Write two brief 2-3 page essays on two of the following questions. Your total assignment should be 4-6 pages long, plus an additional bibliography page. Please be very careful to cite your resources, including the textbook and/or films carefully and correctly.

According to Robert Putnum, a scholar of social capital discussed in Chapter 5 of the Conley text, people have less connection and trust in their neighbors and communities today than in the past, resulting in a decline in civic (public) engagement. Conduct research on his claim. Based on data you locate from academic sources, explain how and why people are being less engaged with their communities OR conversely argue that Putnam is incorrect and that civic engagement is occurring in other spaces (the internet for example). Avoid using anecdotal or personal experience for this essay and focus on and creating a persuasive academic argument.

The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world and about 1 in 34 Americans is under correctional supervision. Based on the theories and data presented in Chapter 6 of the Conley text, consider why this might be the case. What is causing the high incarceration rate? What role does racism, poverty, and masculinity play in this pattern? Next, evaluate the rehabilitative vs. punishment approach to crime reduction. Which one does the US employ? How effective is this approach and why might this be the case?

Book: You May Ask Yourself: An Introduction to Thinking Like a Sociologist
Author: Dalton Conley

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