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.
Sociological Perspectives on Social Problems
The History of Social Problems
- Private Troubles and Public Issues
- Approaches to Studying Social Problems
Social stratification, class, and poverty
Sex and sexualities
Discussion of two or more of the following topic areas:
- Reaction and Response
- Policy Implementation and Treatment
- 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
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.
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:
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.
At the conclusion of the course the successful student will be able to:
- 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.
- Discuss the actors, interests, and processes by which social factors are constructed as social problems.
- Describe the primary theoretical perspectives used by sociologists in approaching social problems.
- Distinguish between and evaluate the effectiveness of micro, meso, and macro level responses to social problems.
- 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.
- Understand and explain the ways in which structural factors such as age, class, race and gender are related to social problems and issues.
- 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.
- Apply a range of theoretical perspectives to interpret social problems associated with gender, race and ethnicity.
- 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.
- Discuss the ways in which the mass media have become involved in the social construction of social problems.
- 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.
- Evaluate the role of the state/government in addressing social problems.
- Evaluate contemporary social policy in terms of its effectiveness in addressing social problems.
- Understand and evaluate social movement responses to social problems.
- Critically evaluate social problems in terms of the organization and structure of contemporary Canadian society.
Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.
Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system.
A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.
For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.
If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.