Sociology 236: Helping, altruism, and community participation
a Bascom Course satisfying the Course B requirement
Prof. Jane Allyn Piliavin
Class Time: MW 2:25-3:40 6112 Social Science
Phones: (O) 262-4344; (H) 233-9090 Office: 2450 Social Science
Office Hours: MW 4:00-5:00 and by appointment
This course is designed to do three things. First, it is a social psychology
course, which will introduce you to the ways social scientists in general,
and sociologists and social psychologists in particular, think. Second,
it is a writing course designed to prepare you for writing requirements
in the rest of your college career and your professional life thereafter.
Finally, it is a course on the topic of other-oriented social action:
helping, altruism, and community participation. As part of your course
requirements you will engage in several forms of volunteering, social
action, and community participation and report back to me and the class
(Available at the University Bookstore)
- Pettigrew, T.F. How to Think Like a Social Scientist. New
York: HarperCollins (paper). 1996.
- Schroeder, D.A., Penner, L. A., Dovidio, J. F., and Piliavin, J.
A. The Psychology of Helping and Altruism: Problems and Puzzles.
New York: McGraw Hill (paper), 1995.
- There will also be a packet of outside readings,
available in the social science copy center, 6th floor, Social Science
Requirements and evaluation:
There will be no examinations in this course. Attendance is expected
except for emergencies or documented ill health. All evaluations will
be based on writing, class participation, and oral presentations. Written
assignments are designed to be varied and to provide opportunities for
revising. There is a total of about 45 pages of writing, both formal and
informal (counting rewrites), and one informal oral presentation.
This is based on observing two different forms of community participation,
such as a public hearing, a neighborhood association meeting, a demonstration/
protest, a political campaign event, a fund-raising event, or a volunteer
activity. You will write a paper comparing and contrasting the behavior
and talk of actors, and your own feelings, in these two settings, 2-4
pages. This is due on Monday, September 23.
Comments will be made on this paper by the writing fellows, supervised
by the professor, and it will be returned by Monday, October 7.
You will then add comparisons and contrasts with initial impressions
either of your permanent placement or of another "one time"
event. The rewritten paper is due October 16. The first
draft, with the comments from your writing fellow, must be turned in with
Individual research paper:
Each student will select a topic related to the course content and write
an 8-10 page paper due on December 13. If this date is difficult for you,
I will be happy to negotiate a somewhat later time, up to our summary
date, December 19. Later papers will lead to temporary incompletes. An
individual conference to discuss the topic will be scheduled between September
26 and October 4. In the preparation of this paper there will be three
or four preliminary steps:
- Library exercise: On September 18 class meets in the
Memorial Library, Room 443, for instruction on sociological databases
such as Sociological Abstracts (Helene Androski). Students will then
work in groups to develop a short bibliography and paper on a topic
related to community participation, volunteering, political campaign
activity, or social action. The group paper is due on October 2. During
this process, you should start thinking about a topic for your final
- Initial outline and reference list. Each student turns in a tentative
topic, described in a paragraph, with an outline and list of references,
on October 9. These will be returned with comments one week later. 2-4
- Revised outline and reference list. This is due on October 23, only
for those for whom significant changes were seen as necessary. 2-4 pages.
- First draft of paper due November 11. 8-10 pages. These will be read
by the writing fellows, supervised by the Professor, and be returned
by November 25.
From week 6 (September 30) to week 12 (November 11) of the course, students
will keep a journal reflecting their social scientific observations during
their 2-3 hours of volunteer work in one or possibly two settings. These
journals are turned in each Wednesday and returned each following Monday
with comments. 1-2 pages per week. These can be handwritten, although
typing them in a computer and keeping them filed will help with the final
Due November 25 (week 13). 5-7 pages. Should tie together journal entries,
incorporating feedback from instructor, and relate the volunteer experience
to sociological imagination, personal growth, readings, and issues discussed
in class -- and include a contrast of the volunteer setting(s) with the
initial three forms of social participation observed.
Pairs of student will have shared responsibility for leading the discussion
in class on one class day. You should read well ahead of your day and
prepare interpretive, integrative questions ONE WEEK in advance
to pose to the class by e-mail distribution list. The questions should
not just march through the readings asking for factual information. It
will be in each student's interest to prepare for each session; this way
when you are the leader, it will not be such a difficult task.
On November 25, groups of 3 or 4 students will get together to plan
informal oral presentations to the rest of the class on December 9 and
11. In these, which should last about 20 minutes, an analysis is made
comparing their different volunteer sites on some sociological or social
Grading will be based on the following:
- Library paper 8%.
- Comparative paper -- 17%.
- Journal summary/contrast paper -- 25%.
- Research paper -- 35%.
- Participation, including quality of discussion leadership and of
final 4-person group discussion -- 7%.
- Attendance, number completed and timeliness of submission of all assignments,
including journal entries, intermediate steps in research paper, final
critical evaluation-- 8%.
Readings and assignments.
Readings must be done by the day indicated:
Days indicated by an * are days on which there will be a student seminar
leader for the discussion.
||Subjects, Assignments, and Readings
||First class day. Introduction of course and requirements.
- SPDP Chapter 1. An introduction to helping and altruism.
- Pettigrew. Chapter 1. Everybody is a social scientist. Take
the quiz at the beginning of the chapter before reading on.
Bring your answers to class.
Someone from the Morgridge Center for Public Service, Red Gym,
716 Langdon Street, will come and hand out a list of possible volunteer
placements. Randy Wallar will be our contact after that regarding
placements. His phone and e-mail are 262-5781 and jrwallar@facstaff.
wisc.edu. It is essential that you get started on obtaining
placements right away. Some placements require interviews and training
before you can begin work.
Student Organization Fair -- 5:00 - 8:00 P.M. Great Hall. Go
to see about meetings you might attend for one of your events.
Arrange to attend at least one of your two events (neighborhood
association, hearing, protest, rally, organization meeting, etc.)
this week, if possible.
- Pettigrew, Chapter 6. Keeping your levels straight.
- O'Neill, Michael. 1989. The Third America. Chapter 1. The nonprofit
world. pp. 1-19.
- Knoke, D. and Wood, J.R. 1981. Chapter 1: A theory of voluntary
association behavior. pp. 1-29 in Organized for Action: Commitment
in voluntary associations. New Brunswick N.J.: Rutgers Univ. Press.
- Pettigrew. Chapter 2. Thinking theoretically.
- Pettigrew, Chapter 3. In comparison with what? (pp. 37-52; 61-69
Also two brief articles on programs in support of seniors in the
- Morrow-Howell, N. and Ozawa, M. N. Helping network: Seniors
to seniors. 1987. The Gerontologist, 27, pp. 17-20.
- Milligan, S., Maryland, P., Ziegler, H., and Ward, A. Natural
helpers as street health workers among the black urban elderly.
1987. The Gerontologist, 27, 712-715.
What is wrong with these studies?
||Tuesday. Attend Volunteer Placement Day if you do not yet have
a placement. Last chance for setting up volunteer placement.
- Berkowitz, B., 1987. Local Heroes. (About people who
organize for the betterment of their communities.) Chapter 1,
How to build community life, plus one other chapter to be randomly
Library training day. Meet in Memorial Library, Room 443A.
Helene Androski will teach about databases. Do your second observation
Small groups will attempt to figure out what makes "Local
Heroes" tick. What theory can you develop?
Bring your chapter with you!!
Comparative paper first draft due.
- SPDP Chapter 2. The context: when will people help?
- Latané, B., and Darley, J. 1970. Chapters 5 (37-42) and
7(55-67) in The Unresponsive Bystander: Why Doesn't He Help?
New York: Appleton.
- SPDP Chapter 3. Why do people help? Motives for helping.
Begin community participation / volunteering and writing of
journal, one page per week, through week 12 (the week of November
15). Journal is to be handed in each Wednesday, and will be
returned with comments on the following Monday. Individual conferences
on papers begin. Library exercise due.
- Sober and Wilson, Chapter 7 (pp. 223-248 and notes) and Conclusion
(pp. 329-337). In Unto Others.
