Sociology | Social Change
S215 | 24933 | Brooks

In this course we investigate a series of major changes that have
significantly altered family institutions, gender relations, the
economy and class structure, poverty, government policy, and mass
opinion.  Much 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, where similar 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 most 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 the leading theories of social and political change
advanced by scholars. We also probe the mechanisms underlying
contemporary American society, considering the likely forms of
social change in the near future.