Cover - Henslin Social Problems 11th

Major Social Problems 102 - Spring 2018

Rio Hondo College Social Science Department- Whittier, California

CRN 30206 (online) (1/27/18 - 5/24/18)

Last date to drop with a refund: 2/9/18 Last date to drop without a "W": 2/15/18 Last date to drop with a "W": 4/27/18

Instructor: Dr. Daniel Roddick



This course is an exploration of how the study of sociology can provide useful perspectives for the study of social problems. Students who have taken an introductory course in sociology should find this to be an opportunity to exercise and develop their sociological imagination. Those who are new to the study of sociology will be introduced to the discipline through the process of engagement with a series of very significant social issues.


In his Invitation to Sociology: A Humanistic Perspective, Peter Berger warns us that "the first wisdom of sociology" is that "things are not what they seem." That is the most interesting part of this course of study. Most of us come to the table thinking that we know quite a bit about the problems of society. These problems and issues are the grist of everyday life. It's not astrophysics. We all have a great deal of direct or indirect experience with the subject matter of this course. However, remember professor Berger's warning. Our certainty that we understand something can became an impediment to learning.

There are two main benefits that may be derived from taking this course. One is quite practical. This will be an excellent opportunity to learn about the nature of current social problems including how they have developed, how they affect the way we live and how these situations may be changed. This is valuable information for the pursuit of many different professions. The second benefit is somewhat less practical, but perhaps more valuable. The course will also provide an opportunity to improve our process of thinking. This benefit is the product of grappling with the very challenge that Berger promises. It is not easy to see beyond our own, well- established views. In learning to do this creative questioning of the taken-for-granted, we develop a very valuable intellectual skill.

There are five specific educational goals for the students in this class:

1. To achieve an understanding of social theory as not only an abstract interpretation of social processes, but as a useful tool for collective and individual decision-making.

2. To achieve an understanding of the sociological perspective which will be a useful tool in the interpretation of each student's own social experiences.

3. To achieve an understanding of the difference between personal troubles and social problems.

4. To achieve an understanding of current social problems through the use of the sociological perspective.

5. To achieve an understanding of social change and its impact on us as individual participants in a changing society.

Throughout the semester, your performance on multiple student learning outcomes will be evaluated. These are skills for which all students who successfully complete this course should be able to demonstrate proficiency. The outcomes which will be assessed include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following:
- The student should be able to demonstrate an understanding of how social problems impact individuals, communities and societies.
- Students should be able to have a comprehension of the diversity of the social experience and perspectives especially as they relate to race, class, gender age and sexual orientation, religion and nationality.

Other learning objectives for this course include:
- The student should understand the structure of society and identify the major elements of social structure.
- Student should be able to explain the concept of the "sociological imagination" and explain its relevance to the study of social problems.
- The student should be able to explain how macro sociology differs from that of micro sociology and the theoretical perspectives associated with each of these major orientations of sociological study.
- Given an article on a specific social problem, the student should be able to describe/identify how the issues surrounding the problem can be interpreted through the use of the three major sociological perspectives. Specifically, the student will evaluate both how the circumstances come to be defined as a social problem and how the problem impacts both the participants and others.
- The student should be able to demonstrate an understanding of how social problems impact individuals, communities and societies.



Henslin, James M. 2014. Social Problems, 11th edition, Allyn and Bacon.
Available for rental or purchase at the Rio Hondo Bookstore, or find online.

Additional Resources:

Internet support for the textbook is available through on-line services.

If you need to improve your study skills, communications skills, or test taking skills for this course, you are advised to seek a tutor’s assistance in the Learning Assistance Center (LAC) located in LR 114.

Other study aides, information on careers in sociology, a sociology Jeopardy game and links to other sociology sites are available at: