(CRN: 16068) SOCI 215, Fall, 2013: Human Service Systems

Carl Milofsky

TR 8-9:22, ACWS 212

Prof. Carl Milofsky  Office: Academic West 303, ph: 73468,

 Office Hours Wed 9:30-10:30 milofsky@bucknell.edu;

Course web: http://www.facstaff.bucknell.edu/milofsky/HumServSys

Common Learning Agenda Requirements Satisfied: EGSS; HUMD; SOSC.

College Core Curriculum Requirements Satisfied: DUSC; EGSS; SLSC; SSLG


This course provides an overview of the system of human service institutions from a perspective that emphasizes their role in democratic, civil society. Human service institutions include, among other things, education, the criminal justice system, health care, religious institutions, employment, the welfare system, and the informal structure of local communities.

The course emphasizes direct exposure and involvement with some of these institutions. There will be a series of focused, short-term field experiences, some required and some that you will choose from a list of choices. The experiences will provide you with rich, intense experiences that help us think about important dilemmas confronting democratic society in America.

SOCI 215 and the University and Departmental Curriculum.

This course fulfills the College Core Curriculum’s Social Sciences requirement.  The requirement encourages students:  1) to explore the complex interaction between individuals, social groups, social structures, history, and culture; and 2) to apply theoretical principles of social analysis to critically interpret society.  In addition, this course fulfills the Diversity in the United States requirement.   Courses in this area convey information and knowledge about the nature and experiences of different groups within U.S.  Society.  These courses also help students to develop critical analysis skills for understanding the consequences of those differences and thinking about social and ethical responsibilities related to difference.  In addition, this course fulfills the social sciences requirement for engineering students.

The focus on diversity, inequality, social oppression, and social control in this course also addresses a central goal of the Sociology curriculum for majors and nonmajors.  The course provides clear examples of how sociologists understand what society and culture are, and doing this is a departmental goal for serving nonmajors.  For majors, the course presents core concepts of the discipline of sociology related to the nature of institutions, concepts about how to perceive and understand social inequality, how institutional power and social control affect the lives of individuals, and how individuals construct a sense of self and their personal identities.


By the end of the semester students will:

1.    understand what it means to speak of diversity in the United States and they will understand how inequality is related to diversity in several institutions and areas of social policy.

2.   understand what institutions are and the important role they play in shaping the nature of society and culture in America.

3.   understand how experiences with institutions and with diversity shape and help to build a sense of self and of identity for individuals.

4.   have a beginning understanding of how to conduct ethnographic field research.

Students are encouraged to visit the Moodle site for the course, which provides a complete list of learning outcomes specific to the College Core Curriculum, the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, and Bucknell University at large.


Important Information about Field Experiences

Students in this course must complete four short field assignments.  To participate in field experiences students must complete two screening and certification processes.  Failing to complete these certifications on time (by September 17) will give students an automatic zero (0) for 10% of the course grade. By the end of the third week all students must also complete and be certified in Bucknell’s protection of human subjects course which is found at: https://www.citiprogram.org/Default.asp   All students must also complete state police, FBI, and Department of Public Welfare child abuse screenings by the end of the third week of class.  This process will cost about $60.  Information about these screenings can be found at: http://www.csiu.org/index.cfm?pageid=2375 If you do not want to complete these screenings you must inform the professor and discuss the way that you will participate in the field portion of the class.  (Not completing the screenings is only an option if you think you may have problems passing or you have specific ethical objections to the screening.)

Students who do not have a car, who are at least in their second year, and who have clear driving records should take Bucknell’s driving test ($25 fee).  Then you may check out a university car. The tests will be given in the ELC Forum and notices about when they are given will be posted around campus.  If you cannot get to your field site, you cannot complete your assignment.  If you have your own car and want to be reimbursed for gas, the Department of Sociology and Anthropology has the Meerwarth Fund, an undergraduate research grant program that will reimburse your costs.  You must, however, submit a proposal to secure funding.  To do this talk to Prof. Milofsky.

The Idea of the Course

Democracy or civil society requires a citizenry that is actively involved in the political process, in volunteering, and in monitoring professional institutions that provide human services.  One goal of this course is to provide students with a survey of these institutions. Service institutions are problematic in terms of political objectives, in terms of their openness to the public, and in terms of general social policy objectives that our society should pursue.

