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Lecture 2

Sociology 2140 Lecture 2: Thinking about Social Problems


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC 2140
Professor
Gale Cassidy
Lecture
2

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Lecture: Thinking About Social Problems
Why study social problems?
- To understand social forces that shape our lives
o Personal and societal levels
o Obesity is thought to be a huge societal problem, esp. child obesity
- To gain new insights into ourselves and connections b/w our world and other people
- To make more effective decisions
Social Conditions
- Environmental pollution
- Resource depletion
- Education
- Corporate corruption
- Unemployment
- Poverty
- Drug abuse
- Family decline
- Crime
- Racial/ethnic/sexual discrimination
- Health care
- Aging
- Moral decline
- Weakening institution of religion
Studying Social Problems
- Common sense doesn’t work
- Sociological imagination is needed
- Private troubles vs. public issues (i.e. unemployment)
Identifying Social Problems
- Differing opinions solution or problem
o i.e. euthanasia used to be considered Mercy killing, but is now called assisted
death, which is legal
o i.e. affirmative action getting more women and ethnic minorities in your
company. They are trying to reverse the effects of discrimination against certain
groups of people; it is forcing the doors to be open so that anyone has the
opportunity to apply for the job
Some think that affirmative action is a problem, while others think it is a
solution to problem
- Depends on
o Historical context
What is happening at the moment in society
i.e. 9/11 affected the baby boomer generation greatly
things that were considered deviant in the past considered as normal now
(i.e. same sex marriage, women working)
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