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SOCI 1010. Lecture # 2 - Sociological Theory and Social Problems. Sept 13, 2012.docx

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SOCI 1010
Fred Diamond

Thursday, September 13, 2012 Lecture # 2 – Social Problems and Sociological Theory SOCI 1010: Sociology Fred Diamond Chapter 1 Outline: - What is a Social Problem? o A social condition where a segment of society deems to be significantly harmful. There is no universal constant or absolute true definition of a social problem. A social problem is rather defined through various objective and subjective criteria varying from individuals across society and historical time periods. o Such social conditions could include class discrepancy, racial/ethnic issues, environmental issues, poverty, gun control, problems in gender and sexuality, etc. o Objective criteria (awareness of social conditions through one’s own life experience and through reports in the media) and subjective criteria (the belief that a particular social condition is harmful to society, or to a segment of society, and that it should and can be changed). o Both objective criteria and subjective criteria need to come together for a social problem to exist. o Social problems diminish the quality of life. o Small personal problems can become social problems depending on the time period, the problem, and the momentum behind it. - Elements of Social Structure and Culture o Some sociologists believe that structure of society is one that functions as an integrated whole. That they all come together to function as a corrective entity, but where there are imbalances in this structure it leads to social pathologies or social dysfunction. o Folkways, - The Sociological Imagination C. Wright Mills (1959) o The ability to see the connection between personal life and social structure. - Theoretical Perspectives Paradigm: Definition: Main Level Main Focus: Main Image of of Analysis: Question: Ideal Society: Structural Considers Macro Values How do the A state of Functionalism that human institutions of equilibrium. behavior is society governed by contribute to stable forms social stability of interaction. Emphasis how social structures maintain or undermine stability. Conflict Suggests that Macro Class How do The Theory human inequality privileged elimination of behavior in groups seek to privilege, social maintain their especially contexts advantages class results from
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