Sociology 2140 Lecture Notes - Sociological Inquiry, Anomie, Heterosexuality

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Objective element of a social problem refers to the existence of a social condition. Social conditions often affect people in waves or patterns. Subjective element of a social problem refers to beliefs that particular social conditions are harmful to society. Social conditions are not considered social problems until a segment of society believes that these conditions diminish the quality of human life. Claims-making activities- strategies and actions that individuals or groups undertake to define social conditions as social problems. Defining conditions as problems is a social activity that assumes shared values and shared definitions regarding what counts as a social good. Past (and future) sociological assessments do not necessarily begin from the same shared definitions. A social problem is a social condition that a segment of society demonstrates to be significantly harmful to members of society and in need of remedy. Definitions of social problems vary not only within societies, but also across societies and historical periods.

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