Category Life in society


In this section you will conduct an experiment about television that was designed by the sociologist Bernard McGrane of Chapman University. It is called "The Un-TV Experiment.”


1 Read about how to conduct "The Un-TV Experiment.”

The Un-TV’ Experiment

You are going to watch TV for three ten-minute periods. In each of these periods, you will watch a different TV program and do a different task. You will take notes about the tasks. You should sit very quietly and concentrate completely on what you are doing so that you do not make a mistake as you record your data. Make sure that you have everything you need: a comfortable place to sit and write, a pencil or pen, and enough paper.

The Tasks

1 Watch any TV program for ten minutes. Count how many times you see a technical manipulation (that is, a change) on the screen, including:

• a cut (the picture changes to another picture, like a slide show)

• a fade-in or fade-out (one picture slowly changes into another picture)

• a zoom (the camera moves from a wide view to a close-up view, or from a close-up view to a wide view)

• a voice-over (a voice explains or comments on what you are watching)

• another technical change (describe it)

2 Watch a news program for ten minutes.

• Count the number of positive images that you see.

• Count the number of negative images that you see.

Make notes about any images that you particularly remember.

3 Watch any TV program for ten minutes. Do not turn on the sound. As you watch, make notes about these two questions:

• How interesting is the program?

• How easy is it to distinguish between the program itself and the commercials?

Now conduct the experiment yourself. A good way to record your results is to use a chart. Your chart should be similar to the one at the top of page 90.

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Controlling Crime

In this section you are going to discuss the problem of how to control crime. Then you will listen to people express opinions about various crimes, decide how certain of their opinions the people are, and discuss whether or not you agree with them.


1 Read the following passage.

Violent crime has dropped in the United States in recent years, but the overall crime rate is still alarmingly high. Crime control is one of the most difficult and controversial subjects in sociology. People have very different beliefs about the best way to lower the crime rate.

Many people believe that the best way to control crime is to stop it from happening in the first place. This might mean developing educational and social programs to discourage young people from becoming involved in criminal activity, or having more

police officers on the streets. Other people think that the best way to control crime is to have tougher punishments. This might include haring stricter laws, more arrests, and longer prison terms.

Answer the following questions according to the information in the passage.

1 What are two different approaches to controlling crime?

2 How could educational and social programs help lower the crime rate?


Read these questions and share your answers with a partner.

1 Which of the two different approaches to controlling crime do you think is more effective? Why?

2 Do you think your community has a high crime rate or a low crime rate? Explain.


When people are discussing ideas, particularly if they are complex or controversial, you often have to listen closely to understand their opinions. You can hear how strongly a person feels about a topic by listening to the speakers words and the degree of certainty with which the words are spoken. Look at the following examples:

The speaker gives an opinion. / think. . .

/ believe. . .

/ feel that. . .

In my opinion. . .

The speaker is very sure of his or her opinion.

I really think. . .

/ really believe. . .

/ am convinced that. . .

I am certain that. . .

That’s an excellent idea!

That’s terrible!

That’s aw ful!

The speaker is not really sure of his or her opinion.

Mmm. . . well. . . let me see. . .

Well. . . maybe. . .

I don’t know. . .

I guess. . .

I’m not really sure, but. . .

1 Read the technical terms and definitions for various types of crime in the left column of the chart on page 115. Read the examples of each type of crime in the right column.

Type of crime


1 Assault and robbery (attacking someone and stealing their possessions)

A group of teenagers between the ages of 15 and 17 attack an old man as he walks home. They steal his wallet and beat him with a baseball bat, leaving him unconscious on the sidewalk.

2 Abduction (taking a person against his ot­her will)

A woman who is divorced from her husband secretly takes the couples 13-year-old son and runs off with him to another country. The father and mother share custody of the son.

3 Vandalism (destroying property)

Some teenagers break into a school cafeteria and smash all the plates. Then they spray paint the walls.

4 Delinquent payment (not paying money that you owe)

A couple who are renting an apartment have not paid their rent for the last three months.

5 Impersonation / Breaking and entering (pretending to be someone else and entering somewhere illegally)

A man knocks on the door of an elderly womans house, pretending to be a TV repairman. Once inside, he asks to use the bathroom, but, instead, he goes into the bedroom and steals money and jewelry.

6 False ID (having identification papers that identify you as someone else)

An 18-year-old makes a copy of his Mend’s college ID. He uses it to pretend that he is 21.


Listen to people express their opinions about the crimes in step 1. what they say and the degree of certainty with which they express Circle the degree of certainty that the speaker expresses.


Listen carefully to their opinions.



Not sure



Not sure



Not sure



Not sure



Not sure



Not sure


Compare your answers with a partner. Then tell your partner about any of the cases where you disagree with the people you heard.


In this section you will hear David, a young man who works with high school students before they go to college, talk about the importance of preventing juvenile crime. Then Amy will give a lawyers perspective on crime control.

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Global Issues


In this section you will leant about the worldwide trend toward living in an urban environment, or city. You will begin to think about the advantages and disadvantages of city life.


