recession has had people in the typically wealthy neighborhood of New York City’s Upper East Side.

      1. Do you think the recession has had an impact on the way American society is stratified (i.e., how people are divided into categories, unequal distribution of resources, etc.)?
      2. Do the changes discussed in this episode represent a change in individual’s social class? Is an economic recession (or an economic boom) able to affect the social mobility of individuals or even several generations?
      3. What common themes of Property, Power, and Prestige did you see in this episode? What affects did they end up having on people when the economy was good, and then when it was bad?
    • Frontline: Country Boys
      This episode follows two young men growing up in poverty in rural Appalachia as they make the transition from high school.

      1. What impact does living in poverty have on Cody and Chris over the course of their lives? How does it impact their life chances?
      2. How do the social institutions in Cody and Chris's life (particularly work, education, and family) impact their chances for social mobility?
      3. Chris and Cody have significantly different life trajectories. What differences do you see in the film that explain this?
      4. This film only includes coverage of the boys lives though 2002. What do you believe they are up to now? Visit the Country Boys website and see how accurate you are. Chris: and Cody:
    • Frontline: The Persuaders
      This video examines the advertising industry and how they use branding and market research to make their products become part of culture.
      1. We often think of economic position when we think of social class. What role does status play in social stratification?
      2. Do marketers play on our insecurities (in terms of status and social class) when marketing their products? What does this do to the social class system?
      3. Marketers often assume that we buy products because we identify with them. However, items must be bought, meaning that everyone does not have the same access to them. Do you think companies recreate the social class system through the pricing of their products? The marketing of their product? Why or why not?
    • TED: Esther Duflo: Social Experiments to Fight Poverty
      Esther Duflo discussed how difficult it is to measure whether aid alleviates or worsens poverty, and suggests new solutions to determine its effectiveness.
      1. Why is it so difficult to determine whether aid increases or decreases poverty?
      2. What did Duflo's experiment on immunization uncover? What did her experiment on schooling uncover? What do her findings suggest about how aid should be distributed?
    • Frontline: Bolivia: Leasing the Rain
      This episode shows how the privatization of water in Bolivia led the citizens to take strong political action.
      1. How does the experience of poverty vary in Bolivia from the United States?
      2. Are there resources that should be entitlements to everyone, regardless of their ability to purchase them? If no, why not? If so, what are these resources and how do we provide them to people?
      3. Why do you think the privatization of water in Bolivia went uncovered in the US news media? How do we feel about poverty abroad in the United States?
      4. Would you classify the issue of water privatization a class issue? Why or why not?
    • YouTube: Videos on the Gap between Rich and Poor
      This first video from is a tour of the most expensive home in the world – priced at $140 million USD. The estate is in England, and is intended to be a single-family home. 
      This second video is a report on conditions in Sierra Leone, considered to one of the poorest countries in the world.

      1. What aspects of Marx’s concepts of Power, Prestige, and Property were evident in each of these clips?
      2. What are the chances for social mobility (both downward and upward) for each of the people in these videos?
      3. How would you expect the living conditions in each of these videos to affect the individual lifestyles, attitudes, religious and political behaviors of people living in these regions? For example, who would be more likely to be liberal or conservative?
    • YouTube: The World Bank (WB) & The International Monetary Fund (IMF)
      This video explains the role of the WB and the IMF in maintaining global stratification.

      1. How does stratification between nations vary from stratification within the United States?
      2. How does global poverty differ from domestic poverty?
      3. How does this video see the WB and the IMF in relations to global stratification? Would it be possible to reform their role in the global economy? Why or why not?
    • YouTube: The Manifestoon
      This clip uses classic cartoon images to illustrate class struggle to the background of the Communist Manifesto.
      1. This cartoon is a dramatization of the Communist Manifesto, written by Karl Marx. How do the images shown convey the messages of Marx work?
      2. What is the relationship between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie in modern capitalist society?
      3. Marx was writing more than 100 years ago, do you feel that the relationship between power and capitalism has strengthened or weakened during that time?
    • YouTube: The Coming Collapse of the Middle Class
      This lecture delivered by Elizabeth Warren to the UC Berkeley Graduate Council exposes the difficulties credit poses to the American social class structure.
      1. What role does credit play in the social stratification system in the United States?
      2. What social factors create the increased propensity towards indebtedness? Based on Warren’s projection, should we have expected this increase?
      3. What social factors make carrying debt particularly threatening to middle class families?
      4. What is the relationship between debt and mobility?
      5. How does the changing stratification system impact other social institutions like the family?
  • Web Resources
    • US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
      The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission collects and reports data regarding discrimination on ascribed (or partially-ascribed) characteristics like race, age, and gender. Students can view graphs and charts that highlight the prevalence of discrimination in the workplace.
    • The UN Millennium Project
      The UN Millennium Project is an effort to reduce global poverty by 2015 and end extreme poverty around the globe by 2025. The website details the goals of the project and its plan of action. It is also frequently updated with the challenges and success of various efforts to control extreme poverty.
    • Marxist Internet Archive
      This website is an online library to access the work of Marx and other Marxist writers. It may be particularly interesting to students wanting to read original works or more contemporary conflict arguments.
    • Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
      WIC provides Federal grants to States for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk.
    • Office of Family Assistance
      The Office of Family Assistance (OFA), in partnership with States, Territories and Tribes, promotes temporary assistance and economic self-sufficiency for children and families.
    • Head Start
      These pages provide information on the federal Head Start program, one of the most recognized components of the War on Poverty initiated during the Presidential Administration of Lyndon Johnson. Head Start is a child day care program intended to give low income children a “head start” on school readiness.
    • The Working Poor Families Project
      The Working Poor Families Project is a national initiative focused on state workforce development policies involving: 1) education and skills training for adults; 2) economic development; and 3) income and work supports.
    • A Profile of the Working Poor
      A report compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that documents the working poor in the US in 2009. It may be particularly useful for instructors who want to highlight the working poor when discussing the many dimensions of poverty in the United States.
    • UN Statistics Division – Social Indicators
      The UN Social Indicators website contains valuable charts and graphs detailing many manifestations of global stratification including life expectancy, water sanitation, mean income, mean educational attainment by gender, literacy rates, and infant mortality measures for nearly every country.
    • Center for Global Development
      The Center for Global Development is dedicated to reducing global poverty and inequality through policy-oriented research and active engagement on development issues with the policy community and the public. A principal focus of the Center's work is the policies of the United States and other industrial countries that affect development prospects in poor countries.
    • Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative (HIPC)
      The HIPC Initiative of the International Monetary Fund was intended to resolve the debt problems of the most heavily-indebted poor countries (originally 41 countries, mostly in Africa) with total debt nearing $200 billion. The 600 million people living in these countries survive an average of 7 years less than citizens in other developing countries, with half living on less than $1 per day.
    • 2011 Poverty Guidelines
      The poverty guidelines are issued each year in the Federal Register by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The guidelines are a simplification of the poverty thresholds for use for administrative purposes — for instance, determining financial eligibility for certain federal programs.
    • Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
      The Center was founded in 1981 to analyze federal budget priorities, with particular emphasis on the impact of various budget choices on low-income Americans. In addition, the Center examines the short- and long-term impacts of proposed policies on the health of the economy and the soundness of federal and state budgets.
  • Recommended Readings
    • William Adler, Mollie's Job: A Story of Life and Work on the Global Assembly Line. In this book, the consequences of economic globalization and free trade are discussed by using the example of an electrical manufacturing company.
    • Jill Duerr Berrick, Faces of Poverty: Portraits of Women and Children on Welfare. Berrick details the stories of five women on welfare to explain the circumstances that brought them to needing public support, the underground economies they rely on to supplement their meager support checks, and the reasons that various reform policies are unlikely to help pull these women out of poverty.
    • William Domhoff, Who Rules America? Power, Politics, and Social Change
      Domhoff argues that, in some ways, the owners and top-level managers at major corporations actually influence local, state, and national government more than politicians themselves.
    • Barbara Ehrenreich, Nickel and Dimed: On Not Getting by in America
      In this work, Ehrenreich attempts to survive by doing a variety of minimum wage jobs, including hotel worker, maid, and waitress. She discovers that the ability to live on a low wage job is often a fragile enterprise.
    • Barbara Ehrenreich, Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream. Ehrenreich examines the struggles that American middle class professionals face when trying to find employment. Among other things, she attends "professional" job search seminars and job fairs, and discovers that most are exercises in futility.
    • Elliot Liebow, Tally's Corner: A Study of Negro Streetcorner Men
      Liebow's study of black men in 1960's inner-city Washington D.C. was one of the first to offer an alternative to the "culture of poverty" thesis.
    • Jay MacLeod, Ain't No Makin' It: Aspirations and Attainment in a Low Income Neighborhood. MacLeod follows two groups of young men living in poverty (the "Brothers" and the "Hallway Hangers") from adolescence into adulthood. He discovers that despite their individual ambitions, most end up imprisoned, unemployed, or chronically underemployed.
    • Mary Romero, Maid in the USA
      Romero interviews domestic workers to explore their concerns of low wages, unkind employers, and leaving their own families to sell their labor to others.
    • William Julius Wilson, When Work Disappears: The World of the New Urban Poor. Wilson investigates aspects of the inner city (e.g., the rise of fatherless families, gang violence, and drugs), which many blame on the "culture of poverty." Wilson concludes that structural factors (a lack of jobs and high levels of social inequality), rather than individual factors have led to many of the problems of the inner city.
    • Robert H. Frank, Falling Behind: How Rising Inequality Harms the Middle Class .In this book, Frank argues how dangerous the quest for status through material goods can be for society.
    • Robert Frank, Richistan: A Journey Through the American Wealth Boom and the Lives of the New Rich . In Richistan, Frank explores how the financial boom of the 1990s resulted in rising inequality in the United States by focusing on the lives of the extremely wealthy.
    • Douglass S. Massey, Categorically Unequal: The American Stratification System. Massey tried to understand how the United States has become the most unequal modern capitalist society through exploring group relations.
    • Katherine S. Newman and Victor Tan Chen, The Missing Class: Portraits of the Near Poor in America. Newman and Chen tell the life story of several working poor individuals to understand the experiences of the near poor and growing economic inequality in the United States.
    • The New York Times, Class Matters
      This book is a compilation of a series on social class that the New York Times ran in 2005. The series examined growing class inequality as well as how these inequalities play out in several key social institutions.
    • Sean Safford, Why the Garden Club Couldn’t Save Youngstown: The Transformation of the Rust Belt. In this book, Safford illustrates the differences between Pennsylvania and Ohio communities when the steel industry left. Safford argues that the way the elites viewed the labor issues play an important role in whether or not the community recovered after the industry left.
    • Annette Lareau and Dalton Conley, Social Class: How Does It Work?
      Lareau and Conley’s text incorporates work from prominent sociologists to show the role social class plays across multiple dimensions of social life.
    • Mark Rank, One Nation, Underprivileged: Why American Poverty Affects Us All. Rank illustrates the structural causes and consequences of poverty in America. He argues that although America is a wealthy society, we overlook our responsibility to all our members, making many Americans susceptible to poverty and likely to experience poverty over the course of our lives

Chapter 8: Race and Ethnic Group Stratification: Beyond “We” and “They”

  • Flashcards
  • Web Quizzes
  • Audio Links
    • Episode 322: Shouting Across the Divide
      In this episode, a Muslim woman persuades her husband that their family would be happier if they left the West Bank and moved to America. They do, and things are good...until September 11, 2001. After that, the elementary school their daughter goes to begins using a textbook that says Muslims want to kill Christians. This and other stories of what happens when Muslims and non-Muslims try to communicate, and misfire.
      1. The prologue tells a story of the designer of the U.S. Supreme Court making a wall decoration that is offensive to Muslims. Could this be considered symbolic racism, institutional racism, individual discrimination, or institutional racism – or none of the above? Why?
      2. Act One tells the story of a women who promised her husband that if they moved to the U.S., their children would never encounter prejudice. Do you think that was true even before 2001? Do you think we will see a society which is free from prejudice sometime in the future? What can we do to create a prejudice-free society?
    • Episode 105: Take a Negro Home
      This episode looks at two stories of people who try to cross the color line, and why it is still so hard.
      1. Tales of forced integration like the false one at the beginning of this episode seem absurd when we hear them, however we also repeatedly suggest that by just having more contact across racial groups, we will solve racial inequality. Why do we expect inequality can be addressed on the micro level? What can we do at the micro-, meso-, and macro-level to improve racial relations?
      2. Act One of this episode examines race relations through the social institution of the family. What challenges emerge in this institution? What can be done in the family or through the family to address racial inequalities?
      3. Act Two of this episode examines race relations through the social institution of education. What challenges emerge in this institution? What can be done in the educational system or through the educational institution to address racial inequalities?
    • Episode 72: Trek
      This episode follows a white friend and black friend who visit post-Apartheid South Africa and explore race relations as a part of their journey.