In addition to giving you exposure to the institutions, our field experiences will help you to think about some of the issues we read about and discuss in class.  Should schools or health care institutions be organized socialistically, as a governmental monopoly, or should market competition (and market failure) prevail?  Are civil liberties protected by law an outmoded value in an era of terrorism?  Is community valuable as a part of life and a means for taking care of our social and personal needs?  Or is it a romantic, outmoded idea poorly suited to the mobility and individuality of modern life?  Is religion a process that is controlling and exclusive or is it an important vehicle for building community and promoting basic social values?

This is one of the core courses of the Human Services Concentration in Sociology. It is meant to provide the general conceptual framework you need to understand how particular human services work. Our feeling is that one must have intensive field experiences to properly understand human services. Following up on this semester's field experiences, SOCI/ANTH 201 (Field Methods) offered next semester will provide you with a more in depth experience. SOCI 215 and SOCI/ANTH 201 prepare you for more advanced, intensive field experiences that you can find in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and elsewhere at Bucknell. Some of these advanced courses are SOCI 315, Sociology of Education, SOCI 322, Medical Sociology, SOCI 360, Organizational Theory, SOCI 302, Public Service and Nonprofit Management, and SOCI 318, Social Services in the Community, A Practicum.

Course Requirements

Your grade in SOCI 215 will be based on three elements: two kinds of writing assignments and your participation in class.

1.     Attendance is required unless you have permission of the instructor.  If you miss one of the first two days of class or one of the last two days of class these will count for double absences (e.g., it will be as though you had missed two class sessions.) If you miss more than three days during the semester (or one session plus one of the double-counted days listed in the last sentence) your grade will be dropped.  You will lose 1/3 of a letter grade (A goes to A-, A- to B+ and so on) for each infraction (if you miss one of the first two days and you miss four days of class your grade will drop by 2/3 of a letter grade).  These grade reductions will be implemented after the rest of your grade has been computed.

2.     You must respond to 6 questions from among the multiple questions I will make available on Moodle to guide each day’s class and discussions.   These responses replace exams.  There will be no formal midterm or final for the course.

In past years, students have had trouble understanding the process involved in this assignment and they have trouble completing questions in a timely fashion.  It is your responsibility to understand the process and to complete assignments on time.  If you do not follow through your question responses may not be counted and you will receive a grade of zero for one or more of the questions.

Responding to questions means that as part of the graded assignment you must be ready to express yourself publicly and share your writing with other students in the class.  The questions usually will be available on the web two weeks before the reading is scheduled to be discussed in class. To respond to a question, you must post on Moodle a draft response that the whole class can read before class on the day the readings are due to be read.  Revise your draft question by the following Sunday and submit it via email to Prof. Milofsky via email.  Posting a draft question on Moodle does not count as a final submission and if you do not send your response to Milofsky via email you will receive a zero for the question.

If you respond to a question, you must be prepared to discuss your response and help to lead the class discussion.  Look at the responses others have posted before class and respond to them.  If you respond to another student’s posting, that still will count as a draft that you can revise and submit at the end of the week.

You may respond on class days to as many questions as you want over the course of the semester (you may find that this is a good way to think about the readings). If you respond to more questions than are required without handing them for a grade, this will count positively towards your participation grade. You also may submit more questions than are required and let the highest grades you receive count as the grades for required questions.

For those responses that you want to count as one of your answers to the six required questions, you will revise what you posted for class. Submit your final copy to milofsky@bucknell.edu via e-mail by the following Sunday midnight. You must complete three questions before Fall Break and three questions after Fall Break. You may only hand in one question a week.  If you do not complete work on time you will receive a zero for that assignment. Each question will be worth 8% of your grade and the six questions together will count 48% of your total grade. If you do not complete questions by the time they are required, you will receive a zero for each question not completed.

3.     You must participate in four field experiences over the course of the semester and submit a description of each field experience to milofsky@bucknell.edu via e-mail within a week of having had the field experience.

a.               Certifications

All  students in this course must complete the Bucknell Institutional Review Board course on protection of human subjects and show the certificate of completion you receive to the instructor. To access the course go to: http://www.citiprogram.org/default.asp?language=english

 If you have completed the IRB course within the last three years your certificate will still be valid but you must still make a copy and submit it to me.

