What is Society? How have societies developed historically? How do they distribute wealth, income and other resources? How do they organize political authority and economic power? How do they coordinate work? How do they socialize people to "fit in" with those around them? How do they produce popular culture? This course provides answers to these questions in ways that provide an introduction to the field of sociology. It focuses on a broad range of theory and research showing how sociologists think about and study these questions.
Daily news reports direct much of our attention to social problems such as crime, poverty, prejudice and political corruption. Yet rarely are such reports accompanied by a discussion of the systematic causes of these problems. More often we become witness to an endless stream of media coverage reporting seemingly isolated incidents. Seldom are we informed of the decision-making process by which some social problems become selected for coverage, while others are ignored. The purpose of this course is to subject the coverage of modern social problems to an in-depth, critical analysis. We will attempt to answer such questions as: how does a social problem become defined as such? and what are the causes or sources of various social problems?
The descriptions provided above are actually from Dartmouth College (an Ivy League school).