• Unit 5: Social Change and Social Issues

    In Unit 5, we explore great social issues, such as those surrounding healthcare, urbanization, and social movements.

    The sociology of healthcare encompasses social epidemiology, disease, mental health, disability, and medicalization. How we perceive and treat medicine and health care is constantly evolving. What does health mean to you? How do you feel about legalized drugs? Why are so many Americans addicted to prescription pain medicines? We discuss population, urbanization, and the environment. Why have people tended to migrate from rural areas to urban areas? How have these population shifts affected our environment?

    Finally, successful, large-scale social movements can have great social impact, become institutionalized, and evolve into a fixed and formal part of the social structure. For example, the "second wave of feminism", originated as a grassroots movement in the 1960s to protest inequalities between the sexes. Most of the original participants did not belong to formal organizations but publicized their cause through conscious-raising groups. For example, in 1966, 28 women created the National Organization for Women, which is now a prominent political and social voice for women's rights with a membership of more than 500,000. How does collective behavior affect social change? How does social change differ at the state, national, and global levels? How do different theoretical perspectives interpret social movements?

    Completing this unit should take you approximately 6 hours.

    • 5.1: Population, Urbanization, and the Environment

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    • 5.2: Social Movements and Change

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    • Unit 5 Discussion and Assessment

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