Academics

Course Catalog

GRAD > PPOL-G > 760

Sociological Perspectives on Public Policy and Social Justice

Description:
This course introduces students to sociological perspectives relevant to the study of public policy with a focus on the relationship between public policy and social justice. We will focus on theoretical and empirical work from core aspects of the sociological discipline that are pertinent to these concerns, including urban sociology, political sociology and stratification. The course will cover the following topics: + How do various sociological traditions understand the role of the state and public institutions in relation to structures of inequality in society? Under what conditions do public institutions reproduce social inequality, act as agents of social control, work as a force for greater equity and inclusion, or otherwise support or oppose movements for social justice? + How have contemporary processes of social inequality, such as concentrated poverty, educational failure, mass incarceration and undocumented peoples, presented new challenges to equity-oriented policy-makers? + In what ways have marginalized populations organized to influence public policy to address inequality and to advance equity and social justice? + What models exist for researchers and policy-makers to collaborate with community-based organizations and for citizens to participate in the formation and implementation of public policy more generally? This course is designed as a seminar, where the professor serves as a guide and commentator on a set of texts that students examine. We will work to build a learning community in the classroom where students support and challenge each other. Students will be required to explore a theoretical or policy issue relevant to the course through a piece of original research. The course will primarily (although not exclusively) focus on the public policy/social justice relationship in eh U.S. context. But students, in their research projects, are welcome to pursue their own interests internationally or comparatively.

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