Individual Assignment #1 Due: Draft ideas for the Sociopolitical Problem (SP) Paper (2.5 – 5 pages., 1-2 additional pages is okay, double-spaced, 10-12 size font). The SP Paper is essentially an analysis where a sociopolitical problem is discussed and a set of ideas including plans are outlined to address it. In your paper, incorporate ideas and concepts that you are learning about in this course or that are related to this course. For this draft, at minimum at least 75% of the final paper requirements should be addressed. Ideally, you should address all requirements (in draft form). Yes, you can use bullets or a formal outline format. The following bulleted areas outline the guidelines for the final paper, which you should begin addressing in this draft assignment.

  • State your interest in learning more about and/or doing something about a particular sociopolitical problem in society. Focus on an issue that you are concerned about in your community, city, state, or in the country generally. Succinctly delineate and describe the problem and frame as a policy issue that you feel should be addressed; briefly unpack its social and especially its political aspects. Address the following: Is this a local, regional, or national problem? Why are you concerned about it? Why should others be concerned about it. In addition to the social and political implications of this problem, are there concerning fiscal (financial) issues at play.
  • Specifics relating to this problem; for example, address these questions: Which stakeholders are impacted (who is directly or indirectly impacted)? How did this issue come about (from your perspective based on research, data, etc.)? What available data are available on the issue (statistics, research studies, media coverage, etc.)? What has been done politically in recent years to try to address it?
  • Some political rights, processes, protocols, timelines, and institutions that can be used to help you address the problem, including: protesting and raising awareness, recruiting people to join the effort and organizing support, involving and acquiring the backing of some elected public office holder or public institution, utilizing the legal system/judiciary if appropriate, establishing a start date and end date with some steps briefly outlined, soliciting for funds and using this funding, etc. While you are not expected to include all these areas, select at least two from this list (those that are most relevant to your issue). Example: (1) raising awareness and protesting publicly, and (2) contacting specific elected public officials to get their support.
  • Share the relevant theoretical and practical politically-related ideas and concepts you plan to use from this course or from other appropriate courses in your analysis of the problem and in your plans to address it. Clearly specify the political theories, concepts, or ideas.
  • Sources you used to develop this paper: include in text citations and a formal reference section at the end (use an APA, ASA, or applicable format). Your references page should be an additional one to two pages beyond the minimum paper page requirement. At least 2 to 4 references (aim for one source to be research-oriented; you can include more than the specified number of sources).
  • Summary of the structure of this paper: (1) keep in mind that this assignment in many respects is a policy paper; (2) identify at least two items from the list under the third bulleted guideline above and emphasize the political nature, propose a policy, and include a timeline; (3) write using the formalities typical of an analytical essay or short research paper—focused on a policy issue, include an introduction, body, conclusion, and references; (4) consider using headings and come up with a descriptive and catchy title to convey at-a-glance the sociopolitical problem you identified; and (5), while not expected in this paper, you may develop and share a thesis or hypothesis if it helps you.
  • * Possible topics to consider for the SP Paper: (1) increasing the pool of eligible persons who can vote (voter registration issues); (2) very low or no voter turnout during elections; (3) very low rates of or no effort in becoming a naturalized citizen in order to be able to vote; (4) underrepresentation of women or Latinos/as/xs in political office or as candidates running for political office; (5) redistricting and gerrymandering dynamics and possible adverse outcomes; (6) consequences of underfunded K-12 schools and inadequate teachers/administrators; (7) low college preparation and college attendance rates by youth, especially from low-income, recent immigrant, and Latino/a/x communities; (8) lack of academic- and professional-related role models for girls/young women or for Latinos/as/xs; (9) high unemployment levels; (10) stagnant low wages; (11) widening gaps between the rich and poor or the educated and uneducated; (12) rising crime rates; (13) homelessness; (14) a lack of adequate housing development; (15) high monthly rents and low homeownerships; (16) no or very little economic business investments; (17) adequate access to quality and affordable healthcare coverage; (18) the need for safe, quality, and affordable childcare services; (19) incidents of discrimination and racism; (20) challenges experienced by undocumented individuals (access to and/or performance under education and employment; access to healthcare, other government services such as for food, minimum guaranteed monthly incomes to avoid poverty, subsidized housing, etc.); (21) lack of access to the internet and latest technological devices to be part of the online community; (22) high prices for everyday essential commodities and skyrocketing inflation; (23) environmental-related hazards; and (24) U.S. immigration issues, polices, etc.

    * For additional SP ideas: Refer to the table of contents and chapter overviews of the course textbooks. Also, refer to the topics under the supplemental materials.