Course code Soci2010

Credit points 4

Social Problems

Total Hours in Course160

Number of hours for lectures32

Number of hours for seminars and practical classes32

Independent study hours96

Date of course confirmation05.10.2021

Responsible UnitInstitute of Social Sciences and Humanities

Course developer

author Sociālo un humanitāro zinātņu institūts

Signe Dobelniece

Dr. phil.

Prior knowledge

Soci1014, General Sociological Theory

Course abstract

The course develops an understanding of social issues in modern society, such as unemployment, poverty, crime, gender inequality, violence etc., their sociological analysis and critical assessment. Students are introduced to the views of functionalism, conflict theory and symbolic interactionism on social problems. Different approaches of sociological theories to the genesis and solution of problems are discussed. The aim of the course is to form an understanding of the causes of various current social problems and the possibilities of solving them, the ability to critically evaluate and analyse social problems from the aspect of various sociological theories.

Learning outcomes and their assessment

Knowledge- students understand the essence of a social problem (1st test), theoretical basis for analysis of social problems (2nd test), and genesis, analysis and solution of social problems (3rd test).
Skills – students are able is able to differentiate social and personal problems, identify, analyse and argue about current social problems in society (group work, discussions, presentation, report). Soft skills - is able to plan time and perform assigned tasks responsibly, independently obtain the necessary information using various information sources, critically evaluate and analyse the information (presentation, report), form cooperation, engage in discussion and reasonably defend own’s opinion (discussions, group work)
Competence – students are able to select and use independently appropriate sociological theories in research and analysis of current social problems (presentation, report, exam).

Course Content(Calendar)

1. Social problems and personal problems. - 4h
2. Definition of social problems. - 4h
3. Deviance. - 2h
4. Identification of social problems. - 4h
5. Sociological approach to the analysis of social problems. - 4h
6. Social problems in the view of sociological perspectives. - 6h
7. Theories for the analysis of social problems. - 10h
8. Poverty and social exclusion. - 8h
9. Problems of deviant behaviour. - 8h
10. Problems of inequality. - 6h
11. Problems of social institutes. - 4h
12. Global problems. - 4h
Practical works and seminars (32 hours):
1. Differentiation of social problems and personal problems. - 2 h
2. Deviance and a social problem. - 2 h
3. Identification of social problems (Article analysis). - 2 h
Test 1 - the essence of a social problem
4. The social nature of behaviour (analysis of the Stanford experiment). - 2 h
5. Sociological perspectives on social problems. - 2 h
6. Problem identification in the social context (video analysis). - 2 h
Test 2 - the theoretical basis of the analysis of social problems
7. Crime and violence. Presentation of the report. - 2 h
8. Addictions. Presentation of the report. - 2 h
9. Diversity of sexual behaviour. Presentation of the report. - 2 h
10. Gender, age and ethnic inequality. Presentation of the report. - 2 h
11. Poverty and homelessness. Presentation of the report. - 2 h
12. Problems of education, family institute. Presentation of the report. - 2 h
13. Problems of employment, health care. Presentation of the report. - 2 h
14. Overcrowding and environmental pollution. Presentation of the report. - 2 h
15. Migration. Presentation of the report. - 2 h
16. War and terrorism. Presentation of the report. - 2 h
Test 3 - genesis, analysis and solution possibilities of certain social problems

Requirements for awarding credit points

Written examination.
Credit points are awarded if all seminar tasks are done (group work, discussions etc.), successfully passed 3 tests, report is submitted and presentation is prepared (graded 4 or more).

Description of the organization and tasks of students’ independent work

Literature reading, preparing for seminars and tests. A report on chosen topic (2400 – 3000 words without annex). Presentations on the chosen social problems (definitions, causes, focusing of social causes; sociological perspectives; manifestations and negative impact on society; solution (legal regulation, institutions involved) must be included).

Criteria for Evaluating Learning Outcomes

Examination and tests are passed if at least 40% of answers are correct.
Report and presentations are assessed at least satisfactory if they meet minimum of the set requirements.
Final mark consists of examination (50%), report (15%), presentation (5%) and 3 tests (30%) marks.

Compulsory reading

1. Encyclopedia of Social Problems. Ed. by V.N.Parrillo. Los Angeles etc.: Sage Publications, 2 sēj., 2008. Pieejams: EBSCOeBook Academic Collection datubāzē
2. Kornblum W., Seccombe K.T. Julian J. Social Problems. 15th ed. Prentice Hall, 2012. Pieejams: un estudijās.
3. Sullivan T.J., Thompson K.S. Introduction to Social Problems. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1988, 533 p.

Further reading

1. Lauer R. H., Lauer J. C. Social problems and the quality of life. New York: McGraw-Hill,2011, 557 p.
2. Rubington E., Weinberg M.S. (eds.). The Study of Social Problems. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2003, 366 p.
3. Wilson L.D. Social Issues Research Summaries. New York: Nova Science Publishers, Inc, 3 sēj., 2017. Pieejams EBSCOeBook Academic Collection datubāzē.

Periodicals and other sources

1. LM mājaslapa. Pētījumi un informatīvie materiāli. Pieejams:
2. Veselības ministrijas mājaslapa. Pieejams:
3. Journal of Social Issues SSN:1540-4560 Pieejams: Wiley Online Library


Compulsory study course for ESAF academic bachelor study program "Sociology of Organizations and Public Administration"