      1. How does South Africa and America's experiences vary when comparing the stories of Apartheid you hear in this episode to Jim Crow? What about post-Apartheid and post-Civil Rights?
      2. In eight years, South Africa transforms rapidly in terms of race relations. For instance, one gentleman details how he would be killed for dating interracially during Apartheid, but it is welcome now. How does society reconstruct race and race relations? It is can be so easily ‘
      3. How do Rich and Jason see race relations differently throughout their travels? Why do you think these differences exist? How do you interpret the stories they hear during their travels?
    • Episode 107: Trail of Tears
      This episode follows two women who travel the Trail of Tears in an attempt to connect to their ancestors.

      1. Were you surprised to hear that all of the individuals were having difficulty connecting to important ethnic locations and history? Why or why not?
      2. Is ethnicity something that can be lost? Why or why not? Is it important to practice ethnicity? How can individuals do this?
      3. If it is important to us to retain our ethnic identity, how can we do this? Is it possible to restore meaning to these vastly important historic landmarks to make sure they don't become just ‘roadside attractions'?
    • Episode 84: Harold
      This episode explores the intersection of race and politics in the life and career of Harold Washington, Chicago's first black mayor.
      1. How do race and class intersect in the situation surrounding Harold Washington's campaign for mayor? Can you explain this story from a conflict theory perspective?
      2. What were the importance of stereotypes and their alternatives in this story? How do institutional and ideological racism fit into this story?
      3. How does the story of Harold Washington fit into the social world model?
  • Video Resources
    • Frontline: A Jew Among the Germans
      This episode follows a Holocaust survivor visit the Holocaust memorial in Germany and come to terms with his feelings about Germany and the German culture.
      1. This film discusses German and Jewish relations across the three generations since the Holocaust. How do these relationships vary over time?
      2. In your opinion, how do symbolic efforts like the Holocaust memorial in Berlin, impact ethnic relations? Are they something that should be consistently pursued? Are there things groups can do to make them more or less effective? Explain.
      3. The film pursues the issue of guilt throughout. In your opinion, why do negative emotions, like guilt, get associated with group relations? Is there a more productive way we could pursue relational repair? How so or why not?
    • Frontline: A Class Divided
      This episode follows the famous ‘Eye of the Storm’ experiment conducted by Jane Elliott to teach her elementary school students about racial inequality.

      1. How was Elliott able to socially construct differences for her class? Do you feel this is similar or different to how society constructs racial differences in the United States?
      2. What, if anything, surprised you about Elliott’s experiment and findings? Explain.
      3. People in Elliott’s studies seem to consistently react to the ‘fairness’ of the experiment. We do not, however, see this reaction on a day to day basis from the people who experience institutional discrimination. Why do you think this is?
    • Frontline: Israel’s Next War
      This show highlights the lives of militant Jewish extremists in Israel.

      1. In our society, we tend to think of color and nationality defining ethnic barriers, but how can religion create ethnic barriers? Are there other statuses that cause ethnic distinctions that you can think of? If so, what?
      2. Israel’s far right is not characteristic of the majority of Jewish individuals in Israel. Can there be ethnic distinction within an ethnic group? Or does this necessarily cause division of the group? Explain.
      3. The text describes several reactions minority groups can take to prejudice and discrimination? Which of these apply to the actions of Israel’s extreme right? How so?
        1. Minority groups experience alienation from the mainstream culture, prejudice, and discrimination. How do we address this so that they do not seek radical retaliation like some of the militant Jewish terrorists described in the film?
    • Frontline: The Storm
      This episode shows a timeline of Hurricane Katrina and the response of the government and aid organizations after the severity of the storm was realized.

      1. Race played a central role in the coverage of Hurricane Katrina, particularly in the aftermath of the storm. How was race and racial divisions socially constructed in the coverage of Katrina?
      2. How did institutional discrimination occur during Katrina relief efforts? In your opinion, could this have been avoided? Why or why not?
      3. To what an extent was Katrina relief a product of institutional failure? Explain.
      4. This episode does not cover the issues of the racial divide after Katrina as much as it covers the non-racialized aspects of FEMA. Why do you think this is?
    • TED: Nate Silver: Does Race Affect Votes?
      Statistician Nate Silver considers whether or not the race of a candidate influences the number of votes he or she receives in an election.

      1. According to Silver, what factors might make voters less inclined to cast their vote based on the race of a candidate?
      2. How might a person's neighborhood influence the way they vote in elections? What social factors tend to decrease race-based voting?
    • Frontline: The O.J. Verdict
      This episode explores the O.J. Simpson murder trial to understand how it came to have such a wide cultural impact on American society.

      1. Although O.J. Simpson is only one person, his prosecution became socially constructed as an issue of race relations. How did this happen?
      2. How did the role of race differ from the perceptions of the white and the black communities?
      3. What was the state of racial polarization in the United States at the time of the O.J. Simpson trial? How, if at all, has racial polarization changed in the time since the verdict?
    • Frontline: Dark Shadows: The Legacy of War in Serbia and Bosnia
      This clip examines the civil war in the Balkans in the 1990s. It shows how perceived differences can cause monumental problems within a culture.

      1. What role did ethnicity play in the Bosnian war?
      2. What form or forms of group contact occurred in Serbia and Bosnia between 1992 and 1995? Explain.
      3. How are ethnic relations now in the area? Do you believe that the efforts in place to repair the ethnic relations will be successful? Why or why not?
    • YouTube: Obama Speech: 'A More Perfect Union'
      This speech was delivered by 2008 Presidential candidate Barack Obama to address race relations in the United States.

      1. In this speech, Barack Obama highlights how racial conflicts define the American experience. What evidence does he use to support this?
      2. Do you agree or disagree with his assessment that racial conflict defines the American experience? Why or why not?
      3. Do you agree with Obama that addressing racial injustices must take priority in American politics?
      4. How does Obama address issues of privilege? How does this vary from your perception of privilege?
      5. What role does institutional discrimination play in the current state of racial relations in the United States?
    • YouTube: The Weiner Circle
      This video clip from the This American Life television program (based off the radio show by the same name) explores race relations in Chicago through an unusual restaurant.

      1. Given the context of business at The Weiner Circle, what do you feel is the role of language? Do the words used have the same context as they would in another context? Explain.
      2. The workers detail their perspective of the behavior of the late night visitors to The Weiner Circle. Do you agree with their perspective? Why or why not?
      3. Do you think that the culture of The Weiner Circle could be sustained without the hateful language emerging? Why or why not?
    • YouTube: Savage Country: American Indian Mascots, Parts One
      This documentary explores the use of Native American mascots and the impact that it has on race relations and Native American identity. and Two

      1. Is it right for a school or college to use a potentially offensive mascot? Who should determine whether or not ethnic symbols should be used?
      2. Did you attend a school with a Native American mascot or share a conference with a school that has a Native American mascot? Was this a social issue for the school or the community? Why do you think this was?
      3. Is there a way that a school or community could use a Native American mascot in a neutral or a positive way?
  • Web Resources
    • Teaching Tolerance
      The Southern Poverty Law Center website that highlights various ways institutions can incorporate tolerance and acceptance in their governance.
    • Project Implicit
      An institute at Harvard that conducts research on hidden biases. The website features Implicit Association Tests that users can take to learn more about their own hidden biases.
    • Race: The Power of an Illusion
      This is the website for the documentary series of the same name. The site includes a timeline of race and ethnic label creation.
    • US Census Race Data
      The Census website includes tables and statistics about racial and ethnic populations in the US.
    • The Boondocks
      The Boondocks is a socially conscious animated series about a middle-class Black family. Its does contain explicit content, but many of the issues the strip tackles reflect the correlation between race and class and provide examples of racism, prejudice and discrimination.
    • United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
      Students and instructors can go to the CIS website to discover how much work is required for immigrants to become US citizens.
      Hosted by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, this cite provides up-to-date information about immigration into the U.S.
    • African American World
      This site is an online guide to Black cultural and historical contributions to the US. The site also contains profiles of prominent Black Americans, as well as links to NPR segments and other PBS specials about race and ethnicity.
    • The National Urban League
      Established in 1910, The Urban League is the nation's oldest and largest community- based movement devoted to empowering African Americans to enter the economic and social mainstream.
    • Time Magazine’s 25 Most Influential Hispanics in America Issue Online
      This site links to an online issue of Time magazine focusing on the Most Influential Hispanics in America.
    • Pew Hispanic Center
      Founded in 2001, the Pew Hispanic Center is a nonpartisan research organization supported by The Pew Charitable Trusts. Its mission is to improve understanding of the U.S. Hispanic population and to chronicle Latinos' growing impact on the entire nation.
    • Asian-Nation
      This site highlights issues faced by Asians living in the US.
    • Native American Web Sites
      The site provides links to Native American organizations, tribes, and social movements.
    • Understanding Prejudice
      This website is maintained by the Social Psychology Network as a resource for teachers and students studying issues of prejudice and tolerance. Like the Southern Poverty Law Center’s site, this website has tests where students and instructors can test hidden assumptions.
    • American Association for Affirmative Action
      The AAAA works to promote Affirmative Action policies nationwide. The site details changes and advancements in Affirmative Action policies. It is a resource for instructors and students wishing to know more about Affirmative Action policies or what they, as individuals, can do to promote equality in institutions.
    • Free the Slaves
      Free the Slaves in an international watchdog organization working to promote the end of slavery worldwide. Free the Slaves keeps statistics on the number of slaves worldwide and reports slaves’ living and working conditions.
    • Center for Global Development
      The Center for Global Development is dedicated to reducing global poverty and inequality through policy-oriented research and active engagement on development issues with the policy community and the public. A principal focus of the Center's work is the policies of the United States and other industrial countries that affect development prospects in poor countries.
    • The Population Reference Bureau
      The PRB "provides data, data interpretation, and assistance with key demographic terms to print and broadcast media worldwide." Its website includes a section that focuses on race and ethnicity, with special emphasis on reports that focus on race/ethnicity and life chances.
    • The Center for Comparative Immigration Studies
      The Center is a research unit of the University of California-San Diego. The CCIS conducts basic and policy-oriented research projects on international migration and refugee flows throughout the world. The CCIS seeks to illuminate the U.S. immigration experience through systematic comparison with other countries of immigration, especially in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Recommended Readings
    • Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Racism without Racists: Color-blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in the United States
      The author uses interview data to explore what he refers to as "the new racist ideology"—ignoring color and racial disparity.
    • Dalton Conley, Honky
      Conley details his experiences growing up in a mostly black and Hispanic neighborhood, and explains the race and class privileges that allowed him to become a professor.
    • Noel Ignatiev, How the Irish Became White
      The author explores how the Irish came to be treated as "whites" rather than racial minorities in the United States following the Civil War. Ignatiev claims that embracing racism was a path toward greater rights for Irish Americans.
    • Douglas S. Massey, New Faces in New Places: The Changing Geography of American Immigration. In this book, Massey explores the recent phenomenon of immigrants settling into small-town America, rather than just gateway cities. He explains the ways that small town residents are reacting to their new neighbors and the implications for the economy and family life.
    • Mary Patillo McCoy, Black Picket Fences: Privilege and Peril among the Black Middle Class .In this ethnography on a black middle class neighborhood, McCoy explains that rather than moving to white suburbs, many black middle class Americans live in segregated suburbs just outside inner cities. Here, she explores the difficulties this group faces in maintaining its precarious class position.
    • Carlos Munoz, Jr., Youth, Identity and Power: The Chicano Movement, Revised and Expanded Edition. This book chronicles the history of Chicano radicalism and the political implications that resulted from the social movement.
    • William Foote Whyte, Street Corner Society: The Social Structure of an Italian Slum. In this classic piece, Whyte explores issues of nativity, ethnicity, and social class through participant observation.
    • Frank Wu, Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White
      Wu explores the supposedly positive stereotypes about Asian Americans and concludes that most are damaging to the "model minority"
    • Richard D. Alba and Victor Nee, Rethinking the American Mainstream: Assimilation and Contemporary Immigration. Alba and Nee work to uncover the role of assimilation in the 21 st century and ask readers to reconsider their beliefs that assimilation is a dirty word.
    • Conley, Dalton, Being Black, Living in the Red: Race, Wealth, and Social Class in America. Conley examines the role wealth inequality plays in creating racial inequality in the United States. He ultimately explores whether racial or economic inequality primarily drives the inequality we see between Whites and Blacks in the Unites States
    • Ruth Peterson and Lauren Krivo, Divergent Social Worlds: Neighborhood Crime and the Racial-Spatial Divide. In this work, Peterson and Krivo show the strong relationship between race and social class by showing how residential segregation by social class is associated with neighborhood and racial crime patterns.
    • William Julius Wilson, More that Just Race: Being Black and Poor in the Inner City. Wilson, in this work, synthesizes the structural and cultural forces at work in the situation of the Black, urban poor.
    • Fergal Keane, Season of Blood: A Rwandan JourneyIn this book, Keane recounts the Rwandan genocide. Keane illustrates the role socially constructed ethnic and political difference resulted in the 1994 murders of one million Tutsis at the hands of Hutus.

