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Lecture 6

FRHD 2350 Lecture Notes - Lecture 6: Barometer, Social Fact, Social Inequality

Family Relations and Human Development
Course Code
FRHD 2350
Jennifer Pepper

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Understanding Social Problems
What is a Social Problem?
Need to first think through the problem before thinking of program
How to determine if it is a social problem: 2 ways
o1) Fact Problem
I.e. household income- if report certain # ($24,000) you are reporting a
Need frame of reference to compare it against to see if $24,000 is a
Standard for frame of reference is needed to assess $24,000 income
against (to know if it falls below poverty line)
o2) Judge it to be negative/harmful (abstract)
I.e. Alcohol consumption- Fact: Consume 15+ alcoholic beverages per
Use frame of reference (standards from medical associations)
Different opinions on the issue
Need to know WHO is judging it to be a problem
A fact or condition that
oAffects a sizable # of ppl
oThreatens an established societal value
oNeeds collective action
oBelief that something can be done
oResources, knowledge, technology are available
Identifying a Social Condition
Premature definitions can lead to premature conclusions about nature of problem
oInitially, don’t know if it’s a problem
oI.e. marijuana use is illegal (fact)- if prematurely use this fact to judge problem it
is problematic, think it could be solved if were to legalize marijuana (does not get
at cause of problem)
Begin with an understanding of condition
oFacts or a statistical representation of the phenomenon
The “social problem” needs to be understood as relative (i.e. research tells us risks
associated with marijuana use)
oAn individual brings a frame of reference, shaped by a value system, to a
condition and labels a condition as a problem
Condition can be defined as a social fact
Components of a Problem
Who, what, where, why
Description of “who” demographics (who is problem associated with)
Definition of terms
Scale, location, and duration
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