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Introduction to Sociology
SOCI 101 - Morrisville State College
Professor Kurt Reymer


One-Page Reports #1: Distrust of Social Institutions

In part one of the course, we have learned what social institutions are -- the purposeful organization of people into groups and organizations. Universal types of social institutions (that exist in every society, whether small, remote and simple or large, global, and advanced) include Family, Religion, the Economy, Education, and Politics (remember "FREEP"). Other social institutions particularly relevant in American society today might be Sports, Media, Science, or Justice. Remember that "institutions", from a sociological perspective, are abstract concepts -- the term describes the totality of the concrete physical manifestations of them. So, when talking about social institutions of Sports, for example, we are talking about the totality of all the teams, types, and locations that integrate this meaningful construct into our lives -- from high school football, to professional tennis, from Yankee Stadium (baseball) to Mount Everest (mountain climbing). An example in the institutions of American Justice include the physical places (like courts, jails and prisons), the social statuses (like police or judge), and the behaviors, some of which are being debated today, such as stop-and-frisk, chokeholds, or jail-cell "suicides." The Institution of Justice correlates ALL of these places, ideas, and behaviors. So, as you write your paper, I want you to talk about institutions from the Sociological Perspective, not just the concrete perspective.

Here's your task for your first one-page report:

It has been said that many of our institutions in America (and globally) are failing today. They are failing because there is a growing lack of SOCIAL TRUST in how our institutions operate and/or the reasons for their existing.

For your paper, choose one social institution and find examples of distrust in the institution. In writing your paper, be sure to answer these questions:

Note: this is not an opinion paper! Using concrete examples from personal experience, from the news, from other's anecdotes (stories), or elsewhere, you should provide evidence for your claims and write in the "third person" (for example, "It's clear from this evidence that people are losing faith in our political leaders" rather than "I don't trust politicians.")

Your paper should be one page in length (approximately 250-300 words), double-spaced, 1-inch margins, standard font, and in paragraph form (not just a bullet list response).

You should:
(1) save your work as a PDF file (for MS Word use the "Save as..." feature; for Google Docs, "Download as..."), with the
(2) filename starting with your LAST NAME-OPR1, then
(3) attach the PDF file to me in an email (reymers@morrisville.edu) with the subject line reading OPR1.

Due Friday September 11 (end of day)