When students work with people under 18, especially those who are incarcerated, state police, Department of Public Welfare, and FBI clearances are mandated by the host organization.  Since we also work with vulnerable populations in settings that do not explicitly require the certification, we have decided that we need to gain the assurance of safety for all settings that screenings provide.  Thus we require screenings of all students and they must be secured early in the semester (by the end of the 3rd week).  This will cost about $60.  You  can quickly secure clearances if you go to the UPS store across from WalMart or go to the following website for information: http://www.csiu.org/index.cfm?pageid=2375

If you received clearances last year they are still good if you can produce certificates of approval and make copies and submit them to Prof. Milofsky.

Completing these certifications will have no effect on your grade.  NOT completing the certifications will result in an automatic 10% reduction in your overall course grade (this comes from your course participation grade) and you will only be allowed to participate in a restricted list of field experiences.

b.               Field Experience Papers

Field Experience papers must be at least three pages long. A general description of my expectations for these writing assignments are the website at:


and on Moodle.  In addition, specific instructions and guidelines for each field experience are available on the course web site at:


A large number of possible experiences are listed.  You may propose others.

Each paper will count 8% towards your total grade for a total of 32%. If you fail to complete four field observation experiences and the four related papers, you will receive a zero for each missed assignment.

You must complete three of the four field assignments before midterm grades are due (October 10).  We do this because in the past students have been slow about getting around to the field assignments and at the end of the semester have been unable to complete their work.  The first field assignment is required (you have choice about which of the others you want to do).   The first assignment has you attending a rural estate auction within the first two weeks of class.  Your other field experiences involve choices among the alternative options listed on the course web site.  A listing and schedule of field opportunities is available on the course web site at: http://www.facstaff.bucknell.edu/milofsky/HumServSys/FieldOpps.htm

If you want to do more than one of the field experiences that have scheduled times after October 10, contact Prof. Milofsky.  Also contact him if you have made two definite appointments for field visits after October 10 so you can have permission to hand in field papers late.

Some new sites may be added during the semester.  Students also may suggest activities or settings that they would like to experience or might share with others. Early in the term you must select the field experiences you will visit. This is important because some of the sites have room for only a few people and also because students tend to fall behind in visiting settings and then face the possibility that they cannot complete these assignments. Advanced planning is especially important for criminal justice settings where you must be screened for a past police record by having your name and social security number submitted to the State Police, the FBI, and the state child abuse authorities.

Some settings are close to campus so you can walk to them and we may organize car pools for others. However, if you do not have access to a car you will want to register for a university driver's license. All students in class should be certified to drive university vehicles since this also is important for other field research courses.

3. Participation is a critical part of this course and attendance is required.

Participation means taking part in class discussions, responding to discussion questions on line, attending class regularly, and being responsible about the field assignments you take part in. You may not miss more than three class sessions (unless attendance for a class date is listed as optional in the syllabus) or your grade will be lowered (I take attendance).

Participation in this class has unusual weight because it involves acting responsibly in field settings.

Being responsible with respect to field experiences means showing up at the field site on time, DRESSING CONSERVATIVELY, acting responsibly in the field, being inquisitive and outgoing with field contacts, using common sense, and telling field supervisors if there is something you want or need.

In several of our sessions confidentiality is essential.  We will talk about the ethics of observation and how we respect and protect subjects of our research.  Do not talk to people outside of class about things you see if you are in a confidential setting.  It is a good idea to substitute a fake name for a real name if you describe individuals in your writing.  It also is a good idea to slightly change personal details that do not matter (hair color, height, age) to further disguise it if you are talking about particular individuals.

Do not be shy. Be independent and assertive. Be prepared for your field supervisor to ask you to help outstudents are often asked to lead discussion groups in our prison visitation, for example.  I get feedback from field supervisors. 

Understand that we all play a role in creating and preserving field settings for future students.  If you are insensitive or disruptive in a setting it may make it impossible for Bucknell students to use that site in the future.

