Sociology | Social Change (3 CR)
S215 | 29180 | Brooks

9:30AM-10:45AM	TR	BH 347

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. We also consider in what ways activists
have (and might) influence the trajectory of social change, perhaps
enhancing the degree of equality and protection of rights in a
turbulent historical era.
A key part of our focus is on the United States since the 1960s. But
to fully understand how and why American society has (and has not)
changed, we consider in detail a series of 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 most many discussions.
To better understand this phenomenon, we probe mechanisms underlying
contemporary American society and its European counterparts,
considering the likely forms of social change in the near future.
Finally, we consider the potential significance of the presidency of
Barack Obama, and how it might bear on themes and questions we
consider in the course of the semester.