Sociology | Social Change
S215 | 26647 | Brooks

S215: Social Change
Sect. 26647
Professor Clem Brooks 					
Department of Sociology						
Fall 2008, TR 11.15-12.30

In this course we investigate a series of major changes that have
significantly altered family institutions, inequality and poverty,
gender relations, the economy and class structure, government
policy, and mass opinion. A key part of our focus is on the United
States in the historical era since the 1960s. But to fully
understand how and why American society has (and has not) changed,
we consider in detail the important lessons provided by European
democracies such as Sweden and the Netherlands, where high levels of
economic development coexist with much lower levels of poverty and
inequality. This will enable us to appreciate better the remarkable
diversity of developed democracies, a phenomenon that continues to
be poorly-understood in the media and in many political discussions.

These investigations will also introduce us to a key idea of the
course, namely, that the nature and possibilities for social change
are linked to principles around which a society is organized. To
better understand this phenomenon, we consider leading theories of
social and political change advanced by scholars. We probe the
mechanisms underlying contemporary American society and its European
counterparts, considering the likely forms of social change in the
near future. We will also consider implications for activists and
politicians who seek to bring about egalitarian patterns of social