1 Read the following passage.

Cities dominate social, economic, and cultural affairs today, but this was not always true. We lend to accept cities as facts of life, but actually they are a relatively recent phenomenon. A century ago, 86% of the world still lived in rural (country) areas, but today about 50% live in rural areas and about 50% live in urban areas (cities). By 2025, it is estimated that over 60% of the population will live in urban areas or suburbs (smaller communities just outside of a city).

City residents are offered a rich life full of excitement and opportunity. All over the world, more and more people are moving to urban environments in search of better jobs, a better education, or the possibility оГ more lifestyle choices. However, there are also many serious problems in cities, including homelessness, environmental pollution, crime, and noise.

Answer the following questions based on the information in the passage.

1 How has the population of urban areas changed during the past century?

2 Why do people move to cities?

3 What problems have developed in cities?

З I Read these questions and share your answers with a partner. 1 What features of city life appeal to you?

‘ 2 What features of city life do you dislike?


Look at the graph below and discuss the following questions with a partner.

1 What is the approximate population of the world today?

2 What can you predict about the population of the world in the year 2050?

3 In "Reading and Thinking About the Topic,” you read that more and more of the world’s population is moving to urban areas. What effect do you think that will have on urban life? What effect will it have on rural life?

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In this section you will hear and Lake notes on a two-part lecture given by Dedra Smith, a media expert who conducts workshops about media and society. The title of the lecture is Dangers of the Mass Media. Ms. Smith will describe what she believes are some harmful effects of the media today.



1 Read the following information from the New York Times 2002 Almanac.

A great majority of American households have two or more televisions. According to the A. C. Nielsen Company, which monitors television viewership, at least one of these televisions was on in each household for 7 hours and 37 minutes per day during the 1998-99 television season. That’s 1 hour and 18 minutes more than in 1971, when the average was just over 6 hours and 19 minutes, but 3 minutes less than in 1997-98.

Average daily viewing per person is still much higher than the 1970s levels, but down slightly from the year before. Women over the age of 18 watched longest: they averaged 4 hours and 51 minutes per day, while men over 18 watched for 4 hours and 16 minutes. Children aged 12-17 watched an average of 2 hours and 54 minutes.



For each of the forms of media in the following chart, write how many hours you spend using it per day and per week. Then compare vour chart with a partner.


Hours per day

Hours per week



Video games






Discuss the following questions with your partner.

1 For what purposes do you use each of the forms of media in the chart?

2 Do you think you spend too much time using any of these forms of media? Why or why not?

One way of taking notes is called mapping. In this method, you write the main idea on your paper and draw lines out to related points. As you take notes, you can show connections between different parts of the lecture by adding lines.




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m. media m. m. іnc-hde*;:

Now listen to the excerpts and complete the map.


Compare your map with a partner.

Look at the following map of excerpts from Part One of Ms. Smith’s lecture.

LECTURE, PART ONE: Issues of Violence, Passivity, and Addiction


1 The following items contain important vocabulary from Part One of the lecture. Work with a partner. Using the context and your knowledge of related words, take turns trying to guess the meanings of the words in bold.

1 These new advances bring us dangers that we should be aware of.

2 Many people are afraid that children and adolescents are especially susceptible to this violence.

3 Kids set a subway booth on fire.

4 Tragically, the man working at the booth died.

5 TV can make us passive.

6 Using the media can become very addictive.

7 Most of us wander through cyberspace. . . wasting a lot of time.

Work with your partner. Match the vocabulary terms with their definitions by writing the letter of each definition below in the blank next to the sentence containing the correct term in step 1. Check your answers in a dictionary if necessary.

a hard to stop or give up b office that sells metro cards or tokens c informed about d likely to be affected by e sadly

f move with no clear direction or purpose g not wanting to do anything; inactive

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1 What is your opinion about controlling crime? Write.4 (agree) or D (disagree) next to the following opinions.

1 Criminals should be punished. If people break the law, they deserv e to pay the price, no matter why they did it.

2 Having tough punishments can stop people from committing crimes. If we have severe punishments, people will think twice before they break the law.

___ 3 People need a second chance. If we try’ to reform criminals, by education,

psychological treatment, or other methods, we can turn them away from a life of crime.

___ 4 We need to provide a sense of security’ in society. Putting people who break

the law in prison is the only way to do that.

5 The most important thing we can do is try to prevent crime before it happens. Prevention is always better than punishment.

2 Share your answers in a small group. Then discuss as a class which opinions were the most controversial.

INTERVIEW WITH DAVID: Preventing juvenile crime

Here are some words and phrases from the interview with David printed in bold and given in the context in which you will hear them. They are followed by definitions.

I think the media exacerbates the problem: makes worse

We have thousands of security guards in the schools and metal detectors, too: machines that can detect guns, knives, and other weapons made of metal

And the kids get searched as they go into school: physically examined to see if they have weapons or illegal drugs

They are more likely to lash out and become violent: express anger Put them on a one-to-one basis and they’re usually very friendly: with one other person

The problem is that social support systems have really fallen apart: government and private organizations that give people help and encouragement / become worse due to lack of money

The funding for programs like these has been cut: money

But we also need harsher punishments: stronger, more serious Drug crimes carry a maximum sentence of twenty years or life imprisonment: punishment

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