Wearing flip-flops, showing your midriff, wearing revealing or low cut shirts, and wearing T-shirts with slogans that promote drinking or that make questionable sexual jokes are all things students in this class have done that have caused problems in field settings.  Sometimes you’ll want to dress up a bit (going to court, going to the hospital) and sometimes you’ll want to dress casually (going to auctions).  If you do not know what it means to dress conservatively and in a way that respects your setting, ask.

Try to avoid openly taking notes in the field or being obvious about “studying” people.  Also, avoid “clumping” with other students.  Go on your own, strike up informal conversations with locals, and ask questions about what is going on.  Taking notes and “clumping” not only make people uncomfortable about your presence but makes it difficult for other students who are trying to use the same setting and who will want to strike up relaxed conversations with local people.

Do not choose a field site if you think it will be upsetting to you. Some of our field experiences are intense and involve unusual experiences. Do not be a hero or feel that you are expected to get involved in situations you find scary or worrisome.  You are graded on your intellectual work, which means the papers you write, not on the dramatic value of your field experience.  If you are in a setting and become uncomfortable, leave or let people know.  Be careful about experimenting and testing your limits by trying out a field setting.  This sometimes happens when a student has had a prior experience related to a setting and thinks it might be constructive to try experiencing the setting through this class.  If this applies to you, PLEASE TALK TO THE PROFESSOR BEFORE GOING TO THE FIELD SETTING.  I don’t like surprises.

To summarize, grades will be determined as follows:

6 class discussion question responses @8% each,    48% total

4 field observations and writeups @8% each           32% total

Participation                                                                       20% total

Failing to complete certifications and screenings   10% deduction from participation grade.

Most of the readings for this course are on Moodle. If you cannot get that link to work, contact the professor since I have electronic copies of the articles.  One book has been ordered and is in the bookstore:

Albert Hunter and Carl Milofsky, Pragmatic Liberalism. Constructing a Civil Society (New York: Palgrave, MacMillan 2007)---Listed as H&M in the Course Schedule.



Class Schedule


1—Aug 29    Introduction and overview.

A requirement of this course is that you must complete CITI certification and screenings by state police, FBI, and DPW and they must be shown to Prof. Milofsky by Sept. 19.  The FBI screening will cost you about $60 which you should consider part of the fee for this course.

Saturday, August 31, September 7, or September 14. Students must find, select, and attend an auction during one of these three weeks (some auctions are held during the week). Check auction web site at: http://www.auctionzip.com/  and check the course web site for information about doing this auction assignment at: http://www.facstaff.bucknell.edu/milofsky/HumServSys/auctions/.  You may also find auctions by picking up hand bills around town or reading the local paper (The Daily Item) which generally only advertises auctions on Thursday so you have to buy the paper on that day.  The Daily Item may include smaller auctions than the auction web site. Plan to spend at least two hours at the auction.


2—Sep 3        Is there a crisis in human services?  If so, what is the crisis?

**Read**     H&M, Prologue and Ch 1, "Malaise", pp ix-14. 

On line video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BoRUrWcdkQ4 

3—Sep 5        Should we talk about rights to services—or personal responsibility?

**Read**     H&M, Chapter 2, "Rights", pp 15-28

**Optional, on Moodle**: D. Leonhardt, “Fat Tax.  Should Overweight People Pay More for Health Insurance?”  New York Times Magazine 8/16/09: 9-10

and D. Zinczenko, “Don’t Blame the Eater.”  Pp. 139-141 in Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein, They Say, I Say, pp. 1-14 (New York: WW Norton 2006).


4—Sep 10     How do we balance rights to freedom against rights for safety?

**Read**     On Moodle: . N. Friedman, “The Crime Victim Movement at Its First Decade.” Public Administration Review  Vol. 45, Special Issue: Law and Public Affairs (Nov., 1985), pp. 790-794 and

M. Paymar, “The roots of men’s violence against women”, pp. 22-37, and “It’s more than just physical violence”, pp 57-90 in Violent No More.  Helping Men End Domestic Abuse 2nd Ed.  (Alameda, CA: Hunter House 2000).

