Social problems are completely subjective and depend entirely on who is being affected One may consider a drug dealer to be a social problem, others may consider a pharmacy to be a drug dealer. Perceptions are not necessarily right or wrong
Initial Sociology Measurements of Social Problems:
Beginning in the 1970’s at Fordham University, sociologists calculated the index of social health They looked at things like the percentage of people in poverty They stated that as years progressed, the index of social health declined and conditions worsened They stated that the ratio declined by 44%
What do sociologists do?
Attempt to find solutions that are structurally based, not an individual problem. - History of Sociology:
1830’s: Social problems were “a disease”
Sociologists created a medical model viewing socially problematic behavior as a matter of disease (blaming the people of society). Their proposed solution was to try and cure them, and if that fails to isolate them from society This approach is very similar to modern day psychology
1920’s-1930’s: Turmoil period- blamed the individual:
During this time frame:
there was rapid industrialization
There was rapid urbanization
The functionalist perspective stated that this change led to chaos which were the root of social problems. Modern Sociology:
Conflict Perspective: social problems derive from the structure of inequality. A deprivation of resources leads to deviance. Social Construction of reality: It is not behavior of an individual that we need to analyze but rather society’s reaction to these problems that makes it a societal issue. Ex. Mariajuana- in the 1930’s it became illegal (cocaine heroin in 1914)- and therefore was considered deviant Although the behavior was the same- society’s lable on the problem was the only thing that changed: However how do we know if it is truly a problem? The labels. Analysis of the definition of Social Problems:
Social Problems: when most people agree that a condition exists that threatens the quality of their lives and most of their cherished values and also agree that something should be done to remedy that condition. Problems:
Assumes that it comes from the functionalist perspective and assumes general consensus amongst the people when in fact ppl. Likely disagree on the issue in some regards. Assumes society believes in a golden standard of living.
The public can be easily manipulated by those in power
One with power (easy access to money and resources) are more likely to manipulate the public into sharing their own interests Ex. Salvery: slave violence was presented as the social problem- not slavery The bias selection of which social problems are voiced to the public: Claimsmaking: the need for a problem to be widespread before becomes recognized. Only those in power can bring up social issues
People w. less access to resrouces rarely have the ability to bring about social change. Ex. Police Brutality: affects poor and minorities disproportionally but is not recognized by the general public. “There are individual cases”- the public therefore does not consider it a social problem. Ex. Enviromental Racism in LA- Tulane Law Clinic
Behaviors that distrust the status quo are considered problems. What if the status quo is the social problem?
The creation of social problems:
** Socio Economic Experiences Personal Interests Values Norms (social values) No Society can regulate one’s values however they can regulate behavior. Our behavior is regulated by certain social rules and normalities People who violate these normalities are considered deviants. How are rules created?
Values and beliefs
Values: societal judgements that are not neutral
Beliefs: Societal Judgements that are neutral.
How are social problems created?
Based on one’s socio-economic experience a person develops interests or...