Argumentative Essay Topics

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Need ideas on argumentative essay topics? There are so many you can choose from. The best topic is one that you truly care about, and one that you’re prepared to write on. You’ll have to back up your claim with lots of evidence and support. When writing an essay on argumentative topics you should focus on picking a topic that is current and relevant to society and can be argued logically. This list will offer you 100+ argumentative essay topics and example essays to further explore the topic of interest.

Argumentative Essay Topics in Aging

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Argumentative Essay Topics in Crime and Deviance

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Argumentative Essay Topics in Education

Argumentative Essay Topics in Family and Marriage

Argumentative Essay Topics in Gender

Argumentative Essay Topics in Health

Argumentative Essay Topics in Politics

Argumentative Essay Topics in Environment

Argumentative Essay Topics in Race and Ethnicity

Argumentative Essay Topics in Substance Abuse

Argumentative Essay Topics in Urbanization

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How to Choose an Argumentative Essay Topic

Argumentative Essay TopicsIt is best to avoid moral topics since they do not always support logical discussion.  Additionally, any potential argumentative essay topic should be current, debatable, researchable, and manageable.

A current topic is one that has not been over-debated and is still being decided by society.  However, pay attention to the fact that most writers and readers are sick of topics that have been debated for years: abortion, the death penalty, the legalization of marijuana, etc.

A debatable topic is one that has differing viewpoints.  In other words, it is a controversial issue.  Writing about how child abuse has consequences for society is not debatable since no one would disagree with this thesis.  On the other hand, debating whether the common punishments for child abusers are effective or not in deterring crime is debatable and can make for an interesting and well supported essay.

A researchable topic is one in which the you can find a variety of credible and current sources.  In other words, you need to be able to find a multitude of research performed by qualified individuals to support the overall argument.

A manageable topic is one that can be successfully performed within the page requirements of the particular essay.  Writing about widespread issues such as national or global problems is often unmanageable in several pages.  To avoid this, you should begin with a basic subject and then try to narrow the subject down to a more appropriate level.

Top 20 Argumentative Essay Topics

The list of top 20 argumentative essay topics will definitely leave people with an opinion, a perspective or a sour taste in their mouths. The fact remains that a good debate has the ability to arouse mixed feelings some of which may be latent and hostile feelings towards a particular issue. Additionally, disputes and arguments are likely to arise when there is a good controversial topic up for debate. Below are a few examples of argumentative topics that are likely to spark debate. To find good topic for an argumentative essay you should consider several issues that will have two conflicting points of view or very different conclusions. As you look over a list of topics you should find one that really sparks your interest.

1. Abortion

Abortion has been legal in the USA and in almost all western European countries since the early 1970s, and in Belgium and Ireland since the early 1990s. Although abortion was legal in the Soviet Union for several years prior to its collapse, abortion politics have subsequently come to the fore in some Eastern European countries (e.g., Poland) as a result of government attempts at scaling-back abortion. Legal access to abortion continues to be highly restricted in Mexico and in several Central and South American countries. Abortion is most intensely debated in the USA, where legal and congressional initiatives to amend the US Supreme Court’s recognition (Roe v.Wade, 1973) of a woman’s legal right to an abortion continue unabated. Abortion activism is pursued by several religious and secular organizations, and abortion politics dominate presidential and congressional elections and debates over judicial appointments. Grassroots efforts to restrict abortion have met with some success; post-Roe Supreme Court decisions have imposed various restrictions, most notably the imposition of spousal and parental notification requirements. Currently, the issue of late-term abortion is intensely debated (though most abortions are performed in the first trimester of pregnancy).

2. Death Penalty

The death penalty is the sentence of death after conviction following due process of law. The death penalty has been sanctioned by major juridical and religious traditions. It was defended during the Renaissance and Reformation by many Enlightenment thinkers such as Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau. This same period first saw the emergence of the movement to abolish the death penalty with the seminal work of Cesare Beccaria (1764), an end which was advocated in the nineteenth century by the jurists Jeremy Bentham and Samuel Romilly. The practice has undergone two key transformations in modern times: a restriction on the crimes and categories of offender punishable by death; and a transformation from public displays of excess to private, medicalized executions. These shifts have been explained either by the cultural dynamic of the privatization of disturbing events or by the transformation in technologies of power from punishment as a public and violent spectacle inflicting pain on the body to the emergence of disciplinary power and surveillance of the soul.

3. Disability

Common sense takes disability as a simple natural fact, but the sociology of disability emphasizes that disability has to be differentiated from impairment. Not every chronic health condition is acknowledged as disability. There are cultures in which the social fact of disability does not exist. Disability as a social problem has evolved as a product of the modern welfare state. With the beginning of modernity and, above all, during the period of industrialization, a line was drawn between ‘‘the disabled’’ and other poor and unemployed people. In the course of the twentieth century disability became a horizontal category of social stratification. Even today the ascription process is ambivalent: it includes rights and benefits as well as discrimination and segregation.