5—Sep 12      Mass incarceration

**Read**  On Moodle Michelle Alexander, “The rebirth of caste.”  Ch. 1, pp 20-58 in the New Jim Crow.  Mass Incarceration in an Age of Colorblindness.  New York: The New Press and

D.M. Provine, “introduction”, pp 1-14, and Ch. 5, “The racial impact of the War on Drugs,” pp.  120-139 in D.M. Provine, Unequal Under Law.  Race in the War on Drugs. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press 2007).


6—Sep 17     Being a prisoner

View in class the video What I Want My Words to Do to You. Video available on reserve, call number: PS508.P7 W53 2003.           

                        **Read** On Moodle:  E. Rotman “Do Criminal Offenders Have a Constitutional Right to Rehabilitation?” The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology (1973-)  Vol. 77, No. 4 (Winter, 1986), pp. 1023-1068.

7—Sep 19     The meaning and importance of field observation.

                        **Read** On Moodle: R. Coles, “Stories and Theories.”  Ch. 1, pp 1-30 in R. Coles, The Call of Storiers.  Teaching and the Moral Imagination. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin 1989) and

C. Milofsky, H. Peretz, and A.D. Hunter, “Rich settings as an introduction to ethnographic learning.”  Lewisburg, PA: unpublished paper, 2006

CITI certification and screenings by state police, FBI, and DPW must be completed and shown to Prof. Milofsky.


8—Sep 24     “Seeing” community

View video in class: A Country Auction: The Paul V. Leitzel Estate Sale. HF5477.U52 C69 19844

                         **Read** On Moodle: J. Clyde Mitchell, “The Concept and Use of Social Networks.”  Ch. 1, pp 1-50 in J. Clyde Mitchell, Social Networks in Urban Situations (Manchester, Eng.: Manchester University Press 1969).

9—Sep 26     Discuss auction papers in class.

**Writing**  Auction papers due.  This is field paper #1 and it is required that this field paper be about auctions.  You must follow the writing rubric given on Moodle for this assignment.  The other field sites you write about are your own choice.


10—Oct 1      Why help? The concept of “service” vs. the concept of “participatory action”.

**Read**     H&M, Chapter 3, “Why Help?”, pp 29-50.

11—Oct 3      Network Exchange and community helping

                        **Read** On Moodle: Carol Stack, “The Flats,” ch. 1, pp. 1-21 and “Swapping.  What Goes Around Comes Around,” Ch. 3, pp. 32-44 in C. Stack, All Our Kin. (New York: Basic Books 1997) and

E. Klinenberg, “Race, place, and vulnerability: Urban neighborhoods and the ecology of support”, Ch. 2, pp 79-128 in E. Klinenberg, Heat Wave (Chicago: University of Chicago Press 202).    

12—Oct 8     Networks as an Asset:  The concept of social capital

**Read** On Moodle: Coleman, J.S. (1988).  “Social capital and the creation of human capital.”  American Journal of Sociology 94 (Supplement): S95-S120 and

                        Bryk, Anthony S., Valerie E. Lee, Peter B. Holland, “Catholic lessons for America’s schools.”  Ch 12, pp. 297-328 in Catholic Schools and the Common Good. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press 1993).

13—Oct 10   Education and class reproduction

                        **Read** On Moodle: S. Bowles. “Unequal education and the reproduction of the social division of labor.”  Pp. 137-153 in J. Karabel and A.H. Halsey (eds.), Power and Ideology in Education.  (NY: Oxford University Press 1977) and

                        J. Rosenbaum (1989), “What if good jobs depended on good grades?”  American Educator (Winter): 10-43.

        Oct 15    Fall Break

        Oct 16   (Midterm evaluation) Two Short Papers and three Writing Assignments must be complete.

14—Oct 17   Comparing ideological models as a theoretical method.

**Read** Gordon, David "Editor's Introduction", pp 1-15 in David Gordon (ed.), Problems in Political Economy: An Urban Perspective, 2nd Ed. (Lexington, MA: D.C. Heath & Co., 1977) and

J.J. Macionis. “Sociology: Studying social problems.”  Ch. 1, pp 1-25 in J.J. Macionis, Social Problems. Census Edition (4th edition) (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Science, Prentice Hall 2012).

15—Oct 22   Vouchers: Are they radical or conservative?

