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Robert Crosnoe, Chair CLA 3.306, Mailcode A1700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-232-6300

Fall 2007

SOC 308 • Intro to Urban Problems

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
47566 TTh
11:00 AM-12:30 PM
BUR 136

Course Description

The rapid process of urbanization that took place from the late century has tremendous influences on social life. Urban society is not only a geographic space but also a stage for process of socio-economic transformation. Urban sociology, thus, emerged as an attempt to understand this process, and the consequences that it had for social life.

Why study Urban Sociology? One of the most compelling reasons to study urban area is that most of us live in them. For many of us, our life has been shaped and influenced by the meaning we attach to urban spaces in which we perform our everyday activities, and we also create our own spaces in cities. In addition, studying urban sociology allows us to think the ways in which many social realities, structures, and institutions impact each other. After all, studying urban problems with the eye of sociological perspective helps us to better understand ourselves in current urban societies.

This course is an introduction to the sociological study of developmental processes of urban societies, particularly focusing on the association between urbanization and (1) health of residents and (2) crime rate in urban societies. With these orientations in mind, this course is composed of three units. In the first unit, we will review fundamentals of urban sociology. Throughout second and third units, we will pay special attention to examining how and why segregation and stratification in urbanizations are associated with higher rates of crime and poor health outcomes. I have several course objectives.

Grading Policy

Exams (75%): There are three exams at the end of each unit. Exams will normally consist of multiple-choice and short answer questions.
Quizzes (15%): Pop quizzes are an excellent way to keep you coming to class regularly and keeping up with the course material. Quizzes are given immediately at the start of the class, and last no more than 10 minutes, so be certain to arrive on time!
Reaction Papers (10%): You must submit two reaction papers reading The Truly Disadvantaged.

Exams (3 @ 75 points each) 225 points 75%
Pop Quizzes (5 @ 9 points each) 45 points 15%
Papers (2 @ 15 points each) 30 points 10%
Total 300 points 100%


Two books are assigned for this course. They are available in University Co-Op. You can also buy them from other bookstores such as

Gottdiener, Mark and Ray Hutchson, The New Urban Sociology, Westview Press (3rd Edition), 2006
Wilson, William Julius, The Truly Disadvantaged: The Inner City, the Underclass, and Public Policy, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1987


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