Social Issues

Curriculum Guideline

Effective Date:
Course Code
SOCI 1155
Social Issues
Humanities & Social Sciences
Start Date
End Term
Not Specified
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Contact Hours
Lecture: 4 hrs. per week / semester
Method Of Instruction
Methods Of Instruction

The course will employ a variety of instructional methods to accomplish its objectives, including some of the following:  lectures, audio visual materials (including overheads, films), small group discussions, oral presentations (discussion seminars) and specialist guest speakers.

Course Description
This course introduces students to the concepts, methods, and theories of sociology through the examination of social problems. It examines the social conditions and processes related to defining, responding to, and resolving social problems. Social problems to be examined range from personal to institutional issues and include historical as well as contemporary examples.
Course Content
  1. Introduction
  • Private Troubles and Public Issues
  • Approaches to Studying Social Problems
  • Sociological Perspectives on Social Problems
  • The History of Social Problems
    • Definition
    • Mobilization
    • Politicization
    • Reaction and Response
    • Policy Implementation and Treatment
  • Social stratification, class, and poverty
  • Gendered inequality
  • Racialized inequality
  • Sex and sexualities
  • Discussion of two or more of the following topic areas:
    • Substance use and misuse
    • Crime and inequality
    • Social issues for contemporary families
    • Work and workplace issues
    • Health and healthcare issues
    • The environment and sustainability
    • Globalization and social issues
    • Colonialism and neocolonialism
    • War and terrorism
    Learning Outcomes

    At the conclusion of the course the successful student will be able to:


    1. Identify the major social problems evident in contemporary Canadian society, including both microproblems involving interpersonal relations as well as macroproblems involving structural factors and change.
    2. Discuss the actors, interests, and processes by which social factors are constructed as social problems.
    3. Describe the primary theoretical perspectives used by sociologists in approaching social problems.
    4. Distinguish between and evaluate the effectiveness of micro, meso, and macro level responses to social problems.
    5. Discuss the relations between traditionally private and emerging social areas of concern, such as addiction and sexuality, and explain their emergence as focal concerns of social policy.
    6. Understand and explain the ways in which structural factors such as age, class, race and gender are related to social problems and issues.
    7. Describe the social, political and economic contexts of social inequality, with an emphasis on poverty, and explain the ways in which these are socially constructed.
    8. Apply a range of theoretical perspectives to interpret social problems associated with gender, race and ethnicity.
    9. Discuss the ways in which formal institutions, especially the family, formal organizations and the workplace have become redefined in terms of power, violence, diversity and technology.
    10. Discuss the ways in which the mass media have become involved in the social construction of social problems.
    11. Explain the global dimension of social problems, both as sources of Canadian social issues and in terms of the linkages and precedents they provide in interpreting domestic issues.
    12. Evaluate the role of the state/government in addressing social problems.
    13. Evaluate contemporary social policy in terms of its effectiveness in addressing social problems.
    14. Understand and evaluate social movement responses to social problems.
    15. Critically evaluate social problems in terms of the organization and structure of contemporary Canadian society.


    Means of Assessment



    Evaluation will be based on course objectives and will be carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy. The instructor will provide a written course outline with specific criteria during the first week of classes.

    An example of a possible evaluation scheme would be:

    Midterm exam


    Essay assignment 


    Essay outline


    Final exam


    Short written assignment            






    Students may conduct research with human participants as part of their coursework in this class. Instructors for the course are responsible for ensuring that student research projects comply with College policies on ethical conduct for research involving humans.

    Textbook Materials

    Examples of textbooks that may be used for this course include:

    • Holmes, M. et al (2016). Social Problems in a Diverse Society. Toronto: Pearson Education Canada.
    • Tepperman, L and Curtis, J. (2015). Social Problems: A Canadian Perspective. Toronto: Oxford University Press.
    • Mooney, L.A. et al (2012). Understanding Social Problems. Scarborough, ON: Nelson Education Canada.


    Which Prerequisite