Chapter 9: Gender Stratification: She/He—Who Goes First?

  • Flashcards
  • Web Quizzes
  • Audio Links
    • Episode 247: What is this Thing?
      This episode talks about love in America, particularly focusing on the romance novel industry and the ways in which female to male transsexual persons re-learned to love as a person of the other sex.
      1. Given what you know about the glass escalator, how do you think male romance novelists would be treated? Why?
      2. Why do you think romantic love is so feminized? What aspects of romantic love are considered masculine?
      3. What do the experiences of the transsexual men tell us about "doing gender"?
    • Episode 99: I Enjoy Being a Girl, Sort of
      This episode covers numerous aspects of gender, including doing gender, gender socialization and expectations, the beauty image, and polygamy as feminism.

      1. What agents of gender socialization most impacted Rebecca's friend? Do any of these agents impact you?
      2. How did Amy Sedaris respond to the beauty image imposed upon her by her father? Do you think her response was effective? Why or why not?
      3. Why does Sarah Miller find it so difficult to "do masculinity"?
      4. According to the definition of feminism in your textbook, do you feel that Elizabeth Joseph and her sister-wives are feminists? Why or why not?
    • Episode 204: 81 Words
      This episode explains story behind the 81 word definition that the American Psychiatric Association changed in 1973 to de-classify homosexuality as a mental disorder and the people responsible for the change.

      1. According to symbolic interactionists, how does changing the definition of homosexuality from a mental disorder to a normal sexual variation impact the way people view sexual minorities?
      2. Why do you think Alix Spiegel's grandfather chose to marry and have children if he considered himself to be gay?
  • Video Resources
    • Frontline: The Last Abortion Clinic
      In this video, the erosion of abortion rights since Planned Parenthood v. Casey is detailed
      1. Based on what you saw in the video, what elements of abortion are micro-level issues? Which elements are meso-level issues? Which elements are macro-level issues?
      2. The group “Feminists for Life” argue that it is possible to be a feminist and against abortion. What do you think conflict theorists would say about this group?
    • Frontline: The Mormons (segment: Those Who Still Practice Polygamy)
      This segment presents some of the families who still practice plural marriage. Their reasons for being in plural marriages and beliefs about their roles within the family are discussed.

      1. After watching the segment, what gender expectations exist for women in polygamous Mormon marriages? What gender expectations exist for polygamous men?
      2. How do you feel about the way the fundamentalist Mormon women dress? Who provides a better representation of the female body–a Mormon woman in traditional dress or a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader?
    • Frontline: The Mormons (segment: Those Who Can, and Can't Conform)
      The experiences of working women and gay/lesbian Mormons are detailed in light of church teachings.

      1. What stresses do Mormon women face? How is this related to the Superwoman or Beauty Image?
      2. What societal pressures exist for Mormon women who must or who choose to work? What are the consequences of these pressures?
      3. How might the treatment of Mormon gay and lesbian persons be related to the role women are seen to play in the Mormon church?
    • You Tube: Middle Sexes Experiment on Homosexuality
      In this video, an experiment that asked homophobic and non-homophobic men to watch gay pornography and report their arousal is detailed. Please note: This video includes mature themes.

      1. According to this experiment, how is homophobia related to homosexuality?
      2. What alternative explanations might exist for why the homophobic men were physically aroused by the homoerotic videos?
    • You Tube: Rammstein “Sonne Complete
      In this music video, German heavy metal group Rammstein present an alternative version of the Snow White story---one in which the princess has enslaved the dwarfs and forced them to mine golden drugs for her. This might be particular useful to watch following the discussion of the other fairy tale video clips.

      1. Compare this version of Snow White to the Disney story. How do the two versions of femininity differ? How are they similar?
      2. In fairy tales, women are often either saintly virgins or evil demons. Why do you think that these children’s stories present such a dichotomy of young girls?
    • You Tube: Mermaid (“Kiss the Girl”); Beauty and the Beast Theme Song; Aladdin (Disney) - A Whole New World
      In these clips, scenes from Disney’s The Little Mermaid and Aladdin are presented. Each details a romantic scene betwesoen the prince and princess.
      1. What messages do these videos send children about heterosexuality?
      2. What do children learn about gender roles from watching these videos?
      3. What types of anticipatory socialization do children experience by watching these videos?
    • You Tube: Sherri Shepherd: Clearly Defined Gender Roles or Else
      In this video, the women of The View argue whether cross-dressing is normal and acceptable among children.

      1. What socialization messages would these women, as parents, be sending to their children?
      2. Would you allow your daughter to wear “boys’” clothes? Why or why not?
      3. Would you allow your son to wear “girls’” clothes? Why or why not?
    • YouTube: The Weiner Circle
      This Chicago Public Media video chronicles a hot dog stand where employees began insulting patrons. Then, the patrons began insulting them back. Now, the insults have become sexist and racist. Please note: This clip contains R-rated language

      1. How do sex, race, and class intersect in the types of insults hurled by the patrons to the employees?
      2. How would conflict theorists explain the fact that the employees are not, for the most part, using similarly racist and sexist insults?
      3. How might patriarchy be contributing to the types of insults used by the patrons?
    • YouTube: Tough Guise: Violence, Media & the Crisis in Masculinity
      This is the introduction to the documentary by Jackson Katz that explores the connection between masculinity and violence in the media.
      1. How does Jackson Katz show that men’s behaviors are socially constructed and socially learned?
      2. How does a key social institution, the Media, shape how we perceive men in American society?
      3. One of Katz’s central arguments is that our society creates violence so that it is a normative expectation rather than an act of defiance, or a social abnormality. How would a sociologist test this claim? Would it vary between applied and academic sociologists?
    • YouTube: Sex Slaves – Israel/Palestine
      This video from ABC-Australia describes how thousands of women from the former Soviet Union are being smuggled into Israel by the Bedouin to work as prostitutes.
      1. What aspects of subjugation do you see present in this video?
      2. What is the dominant majority’s response to this event? What is the minority’s response to this?
      3. Given what you learned in this chapter, what are some of the reasons for why women and girls are trafficked as sex slaves?
  • Web Resources
    • National Organization for Women
      This resource includes a multitude of articles, press releases, and ideas related to the rights of women and sexual minorities
    • Gender Identity Project (GIP)
      Sponsored by New York’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center, the GIP works to foster the healthy development of transgender and gender non-conforming people, partners, family and community.
    • Feminism and Classical Sociology
      An interesting lecture on how feminism is related to classical sociological theory and concepts is included on this webpage
    • The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource
      This includes an interesting dialogue on how institutionalized sexism has been detrimental to women’s health in HIV/AIDS research
    • Gender Pay Gap in the World
      Center for Gender Studies provides web links to sites that look at the pay gap around the world
    • Men’s Voices Magazine
      Website devoted to dissemination of information pertaining to men’s movement and men’s issues.
    • The United Nations International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (UN-INSTRAW)
      UN-INSTRAW, in collaboration with governments, civil society and the United Nations System, has carried out research and training activities on different topics at the national, regional and international levels. Specifically, the Institute highlights the gender perspective as an essential element in the analysis and implementation of programs and projects aimed at achieving peace, sustainable development and good governance.
    • Gender-Neutral Parenting
      This is one of several blogs posted by the New York Times as part of its ongoing parenting series.
    • Sociologists for Women in Society (SWS)
      SWS is a non-profit scientific and educational organization of sociologists and others dedicated to: maximizing the effectiveness of and professional opportunities for women in sociology; exploring the contributions which sociology can, does and should make to the investigation of and humanization of current gender arrangements; and improving women's lives and creating feminist social change.
    • League of Women Voters
      The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, has fought since 1920 to improve our systems of government and impact public policies through citizen education and advocacy.
    • Older Women’s League (OWL)
      OWL is the only national grassroots membership organization to focus solely on issues unique to women as they age. OWL strives to improve the status and quality of life for midlife and older women.
  • Recommended Readings
    • Susan Brownmiller, Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape
      This classic piece uses case studies and statistics to provide a cultural history of rape and aggression against women
    • John D'Emilio and Estelle B. Freedman, Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America. The authors explain a wide variety of issues surrounding sexuality in the United States including same sex relationships, abortion, sexually transmitted diseases, and women's rights.
    • Susan Faludi, Backlash: The Undeclared War Against Women
      Faludi examines the backlash to the feminist movement that women in the 1980's received. This included propaganda warning of a "husband shortage" for professional women and the rise of fashion models who appear to have been battered.
    • Susan Faludi, Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man
      Faludi uses a number of examples to explain how the cultural ideal of "masculinity" that men have been sold is getting harder and harder to achieve. She details the scapegoating that occurs as a result of men's frustration.
    • Barbara Ehrenreich and Arlie Hochschild, Global Women: Nannies, Maids, and Sex Workers in the New Economy. This collection of essays focuses on the "female underside of globalization," that often involves poor women leaving their own families to care for the families of wealthier individuals.
    • Jean Kilbourne and Mary Pipher, Can't Buy Me Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel. Kilbourne and Pipher explain the pervasiveness of advertising and the ways that advertising affects and objectifies individuals.
    • Pamela Paxton and Melanie Hughes, Women, Politics, and Power: A Global Perspective. Paxton and Hughes explore women's political power worldwide and examine the historical trends that have led to varying degrees of women's global political representation.
    • Barbara J. Risman, Gender Vertigo: American Families in Transition
      In this book, Risman interviews couples who are attempting to create egalitarian relationships and details the difficulties they face in a world not designed for equal unions.
    • Christine L. Williams, Still A Man's World: Men Who Do Women's Work
      Williams interviews men in traditionally female dominated occupations and explains the glass escalator most experience. She finds that, contrary to their chosen careers, most have quite traditional ideas about masculinity.
    • Naomi Wolf, The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty are Used Against Women. Wolf argues that the standard of beauty presented by the media is unattainable by most women and details the industries (cosmetic, plastic surgery, and diet) that have evolved to help women correct their "flaws"
    • Naomi Wolf, Misconceptions: Truth, Lies, and the Unexpected on the Journey to Motherhood. In this book, Wolf argues that, due to our social conceptions about motherhood, mothers are often patronized and misunderstood. This, she suggests, divides heterosexual families by class, with mothers in the care-giving class and fathers in the working class highlighting the persistence of gender stratification despite the movement of women into the workplace.
    • C.J. Pascoe, Dude, You’re a Fag: Masculinity and Sexuality in High School
      This book documents Pascoe’s ethnographic work where he spend a year and a half examining the meaning of masculinity and sexuality in a working-class high school. Pascoe discusses her findings on the “fag discourse” showing that sexualized rhetoric used among high school age boys is as much about gender as it is about sexuality.
    • Miliann Kang, The Managed Hand: Race, Gender, and the Body in Service WorkKang interviews nail technicians, shop owners, and women seeking manicures to uncover intersectional dynamics of race, class, gender, and sexuality present in receiving and giving nail and beauty services.

