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Lecture 2

FCSS*1010 Lecture 2: Understanding Social Problems

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Greg Nepean

Chapter 1: Studying Social Problems in the 21 Century What is a Social Problem: Social condition or pattern of behaviour that people believe warrants public concern and action to bring about change They harm our social environment, should be aware of and work to improve them Become social problems when people with power to influence society see something as harmful Studying them allows us to understand how social structure interactsinfluences people Sociology: social science that studies the development, structure, and functioning of human society Society: large social grouping sharing the same geographical territory, subject to same political authority and dominant cultural expectations Discrimination: actions of dominant group members that have harmful impact on members of subordinate groups Hate Crime: act of violence motivated by prejudice Problem With Common Sense: Not everyone understand things the same way Whats common sense to one may not be to another Often reflects lack of knowledge about people Reflects prejudice about people Sociological Imagination: Ability to see the relationship between individual experiences and the larger society in which they are contextualized Relationship between private troubles of individuals and public issues beyond ones control at a societal level Max Weber said complete objectivity may be impossible and understanding or insight is critical to analysis of social problems Sociology Developed in 19 Century Due to: Industrialization: change in peoples work lives from farm to factory created new social problems (sweatshops, poverty) Urbanization: as people moved from rural areas to cities social interaction and structure of human society changed Imperialism: Europeans conquered, came into contact with different cultures and questioned it Use of Science: most sociologists believed life could be improved by systematic study of issues (apply knowledge, expel ignorance superstition, prejudice) Argue research is the mean for diagnosing social problems and findingevaluating solutions Macrosociology: Studies large scale organizations and major social institutions Studies social processespatterns as a whole in society Microsociology: Studies small group relations and social interactions among individuals Processes and patterns of face to face interaction How to Solve Social Problems: Social Change: alteration, modification, or transformation of public policy, culture, or social institutions over time Not all problems take the same amount of time to fix, some are quicker than others
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