- Jane Mansbridge, The rise and fall of self-interest in the explanation
of political life, pp. 3-22. In Beyond Self-Interest, Mansbridge,
- Christopher Jencks. Varieties of altruism, pp. 54-67 in same.
First journal entry due.
- SPDP Chapter 4. The origins of helping and altruism: Are we
Sober, E., and Wilson, D.S. 1998. Introduction and Chapter 1,
Unto Others. (Pp. 1-26)
- Martin, G.B., and Clark, R.D., III 1982. Distress crying in
infants: Species and peer specificity. Developmental Psychology,
- Matthews, K.A., et al. 1981. "Principles in his nature
which interest him in the fortune of others...": The heritability
of empathic concern for others. Journal of Personality,
- Pettigrew, Chapter 4. Searching for causes and changes. Outline
of research paper due, with primary references.
|Oct. 14 *
- SPDP Chapter 5. The development of altruism and helping.
- Faves, R.A., et al. 1989. Effects of rewards on children's prosocial
motivation: A socialization study. Developmental Psychology,
- Smith, C.L. et al. 1979. Children's causal attributions regarding
help giving. Child Development, 50, 203-210.
- SPDP Chapter 6. And now for something a little different: Who
helps and why?
- Latane, B. and Dabbs, J.M. 1975. Sex, group size and helping
in three cities. Sociometry, 18, 180-194.
Outline returned with comments and suggestions for rewriting.
Revised comparative paper due.
|Oct. 21 *
- Carlo, G., Eisenberg, N., Troyer, D., Switzer, G., and Speer,
A. 1991. The altruistic personality: In what contexts is it apparent?
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 61, 450-458.
- Shotland, R.L., and Straw, M. 1976. Bystander response to an
assault: When a man attacks a woman. Journal of Personality
and Social Psychology, 34, 990-999;
- Wilson, J.P. 1976. Motivation, modeling, and altruism: A person
X situation analysis. Journal of Personality and Social
Psychology, 34, 1078-1086.
|Oct. 22 *
- SPDP Chapter 7. Help wanted? Help seeking: Actions and reactions.
- Poppendieck, J. 1998 Chapter 8, "Charity and dignity"
(pp. 230-255) in Sweet Charity.
- Hochschild, A. R. 1979. Emotion work, feeling rules, and social
structure. American Journal of Sociology, 85, 551-575
- Stein, M. 1989. Gratitude and attitude: A note on emotional
welfare. Social Psychology Quarterly, 52, 242-248.
Rewrite of outline is due, if extensive changes were suggested.
- Pettigrew, Chapter 5. Sampling, selecting, and socializing.
One of four articles on rural-urban differences (These will be
distributed -- not in packet.):
- Amato, P.R. 1983. Helping behavior in urban and rural environments.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 45, 571-586;
- Levine, R. V., et al. 1994. Helping in 36 U.S. Cities. Journal
of Personality and Social Psychology, 67, 69-82;
- Steblay, N.M. 1987. Helping behavior in rural and urban environments:
A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 102, 346-356;
- Amato, P.R. 1993. Urban-rural differences in helping friends
and family members. Social Psychology Quarterly, 56, 249-262.
Social movements. How are these like and unlike volunteer activities?
Is this helping?
- Friedman, D. and McAdam, D. 1992. Collective identity and activism:
Networks, choices and the life of a social movement. pp. 156-173
in Morris, A.D., and Mueller, C.M. Frontiers in Social Movement
Theory. New Haven: Yale University Press.
- Oliver, P. 1984. "If you don't do it, nobody else will":
Active and token contributors to local collective action. American
Sociological Review, 49, 601-610.
- SPDP, Chapter 8. Cooperation and collective helping.
- Marwell, G., and Ames, R.E. 1981. Economists free ride, does
anyone else? Journal of Public Economics, 15, 295-310.
- Pettigrew, Chapter 7. Thinking in systems terms.
- Poppendieck, J. 1998. "Introduction" (pp. 1-19) and
"Conclusion" (pp. 288-318), Sweet Charity.
||First draft of paper due, 8-10 pages. There will be a video
|Nov. 13 *
Satisfaction and dissatisfaction among volunteers.
