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Charles R. Hale, Director SRH 1.310, 2300 Red River Street D0800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512.471.5551

Bryan R. Roberts

Professor Ph.D., University of Chicago

C.B.Smith Sr. Chair in US-Mexico Relations, Department of Sociology
Bryan R. Roberts

Contact

Interests

Latin American urbanization and social policy in the late 20th-century

LAS 381 • Citizenship & Social Policy

40546 • Spring 2013
Meets T 300pm-600pm CLA 1.302A
(also listed as SOC 395D )
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Description

The course examines social policies in the context of the transition in Latin America from state centered, regulated economies to free markets and deregulation. We will look at the emergence of de-centralized policies based on targeting and private-sector provision rather than universal systems. We will examine the advantages and disadvantages of the new policies and their consequences for the development of citizenship in Latin America. We will pay particular attention to the role of community in the new social policies, focusing on issues of participation and solidarity, as well as those of increasing social and spatial inequality. The policy issues to be studied include crime and violence, anti-poverty programs, labor and social security. Students may concentrate on a country or countries of their choice, but a comparative framework of analysis must be used.

Grading and Requirements

Assessment will be based on a short weekly report on an article/chapter relevant to the topic of the week, and on a final research paper dealing with an aspect of comparative social policies.

 

LAS 310 • Crime/Violence In Urb Lat Amer

40490 • Spring 2011
Meets TTH 930am-1100am BUR 134
(also listed as SOC 308 )
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Cross-listed with LAS 310

 

Description:

This course explores the reasons for the high levels of crime and violence in Latin America. It looks at the different types of crime and violence present in the region, including political violence, organized and unorganized crime, domestic and youth violence.  It reviews the statistics on crime and violence and uses ethnographic, literary and visual perspectives on crime and violence. It considers factors affecting individuals and families, such as poverty, community fragmentation and lack of job opportunities as well as factors, such as the weakness of judicial and democratic institutions, gang organization, the changing nature of the drug trade and the patterns of urban residential segregation in the major cities of Latin America.  

Crime and Violence are developmental issues for Latin America, not only threatening the welfare of individuals, families and communities, but also inhibiting the region’s social and economic development. The course considers the adequacy of political and judicial institutions to handle crime and violence and policy initiatives to remedy these through reform and local community initiatives. The course will make use of videos that examine the various facets of crime and violence in Latin America. 

The course grade will be based on two in-class exams, group and individual reports. 

 

LAS 381 • Urbanization

40760 • Spring 2011
Meets T 1200pm-300pm BUR 231
(also listed as SOC 389L )
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Cross Listed with LAS 381

 

 

 

 Description:

This course surveys the urbanization process, focusing on less developed countries, but taking into account historical and contemporary processes in the developed world.  Themes will include the analysis of historical patterns of urbanization in developing countries in the mid-twentieth century compared with the end of the twentieth century.  It will take both a structural and an actor view of urbanization.  It will look at the structural components of urbanization, including internal and international migration, economic and ecological perspectives on the spatial hierarchy of cities at national and international levels and socio-spatial segregation, including access to social services, such as health, education and welfare services.  The course will also look at the way people ‘make’ the city through their own actions in creating work and housing, and organizing politically.

 

Readings:

 The Course will be organized through Blackboard with the use of the Class and Group Discussion Boards.  Most of the readings for the course will be available via the Documents section of Blackboard or through Electronic Reserves (accessed by the external links section of Blackboard).  

Grading:

The course grade will be based on weekly reports on the readings and a final research paper.  The final paper should be a research article based on students using the perspectives learnt in the course to analyze comparatively a specific issue in urbanization (such as urban class and ethnic segregation, urban poverty and inequality, crime and violence, migration, the evolution of labor markets etc.).

 

LAS 310 • Crime/Violence In Urb Lat Amer

40455 • Spring 2010
Meets TTH 930-1100 BUR 134
(also listed as SOC 308 )
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This course explores the reasons for the high levels of crime and violence in Latin America. It looks at the different types of crime and violence present in the region, including political violence, organized and unorganized crime and domestic violence.  It reviews the statistics on crime and violence and uses ethnographic, literary and visual perspectives on crime and violence. It considers   factors affecting individuals and families, such as poverty, community fragmentation and lack of job opportunities as well as general factors, such as the weakness of judicial and democratic institutions, the changing nature of the drug trade and the patterns of urban residential segregation in the major cities of Latin America.  

