Discussion Questions

  1. Identify a social institution in which you are currently involved. This could be education, the economy, government, health care, the family, and so on. Discuss ways in which this institution is functional for society. What are the intended, or manifest functions, of this institution? What are the unintended, or latent, functions? What dysfunctions occur in this institution and what other institution(s) is/are there to stabilize society in this case?
  2. Do you believe that most social institutions are designed for, and capable of, stabilizing society, or are they designed more to perpetuate social inequality in society? Watch this clip--https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=aUVAayZuMZM--and respond to the following questions: (1) what is the immigration-industrial complex, in your own words; (2) how do powerful forces work to benefit themselves at the expense of others; (3) what can be done to address this issue, and work to reverse it; (4) or, does this issue provide many functions for society, thereby rendering it necessary?
  3. Find an article in a newspaper, magazine, online site, or television news channel on an issue that you think is particularly relevant to today’s society, either at home or abroad, and analyze it using a sociological theory of your choice. Be sure to identity the basic assumptions of this theory and discuss how this theoretical perspective can best be used to explain and understand this issue.
  4. Symbolic interactionists use the concepts of social scripts to discuss shared understandings of how to operate in social situations. Identify the basic social script for dating in the United States. What are the first steps? What is expected of people in heterosexual relationships? Are there different expectations for people in homosexual relationships? What expectations do we have for people dating online?