**Read** J.E. Chubb and T.M. Moe, “Institutional Context and School Organization.”  Ch 5, pp 141-184, and “Better Schyools through New Institutions:  Giving Americans Choice.”  Ch. 6, pp 185-229, in J.E. Chubb and T.M. Moe, Politics, Markets, and America’s Schools (Washington, DC:  The Brookings Institution 1990).

16—Oct 24   The Conservative Model.

**Read** H&M, Chapter 5, “Class Conflict and the Radical View of the Common Good”, pp. 71-86

17—Oct 29   Class Structure and the Personal Significance of Inequality: The Social Class Gradient of Disease.

**Film**  We will watch the first segment (it’s a four-hour series) of Unnatural Causes.  Is Inequality Making Us Sick?  The segment is titled, “In Sickness and in Wealth.”  RA448.4 .U53 2008.

**Read**     On Moodle: S. Leonard Syme and Lisa F. Berkman, “Social Class, Susceptibility, and Sickness,” pp. 24-30 in Peter Conrad (ed.), The Sociology of Health and Illness, 8th ed. (New York: Worth Publishers, 2009).

18—Oct 31   The radical model

**Read** H&M.  “Class Conflict and the Radical View of the Common Good.” Ch. 5,  pp. 71-86.

19—Nov 5    Dominance of Policy by Economic Elites:  Health care and the corporation and a second radical perspective.

                        **Read**     On Moodle: M. Mahar, “Preface.” Pp. xiii-xxi and “The Road to Corporate Medicine.” Pp. 1-29 in Money Driven Medicine (NY: Harper/Collins 2006).

20—Nov 7    Obama care and health insurance.

 **Read**    On Moodle: Kaplan, S.W. “It takes a sociologist: What Obamacare polls really show.” This Week in Sociology, 3/30/11,

Gaulin, P. “Health Care Bill Summary and Timeline of Changes 2010-2018”. March 25, 2010.  Associated Content 2010, Yahoo! Health, accessed 11/6/10, http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/2824522/health_care_bill_summary_and_timeline.html?cat=5

Laszewski,R. (2008), “A Detailed Analysis of Barack Obama's Health Care Reform Plan.” Health Care Policy and Marketplace Review, http://healthpolicyandmarket.blogspot.com/2008/03/detailed-analysis-of-barack-obamas.html

Bentley, T.B.K., R. M. Effros, K. Palar, E. B. Keeler (2008). “Waste in the U.S. Health Care System: A Conceptual Framework” The Milbank Quarterly, 86, (4)  (December): 629-659.


21—Nov 12  Can health care reform work?

**Read**     On Moodle:  L.R. Jacobs and T. Skocpol, “What did they deliver?  The promise of affordable health care.”  Ch. 4, pp. 121-146 and “Will health reform survive and succeed?”  Ch. 5, pp. 147-179 in L.R. Jacobs and T. Skocpol, Health Care Reform and American Politics.  What Everyone Needs to Know.  (New York: Oxford 2010.)

22—Nov 14 The liberal approach

**Read**     H&M. “The Constructive Chaos of Pluralism.”  Ch. 6,  pp 87-112.

23—Nov 19 Policy analysis                  

                        **Read**     On Moodle: C. E. Lindblom, The Policy-Making Process, Chs. 1 & 2 (Engelwood Cliffs, NY: Prentice Hall 1968) and

L. Belkin , “The school-lunch test”, New York Times Magazine, pp 30-35, 48, 52, 54-55, August 20, 2006.

24—Nov 21 No Class


25—Nov 26 Institutions:  What they are and how they make change difficult.

**Read**     H&M, “Institutions, Social Policy, and the Death of the Old Social Science.”  Ch. 7, pp. 87-112.

        Nov 28  Thanksgiving Break   


26—Dec 3     Obesity and the Local Food Movement.

**Read**     On Moodle: L. Bailey-Davis, Learning and Engagement in the Local Food Movement. Chs. 1 & 2.  Sections of a PhD dissertation, Department of Nutrition (?), Penn State University, 2013.

27—Dec 5     Community engagement and change

**Read**     H&M, “Implementing Pragmatic Liberalism:  Leadership, Citizenship, and Community.” Ch. 9,  pp 159-172.


28—Dec 10  Course Evaluations

        Dec 13   All assignments are due by 5 pm.