SOC 6340

Domestic Social Policy

Spring 2011 Classroom: SLC2.203 Tuesday 7 – 9:45 p.m. Dr. Richard K. Scotch Office: GR3.510 Phone: 972-883-2922 Email: Office Hours: Tuesday 5-6 p.m. or by appointment Domestic Social Policy examines governmental and nongovernmental programs, policies, and institutions dealing with individuals and families who do not function self-sufficiently within the American market economy. Beneficiaries of such programs include children and youth, the elderly, families headed by unemployed or under-employed parents, and people with physical and mental disabilities. We will begin with a conceptual and historical overview of how social policy in the United States reflects political economy, culture, demographic trends, and social and political institutions. We will continue with an examination of poverty, including its various definitions and differing views on its causes and consequences, and the range of public policy responses to poverty in the United States. The remainder of the course will examine a series of current American social policy reform issues on topics including cash assistance (welfare), education, crime, health care, and retirement. The class will be run as a seminar, with an emphasis on group discussion of assigned readings and current issues in social policy Course requirements include: seven biweekly essays on assigned course readings (60% of the total course grade) and a policy analysis paper (40% of the total course grade). The policy analysis paper will involve analyzing a significant domestic policy issue to be selected in consultation with the instructor. (The paper may focus on the domestic policy of a nation other than the United States.) Guidelines for the paper will be distributed on the first day of class and posted on eLearning. Students will be required to submit a topic statement on February 1, and an annotated bibliography on March 1, both of which must be approved by the instructor, and will be expected to give a class presentation on their papers during the final month of the class. The paper will be due on the evening of the student’s presentation, and will be returned with comments within two weeks of submission. Students will have the opportunity to submit a revised paper by May 10, during exam week. Required readings include five required (paperback) texts and a variety of web-based material on current social policy issues. The books are: Elijah Anderson, Code of the Street: Decency, Violence, and the Moral Life of the Inner City, W.W. Norton and Company, 1999 Maria Cancian and Sheldon Danziger (eds), Changing Poverty, Changing Policies, Russell Sage Foundation, 2009. Sharon Hays, Flat Broke with Children: Women in the Age of Welfare Reform, Oxford University Press, 2003 Jennifer Hochschild and Nathan Scovronick, The American Dream and the Public Schools, Oxford University Press, 2003 Michael Lipsky, Street-Level Bureacracy 30th Anniversary Expanded Edition, Russell Sage Foundation, 2010. Course Outline (subject to revisions announced in class) January 11 Introduction to the Course: Historical Overview of Social Policy No assigned reading Poverty Definitions and Policy Responses Cancian & Danziger, chapters 1, 2, 14

January 18

Course Outline (continued) January 25 Structural and Demographic Trends ESSAY ONE DUE Cancian & Danziger, chapters 3, 4, 5 Mobility Cancian & Danziger, chapters 6, 7 Cash Assistance and Family Policies Cancian & Danziger, chapter 8, 9 Family, Gender, and Work Hays, all Education and Poverty Cancian & Danziger, chapter 10 Workforce Development Cancian & Danziger, chapter 11 Health, Health Care, and Poverty Cancian & Danziger, chapter 12 SPRING BREAK – no class meeting School Reform; Student Presentations Hochschild and Scovronick, all Housing & Homelessness; Student Presentations (eLearning reading TBA) ESSAY FIVE DUE ESSAY THREE DUE TOPIC STATEMENT DUE

February 1

February 8


February 15

February 22

March 1


March 8


March 15 March 22

March 29

April 5

Culture, Crime, & the Inner City; Student Presentations Anderson, all Social Security & Medicare; Student Presentations ESSAY SIX DUE (eLearning reading TBA) Social Policy at the Street Level; Student Presentations Lipsky, all Disability Policy; Student Presentations (eLearning reading TBA) ESSAY SEVEN DUE

April 12

April 19

April 26

May 5


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