Students examine the influence of society, the groups we belong to, and institutions like government, family, education, religion, media, etc. on human behavior. We use popular movies and contemporary events, plus research, as the foundations for class discussions of issues. Issues include: crime and who defines criminal behavior and the legal response to it; gender inequality in the workplace; and the impact of media on violence and sexual behavior. Poverty and minority groups are also discussed with a focus on how being a person of color shapes one's opportunities and life chances.
Students are exposed to the possibility of community-wide responses to social problems, instead of the "fix the individual" approach. In this class, students will also experience the scientific method of studying society, through design and execution of a survey and interpretation of results.