- Clary, E.G., Snyder, M. , Ridge, R.D., Copeland, J., Stukas,
A.A., Haugen, J, and Miene, P. 1998. Understanding and assessing
the motivations of volunteers: A functional approach. Journal
of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 1516-1530.
- Wharton, C.S. 1991. Why can't we be friends: Expectations versus
experiences in the volunteer role. Journal of Contemporary
Ethnography, 20, 79-106. (long but easy reading)
- Butterworth, V.A., Simmons, R.G., and Schimmer, M. 1993. When
altruism fails: reactions of unrelated bone marrow donors when
the recipient dies. Omega, 26, 161-173.
|Nov. 18 *
Some impacts of helping in volunteers and social service workers.
- Stukas, Arthur A., E. Gil Clary, and Mark Snyder. 1999a. "The
effects of mandatory volunteerism' on intentions to volunteer."
Psychological Science, 10: 59-64
- Koeske, G.F., and Kelly, T. 1995. The impact of over-involvement
on burnout and job satisfaction. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry,
- Mickler, S.E., and Rosen, S. 1994. Burnout in spurned medical
caregivers and the impact of job expectancy training. Journal
of Applied Social Psychology, 24, 2110-2131.
Long term effects of volunteering.
- Uggen, Christopher and Jennifer Janikula. 1999. Volunteerism
and arrest in the transition to adulthood. Social Forces.
- Van Willingham, Marieke. 2000. "Differential benefits of
volunteering across the life course". Journal of Gerontology:
Social Sciences. 55B: S1-S11.
- Piliavin, Jane. (in press) "Doing well by doing good: Benefits
for the benefactor." to appear in Keyes, Corey Lee M. &
Jon Haidt (Eds.). Flourishing: The Positive Personality and
the Life Well Lived. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological
Individual papers relating volunteer experience to sociological
imagination, personal growth, readings and issues discussed in class
-- 5-7 pages are due. Should reflect feedback given throughout
the class on weekly journal entries. No readings.
First draft of paper returned with comments and suggestions for
rewriting. Group meetings to prepare presentations for next
| ***** Happy Thanksgiving *****
Whistle-blowers. Why do they do it? What happens to them? How can
it be done more effectively? Is this helping?
- Jos, P.H., Tompkins, M.E., and Hays, S. W. 1989. In praise of
difficult people: A portrait of the committed whistleblower. Public
Administration Review, Nov/Dec, 552-561.
- Greenberger, D.B., Miceli, M.P., and Cohen, D.J. 1987. Oppositionists
and group norms: The reciprocal influence of whistle-blowers and
co-workers. Journal of Business Ethics, 6, 527-542.
- Near, J.P. and Micelli, M.P. 1995. Effective whistle-blowing.
Academy of Management Review. 20:679-708.
- Pettigrew, Chapter 8. Try out your healthy skepticism. SPDP.
- Chapter 9. Looking backward, looking ahead.
||Informal group presentations comparing and contrasting volunteer
experiences and experiences across individuals, and comparing volunteering
with other community participation observations.
||Group presentations continue. No readings. Party.
|Final research paper due December 13, 10-12 pages.
You may arrange with me for a later date if this is difficult for
Summary schedule of special events and due dates for written materials,
Sociology 236, Fall, 2002
Meetings in places other than classroom:
- September 18, Monday. Library exercise day. Meet in Memorial Library,
- September 17, Tuesday. Volunteer fair. Great Hall. Go if you do
not yet have a placement.
- September 26 - October 4. Conferences on research papers. My office.
Due dates for written work:
- September 23 Draft of comparative paper due
- September 30 Library exercise paper due
- Weeks of September 30---> November 11 (journal entries each week
- October 9 Outline for research paper ---> returned October 18
- October 16 Revision of comparative paper due
- [October 23 Outline revision due, if needed]
- November 11 First draft of research paper due
- November 25 Journal summary/contrast paper --> graded December
- December 13 Revised research paper due
* * * * * * * *
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