Written Report #1 due Feb 13 in class
Answer all questions below and remember to use the referencing and citation style from the syllabus.
1. Evaluate rational choice theories of deviance.
2. Discuss the authors’ evaluation of biological approaches to explaining deviance.
3. Discuss Messner and Rosenfeld’s (1997) explanation of crime and the “American dream.” What are the strengths and weaknesses of this explanation? Do you see current examples?
4. Discuss the basic assumptions, strengths and weaknesses of the control theory.
Written Report #2 due March 6 in class
Reading: Clinard and Meier chapter “Nonviolent Crime”
1. What is the typical occasional offender like, why do they do it, and how do they compare to T.V. or film criminals? Use a specific case from the media to make your points.
2. Compare the occasional offenders to professional offenders
3. Compare common characteristics of conventional offenders with political offenders. Use examples of each to make your points.
4. Discuss in detail the reasons organized crime is so hard to eradicate.
Written Report #3 due March 20 in class
1. What features of a normal life promote drug use?
2. Find an example of performance-enhancing doping in sports presented in the media in the last year. Provide some details of the case, and use it to discuss the role of drugs in society.
3. What is the evidence for and against calling marijuana a “gateway drug?” What is the evidence for and against calling it medicine?
4. What are the pros and cons of the drug laws and treatment tactics used by other countries presented in the text?
Written Report #4 due April 17 in class
1. What are some of the similarities and differences among different countries mentioned in the book regarding social patterns in suicide? Are there any general trends that appear largely universal?
2. Define the five types of suicide outlined by Durkheim and others in your text, and provide examples of each. Which type is most likely to explain the higher rates of suicide among the elderly and why?
3. Discuss the sociological explanation for suicide you think is the best explanation. Why is it the best?
4. Are suicide prevention centers effective? What are the challenges in evaluating them?
Written Report #5 due May 8 in class
1. What are the basic social patterns of mental illness based on the variables of gender, age, race/ethnicity, and marital status?
2. How does social distress contribute to mental illness?
3. Describe and assess Scheff’s sociological theory of mental illness.