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Getting Rich: Financial Markets, Household Finance, and Wealth

The functioning of financial markets and their effect on personal wealth and well-being. Comparison of sociological and economic approaches to markets for housing, stocks and bonds, credit, and related instruments. Major topics: market performance, wealth accumulation, social and economic stratification, personal finance, consumption and luxury fever, business cycles, economic booms and crises, and public policy related to financial markets. One course.

Sport and Society

Sport roles and sport institutions examined using the sociological perspective to help explain different patterns of involvement in sport, the social forces that have created sports organizations, and the consequences of sports participation. The ethical consequences of the modern pressures on athletes in schools and colleges and the commercialism of professional sport. Research paper required. One course.

Sociology of Religion

Classic social scientific answers to questions such as: the nature and origin of religion; its fate in modern societies. How social context shapes religious belief and practice, and how religion influences people, institutions, and societies. Attention paid to continuity and change in American religion. One course.

The Changing American Family

The American family, its composition, functions, organization and perceived importance in the lives of people and in society. Changes—especially the separation of marriage, child-bearing, and child rearing—examined with a view toward understanding the social forces behind them and the personal and social problems that arise in conjunction with the changes. Comparisons across social classes and ethnic and racial groups at different historic periods to show variations in their susceptibility to forces of change. One course.

Sexuality and Society

Sociocultural factors affecting sexual behavior. Changing beliefs about sex; how sexual knowledge is socially learned and sexual identities formed; the relation between power and sex; control over sexual expression. Required participation in service learning. One course.

Nations, Regions, and the Global Economy

The changing configuration of global capitalism, with emphasis on comparing global regions of North America, Latin America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. The internal dynamics of these regions, including the development strategies of selected nations, interregional comparisons (for example, regional divisions of labor, state-society relationships, the nature of their business systems, quality of life issues). Research paper required. One course.

Technology and Organizational Environments

How organizations (governments, private corporations, and non-profit organizations) are affected by the social, technological, and cultural environments in which they operate. Emphasis on how United States and Japanese cultures generate different modes of organization and differing environmental facilitators and obstacles. Competitive strategies (for example, mergers and takeovers) and the impact of technology on organizational structures (for example, the rapid diffusion of information technology). Research paper required, using either quantitative evidence or a case study approach.

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