1. Answer the question: “What is a social problem?” Explain objective and subjective elements of social problems and reasons for variability in definitions within a society, between societies, and over historical time.
2. Explain the sociological imagination as per C. Wright Mills, and apply it to the abortion issue.
1. In sociological imagination, we understand that social outcomes are based on what we do. Applied to the abortion issue, for example, certain generations are more accepting of abortion while some are not.
3. Trace the treatment of the elderly from a socio-historic perspective, citing the differences in the way elderly are viewed in preindustrial and industrial societies.
1. In preindustrial societies, the elderly are seen as wise, resourceful, and interesting because they have an entire lifetime’s worth of stories, experience, and lessons. On the other hand, the elderly in industrial societies are seen as useless, slow, and dependent because they can no longer work and are now just taking up space and money.
4. How is ageism a form of discrimination and prejudice that has negative impacts on all members of society?
1. Ageism can affect everyone, whether you are young or old. The youth are affected by ageism in that they are labeled as troublemakers, they have more laws like curfew and underage possession, and sometimes they are seen as more innocent which affects young adults. Ageism can also affect the elderly, as they are seen as slow, useless, and a waste of space and money.
5. Contrast the different emphases of the structural-functionalist, conflict, and symbolic interactionist theoretical perspectives on the issue of aging.
1. Structural Functionalist: Complex idea that contains three theories that explain how the elderly deal with their aging: 1) the elderly will disengage from society because they know they are nearing death, 2) the elderly can stay mentally and physically active to become happy, 3) the elderly will remain the same despite aging
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2. Conflict: Society places the elderly on a lower status because the younger working class has more power and strength over the aging people.
3. Symbolic Interactionist: Someone that is old is assumed to be less successful at a job/ activity than a younger person would because that is the society’s stereotype.
6. Does pornography cause sex crimes? Explain your point of view using domestic and international research.
1. Most likely, because it glamorizes violence that kids are exposed to from a very young age.
7. Argue for or against the legalization of prostitution, including two examples of both the pros and the cons. If you want to learn more check out Where did romulus set up a sanctuary for criminals?
1. For Legalization: STDs, Pregnancy, Rape, Crimes can all be regulated 2. For Legalization: Removed from black market, more taxes will be created 3. Against Legalization: It is not a victimless crime, only continues to objectify women. 4. Against Legalization: Most people to not aspire to be a prostitute.
8. Present examples of laws being reactive to the use of drugs by the powerless. (CONFLICT THEORY!)
1. For example marijuana is a criminal offense because it was mostly used by the powerless, and was created to ward off Mexican workers because they were “stealing jobs” from the powerful.
9. Explain the symbolic interactionist perspective on drug use. Include at least five examples where this “lens” is used to identify social influence on drug use.
1. If the initial drug use experience is defined as pleasurable, it is likely to recur, and over time
2. examines the varying meanings that people attach to individual behavior, including drug use. From this perspective, a drug that is defined by one group as part of a religious ceremony may be considered dangerous by another group. Also, a drug may be legal at one point in time, and outlawed later on (e.g., cocaine in the United States). Alternatively, a drug once outlawed may become legal (e.g., cannabis in the Netherlands). Don't forget about the age old question of What are the major features of representative democracy?
3. Drug use is also learned through symbolic interaction in small groups. First-time users learn not only the motivations for drug use and its techniques, but also what to experience
10. Why are people punished for being poor?
A. First of all, it’s not even about the crime. Though crime rates have really not changed in the past few decades, sometimes even declining, more and more people are in prison. The amount of people in prisons has more than quadrupled.
B. Police discrimination plays a huge part in this. Poor people have always been targeted by
the police. They are more likely to be stopped and searched and more likely to be given harsher punishments for minor crimes. Also, as we all know, it’s heavily racially skewed, which is definitely linked to socioeconomic status. Don't forget about the age old question of Where country wwii impoverished citizens, reduced the population, destroyed capital?
C. Another reason is that the bail system penalizes the poor. While the wealthy can pay their way out of trouble, the poor are not so lucky.
D. Also, the wealthy are more likely to receive their “speedy” trial. A large population of people stuck in jail are waiting for their trial, and the poor cannot afford to speed up the process like the wealthy can.
E. Poor people are much less likely to know their rights, understand the legal system, and afford a successful lawyer. They are more likely to end up pleading guilty, even if they are innocent.
F. Laws are made by the strong/wealthy. They make laws to benefit themselves and target the poor.
G. PLEA BARGAINS: Most people do not even get a trial, and instead these criminal cases are finished by plea bargains.
H. Basically, we are living in The Purge.
11. Which of the three theoretical perspectives (symbolic interactionism, structural functionalism, or conflict theory) do you think does the best job of explaining the causes of crime? Why?
1. Conflict theory would most successfully explain the causes of crime because it is focused on how the elite control the poor and the weak. Because the major population of people in prisons and people targeted by police are poor, mentally ill, addicted to drugs, or non white, conflict theory would effectively explain the force that causes people to be involved in crimes. This theory is open to social change, and analyzes the changes rather than sticking to the status quo, like functionalism does. Conflict theorists believe that the division between the upper class and working class are unequal and they are judged and punished unequally. The upper class, because they are in charge of creating the law which ultimately benefits them and punishes the working class. Since the conflict theorists understand the inequality between the classes, they explain crime the best. 12. Is the current system of plea bargaining working? Why or why not? Don't forget about the age old question of What is the meaning of scarcity in economics?
We also discuss several other topics like What is the meaning of homeostasis in the cell?
1. No, because, once again, it heavily targets the poor. People without money, even if they are innocent, are more likely to plea guilty because they are able to skip the trial, save money from a trial, and receive a more lenient punishment. More than 95 percent of
criminal cases were dismissed with plea bargains. The wealthy can afford a good lawyer, make time for a trial, and fight their way out of punishment, while on the other hand, the poor would rather take the punishment, since they feel it is inevitable and they are less likely to understand the legal system as well.