 

Crime and Violence are developmental issues for Latin America, not only threatening the welfare of individuals, families and communities, but also inhibiting the region’s social and economic development. The course considers the adequacy of political and judicial institutions to handle crime and violence and policy initiatives to remedy these through reform and local community initiatives. The course will make use of videos that examine the various facets of crime and violence in Latin America. 

 

Objectives of Course

 

The aim of the course is to develop a sociological understanding of crime and violence in Latin America that takes account of factors such as the distribution of power at the national, community and family level, peer and community social solidarity or its absence and the dislocations produced by urbanization and migration, including international migration.     It also seeks to use the variation in crime and violence between countries in Latin America to introduce students to the diversity of the region that results from differences in geography, ethnic composition and political history.    Finally, it aims to encourage students to think about the policies at community and national/international level that might best counter crime and violence.

 

Organization of the Course

 

The course will consist in lectures with time reserved for questions and discussion. It will also feature video presentations and provide opportunities for group work on specified assignments. The class will be organized into groups of five members that will be set up in the first week of the semester.  These groups can meet in person and/or virtually through Blackboard.  Each group will be responsible to provide one question for each week’s readings. These should be posted to the Class Discussion Board before each Tuesday meeting of the course. The groups will also be responsible for making a group presentation on (1) one of the videos on the course list and (2) a policy issue on the dates listed in the Course Calendar for Group Presentations.   

 

Required Reading:

 

Ayres,  Robert L.  1998.  Crime and violence as development issues in Latin America and the Caribbean. The World Bank.  Electronic Book.

Moser, Caroline O. N. and Cathy McIlwaine.  2004. Encounters with violence in Latin America: urban poor perceptions from Columbia and Guatemala.  New York : Routledge, 2004. Electronic Book.

Rotker,  Susana.  2002.  Citizens of fear: urban violence in Latin America. Electronic Book.

 

A set of complementary readings are posed in the Course Document section of Blackboard.  These and the relevant sections of the above texts will be cited in the appropriate week of the course schedule.

 

 

 

Students are required to attend all lectures and complete all reading assignments on time.  You are expected to read approximately 30-55 pages per week.   Some of the readings for the class are complex and may need clarification. I will cover the readings in my lectures, and by reading the assignments beforehand you will be able to raise any difficulties or disagreements in class.

 

Evaluation: 

 

Exams (50%):  Grades in the class will be based on two examinations worth 25 percent each of the final grade.  Examinations will be mainly multiple-choice, but with some short answer questions.  Make-up examinations will be given only to those absent for university-approved reasons.

 

Report on Video concerning political violence (10%):  Another 10 percent of the grade will be based on a short (c.300 word) individual report on the video chosen by the group to which the student belongs.  Individual reports should be posted to the group space before the date of the group presentations. These videos will be assigned to each group shortly after the course begins. Each group will discuss the video either in person or virtually and generate a ten minute group presentation to be given in class. Each person contributing to the group presentation through writing sections or providing background information will receive 5% extra credit for that presentation.

 

Final Report  (25%):  A further 30 percent of the grade will be based on a c. 2000 word report due on the last class day (May 7th).  This report should present and evaluate a policy designed to reduce crime and violence.  It can be based on an actual case or be designed by the student.  Though the report must be individual, it must be based on the group’s assigned policy area and policy country, such as drug trafficking in Mexico or Colombia, gang violence in Central America, domestic violence etc. There will be an extra 5% for participation in the group presentation.

 

Group Credits:  There will be three credits of 5% (a total of 15%) of the final grade earned for group work.

 

One will be for the group submitting a question for each week of the reading. The group is responsible for organizing the group question each week, which should be posted to the Class Discussion Board by Monday noon.   Missing a week will result in a penalty of 1%. 

 

The other two group credits will be for participation in the two group presentations – on the video and on policy. The way of organizing this is detailed under the Assignment Section of Blackboard.

 

Final grades will be based upon a standard grading scale:  A=90-100%, B=80-89%, C=70-79%, D=60-69%, F=59% and below.  For students taking the course on a pass/fail basis, a grade of D (60% or better) is passing for undergraduate credit.

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