Archive for the ‘Social Problems’ Category

h1

Is the Face of Homelessness Changing?

July 19, 2009

Traditionally, when many people think about a person who is homeless, the first archetype that comes to mind is a long term unemployed male, street beggar, drug user, or, sadly, the mentally ill. However, that may be changing now.

People who were traditionally employed in blue collar jobs (construction, retail, truck driving, factory work, etc.) were the ones who typically became unemployed and lost their homes. Now unemployment is creeping up even higher on the socio-economic scale to include white collar management (factory management, store management, teachers, nurses, etc.). These people, already in debt with credit cards, education loans, car payments, and variable mortgages are losing their homes, too.

With this in mind, many people are becoming critical of “shovel ready job” programs and re-education through community colleges that the current administration is pursuing. They argue that the “new homeless” won’t be helped by short-term, low income jobs. The “new homeless” are often already educated. They charge that the failure isn’t among the unemployed and shouldn’t be the focus of adjustments. Rather than creating “low end,” temporary jobs for “high end” unemployed, the management of the economy needs to be fundamentally changed. It should be regulated less and the types of regulations that are used need to reflect the underlying causes of the recession.

What do you think? Would you like to respond to this article? If so, select one of the topics below:

1. What do you think short term and low paying jobs will accomplish in the long term for our economy?

2. What do you think caused the recession? Some social scientists are now saying that we have “bottomed out” in the Bush Recession and are entering another, separate, discrete recession being caused by factors other than those credited with causing the original recession. What do you think?

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

h1

What is Domestic Abuse?

July 17, 2009

Domestic violence is a growing problem, not only in America but in many other countries, as well. Traditionally, when we speak of domestic violence, we think of men abusing their wives. However, domestic violence also includes wives abusing husbands, parents abusing children, and even children abusing the elderly. Domestic abuse can also take many forms other than physical attacks—it can be economic blackmail, psychological abuse, imprisonment in the home, or social isolation.

Above is an Australian public service announcement. After you have watched it, respond to one of the topics below:

1. Do you think forms of domestic abuse other than psychical violence are as serious? Why or why not?

2. What level of involvement do you think should be required of the public in reporting or preventing domestic abuse?

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

h1

Is Education A Civil Right or a False Promise?

July 17, 2009

Sociologists can divide societies into two broad groups based upon class mobility: open societies and closed societies. Open societies allow for people to move up or down the class structure. For example, a person might be born into a poor family, but later become rich through work, talent, and luck. A closed society, however, doesn’t allow for social mobility; if you are born poor, you will die poor. Of course, most societies don’t fall neatly into these extremes, but instead fall somewhere between.

Some sociologists hold that our society is closer to an open system, while others believe that it is closed for many people. Social scientists who believe that our society is more open argue that it provides “ladders” for motivated people to move upward in both social and economic class. Among the most common of these mechanisms for upward mobility is education. The belief is that all children have the opportunity to acquire an education that will afford them a life-improving career, for example as a lawyer, dentist, engineer, doctor, or nurse. Depending upon their desire and ability, it is argued that most people have the ability to fulfill their life potential through a government-provided education. However, other researchers hold that education is not equal in society, so neither is opportunity.

Watch the video below and if you like, respond to one of the talking points below:

1. How closely do you think education is linked to civil rights in our country?

2. Do you think the author is right and it is time for another civil rights movement? How would you remedy this situation?

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

h1

Global Poverty Spreads

June 29, 2009

Poverty isn’t just a problem in America. When we look at poverty on a global level, poverty in the United States is relatively small by comparison. Almost half the population of our planet lives in poverty—that’s about three billion people! Most are children. The effects of poverty are more serious outside of the United States, as well.

Who lives in poverty  in America and why has changed over the years.

Who lives in poverty in America and why has changed over the years.

Globally, poverty claims more lives than crime, war, terrorism, cancer, or drugs. But it does it in a sneaky and indirect way—disease, hunger, dehydration, exposure, early births, and malnutrition. And the problem isn’t going away or getting better. According to the United Nations, over 70% of the third world’s, or developing world’s, city populations now live, not only in poverty, but slum areas.