4. Discrimination

Discrimination refers to the differential, and often unequal, treatment of people who have been either formally or informally grouped into a particular class of persons. There are many forms of discrimination that are specified according to the ways in which particular groups are identified, including race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, class, age, disability, nationality, religion, or language. The United Nations Charter (1954) declared in article 55 that the UN will promote human rights and freedoms for all, ‘‘without distinction as to race, sex, language, and religion.’’ Later in 1958, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights added eight further grounds for possible discrimination, which were color, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, or other status.

5. Divorce

A major social trend during the past century has been a global increase in the divorce rate. During the second half of the twentieth century divorce rates increased in most industrialized countries. Some of the social characteristics that appear to have contributed to the increase in the divorce rate are increased individualism, increasing marital expectations, the economic independence of women, and no-fault divorce laws. During the past 30 years there has been a gradual decrease in the US divorce rate. Divorce is a complex process influenced by many social and individual characteristics. Factors that have been found to be associated with the risk of divorce include age at marriage, premarital cohabitation, parental divorce, infidelity, alcohol and drug abuse, poor financial management, and domestic violence.

6. Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive behavior designed to exert power and control over a person in an intimate relationship through the use of intimidating, threatening, harmful, or harassing behavior. Victims of domestic violence are primarily female. Women are up to six times as likely to be assaulted by a partner or ex-partner than by a stranger and they are more likely to suffer an injury when their assailant is an intimate. Domestic violence is one of the leading causes of injury to women in the USA. Domestic violence rates also vary by age and economic status, with highest victimization rates among the poor and females between the ages of 16 and 24 years.

7. Environment

Humans have faced poor environmental conditions throughout history, but what we think of as ‘‘environmental problems’’ became more common and apparent with urbanization. In the USA urban air and water pollution attracted growing attention throughout the last century, and by the 1960s became recognized as significant problems. Celebration of the first ‘‘Earth Day’’ on April 22, 1970, helped transform ‘‘environmental quality’’ into a major social concern, and a wide range of environmental conditions from pollution to declining wilderness and wildlife became major social problems. Examining the socio economic processes that generate environmental problems is beyond the scope of this essay, but the nature of such problems can be clarified via use of an ecological perspective. Ecologists note that the environment provides many ‘‘services’’ for human beings (and all other species), but we can simplify these into three general types of functions that it performs for human societies. First, the environment provides us with the resources necessary for life, from clean air and water to food and shelter, as well as the natural resources used in industrial economies. In providing what ecologists term the ‘‘sustenance base’’ for human societies, the environment is serving a ‘‘supply depot’’ function. It supplies us with both renewable and non-renewable resources, and overuse of the former (e.g. water) may result in shortages and the latter (e.g. fossil fuels) in potential scarcities.

8. Eugenics

‘‘Eugenics’’ derives from the Greek word eugenes meaning ‘‘good in birth’’ or ‘‘noble in heredity.’’ Eugenics was developed in the late nineteenth century and means ideologies and activities aiming to improve the quality of the human race by selecting the ‘‘genetically fit.’’ It can entail (1) ‘‘positive’’ strategies to manipulate the heredity or breeding practices of ‘‘genetically superior’’ or ‘‘fit’’ people, or (2) ‘‘negative’’ strategies to exterminate the ‘‘genetically inferior.’’ Eugenics combines genetics as a scientific discipline with ideas from social planning and rational management developed during the industrial revolution. Eugenic ‘‘science’’ was considered to be the application of human genetic knowledge to social problems such as pauperism, alcoholism, criminality, violence, prostitution, mental illness, etc. In the early twentieth century, eugenics became a social movement first in Europe and then also in the United States. Public policies were developed which were rooted in eugenic ideology and justified on grounds of societal or state interests: those deemed ‘‘genetically unfit’’ were stigmatized as an economic and moral burden.

9. Gambling

While gambling is widely accepted today as a source of entertainment and recreation, a growing tendency to highlight problematic aspects is also to be noticed. Traditionally, heavy gamblers who sustained repeated losses and other adverse consequences were considered derelict, immoral, or criminal and for much of the twentieth century the prevailing view of excessive gambling continued to define that behavior as morally and legally reprehensible. A few decades ago, a new perspective emerged in which gambling is seen as pathological – as a form of addictive behavior in need of therapeutic treatment. The disease-concept (at least partly) replaced former deviance-definitions as a kind of willful norm violation, and excessive gambling increasingly is considered to be an expression of a mental disorder resembling the substance-related addictions. Since 1980, this change in perception has been strongly stimulated by – and reflected in – the evolving clinical classification and description of pathological gambling in the various editions of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) published by the American Psychiatric Association.

