Study Questions for Exam 2


  1. Discuss the differences between open market, laissez-faire economies and socialist or command economies. Where does the U.S. economy fall on a continuum between the two? Where do the economies of most other western democracies fall? To which end of the continuum do Republicans tend to want to move the American economy? Which way do Democrats want to move it? Where do you stand on the issue?
  2. Choose and discuss one of the following and the social problems related to it: (a) globalization and the global economy, (b) corporate power, (c) economic cycles, (d) labor and the labor movement, (e) poverty, (f) workplace safety, harassment, and discrimination.
  3. What is inequality? What is stratification? How are stratification systems created and sustained? What are the major types of stratification in the U.S. Briefly discuss each. What if anything should be done about stratification and inequality in America?
  4. What is mobility? Distinguish between and relate individual mobility, generational mobility, and structural mobility. Discuss mobility in the US.
  5. What is health? What is illness and disease? Are matters of health and illness social problems? Why or why not?
  6. Discuss the emergence of medicine as an institution. What are the major characteristics and features of the American health care system?
  7. What do you consider to be the major health related issues facing America and what should be done about these issues?
  8. Is world population growth a problem for America? Why or why not? What, if anything, can be done to slow world population growth?
  9. Discuss the causes and consequences of the "aging of America." What do you think is the single most important issue we will face as our population ages? Why is this issue important and what can be done about it?
  10. What are the major characteristics and features of American democracy? How does American democracy differ from parliamentary systems? What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of each? Should American democratic processes be reformed? If so, how and why? If not, why not?
  11. What are the major characteristics and features of post-industrial societies? Why are such societies often described as being in the "information age?" What technological innovations define post-industrial societies?
  12. What is mass media? Are mass media important in contemporary western cultures? How are the mass media related to cultural beliefs, values, and ideals? How are the mass media related to power?
  13. What is religion? Is religion an important component of culture? Why or why not? What is religious myth? How and why does it develop? What is religious ritual? How and why does it develop? What is the relationship between religion, religious myth, ideologies, beliefs, values, norms, rituals, and social institutions?
  14. What are some of the characteristics and features of religion in America? What are some of the major social issues surrounding religion and values in the U.S.? What should be done about these issues?