Chapter 10: Family: Partner Taking, People Making, and Contract Breaking

  • Flashcards
  • Web Quizzes
  • Audio Links
    • Episode 186: Prom
      This episode details the experiences of teens at high school proms and the depiction of high school proms in popular movies and television series. Acts 2-4 are particularly relevant. Consider the following questions:
      1. Describe the experience of teens finding a date and attending the prom in light of the three-stage mate-selection process mentioned in your text (stimulus, value comparison, roles and needs stage). Which stage(s) of this process best fit the experience of teen relationships?
      2. Using the symbolic interactionist perspective, explain how seeing prom scenes in movies or on television impacts teen's expectations for their own proms.
      3. What messages do you think high school proms send to gay or lesbian teens?
    • Episode 317: Unconditional Love
      This episode considers relationships between parents and children, and the love that forms the basis of the family unit. Each story examines the circumstances of families with highly impaired children and how they cope. Consider the following questions:
      1. Can you use the symbolic interactionist perspective to explain the circumstances o the family that adopts Daniel, the baby from the Romanian orphanage? How effective is Daniel's family in socializing him after his experience in the orphanage?
      2. How does having an autistic child change family dynamics and traditional notions of parenting?
      3. How do these stories fit into the social world model?
    • Episode 401: Parent Trap
      Act One of this episode discusses a dying mother who left behind letters for her daughter.
      1. What unintentional effects did Elizabeth's letters have on her daughter? Why did some of the letters cause Rebecca pain?
      2. How was Rebecca's relationship with her father affected by the letters?
      3. What benefits and drawbacks did the letters provide to Rebecca's family system?
    • Episode 334: Duty Calls
      This episode describes the experiences of Josh, who had been estranged from his alcoholic mother and delinquent brother since he was nine, but returns to take care of her while she is dying. This story challenges ideas about family bonds, relationships, and obligations.
      1. How were various members of Josh's family impacted by his mother's substance abuse?
      2. Which of the social functions of the family did Josh's mother fulfill for him? Which does he fulfill for her?
      3. Would you have taken care of Josh's mom if you were in his situation? Why or why not?
    • Episode 140: Family Business
      This episode tells the stories of family businesses, and what happens when the tension of family dynamics collides with the pressure of capitalist market forces.
      1. The textbook states that all institutions are connected to one another. In what ways are families connected to the economy? How is the economy connected to families?
      2. Which theory do you think best describes the practice of families going into business together? Why?
      3. Did these families seem to have stronger ties to each other, or more conflict with each other? How would you feel about going into business with your family?
  • Video Resources
    • Frontline: Growing up Online
      This video explains the internet experiences of today's youth including social networking sites and internet predators.
      How do you think the experience of "growing up on the internet" will impact the way that this generation selects lifetime mates?
      1. Whose responsibility is it to ensure that kids stay safe in cyperspace? Parents or the government?
    • YouTube: Polygamy Family Interviews
      These videos are interviews with families who are in polygamous marriages. As you watch, keep in mind the many variations on what defines “family”. – Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3 – Part 4
      1. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s definition of family (given in the text), would polygamous families be counted as a “family”? Would sociologists consider polygamists a “family”? 
      2. The text lists seven reasons why all societies have families. Do the polygamous families in these videos fulfill these purposes?
      3. Do you think there will be a time when society becomes accepting of polygamy? Why or why not? Do you think this would represent a threat to the structure and function of society, or provide a way to ensure more children and adults are socially, emotionally, and financially supported?
    • You Tube: Arranged Marriages
      This news report includes interviews with those who live within arranged marriages.

      1. Why do you think those who have arranged marriages divorce so frequently? Is this a good thing of a bad thing?
      2. Would you ever consider letting your parents choose your dates? Your spouse? Why or why not?
      3. The video claims that “no expectations mean no disappointments” in terms of partner characteristics. Do you think these individuals really enter relationships with no expectations?
    • You Tube: Roseanne: Episode: “Becky’s Choice”
      Roseanne portrays typical life in a working class American family. In this episode, the Conner family meets a family of yuppies. Meanwhile, the oldest daughter begins dating a less than desirable boyfriend.
      Part 1:
      Part 2:

      1. After watching this video, what special problems are faced by the parents of teenagers?
      2. What differences do you see between the two families based upon their social classes?
      3. Do you feel that this show provides a realistic portrayal of family life? Why or why not?
  • Web Resources
    • Alternatives to Marriage Project
      The Alternatives to Marriage Project (AtMP) advocates for equality and fairness for unmarried people, including people who are single, choose not to marry, cannot marry, or live together before marriage.
    • National Conference of State Legislatures
      Maintains this web page with current information on the status of same sex marriage in the states.
    • Marriage and Family Processes
      A comprehensive resource on the family across the world- includes numerous links and information about cohabitation, courtship rituals, parenting, and the change in relationships over time, among other things
    • Population Reference Bureau
      The Population Reference Bureau covers births, deaths, migration, and other population topics as they relate to the United States and other countries.
    • Family
      A conservative website, similar to the “Council for Families in America” mentioned in the text. This site includes research briefs, fact sheets, reports, and videos.
    • National Fatherhood Initiative
      Website offers information and resources intended to support the active presence of fathers in children’s lives.
    • U.S. Census Bureau
      This page provides links to Census Bureau data and reports on American families and households.
  • Recommended Readings
    • Stephanie Coontz, The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap. This book demonstrates that the "traditional" family demonstrated in sitcoms like Leave it to Beaver actually represented a large change over what families had been like prior to the 1950's. Here, Coontz debunks many of the myths surrounding the "traditional American family."
    • Kathryn Edin and Maria Kefalas, Promises I Can Keep: Why Poor Women Put Motherhood Before Marriage. For this book, Edin and Kefalas lived among poor single mothers for several months to determine why they choose to have children before getting married. They find that a perceived shortage of "quality", marriageable men and a high value placed on children leads to large numbers of single mothers among this group.
    • Sharon Hays, The Cultural Contradictions of Motherhood
      Hays explores the contradictory messages that women receive about motherhood. Women are expected to be competitive and assertive at work to help provide for their children, but nurturing and caring at home. New ideas about the intense investment children "require" only make parenting more stressful for working women.
    • Arlie Hochschild, The Second Shift
      In this book, Hochschild interviews couples to describe and explain the extra housework and parenting duties that women are expected to take on after getting home from their paid jobs. She finds that couples use a variety of strategies to rationalize why women must work the Second Shift while men are not given this responsibility.
    • Annette Lareau, Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life
      Laureau interviews black and white families to examine the benefits and drawbacks of the different parenting strategies used by poor, working and middle class families.
    • Pamela Stone, Opting Out? Why Women Really Quit Careers and Head Home. Stone interviewed white, professional women who left the workforce to stay at home with their children. She found that the reason the quit working was not because they had a strong desire to be stay at home moms. Instead, it was because they were unable to meet the huge demands of their workplaces while raising their families.
    • Mark Strasser, Legally Wed: Same-Sex Marriage and the Constitution
      Strasser uses a variety of past cases and state policies to examine the reasons behind banning gay marriage and argues that legal arguments against gay marriage are weak.
    • Nicholas Townsend, The Package Deal: Marriage, Work, and Fatherhood in Men's Lives. In this book, Townsend details the pressures faced by contemporary men to not only provide for their families, but also to be involved fathers and husbands.
    • Joanna Gregson, The Culture of Teenage Mothers
      In this book, Gregson draws from her ethnographic research studying teenage mothers in high schools to describe the social and structural forces impacting teen mothering. Gregson skillfully uncovers the social stigma these teen mothers face and how they give meaning to their parental experiences.
    • Chrys Ingraham, White Weddings: Romancing Heterosexuality in Popular Culture. Ingraham, in this work, deconstructs rituals and beliefs surrounding the modern wedding to show how it romanticizes beliefs about heterosexuality. Ingraham argues that the social construction of weddings has created a “wedding-industrial complex” that feeds classism, racism, sexism, and heterosexism through the materialistic pursuit of a perfect wedding in modern society.
    • Kathleen Gerson, The Unfinished Revolution: How a New Generation is Reshaping Family, Work, and Gender in America. Gerson studies the life histories of over 100 young adults in the New York area to uncover how children born after the women’s movement were impacted by being raised after the Third Wave of feminism. Gerson examines how divorce, step-parenting, working mothers, and blended families impacts young adults’ beliefs about work, family, and relationships.

Chapter 11: Education and Religion: Answering "What?" and "Why?"

  • Flashcards
  • Web Quizzes
  • Audio Links
    • Episode 125: Apocalypse
      This episode presents the stories of individuals who either believe the end of times is near or who are trying to bring about the end of times.
      1. What types of religious associations do the featured individuals belong to?
      2. How is the Left Behind phenomenon related to secularization in the United States?
    • Episode 275: Two Steps Back
      This episode uses the experiences of a few teachers at one school to tell the story of educational reform in America. In ten years Washington Irving Elementary School rose from being a typically underperforming "bad" school into a very effective setting for learning.
      1. How did the educational reforms affect the student's sense of self? How did the student's family situations affect their educational experiences? How did the school take this into account?
      2. What changes in bureaucratic structure were important to the school reform? How can teachers resist school reform? How does centralized administration affect school reform? Can you find examples of teacher deprofessionalization in this story?
      3. What informal system, hidden curriculum, and value climate can you observe in this school?
    • Episode 202: Faith
      This episode contains numerous discussions of faith including Muslim-Christian relations in Afghanistan, a man who built a 19 story tall cross, and a white pastor in an all-black church.
      1. Is the 190 foot tall cross a part of the meaning system, the belonging system, or the structural system?
      2. What commonalities to the Muslims and Christians find in their faiths? Are any of their similarities myths, rituals, or symbols?
      3. How would you describe the experience of the white pastor in an all black church from a conflict perspective?
    • Episode 207: Special Ed
      This episode explores experiences individuals have had with special education.
      1. Does special education serve the functions of schools? How so or how not? Do they contribute to social inequality? How so or how not?
      2. In your opinion, are the children in special education programs part of the culture and climate of the school? Why or why not?
      3. How does the bureaucratic element of school systems shape special education?
    • Episode 341: How to Talk to Kids
      This episode explores various ways to communicate with children.
      1. Can the lessons we learn through this episode be incorporated into education practices? Why or why not? Is communication breakdown a central problem in education? Why or why not?
      2. One of the hottest contested topic in schools is what should be included in the curricula and what should not. How do we determine what is appropriate for children and what is not?
      3. How does seeing children as something different from adults shape the way we pursue educating them?
    • Episode 2: Small Scale Sin
      These stories feature individuals who have committed non-violent crimes and the ways that they define what behavior is or is not a sin.
      1. Your text explains how technology impacts religion. How do you think the technological nature of these crimes related to the rationalizations these individuals use to explain why their crimes are not sins?
      2. How do the teenage boys draw the distinction between which behaviors are sacred and which are profane?
    • Episode 350: Human Resources Act One
      This episode discusses bureaucracy. Act One specifically highlights bureaucracy in a large public school district.
      1. How does this episode describe the bureaucratic structure of schools? How does this change the climate of the school? How does this change the way the teachers identify themselves?
      2. Many sociology majors end up working in human resources departments. How would you see the information you have learned in this class being helpful in human relations? Could you see sociological knowledge helping resolve one of the stories in the acts in a more positive way? How so or how not?
      3. How could schools work with teachers in a way that addressed issues between teachers that uphold the educational climate and value climate of schools?
      4. Does the Rubber Room serve any functions for the New York City Schools? What is the purpose for its existence?
  • Video Resources
    • TED: Diane Benscoter: How Cults Rewire the Brain
      A former Moonie, or member of the Unification Church, describes her experience as a cult member and explains how cults indoctrinate their members.
      1. According to Benscoter, what makes cults or extremist religious organizations so dangerous?
      2. What aspects of the modern world could strengthen the appeal of cults or religious extremism?
    • Frontline: Inside the Teenage Brain
      This episode takes a mostly biological approach to explaining teenage behavior. However, it is useful to show how interdisciplinary research can help us better understand how to craft social environments to best cultivate human capabilities.
      1. This video discusses biological and physiological impacts on the teenage body. However, even with the heavy biological focus, do you notice social undertones creating these teens’ experiences or making them important?
      2. Educators have to deal with cognitive issues when trying to convey material to students. However, most of their training is centered on education methods. Would it be fruitful for educators to learn and incorporate what we know about the functioning of the teenage brain into their teaching strategies? What are some changes you think we could make?
      3. One thing the video showed was how important sleep is for teenaged individuals. What social pressures interfere with our ability to get the sleep that we need? In your opinion, does education interfere with our ability to rest? Why or why not?
    • Frontline: Hand of God
      In this video, the story of a family whose son was sexually abused by their parish priest is detailed.

