Chap 1

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Social Problems Reading Notes Chapter 1 What are social problems? Social problem: social condition or pattern of behaviour that is believed to warrant public concern and collective action o Sociology is well equipped to help us inform ourselves about current problems and their possible solutions. Sociology has always been about social change, social conflict and social cohesion, all connected to social problems. The rise of sociology coincided with the rise of modern societies = progress o progress in north America included industrialization, urbanization, inventions and scientific discovery, exposure to new ideas and cultures, and the possibility of social improvement. o Most social reformers believed that social life could be improved through studying social issues Social problems have at least two aspects that can seem contradictory: o Objective elements: the measurable features of a negative social condition (eg. Crime, poverty, or alcohol abuse and can be considered an objective reality). We can study its causes and effects without making a judgement. o Subjective elements: peoples evaluations of objective conditions and the processes that influence their evaluations. (eg. wrong, immoral, sick) They include moral labels that people apply to particular actssituations, and accounts they give for them. They reflect emotional reactions. These subjective elements lead to the social construction of social problems. Sociological imagination: C Wright Mills the sociologists ability to connect seemingly impersonal and remote historical forces to the most basic incidents of an individuals life. o The macro-micro link
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