Would you like to respond to this posting? If so select a topic below:

1. Many sociologists worry about the spread of poverty in underdeveloped nations because the social structure we take for granted (educational systems, property ownership, economic systems, legal systems, etc.) are absent. They argue this reduces opportunities for people to rise out of poverty. What do you think?

2. Are you familiar with an underdeveloped nation? If so, what problems do you think cause poverty there? Can any of these circumstances be applied to our society? What global or generalizable solutions does this suggest to you for addressing poverty in the world?

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

h1

Is Progress Tearing Down Parts of Our Cities?

June 24, 2009

Do you think "rundown" parts of a city should be saved or destroyed?

Do you think 'rundown' parts of a city should be saved or destroyed?

Back in the 1990s there was a term called “urban pioneers.” These were people who purchased homes or businesses in rundown, impoverished, or abandoned parts of a city. They would then renovate these properties to live in them, rent them to businesses, or gamble that one day they could sell them for a profit. Some sociologists would argue this entrepreneurship resulted in a revitalization of these rundown areas.

Today, urban pioneers are taking different forms. For example, painters, musicians, novelists, and poets are purchasing abandoned homes at auction for as little as 100 dollars. The artists then repair and move into the homes—not with the intention of selling them at a profit—but to live in their own properties within their very small budgets. What results are unplanned urban artists’ colonies.

Some local cities have a different plan. One plan in Flint, Michigan, is to bulldoze certain abandoned buildings and houses. Some of these locations have become fire hazards and/or drug houses, and have devalued the remaining structures. The President has remarked that other cities might want to look at this strategy as well.

Would you like to discuss this topic? If so, please respond to one of the discussion topics below:

1. Some people object to the idea of destroying abandoned buildings because it might increase the costs of rebuilding areas by reducing opportunities for entrepreneurs. What do you think?

2. What other strategies do you think could be employed to revitalize urban areas in today’s economy?

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

h1

A Social Problem: Learning from a Health Care Scandal in Britain

June 22, 2009

Some sociologists have concluded that America is in a health care crisis. What many people don’t understand is that this crisis isn’t about quality of health care, but access to a health care system. In other words, the problem isn’t with the quality of treatment that people get, but whether everyone is actually getting treatment. Health care, especially the most advanced, may be largely limited to those that can afford it. In response to this problem, some people suggest we might want adopt a health care system similar to the ones France or Britain. Below is a CBS news video about a problem with the British approach. Watch the video and, if you like, respond to one or more of the discussion topics below:

1. Do you think the problem of providing health care described in this report is centered in access or quality? In what way does it vary from the major problems we have in the United States’ approach to health care?

2. Do you think a competitive capitalistic model (supplying health care as a commercial commodity not a human social service) could produce or avoid similar problems? What insights does this give you into foundational problems in supplying health care for most societies?

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

h1

A Social Problem: The French Health Care System—Inspiration for an American Solution?

June 22, 2009

In the United States, most people have to pay for their health care. Some sociologists argue that a better way to approach supplying health care services in society is to allow the government to have a stronger hand in regulating the industry. These social scientists point to other countries such as France, Canada, and Britain as inspirational models. Watch the report below from CBS and, if you like, respond to one of the discussion topics below:

1. According to this report, what are some of the major advantages of the French national health care system compared to the American approach to health care? Do you think something similar to the French model might work in the United States? Why or why not?

2. What is the average income of French doctors? Do you think this would affect the number or type of people who would want to become a doctor in America? Would this be good or bad? Does France seem to be having a similar problem? Why or why not?

3. What is a major advantage of the French health care system in responding to emergencies? Does the American model vary in responding to medical emergencies? Which do you think is better? Why?

4. According to this report, the French approach doesn’t suffer from problems of quality or access. What is its major problem? What would you suggest to avoid this problem in France?

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.