      1. How would a conflict theorist explain the power that priests have over their congregations and the suppression of abuse allegations by the church hierarchy?
      2. Did Father Joseph sacralize his abuse of Paul? If so, how?
    • Frontline: Medicating Kids
      Frontline: The Medicated Child

      These episodes highlight the medicalization of behavioral issues and describes how the introduction of drugs like ADHD are reforming childhood and children’s experiences in other social institutions.

      1. In your opinion, is ADHD a social problem or a medical problem?
      2. Should teachers be able to diagnose or suggest medical attention for students who they perceive as having ADHD? If the child is a distraction to the learning environment, at what point does it become a social issue?
      3. The Medicated Child serves somewhat as a follow-up to Medicating Kids. How is the medical industry treating children? In your opinion, how will this impact their educational experiences? Expand.
    • Frontline: The Last Abortion Clinic
      In this video, the erosion of abortion rights since Planned Parenthood v. Casey is detailed
      1. Which aspects of religious groups are required to organize and lobby against abortion- the meaning system, the belonging system, or the structural system?
      2. How does the abortion debate represent the differences in interpretation in what is considered sacred or profane?
    • Frontline: Growing Up Online
      This episode is about the impact of the Internet on the current generation. It shows how the Internet is reforming key social institutions, but particularly the relationships of young adults.
      1. Given the increased presence of the Internet in the lives of youth, how do we expect this to transform education? Do you already see evidence of this in your own education experience? How so?
      2. Teachers interviewed for the film argue that technology serves as a divide between them and their students. What can be done to bridge this gap? In your opinion, must teachers, students, and schools work simultaneously to address this divide? Or is there on level where resources would be best concentrated to close this divide?
      3. Another issue the film discusses is the multi-functioning of the Internet as a source of information and a source of entertainment. Can Internet media serve both purposes simultaneously? Why or why not?
    • TED: Liz Coleman's Call to Reinvent Liberal Arts Education
      The president of Bennington College argues a reimagining of higher education in the United States based on an expanded idea of the liberal arts.
      1. According to Coleman, what is the price of increased academic specialization?
      2. Do you think a radical change in higher education, similar to what Coleman suggests, is even possible? Why or why not? What would some of the major obstacles be in establishing a new way of learning?
    • YouTube: Teacher Expelled Over Religion
      This video details the story of Chris Comer, a science teacher who was fired for failing to teach intelligent design in her Texas classroom.
      1. How would conflict theorists explain the inclusion of intelligent design into mandated curriculums?
      2. With the growth of secularism, how do you explain the rise in the teaching of intelligent design?
    • YouTube: Rate My Professors
      In this news clip from a college television station, students and instructors discuss the impact of
      1. Do you agree with the students interviewed in terms of what makes a good teacher? In terms of what makes a good student? Why or why not?
      2. Ultimately, instructors create their philosophy of teaching only in part with what students recommend. Is teaching in a way that students like necessary for individual’s educations? The institution of education? Why or why not?
      3. An interesting activity might be to visit, visit an institution that you do not attend to look up professors with “Professor Strikes Back” video. Where do you see inconsistencies between what students expect and what teachers? In your opinion, which group is more interested in the institution of education? How so?
    • YouTube: Iran's Cosmetic Craze
      This short video describes what might seem like a surprising phenomenon: the rising popularity of plastic surgery in the country of Iran.
      1. Iran is a strongly religious country that is governed by Islamic Law. The video states that police freely restrict Western hairstyles and clothing, yet there has been no equivalent restriction on plastic surgery. What do you think might account for this discrepancy?
      2. Why do you think people in Iran have so freely embraced plastic surgery?
    • YouTube: A Vision of Students Today
      This video portrays how some students feel about their college experience as documented by one instructor and this class.
      1. Do you believe that this accurately portrays your educational experience? How so and how not?
      2. At the end of the video, it suggests that technology is revolutionizing education. What impact do you see technology having on your education? Is this advantageous and/or limiting, in your opinion?
      3. Can many of the problems the video discusses be solved by technology? If so which ones? How so or why not?
      4. If you were to create a university, what would it look like? What problems would you be certain to address? What problems do you anticipate would surface?
    • YouTube: Ritual of Religious Worship
      This video introduces the ritual of religious worship, step by step (specifically, temple worship in Taiwan), to let the audience understand some of the dos and don'ts, and to show how the many gods are worshipped in various ways.

      1. What does this video tells you about the social construction of religion?
      2. What examples did you see of myths, rituals, and symbols?
      3. Discuss how each of the three components of religion (meaning system, belonging system, and structural system) are supported through the rituals shown in this video.
    • YouTube: Teachers of the Year: "Change NCLB"
      This clip shows an assembly of Teachers of the Year from numerous states in the U.S. together to address the impact of the No Child Left Behind policy on American schools
      1. The teachers of more than half of the states in the United States assembled to speak against the renewal of No Child Left Behind. What problems do they have with the policy? Do you agree or disagree that these are problems that need to be addressed? Why so or why not?
      2. Accountability seems to be a major concern in NCLB. Is there a way we could address the issues these teachers seem concerned with while also ensuring that accountability standards be maintained? At what level of analysis should policy makers most strongly focus on accountability?
    • YouTube: Mayor Giuliani on Improving Our Schools
      This is a speech given by Rudy Giuliani when he was mayor of New York City to explain why he was in favor of school choice as a way to reform schools.
      1. Why does former Mayor Giuliani favor school choice? In your opinion, will school choice solve problems experienced by the average student? Why or why not?
      2. Former Mayor Giuliani also argues that bureaucracy is a major issue in modern education. In what ways can we ensure that bureaucracy fulfills the necessary functions within education without causing harm to students’ education?
  • Web Resources
  • Recommended Readings
    • Ann Arnett Ferguson, Bad Boys: Public Schools in the Making of Black Masculinity. Using interviews and participant observation, Ferguson notes that some young black men are being labeled "unsalvageable" or "future criminals" by their teachers. She explores the implications these labels have on the young men's senses of self.
    • Samuel G. Freeman, Small Victories: The Real World of a Teacher, Her Students and Their High School. This book focuses on a year in the life of one New York public school teacher and the "small victories" she achieves, including encouraging a few children's dreams of attending college.
    • Jonathan Kozol, Savage Inequalities: Children in America's Schools
      Kozol examines the numerous inequalities among public schools that result in poor and minority children being taught in woefully underfunded and understaffed schools and being tracked into a permanent underclass.
    • Peter Coolson and Caroline Hodges Persell, Preparing for Power: America's Elite Boarding Schools. Based upon their visits to nearly 60 elite preparatory high schools, Coolson and Persell argue that these schools act as one way of transmitting privilege among the American power elite.
    • Murray Sperber: Beer and Circus: How Big-Time College Sports Is Crippling Undergraduate Education. Sperber critiques the party scene surrounding college sports and argue that universities, rather than attempting to quell it, rely upon this (sometimes dangerous) subculture to recruit students at the expense of quality undergraduate education.
    • Barrie Thorne, Gender Play: Boys and Girls at School
      Thorne observed elementary school boys and girls in the classroom and on the playground. She notes that children divide themselves (and are divided by others) into sex-segregated groups and use games like "cooties" to reinforce difference.
    • Claude S. Fischer, Michael Hout, Martin Sanchez Jankowski, Samuel R. Lucas, and Ann Swidler, Inequality by Design: Cracking the Bell Curve Myth
      The authors of this book attack the idea that intelligence and inequality is genetic. They detail the role educational policy and the structures of society create inequality in society.
    • Jonathan Kozol, The Shame of a Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America. In this best-seller, Kozol details how we have reverted to a racially segregated education system in the United States.
    • Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed. In this classic theoretical work, Freire argues that the poor are educated in a way so that their education is not useful or able to use to develop their human potential.
    • William G. Bowen, Crossing the Finish Line: Completing College at America’s Public University. Bowen provides data analysis that uncovers discrepancies in graduation rates and educational attainment, showing that widespread discrepancies persist despite the efforts of colleges and universities to address them.
    • James E. Rosenbaum, Beyond College for All: Career Paths for the Forgotten Half. Rosenbaum questions the college-for-all model of higher education we follow in the United States. He shows that our beliefs about social inequality negatively influence our ability to offer vocational education to individuals who do not have access for a college preparatory curriculum. Not all young adults, as a result, have a chance at occupational success.
    • Richard Arum, Irenee Beattie, Richard Pitt, Jennifer Thompson, and Sandra Way, Judging School Discipline: The Crisis of Moral Authority
      In this book, the authors present the results of their investigation of the zero tolerance policy used in compulsory education. They argue that this policy and school discipline is much more influenced by the American legal system than the education system. As a result, teens are subjected to school discipline that undermines their educational pursuits.
    • Geneive Adbo, Mecca and Main Street: Muslim Life in America after 9/11
      Adbo examines the experiences of Muslims in America following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. She finds that many Muslims feel that they've been driven to separatism because of the way they were treated by their neighbors following 9-11.
    • Kai Erikson, Wayward Puritans: A Study in the Sociology of Deviance
      In this book, Erikson examines the ways that deviance within a religious community can have positive outcomes for the entire group.
    • Leon Festinger et al., When Prophecy Fails: A Social and Psychological Study. This classic book follows a UFO cult that formed and predicted the end of the world. It explains what happened after the members gave away all of their personal possessions and the end of the world failed to materialize.
    • Aminah McCloud, African American Islam. Using personal interviews, McCloud traces the history of the African American Islam movement and the impact that Islam has in the lives of African American women in particular.
    • Thomas C. Reeves, The Empty Church: The Suicide of Liberal Christianity
      Reeves argues that people are leaving mainline churches in favor of more fundamentalist religions because of the growing secularization of America. He further examines the history of religious groups becoming involved in politics.
    • Anthony Storr, Feet of Clay: Saints, Sinners, and Madmen: A Study of Gurus
      In this book, Storr analyzes various religious gurus to find commonalities among their upbringing and psyches.
    • Stephen R. Warner, New Wine in Old Wineskins: Evangelicals and Liberals in a Small Town Church. Using a case study of one church in small town America, Warner tracks the resurgence of the evangelical movement in the United States through the struggle of the congregation to shape their church's doctrine.
    • Mark Regnerus, Forbidden Fruit: Sex & Religion in the Lives of American Teenagers. Regnerus uses survey and interview data to detail the relationship between religion and sexuality in the lives of American teenagers. Regnerus examines teens of many religious traditions—from evangelical to secular—to show how their sexuality is influenced by their faith.
    • David Sloan Wilson, Darwin’s Cathedral: Evolution, Religion, and the Nature of Society. Wilson suggests that instead of seeing religion and evolution as complementary concepts, arguing that religion itself is a form of social evolution. He strips the belief system from religion, we are more able to see its cultural force in shaping human interaction.
    • Rodney Stark and Roger Finke, Acts of Faith: Explaining the Human Side of Religion. In this text, Stark and Finke show the division between faith and the social factors of religion. They argue that, while sociology has no ability to understand issues of faith and beliefs, sociology can uncover a great deal by working to understand the social dynamics of religion.
    • Pippa Norris and Ronald Inglehart, Sacred and Secular: Religion and Politics Worldwide. A work from the Cambridge Studies in Social Theory, Religion and Politics, this text provides data on religion in many cultures and societies to show how secularization is impacting various world cultures. They show that religion, despite trends of secularization, is still a strong force throughout the world and continues to persist even after many theorists suggest it would fade.

Chapter 12: Politics and Economics: Penetrating Power and Privilege

  • Flashcards
  • Web Quizzes
  • Audio Links
    • Episode 272: Big Tent
      This episode examines the rise of the GOP in American politics.