10. Genetic Engineering

Genetic engineering (GE; often also called biotechnology) is the technique and science of intervention into the genetic mechanisms of a biological organism. For sociologists of risk (e.g. Ulrich Beck) GE it is a paradigmatic case for risk society. There are two main applications: agriculture and food production, and medical genetics; furthermore, GE is used in different fields of industrial production. GE is one of the most contested technologies, especially in the medical field. Critics claim that there is a general trend towards ‘‘geneticization,’’ i.e. explaining social behavior with genetics (e.g. homosexuality, criminality, alcoholism). Since people cannot change their ‘‘genetic outfit’’ and genetics has prognostic power also for families and future generations, the status of and access to genetic information are important issues in legal regulation. ‘‘Genetic privacy’’ refers to third party access to genetic information. Further topics are: the combination of genetics and reproductive technologies (pre-implantation and prenatal diagnosis), research on human embryos and stem cells, human cloning, gene therapy and human enhancement.

11. Genocide

The term genocide was coined by Raphael Lemkin, a lawyer of Polish-Jewish origin, in 1944. It was legally defined in the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in 1948. The Convention states that ‘‘genocide means . . . acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.’’ Such acts as detailed in the Convention include: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to them; deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about their physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within a group; and forcibly transferring children of the group to another one. This definition excludes groups defined by class and political affiliation. Contemporary human rights lawyers include these groups and count, e.g. the genocide of its own people by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia as genocide.

12. Globalization

Appearing first in the 1960s, ‘‘globalization’’ has become a central but contested sociological concept. Although the origins of globalization can be found in the distant past, the concept was used widely after the end of the cold war, after which it was possible at least to imagine a ‘‘borderless’’ world in which people, goods, ideas, and images would flow with relative ease. The global division between capitalism and state socialism gave way to a more uncertain world in which capitalism was the dominant economic and social system. This coincided with the development of digital communication technologies from the late 1980s and their dramatic consequences for socioeconomic organization and interpersonal interaction. Global restructuring of states, financial systems, production technologies and the politics of neoliberalism in turn accompanied these developments, creating previously unprecedented levels of transnational interdependence.

13. Human Rights

‘‘Human rights are those liberties, immunities and benefits which, by accepted contemporary values, all human being should be able to claim ‘as of right’ of the society in which they live’’ (Encyclopedia of Public International Law 1995: 886). Human rights are constitutive for the contemporary discourse on the moral nature of society and individuals that is simultaneously a legal discourse on rights of individuals, and obligations and accountability of states and international organizations. As such they embody the ‘‘collective conscience’’ of a world community that is developing among citizens, judiciaries and legislatures still embedded in nation states. The paradigm of contemporary human rights emerged with the modern nation state and has its philosophical roots in the Enlightenment tradition of Europe and the United States. The Petition of Right in 1628 and the Bill of Rights in 1689 in Britain were followed by the American Declaration of Independence (1776), the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1789), and the American Bill of Rights (1791).

14. Immigration

Sociologists look at migration as a social phenomenon. Their research is focused not on individual immigrants but on immigrant populations and their characteristics, because the characteristics of immigrant flows and immigrant populations are essential for understanding migration processes and the reaction to these processes from the receiving societies. The volume of the migration flow, its demographic structure (only young males, or whole families e.g.), the homogeneity or heterogeneity of the immigrant population according to educational attainments for instance, this kind of variable is relevant for the description of immigration as a social phenomenon. A second decision relates to the societal context of our field of study. Because migration is such a ubiquitous phenomenon it has occurred and still occurs under very different circumstances. The world counts to date millions and millions of people who have migrated out of their own free will or as compelled by ethnic cleansing, civil wars or natural disasters. The receiving societies differ fundamentally in nature and stability of state formation to mention only one important characteristic.

15. Racism

When most people think about racism, they think about the concept of individual prejudice – in other words, negative thoughts or stereotypes about a particular racial group. However, racism can also be embedded in the institutions and structures of social life. This type of racism can be called structural or institutional racism (hereafter ‘‘institutional racism’’), and it is significant in creating and maintaining the disparate outcomes that characterize the landscape of racial inequality. There are two main types of institutional racism. The first, which is called ‘‘direct,’’ occurs when policies are consciously designed to have discriminatory effects. These policies can be maintained through the legal system (such as in the case of Jim Crow in the USA); or through conscious institutional practice (such as redlining in residential real estate). The second type, ‘‘indirect’’ institutional racism, includes practices that have disparate racial impacts even without any intent to discriminate (such as network hiring in workplaces).

16. Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment refers to unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other forms of unwanted attention of a sexual nature, in a workplace or elsewhere. Sexual harassment includes unwelcome (sexual) jokes, remarks with sexual connotations, gossip, repeated requests to go out, and any form of unwanted touching or invasion of personal space, as well as sexual advances or assault. The overwhelming majority of victims are women, as well as adolescent and young workers. Perpetrators are most often individual men or groups of men. Same-sex harassment has also received attention, in particular, gender and sexual harassment among men. Besides consequences such as loss of a job or not being promoted, victims can experience adverse psychological effects such as confusion, discomfort, anxiety, anger, and stress.

17. Social Services

Social services are provisions that society makes to support individuals in need. Developed in the west to supplement family care, social services are found across the world and delivered mainly by social workers in various settings (state, voluntary agencies and commercial enterprises) in a ‘‘mixed economy of care.’’ Bureaucratized under the ‘‘new’’ managerialism and market forces, social services cover children, families, older people, disabled people, mentally ill people and offenders. Social workers care for and about people within a tension-filled environment that complicates delivery. An important issue is what causes need – personal inadequacies or structural factors. The Settlement Movement favored explanations involving structural causes. The Charity Organization Society (COS) originally popularized personal pathology, dividing claimants into deserving and undeserving ones. The former received stigmatized and inadequate services; the latter nothing. This tension continues as ‘‘welfare dependency.’’ Other sources of tension are: care-control dilemmas; low professional status; charitable giving or societal entitlements; state or market providers; and public or personal responsibility. Professionals and claimants have challenged analyses based on individual pathologies and demanded change through radical social work. Legislative fiat and social policies constrain their aspirations through reduced public expenditures and shifting service boundaries.

18. Surveillance

Surveillance, from the French verb, surveiller, means ‘‘watching over.’’ It involves the observation of behaviors, actions and activities to collect data and personal information on the part of governments, law enforcement agencies, and others such as credit and banking institutions, corporations, and research companies. Surveillance functions as social control. Michel Foucault’s concept of the Panopticon is a metaphor for surveillance society and accompanying disciplinary apparatuses. State power is no longer exercised through torture; rather, it is hidden in the everyday corpus of technologies to make populations self-police their own behavior. For example, why drive within the speed limit? Because someone (or some camera) may be watching.

19. Unemployment

All industrialized or post-industrial societies consider themselves to be working societies. Work – or more precisely, gainful work – defines an individual’s worth and status. It is for most people the main means of earning a living and frequently the prerequisite to be eligible for social security coverage. Unemployment endangers the livelihood of the unemployed individual and, possibly, also that of his or her family. It is the most important cause of poverty and is also frequently associated with problems such as crime, right-wing extremism, suicide, and illness. Therefore, unemployment is a principal social and political challenge. Usually, the unemployment of individuals with low education is markedly higher – generally by a factor of 2 to 4 – than that of highly qualified workers. Often, the unemployment of younger and older workers is also above average. Marked gender differences can be perceived in continental European countries, where women’s unemployment is often significantly higher than men’s, while there are hardly any gender differences in Anglo-Saxon countries with their liberal labor markets or in the Scandinavian countries with their greater emphasis on gender equality. In most cases, ethnic and racial minorities suffer significantly higher unemployment rates than the native-born majority.

20. Welfare

Welfare dependency refers to the use that people make of publicly provided cash benefits/transfers or human services. Welfare underuse is the term applied when people entitled to publicly provided benefits and services fail to do so. Welfare dependency is a feature of advanced industrial societies with developed welfare states, whose citizens enjoy specific ‘‘social’’ rights, for example, to social security, healthcare, social support and education. The premise on which the advocates of state welfare provision promoted it was that, as societies become more complex, the ‘‘states of dependency’’ that arise at various points in the human life-course may be ‘‘recognized as collective responsibilities’’ (Titmuss 1955: 64). The policy makers who fashioned the modern welfare states of the post-World War II era favored guaranteed basic minimum state provision, but they also, to varying degrees, expected people to depend so far as possible on income from paid employment and on support from their families.

Writing on Argumentative Topics

While a strong interest in a topic is important, it’s not enough to be interested. You have to consider what position you can back up with reasoning and evidence. It’s one thing to have a strong belief, but when shaping an argument you’ll have to explain why your belief is reasonable and logical. As you explore the topics, make a mental list of points you could use as evidence for or against an issue.

Once you have selected a topic you feel strongly about, you should make a list of points for both sides of the argument and pick a side. One of your first objectives in your essay will be to present both sides of your issue with an assessment of each. Of course, you will conclude that one side (your side) is the best conclusion.

In the planning stage you will need to consider strong arguments for the “other” side. Then you’ll shoot them down!

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