Dear Social Problems Students,
This week during lecture we began looking at two related issue: Mass Incarceration and Employment Discrimination. We watched a short documentary produced by Al Jazeera, “Anatomy of An American City.” We also reviewed the Goffman reading “On the Run” and Pager reading “The Mark of a Criminal Record.” Based on the ideas presented during lecture this past week, here are three questions for you to write about:
1. How does Goffman’s “On the Run: Wanted Men in a Philadelphia Ghetto?” portray the effects of mass incarceration on the lived realities and experiences of predominately young men of color? How does the structural threat of mass incarceration shape the daily life of these individuals?
2. What are the barriers that ex-convicts and felons face when trying to improve their lives? How does “The Mark of a Criminal Record” address these issues? How are individuals “branded” by the mark of a criminal record, and what are the long-term effects of being branded with such a negative credential?
3. What do you think of the argument (advanced by Goffman, Alexander, etc) that mass incarceration is the modern-day system of social control that is intended to enslave black people in America? Do you buy that argument? Why or why not?
Please draft a written response to either #1, #2, or #3. Your choice. Your written responses must be between 500-600 words. Submit finished responses to our Canvas site before 5pm, Wednesday, May 29th.
***In each of these essays, we would like to see you integrate evidence from the Al Jazeera documentary, “Baltimore: Anatomy of an American City” (?? Baltimore: Anatomy of an American City | Fault Lines (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
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