Answer each question thoroughly (a minimum of two full paragraphs – a paragraph consists of approximately five-six sentences; I’m not going to count, but be sure your answers are substantive, not just a sentence or two).
Use your best sociological and critical thinking.
1. What is a social problem? Using a social problem as an example, define and explain the four parts of the definition. (You will find a discussion of this in the week one lecture).
2. Is it in everyone’s best interest that social problems are solved? Does everyone want all social problems removed or do some benefit by their presence? If so, give an example.
3. Explain the social construction of reality and give an example as it relates to social problems.
4. Given our history, our rate of violence seems destined to remain higher than that of most other nations. To attain a low and permanent rate of violence will require major structural changes in society. Understanding the social basis of violence is a can be used to implement beneficial solutions. After reading the chapter on violence, what types of structural and beneficial changes do you think the U.S. might implement?
5. Do you think that violent criminals should be treated differently from nonviolent criminals in terms of punishment? Why or why not? Consider the case of criminally negligent manufacturer whose product kills people but who has no actual contact with victims versus the street criminal who kills someone during a robbery.
Evaluation and Grading: Grading of your written work will be based on the following criteria:
• Knowledge and understanding of class discussion, lectures and texts with a sense of relationship between ideas and applications of how the material relates to the larger society.
• Demonstrate that you have thought carefully bout the material and have developed at some depth ideas that reflect the course content and your thoughts about it, supported by the text, class lectures and discussion.
• Your work should work demonstrates the ability to think critically about the social world and your own and others’ position within it. • Follow the guidelines for the exam regarding form and length.
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