SOC 385 The Foundations of American Society

Last offered Fall 2013

An examination of the social, cultural, epistemological, and moral foundations of contemporary American society. This seminar will pay special attention to the: economic and social consequences of the de-industrialization and concomitant globalization of the American economy and America's new debtor-nation status; social and cultural effects of ongoing massive immigration, legal and illegal; increasing bureaucratization of every sphere of life, especially the growth of the leviathan state apparatus; proliferation of claims on public and private bureaucracies fueled by adroit and competing advocacy; clashes between the manifold cultural frameworks that give meaning to personal experiences; institutionalization of adversary political cultures, on both the left and right; entrenchment of centrifugal ideologies of multiculturalism and diversity; polarization of our elites and stalemating of America's political system; and the remarkable multiplicity of moral codes that often conflict with presumably common laws. In all, the course addresses a crucial question: who are we now as a nation? It proceeds entirely through discussion and student presentations of lively contemporary materials. Students are expected to have read certain classical sociological and political texts before the class begins.
Class Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: several class presentations, major term paper
Additional Info: not available for the Gaudino option
Additional Info2:
Prerequisites: none; all students must submit an application essay to be considered for enrollment in this course
Enrollment Preference: Anthropology and Sociology majors
Department Notes: previously Soc 402
Material and Lab Fees:
Distribution Notes:
Divisional Attributes: Division II
Other Attributes:
Enrollment Limit: 25
Expected Enrollment: 25
Class Number: 1290
SOC 385 SEM Foundations Am Society Division 2: Social Studies Robert Jackall
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