      1. What is the appeal to the Republican party for the majority of Americans, according to the guests on this program?
      2. In your opinion, what values are important to American voters? How many of the key issues you come up with are related to social issues? How many are economic issues? Given the list that you created, are you surprised by Frank's findings? Why or why not?
      3. Based on your understanding of these Acts, how real is the divide between Republics and Democrats in the United States? How is this divide impacting American politics?
    • Episode 276: Swing Set
      This episode evaluates swing voters and tries to understand how people become undecided voters.

      1. This episode follows a somewhat counterintuitive notion that people who are heavily invested in politics can still be undecided for who they are going to vote for. How does this happen? If voting can be alienating for people who follow politics, how can we expect to bring in voters who are less informed about social issues?
      2. What institutional efforts do candidates go to in order to gain votes? Is this ethical in your opinion? Why or why not? Is it characteristic of a healthy democracy? Why or why not?
      3. Is the indecisiveness surrounding modern elections due to the changes in the political system? Why or why not?
    • Episode 176: Two Nations, One President
      This episode follows the 2001 Presidential election in the United States and the fallout that it created.

      1. We have had a series of close Presidential elections and are likely to have another in 2008. In your opinion, and based on this episode, what impact do close elections have on the American political system?
      2. This episode looked across social institutions to understand the impact of the Presidency. How did the 2001 election impact other social institutions than politics?

      How can people who live in the same society have such different perceptions about social justice concerning such major issues like the 2001 election? If we can disagree about what is happening, is it reasonable to assume that we can agree on how to address problems in the American political.

  • Video Resources
    • Frontline: Obama’s War
      In this episode Martin Smith travels across Afghanistan and Pakistan to see how the President's new strategy is taking shape, delivering vivid, on-the-ground reporting from this eight-year-old war's many fronts. Through interviews with top generals, diplomats and government officials, Smith also reports the internal debates over President Obama's grand attempt to combat terrorism at its roots.
      1. The text discussed the concept of the “nation-state”. This episode discusses the concept of “nation building”. What are the definitions of each of these terms, and how are they related?
      2. What aspects of the concepts of power and authority do you see in this episode? What are the viewpoints of people in Afghanistan and Pakistan? What are the viewpoints of U.S. soldiers, generals, and politicians?
    • TED: Clay Shirky: How Social Media Can Make History
      Clay Shirky describes how social media can bypass traditional sources of power and greatly transform the nature of politics.

      1. What makes the internet so effective at transmitting information and media?
      2. How does new social media technology bypass traditional paths of power?
      3. How is the nature of social media changing the nature of politics?
    • Frontline: The Showdown with Iran
      This episode explores the relationship between the United States and Iran and how changes to the political system in Iraq are shifting U.S./Iran relations.

      1. How do the governments of Iran and the U.S. vary?
      2. This program examines a looming war with Iran as a real possibility for the United States. In your opinion, would war with Iran be best explained by a Functionalist or Conflict perspective?
      3. Ideally, the U.S. and Iran would be able to avoid going to war with one another. What ways are they working to avoid war? In this seeming successful, based on evidence presented in this episode? Why or why not.
      4. In your opinion, what, if anything, would justify war with Iran?
    • Frontline: Ten Trillion and Counting
      This episode traces the politics behind this mounting debt and investigates what some say is a looming crisis that makes the 2008-2009 financial situation pale in comparison.

      1. What type of economic system does the U.S. currently have? Do you think that type of system is more or less likely to result in economic crises such as the situation in 2008-09?
      2. What role has the political system of the U.S. had in this situation? What did the Bush administration do? What is the Obama administration doing?
    • Frontline: Spying on the Home Front
      This show examines how the role of the political system and the citizen has changed since the terrorist attacks in the United States in September 2001. How do citizens and governments negotiate issues of security in the United States? Should this be changed, in your opinion? Why or why not?

      1. The text highlights characteristics of a democracy. Does the seizure of information promote or infringe on these characteristics? Explain.
    • Frontline: Hot Politics
      This episode follows the issue of global warming and how it became one of the central issues in contemporary politics.
      1. We typically view our political system as polarized, or very divided between Republicans and Democrats. How is the global warming issue able to overcome polarization?
      2. What role has science taken in the global warming debate? In your opinion, are there any issues that social scientists study likely to have as big of an impact on politics as global warming? Why or why not?
      3. What factors beyond science and bipartisan support have made us willing to address global warming as a society?
    • Frontline: Cheney’s Law
      This episode explores the power of the executive branch and how one particular policy has changed this.

      1. How does Cheney’s law redistribute power in the United States?
      2. We often think of the President as the most important political figure in American politics. Does this program question that in any way?
      3. In your opinion, was Cheney successful due to his structural position in our political system, because of his individual efforts, or because of the structure of American politics? Explain.
      4. How often is it necessary to examine the distribution of power in a society, in your opinion? Are there defining moments that make it more or less important? Should it happen in times of transition? Explain.
    • Frontline: On Our Watch
      This episode follows Sudanese politics and how they evolved into the Darfur genocide.

      1. What role did the exercise of power play in the Darfur genocide?
      2. What failures in national politics contributed to or escalated the conflict in the Sudan? What about failure in global politics?
      3. Issues like Darfur often speak to the importance of legitimated power in a society. Would these issues have been avoided without political instability in the area? Why or why not?
      4. How were forms of violence used in the Sudan to attempt to seize power? Was this power recognized? Would you constitute these efforts as terrorism? Why or why not?
      5. Can you use the Social World model to explain the horrors of genocide in the Sudan? Why or why not?
    • YouTube: Naomi Klein on China and the Olympics
      This clip is of an interview with Naomi Klein discussing her dissent to the 2008 Summer Olympic Games being held in China.

      1. How does China’s government vary from democracy in the United States?
      2. What is the relationship between politics and the economy in China, according to Klein? Do you agree with her opinion? Why or why not?
      3. In your opinion, which rights are most important for a political system to grant to its constituents? At what cost should states go to in order to offer these rights to their citizens?
    • YouTube: President Obama’s Blackberry
      This first clip from CNN discusses President Obama’s love of technology, including his new secure Blackberry. President Obama is the first president to insist on carrying a personal digital assistant, although there were initial concerns over security. (Note: if you would like to see better video quality with this story, it’s available at
    • This second clip is an interview with an author of the book “Obama’s Blackberry”, which is a humorous book full of (fake) email and text messages that President Obama might get on his personal Blackberry.
      1. President Obama has said that he wants to communicate personally with staff to avoid “getting stuck in a bubble.” In what ways could this change the way Presidents (who are typically cut-off from the day-to-day lives of average Americans) connect with citizens, and vice versa? What are some possible drawbacks?
  • Web Resources
    • The United States Government
      This website contains links to a great variety of government resources and information
    • The White House
      The White House web site, with press releases and statements from the current administration
      A source for information on progressive perspectives on American politics
    • The Democratic Party
      Homepage of the U.S. Democratic Party
    • The Republican Party
      Homepage of the U.S. Republican Party
      One of the web pages for people interested in the activities of the U.S. Tea Party
    • The Independent Party
      Homepage of the Independent American Party
    • The Green Party
      Homepage of the Green Party of the United States
    • The Socialist Party
      Homepage of the US Socialist party
    • The Power Elite (C. Wright Mills)
      This website contains excerpts from C. Wright Mills’ power elite.
    • The Cato Institute
      Website of a conservative political think tank.
    • ASA Section on Political Sociology
      The ASA Section on Political Sociology promotes the scholarly research and professional activities of those concerned with a sociological understanding of political phenomena.
    • National Journal
      The National Journal is a nonpartisan American weekly magazine that reports on the current political environment and emerging political and policy trends
    • Project Vote Smart
      A source for political information with regard to voting and political candidates
    • U.S. House of Representatives
      Homepage for the U.S. House of Representatives
    • U.S. Senate
      Homepage for the U.S. Senate
    • Federal Election Commission
      Official source about financing campaigns for President, U.S. Senate, and the House of Representatives
    • League of Women Voters
      Non-partisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation of citizens in government
    • Transparency International
      A global civil society organization that is leading the fight against corruption brings people together in a powerful worldwide coalition to end the devastating impact of corruption on men, women and children around the world.
      A website that strongly argues in favor of the fre market as a solution to all social problems
  • Recommended Readings
    • James Barber, The Presidential Character: Predicting Performance in the White House. Barber uses a number of social sciences (sociology, psychology, and history) to determine the characteristics that made Presidents Taft through Bush successful (or not) in office.
    • Donald L. Bartlett and James B. Steele, America: Who Really Pays the Taxes?
      Bartlett and Steele explain how the upper class and major corporations use tax code loopholes to avoid paying taxes on the majority of the income they earn, leaving the middle and working classes to foot the bills.
    • William Domhoff, The Powers That Be. Domhoff provides a history of the press, including the political pressures that the government and corporate sponsors place upon it to "shape" the news in a particular direction and the ways that the press was used to report some of the largest political scandals of all time.
    • Seymour M. Lipset, Political Man: The Social Bases of Politics
      In this book, the author examines some of the social factors that are related to political concepts like stability and change.
    • Neil de Mause and Joanna Cagan, Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money into Private Profit. Here, the authors explain the ways that private franchises profit off of public money in sports both through the use of tax dollars to build new stadiums and through the higher ticket prices as a result.
    • C. Wright Mills, The Power Elite. In his classic book, The Power Elite, C. Wright Mills examines a trilogy of institutions that command most of the power in the United States: the military, corporations, and the political elite.
    • Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism
      Klien examines the Bush Administration from a political economy prospective to examine how neo-liberalism capitalism has interfered with democracy.
    • Thomas Frank, What's the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America. Frank discusses the success the Republican party has had connecting with middle America through the division of social class and political interests.
    • Karl Polanyi, The Great Transformation. In this theoretical classic, Polanyi argues that laissez-faire markets are not self-regulating, but instead are carefully and thoroughly socially constructed through social relations.
    • Morris P. Fiorina, Culture War? The Myth of a Polarized America
      In this book, Fiorina challenges that political polarization is real in America. Instead, he argues that it is largely a product of the Media because America is a land of political moderates.
    • Pamela Paxton and Melanie Hughes, Women, Politics, and Power: A Global Perspective. Paxton and Hughes present a quantitative analysis of the changing representation of women in politics in various nations. They show how structural forces, like historical factors and gender ideology account for women’s experiences in politics.
    • Francis Fukuyama, America at the Crossroads: Democracy, Power, and the Neoconservative Legacy. Fukuyama examines the extent to which the Bush administration’s policies are influenced by neoconservative thought.
    • Fareed Zakaria, The Post-American World. This book examines the global consequences of the rise of nations other than the United States having influence over the global economy and political system.

Chapter 13: Population And Health: Living on Spaceship Earth:

  • Flashcards
  • Web Quizzes
  • Audio Links
    • Episode 103: Scenes from a Transplant
      In this episode, an NPR reported goes from the world of the healthy to that of the sick when she enters a hospital in an attempt to get cancer treatment
      1. What aspects of the sick role to Rebecca take on?
      2. How do you think Rebecca's age, gender, and social class impacted the type of care she received?
    • Episode 58: Small Towns
      This episode discusses the desperation some people feel to leave small towns contrasted with the freedom they experience living in small towns. Finally, a group of inner city youth explains how the public housing projects that they live in feel like small towns to them.

      1. What issues are pushing individuals from small towns or pulling them toward more rural areas?
      2. Do the public housing projects represent Gemeinschaft or Gesellschaft to the teens?
      3. What holds the small towns together? Mechanical or organic solidarity? What holds the public housing projects together?
    • Episode 52: Edge of Sanity
      In this episode, a number of stories are featured including that of a mental health facility worker David Sedaris's experience with compulsions, and a psychologist who has put together a tape so that other mental health workers can have the experience of "hearing voices".

      1. From a symbolic interactionist perspective, do you think Dr. Deegan’s tapes will help mental health professionals treat their patients? Why or why not?
      2. How do you think David’s experiences would have been different if a label would have been attached to his symptoms?
    • Episode 146: Urban Nature
      In this episode, two types of changes are discussed: urban areas taking over nature, and nature returning to urban areas.
      1. How would you apply conflict theory to the "fight between man and nature"?
      2. How do you think bringing nature back to some urban spaces is related to Simmel, Wirth, and Fischer's ideas about human relationships within cities?
      3. What urban problems are brought up in the segment on urban fishermen?
    • Episode 391: More is Less
      This episode explains the American health care system, specifically, why it is that costs keep rising. One story looks at the doctors, one at the patients and one at the insurance industry.
      1. After listening to this episode, in what ways do you see the economy and politics being linked together when it comes to health care? In what ways are they separate?
      2. What are some common themes in the discussions of how to lower costs? What are some drawbacks to these suggestions?
      3. How are the concepts of power, authority, and negotiation each evident throughout this episode?
    • Episode 170: Immigration
      This episode discusses provisions of the 1996 immigration law that many in law enforcement and even those who voted for it in Congress now agree are too harsh. The stories of immigrants affected by these laws are detailed.

