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SOC102H1 Study Guide - Social Change

5 Pages
88 Views
Winter 2011

Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC102H1
Professor
Teppermann

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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
oSociology 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
oprogress in north America included industrialization, urbanization,
inventions and scientific discovery, exposure to new ideas and cultures, and
the possibility of social improvement.
oMost social reformers believed that social life could be improved through
studying social issues
Social problems have at least two aspects that can seem contradictory:
oObjective 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.
oSubjective 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 acts/situations, 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.
oThe macro-micro link
www.notesolution.com
oMicrosociology/micro-level analysis: interactions between individuals in small
groups
oMacrosociology/macro-level analysis: societal level, social trends and major
bureaucratic organizations and social institutions and how they affect the
population as a whole
Social Problems research as a Moral enterprise
oMost sociologists think of themselves as engaged in a moral enterprise to
improve human societies, guided by seven value preferences
Life over death
Health over sickness
Knowing over not knowing
Cooperation over conflict
Freedom of movement over physical restraint
Self-determination over direction by others
Freedom of expression over restraint of communication
oMedia turns public issues into private troubles
For example, mental illness is a widespread and growing health
problem. We are mistaken in blaming the sufferers for their problems
that are claiming many victims; so how can the problem be personal if
it is shared by a huge fraction of the population?
Sociologists identify the social-structural conditions that make people
vulnerable to these so-called personal troubles
They identify social-structural factors that increase the likelihood of
problem behaviours
Social construction
oAll social reality is conditional and temporary. It is a social construct, flexible
and open to influence. Therefore most social problems are really just
constructions.
www.notesolution.com

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Description
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 www.notesolution.com
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