Sociological Theory (concepts and terms for which you should have a working knowledge)

  • Main arguments
    • Functionalism
    • Conflict theory
    • Symbolic interaction theory
  • Manifest and latent functions
  • Law of unanticipated consequences
  • Social construction of reality
  • Cultural lag
  • Social pathology theory
  • Social demography
  • Social morphology
  • The demographic transition
  • Human ecology
  • Revolution of Rising Expectations
  • Greenhouse Effect
  • Acid Rain
  • Environmental Racism

 

Ethical Theory

  • Main tenets; two principal criticisms
    • Egoism
      • Descriptive vs. normative
      • Selfish or self-interested?
      • Unfalsifiable hypothesis
      • Libertarianism
    • Utilitarianism
      • Standards of utility
      • Differences between Bentham and Mill
      • Act and rule utilitarianism
      • Dangers of utilitarianism
      • Attractions of utilitarianism
    • Kant, respect, and duty
      • Categorical imperative
      • Definition of respect
      • Why duty is admirable
      • How do we determine what our duty is
      • universalizability
  • Positive and negative rights
  • The Tuskegee experiment
  • The Milgram experiments

Social Issues

  • What constitutes a social issue?
  • Explain triage
  • Construct a counter-program to Roy Beck’s video on immigration (worth two questions)
  • Some have argued that the "economy vs. environment" dichotomy—one  can have either a healthy economy or a healthy environment, but not both—is inherently false.  Provide at least two examples of how a given social practice or public policy can advance both environmental and economic well-being.
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Moral Issues

  • Five questions about moral disagreements
  • Main  arguments for aiding developing countries
  • Main arguments against aiding developing countries
  • Assess the lifeboat metaphor
  • Assess the gumball metaphor
  • How religious traditions affect issues of animal rights

 

Essay Question

  • If existing statistics are reliable, two thirds of the world’s population (roughly 4 billion people) are living in poverty and near starvation, what do you think  ought to be our society’s response to the plight of these people?  Please be sure in your response to address some of the major moral, environmental, and other concerns discussed in class relevant to this issue.