      1. What factors do you think brought the migrants to the United States in the first place (push or pull)?
      2. Which of the four primary theoretical perspectives would you use to explain why so many non-political citizens of Bristol County began attending protests?
  • Video Resources
    • Frontline: Hot Politics
      This episode comments on the U.S. withdrawal from Kyoto. It also explains the ways that the United States is contributing to the world environmental problem and remarks upon our lack of response.
      1. After watching the program and looking at map 15.1 in your text, what relationship do you see between environmental problems and percent urban population?
      2. How would conflict theorists explain the Bush administration’s attempts to censor scientific findings?
    • Frontline: Diet Wars
      In "Diet Wars", Frontline explores the multi-billion dollar diet industry, the rules of which are often contradictory
      1. How does obesity affect the health of the American population?
      2. How would you explain the contradictory messages the diet industry sends from a conflict perspective?
      3. What symbols do you notice surrounding the diet products in this video themselves? What do you think those symbols mean?
    • Frontline: The Alternative Fix
      In this video, the growth of alternative medicine treatments and the studies taking place to determine their effectiveness are explored.
      1. How does alternative medicine differ from allopathic medicine?
      2. Why do you think some U.S. doctors are so reluctant to accept alternative treatments? How is this mindset related to the history of the American Medical Association?
    • Frontline: The Age of AIDS
      This video describes the pandemic of HIV/AIDS and the disproportionate impact it has had on developing nations.
      1. How would conflict theorists explain the fact that HIV/AIDS has disproportionately affected people in developing nations, particularly women and children?
      2. What impact do you think the continuing spread of HIV will have on the mortality rates in developed countries? In developing countries?
      3. What social factors have contributed to the end of needle exchange and sex education programs?
      4. How has the nature of the health care system in the United States affected persons living with HIV/AIDS and their access to potentially life saving drugs?
    • Frontline: Living Old
      This video focuses on America's "oldest old" (over age 85) and explains the social and cultural changes that the country should undergo as a result of this growing population.
      1. How does the demographic rise of the "oldest old" affect other social institutions?
      2. How would functionalist theorists explain the phenomenon of choosing quantity of life over quality of life?
      3. How would rational choice theorists explain the phenomenon of choosing quantity of life over quality of life?
      4. How would conflict theorists explain why people from industrialized nations live longer than people in most other countries in the world?
      5. How do you think that the growing population of oldest old has changed the definition of what it means to be elderly in America?
    • Frontline: The Medicated Child
      The 4000% increase in diagnoses of bipolar disorder is illustrated through the stories of three children and their families. The program also discuses the attempts of doctors to help these children manage their symptoms.
      1. How do you think the increase in labeling of children with this disorder has affected the way that they have been treated? Do you think they would be better off or worse off without the label?
      2. Do you think that these children should have any say in whether they receive treatment? Why or why not?
    • Frontline: The Undertaking
      In this episode, the experiences of a family of funeral directors is chronicled.
      1. What do you think the way that we treat the dead in the United States says about our feelings on mortality?
      2. Given the current population trends in the United States, what do you anticipate will happen with the funeral industry in the future?
    • TED: Eric Topol: The Wireless Future of Medicine
      Eric Topol claims that future devices will be able to wirelessly monitor our health and vital statistics.

      1. What do you think about the future presented by Topol? Would you want all of your vital signs monitored by a wireless device? What are the benefits or drawbacks of this kind of technology?
      2. How would these new devices fit into the conflict perspective on health and illness?
    • Frontline: Sick around the World
      In this report, the health care systems of Great Britain, Japan, Germany, Taiwan, and Switzerland are detailed.

      1. How would you classify the type of health care system that each of these countries has?
      2. Compared to the United States, which features of these systems do you think are better? Which features of these systems do you think are worse?
    • TED: Gary Lauder's New Traffic Sign: Take Turns
      In the hopes of cutting down on traffic accidents and alleviating gridlock, Gary Lauder suggests an idea for new traffic signs.
      1. How would these new street signs cut down on accidents? Why?
      2. How could new street signs alleviate the problem of traffic in crowded areas?
    • YouTube: Maggot Medicine
      In this National Geographic video, maggot therapy in the U.S., in which live maggots are placed within wounds, is detailed (Warning: Graphic)
      Do you consider this a form of alternative medicine? Why or why not?
      1. How might global health care be impacted by this cheap, yet effective therapy?
    • YouTube: Sing-A-Long
      This humorous sing-a-long produced by the Sean Kimerling Testicular Cancer Foundation is about doing self-exams for testicular cancer.
      1. What audience do you think this song is trying to target?
      2. Given that men are less likely to go to the doctor than are women, do you think this is an effective strategy for encouraging men to see a physician? Do you think a more "professional" message would work better? Why or why not?
  • Web Resources
    • Center for Studying Health System Change
      This site offers research briefs, reports, and policy information about the health care system.
    • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
      The CDC website offers comprehensive information on a variety of health-related topics, including disability, injury and violence, and workplace health and safety.
    • National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS)
      NCHS is the Nation’s principal health statistics agency, compiling statistical information to guide actions and policies to improve health
    • National Institutes of Health (NIH)
      The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the primary Federal agency for conducting and supporting medical research.
    • Global Health Council
      This council’s stated goal is to provide “equality in global health”. The website provides information on infectious diseases, women and children’s health, and HIV/AIDS around the world.
    • Social Gerontology and the Aging Revolution
      This website is a comprehensive resource for the sociology of aging, a topic that is touched on in the text. It includes the impacts that an aging population has on other institutions in society, resources, and the ways that the health of the elderly differs based on social positions.
    • World Health Organization
      WHO is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations. The website provides access to a significant amount of health-related information from around the world.
    • Pan American Health Organization
      Regional office of the World Health Organization
    • United States Census Bureau
      This site provides access to information about the U.S. population as well as the populations of other countries.
    • American FactFinder
      This site offers demographic data from the 2000 Census and other census surveys
    • Guttmacher Institute
      This site provides information on fertility, fecundity, birth control, and abortion
    • Population Council
      This site offers information on numerous topics including HIV/AIDS, gender and family household demography, and morbidity
    • The United Nations Population Fund
      This site includes information on numerous topics on worldwide population issues, including news stories and policy solutions.
    • Central Intelligence Agency Factbook
      The CIA’s fact sheets on virtually every country in the world include information on population, the economy, and transnational issues
    • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
      Links to information about citizenship and immigration.
    • Population Reference Bureau
      The Population Reference Bureau informs people about population, health, and the environment, and empowers them to use that information to advance the well-being of current and future generations.

  • Recommended Readings
    • Michael Bloor, The Sociology of HIV Transmission
      In this book, Bloor examines group phenomena such as needle sharing and unprotected sex that leads to HIV transmission using sociological research methods to separate myths from reality.
    • Anne Fadiman, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures
      This book explores the story of Lia Lee, a child whose epilepsy and subsequent treatment by American doctors comes into conflict with her parents' Hmong culture.
    • Geyla Frank, Venus on Wheels: Two Decades of Dialogue on Disability, Biography and Being Female in America. Frank provides an ethnographic and life history of Diana DeVries, who was born without arms or legs and who chooses not to use prostheses. Frank also details the methodological challenges of telling DeVries' story without taking it over.
    • Lucy Grealy, Autobiography of a Face. Grealy explains what it is like having grown up with one-third of her jaw missing from a potentially terminal cancer. She discusses her competing desires to be accepted by her peers and to be seen as "special."
    • J. Eric Oliver, Fat Politics: The Real Story behind America's Obesity Epidemic. Oliver explores what he calls "the real problem", not obesity but the panic over obesity that has led to a multi-billion dollar diet and fitness industry.
    • Thomas Scheff, Being Mentally Ill: A Sociological Theory. Scheff examines mental illness as a violation of socio-normative behaviors. In addition, he explores the hotly contested issues of pharmaceutical intervention and even the labeling of mental illness itself.
    • Ichiro Kawachi and Bruce Kennedy, The Health of Nations: Why Inequality is Harmful to your Health. The authors look at how social class inequality influences the health and mortality of individuals in society. They also show how the stratification system influences the overall health of a nation.
    • Greg Critser, Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World. A journalist by trade, Crister uses the sociological imagination to show how historical and structural forces have transformed the American food industry resulting in widespread obesity.
    • Jill Quadagno, One Nation, Uninsured: Why the U.S. Has No National Health Insurance. Quadagno shows how the U.S. lacks a national health system mainly because important social forces—insurance companieis, small-businesses, and the American Medical Association—opposes it. She also shows how a cultural shift is necessary before national healthcare could be a possibility.
    • Rachel Carson, Edward O. Wilson, and Linda Lear, Silent Spring (2002 Special Edition) .Carson et al. note that the same problems she first drew attention to in 1962 (the use of pesticides that seeped into the food supply) still exist.
    • Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, and Jeff Speck, Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream
      The author argues that as the structure of suburbs has changed they have actually become less functional in ways that disproportionately disadvantage women, children, and the elderly.
    • Paul Ehrlich and David Brower, The Population Bomb
      In this classic piece, the authors predicted a Malthusian future based upon surging population growth.
    • Douglas S. Massey, New Faces in New Places: The Changing Geography of American Immigration. In this book, Massey explores the recent phenomenon of immigrants settling into small-town America, rather than just gateway cities. He explains the ways that small town residents are reacting to their new neighbors and the implications for the economy and family life.
    • Thomas Sieverts, Cities Without Cities: Between Place and World, Space and Time, Town and Country. Sieverts investigates the rise of the "meta-city" (multiple cities linked by transportation routes). He concludes that individuals feel less of a connection to their own communities as a result of the geographic changes they've undergone.
    • William Julius Wilson, When Work Disappears: The World of the New Urban Poor. Wilson investigates aspects of the inner city (e.g., the rise of fatherless families, gang violence, and drugs), which many blame on the "culture of poverty." Wilson concludes that structural factors (a lack of jobs and high levels of social inequality), rather than individual factors have led to many of the problems of the inner city.
    • Sharon Zukin, Naked City: The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places
      Using New York as case study, Zukin shows the influence of authenticity on a city. Efforts to maintain authenticity influence housing costs, racial and ethnic make-ups of neighborhoods, and consumption patterns.
    • Lance Freeman, There Goes the Hood: Views of Gentrification from the Ground Up. Freeman interviews residents of three New York city neighborhoods to explore their beliefs about gentrification. Freeman uncovers that residents see positives and negatives in gentrification and the process can be neither sees as solely a social problem or a welcome solution to urban poverty.
    • Thomas L. Friedman, Hot, Flat and Crowded 2.0: Why We Need a Green Revolution and How It Can Renew America. An update to his original work, Friedman argues that the growth of a global middle class has created a driving need for a green movement that focuses on sustainability. This Green movement, he suggests will bolster the American and the global economy.

Chapter 14: The Process of Change: Can We Make a Difference?

  • Flashcards
  • Web Quizzes
  • Audio Links
    • Episode 158: Mob Mentality
      This episode discusses the pleasure, and the terror, of being part of a rampaging, angry mob.
      1. What are the differences between a mob, riot, panic, fad, and fashion? Which of these concepts did you see in these stories?
      2. Why were the people in these stories involved in mob-like actions? Were they working for social change? Were they successful?
    • Episode 131: The Kids Are Alright
      This episode works to uncover the involvement of young adults in social movements in honor of the student protests in Tiananmen Square.

