Lecture 5+6 20140405
What can you do to think critically?
• Shed light on the topic your writing on
• Topic: Facebook, have I said something that’s not obvious, have I said something that’s about of
Facebook that can be applied to the social world in a sociological context. Draw material from class.
• For example) from a Marxist perspective this cultural object can is structured by a capitalist society.
• Key academic skills: paraphrasing—put in your own words.
Culture and Collective Identity
• Social Problems
• Collective Identity
• Social Movements
What is a social problem?
Threaten social institutions
Drunk driving measured empirically through statistics, we are not limited to the objective facts but rather we
lye in the meanings in what it means.
Addresses how a problem is interpreted
Subjective realty is explained by objective reality A list of contemporary social problems commonly featured in the media:
• Olympics: gay rights, Russia, resources can be allocated elsewhere rather than the vast amount for the
athletes, and global inequality.
• National security: Are we safe/threat? Or our rights civic rights, personal privacy being violated?
• Environmental issues: glaciers and global warming
• Prostitution: sexual workers rights
• Abortion, drugs, teen pregnancy, obscenity
• Distracted Driving: increasing fines and Drunk Driving
• Effects of social identity and body image
• Internet surveillance: privacy rights
• HIV nondisclosure
Constructing A Social Problem
• Social construction of reality (Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann)
• Social problems are not predetermined, they only become real when they are subjectively recognized,
and recognize it as a problem.
• Social problems are cultural objects
• Thing we understand are different
• Situations defined as real are real in their consequences, if we recognize something as a
problem we are going to act on it.
Constructing a Social Problem • The security mirage: Bruce Schneier on TED.com
• Security mirage: feeling secure and the idea of being secure is a real thing.
• Donilee Loseke: “conditions are not social problems until human categorize them as troublesome and
in need of repair” (2003: 14)
• Diagram: claim makers, social problems and audience
• If social problems are cultural objects then how is do societies accept it as a problem?
• Stephen Higartner and Charles Bosk:
• Explored the rise and fall of social problems
• Social problems more likely to gain attention
• Which issues are more likely to be defined as social problems according to Higartner and
2. Align with core values: if it reflects core values
3. Linked with powerful interest groups
• Framing: “a frame is an interpretive scheme that enables people to make sense of what they
experience.” (Goffman 1974: 110)
• Criminal individuals: interests are governments, fixing the structure
• How is body weight viewed as a contemporary social problem?
• Health—strains the healthcare system
• Abigail C. Saguy: Framing as an Example
• How is fatness framed as a social problem?
• How are these claims made and who d o they appeal to audiences for appeal.
• Framing fatness as a problem:
• 1) Immorality frame • 2) Medical frame: BMI is not really a good system or is it?
• 3) Public Health crisis
• Saguy also identifies multiple “blame frames”:
• Class examples: fast food industry, dual income families (mother not there), children being
technology dependent than exercise, certain groups cannot afford healthy food
• 1) Personal responsibility
• 2) Sociocultural frame: media/familial structure
• 3) Genetic Frame
• How we frame obscenity is hurting us more than obscenity itself.
• Reason TV video: Abigail C. Saguy
• There are two problems with fat: reinforces ideas that there is something wrong with them by
children or adults.
• Humiliating fat people is hazardous to our health
• Group work: Short answer question: For one of the social problems in your list, identify:
• The problem’s objective and subjective realities
• Who are the key claim makers involved: powerful positions
• What audiences do they appeal for support: anyone who wants to be employed
• How is this problem framed in the media? Negative connotation, unemployment and welfare:
tax payer issue
• Why might this particular framing have support? Issue of status and quality of life, survival.
• What solutions are proposed by this framing? Internships and programs, COOP, government
• Alternative ways of defining this problem? Blaming immigrants that are taking the jobs away.
People are being lazy and not looking for jobs.
Collective identity: when claim makers is appealing for support for their definition of the social problem by
appealing to people concerns.
Poletta and Jasper (2001):
• Collective identity: “an individual’s cognitive moral, and emotional connection with a broader
community, category, practice, or institution.” (285)
• Collective identities do not always precede social movements, but may be constructed through the
framing of social problems.
• Collective Identity and the Occupy Movement: contrasted income inequality as a social problem, claim