      1. This episode examines why people participate in social change from many different perspectives. In your opinion, drawing from your interpretation of the episode, why do people participate in social movements?
      2. The various acts suggest that our actions are rarely interpreted in the ways they are intended. What implication does this have for social movements and social change?
      3. Desire for social change does not always include a vision of desired change that most of us would perceive as ideal. Is there a way to censor social movements so that the ‘good’ movements (the ones in line with mainstream cultural values and goals) see more success than the ‘bad' movements? Why or why not?
      4. What role do youth play in social change?
    • Episode 254: Teenage Embed, Part Two
      In this episode a young man named Hydar Akbar goes to Afghanistan with his father who is working for change as the governor of the Kunar province.
      1. How does the situation of Hydar and his family fit into the social world model?
      2. How would you classify the various social movements in this environment? What are the apparent stresses and strains in the society?
      3. Can you think of any cyclical theories that could explain what you've heard in this story? How does globalization factor into the story? How does the story fit into world systems theory?
    • Episode 364: Going Big
      This episode introduces people who have undertaken ambitious, sweeping measures to solve all kinds of problems.
      1. How did Geoffrey Canada enact change on the individual level, and the institutional level?
      2. Can Canada's ideas be implemented on the national, or macro, level? What changes might be necessary? What problems could arise?
      3. What theory of social change do you think most applies to Geoffrey Canada's Baby College and other programs?
    • Episode 126: Do-Gooders
      This episode examines altruism and how people work to create change.
      1. This episode examines social acts on the micro-, meso-, and macro-level. Can meaningful social change, specifically acts that have the potential to transform society, occur at each level? Why or why not?
      2. The fact that this episode follows do-gooders as a curiosity suggests that our culture is not necessarily committed to changing society for the better. Are we generally committed to doing good in American society? In the global society? Why or why not?
      3. As this episode, social change for the better can experience differing levels of success and failure. How do you explain the variation of success between these two stories? In your opinion, is the potential for failure the biggest barrier for social action? Why or why not?
    • Episode 170: Immigration
      This episode evaluates a key immigration law established in 1996.
      1. Immigration is likely to play a key role in social change in contemporary global society. How do barriers to citizenship impact the lives of immigrants? How does this impact the role immigrants will play in social change?
      2. How do social movements surrounding the law impact the way structures interpret the policy? How was this policy able to engage people who were otherwise apolitical? Does this suggest the movement was successful? Why or why not?
      3. There have been several changes to U.S. immigration policy since this episode was broadcast, given the incidents of September 11, 2001. What change do you foresee for immigrants in America?
  • Video Resources
    • Frontline: Is Wal-Mart Good for America?
      This episode explores how Wal-Mart has revolutionized all aspects of the product chain and the impact this has had on the globalization of capitalism.
      1. How is strengthening global capitalism shaping social change? How is this impacting individuals? Nations? Companies? The global system?
      2. How was Wal-Mart able to redefine the economy system? In your opinion, does this benefit nations like China who manufacture the majority of goods sold in Wal-Mart stores? Why or why not?
      3. To address the title of the program, is Wal-Mart good for America? Why or why not?
    • Frontline: News War
      This four-part series explores the role of the Media in contemporary America. The first two parts examine sources and framing. The third looks at the evolution of the Media and the final shows how globalization is changing the Media industry.
      1. In your opinion, what role does the media play in social change? How is this evident in News Wars?
      2. This episode mainly focuses on the media and social change in the U.S. Is the media's role similar on a global scale? Why or why not?
      3. The episode also examines the shift in the balance of power from print to online media. How does this reflect social change? In your opinion, is this a social problem? Why or why not?
    • TED: Sendhil Mullainathan: Solving Social Problems with a Nudge
      Mullainathan describes stubborn social problems that have a solution, but still continue to plague us.
      1. Can you think of other social problems that have an obvious solution, but continue to stubbornly persist?
      2. Why do you think the "last mile" is so difficult to overcome?
      3. How does Mullainathan think that "last mile" problem can be overcome?
    • Frontline: Colombia: The Coca-Cola Controversy
      This video shows the protest countries and organizations have about Coca-Cola's business practices and how this is impacting the global and consumer landscape.
      1. This video examines The Coca-Cola Controversy as both a national and a global issue. What factors make it a national issue in Columbia? What issues make it a national issue?
      2. One thing that makes the issue with Coca-Cola so difficult is the lack of international laws regarding labor and/or industry. In your opinion, does a global body need to be created to monitor and create international law? Why or why not?
        1. If one was to be created, how much power should they have? Who would serve on it? Who would sit their agenda?
        2. As the influence of globalization spreads, is the need for a global government more or less necessary? Explain.
      3. What role have social movements played in addressing this issue? Do you feel they have been successful? Why or why not?
    • Frontline: The Last Abortion Clinic
      This episode examines the impact of Roe v. Wade and how states and Pro-Life and Pro-Choice movements are working to challenge and redefine the verdict.
      1. What role does the legal system play in social change? When legal decisions create social change, do they tend to do this in conjunction with popular beliefs? Why or why not?
      2. Social movements mobilized around abortion are some of the strongest in the United States. How have the Pro-Life and Pro-Choice movements worked to create social change around abortion policy? In your opinion, does it seem like one side is more powerful than the other? Why or why not?
      3. Use the Social World model to examine abortion in the United States. What issues exist at each level of measurement?
    • Frontline: Young and Restless in China
      This show follows 9 young adults in China to see how the political and economic changes the nation is experiencing is impacting their lives.
      1. How do the individuals profiled in the video deal with the social change they experience living in modern China?
      2. Is social change experienced different between young and older members of a society? Why or why not?
      3. What structural changes seem to be particularly guiding Chinese society? How are these shaping a different life experience between youth in China and their parents or their political leaders?
      4. How is life different for youth in China and youth in America?
    • YouTube: Intolerable Beauty - Portraits of American Mass Consumption
      This video displays the work of Chris Jordan, an American artist, who uses enhanced photography to make pictorial images of consumer waste in America.
      1. Consumption in modern capitalist societies is one focus of the environmental movement. Were you aware of the volume of goods Americans are consuming? Does this constitute a social problem?
      2. Do you believe that movement effort to get Americans to consume less will be successful? Why or why not? Do you believe they are necessary? Why or why not?
      3. Some scholars argue that consumption should be viewed as a choice and even a human right. Therefore, as large nations like India and China develop and gain economic resources, do you think they should be able to consume at the same volume as the United States? How do we allow this without harming society?
    • YouTube: Rethinking Food Crisis Solutions
      This clip from Al Jazeera shows the problems with food security in the less developed nations and the relationship between globalization and food security.
      1. What role does technology play in addressing social problems related to food security?
      2. What problems, beyond hunger, does food shortage contribute to in the global society?
      3. In your opinion, should issues of food shortage take president over all other social movements? Why or why not?
    • YouTube: EPA Behind in Toxic Research
      This video from 2008 discusses a government report which found that the Environmental Protection Agency faced massive delays in its research of toxic chemicals, which could leave many in the U.S. at risk. After watching this video, visit the EPA’s website:, and do some research to see if things have changed under the Obama administration.

      1. Which theory do you think would best explain one branch of the government (in this case the White House) preventing another governmental organization (the EPA) from doing its job? Why do you think this was done?
      2. What affect might leaving toxic chemicals undetected have on the population dynamics of a society? What effects might we see at all levels of society if companies were banned from using toxic chemicals of any kind?
    • YouTube: History Link WTO Cam: Seattle 1999
      This time-stop video shows the emergence of collective protest in Seattle during the 1999 WTO meetings.

      1. This shot follows the 1999 World Trade Organization protests from the time where people start to gather to the point of police occupation of the area. Does this represent collective behavior or a social movement in your opinion? Explain.
      2. Watching this video, are there points where the structure of the population creates social action? Can people just coming together create action? Or must there be intent behind it? Explain your position.
      3. Do you see any stress or strain through the images of the protest that may lead to the eventual riot and resistance movements? What observations can you make about population and demography and the collective behavior?
    • YouTube: Jeffrey Sachs Letter to the Next President (Part 1)
      These videos cover the State of the Planet 2008 Conference where economist Sachs addresses the importance of global development and the primacy it should take in our policy agenda.
    • Jeffrey Sachs Letter to the Next President (Part 3)
      1. In this series of lectures, Sachs discusses a plan of action for the next President that he feels will address development in the global society. What are your thoughts about Sachs plans? What is the likelihood, in your opinion, of achieving sustainable development?
      2. What other social problems does Sachs believe can be addressed by sustainable development? Do you agree with his assessment? Do you see other issues that can be addressed by sustainable development?
      3. The United States is often criticized for addressing global issues because efforts and funding spent is subtracted from domestic investment. What are the benefits and limitations of seeing global issues as domestic issues, in your opinion?
      4. Do you agree with Sachs that development is a domestic issue? Why or why not?
      This lecture was delivered in March of 2008. Do you see any examples of the Obama Administration putting Sachs ideas or suggestions into action?
  • Web Resources
  • Recommended Readings
    • Crane Brinton, Anatomy of a Revolution
      Brinton examines the English, French, Russian, and American Revolutions in this classic piece.
    • Susan Ferriss, Ricardo Sandoval, and Diana Hembree, The Fight in the Fields: Cesar Chavez and the Farmworkers Movement . This book tells the story of Chavez and his instrumental leadership in the United Farmworkers union, which resulted in better occupational conditions for migrant workers.
    • Alex Haley and Malcolm X, The Autobiography of Malcolm X
      In his autobiography, Malcolm X explains his transformation into a civil rights activist and attempts to inspire others to abolish white racism.
    • Julia Butterfly Hill, The Legacy of Luna: The Story of a Tree, a Woman and the Struggle to Save the Redwoods. In this book, Julia Butterfly Hill recounts her tale of spending 738 days living in a 200-year-old California redwood tree. Her fight against commercial logging drew the attention of fellow protesters, celebrities, and the mass media.
    • Abbie Hoffman, Steal this Book. Hoffman's guide for the modern aspiring hippie explains to individuals that they have the power to overturn the status quo and provides advice from the theoretical to the practical.
    • Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto. Here, Marx lays out his foundational plans for the proletariat overthrow of bourgeoisie capitalism. Marx argues that a class consciousness is necessary for an uprising to occur.
    • Howell Raines, My Soul Is Rested : Movement Days in the Deep South Remembered. Raines' book includes interviews with activists from the American Civil Rights Movement. It also includes the interesting tensions between the older and younger generations of black Americans during the 1960's.
    • Naomi Klein, No Logo: No Space, No Choice, No Jobs
      In this book, Kline discusses branding, or the ability of corporate logos to be transformed into a socially meaningful entity. No Logo exposes the rise of the sweatshop as a rise of global capitalism and consumerism.
    • Thomas L. Friedman, Longitudes and Attitudes: Exploring the World After September 11. In this book, Friedman explores how the global society has shifted in the new millennium.
    • Thomas L. Friedman, The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization. Here Friedman discusses globalization as the key force driving the global society which is polarized around technological development and global integration.
    • Jeffery D. Sachs, The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time
      This book highlights Sachs work as the head of the UN Millennium Project and details a plan how we can end extreme poverty in our lifetime.
    • Pietra Rivoli, The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy: An Economist Examines the Markets, Power, and Politics of World Trade
      Rivoli explores the how consumption in the global north is impacting poverty in the global south by following used clothing from the U.S. and the U.K. to Africa and describing how this global ‘t-shirt trade' has decimated the textile industry in many African nations.
    • Judith Levine, Not Buying It: My Year without Shopping
      In this critique of modern consumerism, Levine describes her year spent without purchasing anything beyond necessities.
    • Jeffrey Sachs, Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet
      In this book, UN Millennium Project Director Sachs identifies four challenges most salient to the global population: global warming, population growth, extreme poverty, and political subversion. Sachs goes beyond simply identifying these issues to detail a concrete plan achievable with a small portion of our national budget that could rectify each major area of concern.
    • Colin Beavan, No Impact Man: The Adventures of a Guilty Liberal Who Attempts to Save the Planet and the Discoveries He Makes About Himself and Our Way of Life in the Process. This book details Beavan and his family’s year long experiment of having no ecological impact. Beavan’s book goes far beyond documenting his individual experiences as he uncovers many social factors that influence our ability to minimize our ecological footprint.

      Dan Clawson, The Next Upsurge: Labor and the New Social Movements
      In this book, Clawson argues that labor movements fuse with social justice social movements in order to be successful. For this reason, Clawson suspects it will take several justice related social movements before labor unions have the membership or influence they had in Post-War America, if they are ever able to regain their influence.