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SOC102 Social Problems Ch 8 Notes.docx

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Department
Sociology
Course
SOC102H1
Professor
Lorne Tepperman
Semester
Winter

Description
SOC102 Social Problems Ch 8 Notes: Addiction ADDICTION  Addiction: Socially disapproved behaviour that is uncontrollable, repetitious, and possibly harmful.  Social effects of addiction—whether by drugs, alcohol, or gambling—are huge, in broken families, health consequences for addicts, lost days at work, and the cost of treating and ‘fixing’ the addicts. In addition, there are crime and safety issues at stake.  We need to understand what it is about our society, and our social policies, thatpromote harmful, addictive behaviour, and how we can change society to reduce these risks. Addictive Gambling  Gambling is a behaviour on a continuum, ranging from non-gamblers to recreational gamblers to problem gamblers  there are roughly 480,000 Canadians with a gambling problem.  The CPGI (Canadian Problem Gambling Index) is a scale developed to measure problem or addictive gambling. To give some idea about the nature of the problem created by problem gambling, consider the items that make up this index.  At present, the problem gambling measure (cpgi) focuses more on financial & social outcomes.  We can detect physiological effects in drug or alcohol addiction that we can’t detect in gambling addiction.  Like alcohol and drugs, gambling historically has been a major source of revenue for the gov. (taxes)  Governments decided to legalize gambling and take a share of the profits, then promoted gambling for even greater economic returns.  Labelling: The process of defining and treating others as deviant. Labelling theory explores the effects of negative labels on individuals’ self-conceptions and is interested in the development of a ‘deviant identity’. Social reactions of condemnation and criminalization can lead actors to alter their individual characteristics and to adopt the values of their labelled identity.  Features in society and the gambling environment contribute to gambling problems. Classic Work: In Outsiders, (1963) Howard Becker set the groundwork for  Labelling theory, as it is known today. Becker notes, ‘Social groups create deviance by making rules whose infraction constitutes deviance, and by applying these rules to particular people and labeling them as outsiders’  Becker wants us to focus attention, instead on the social context that labels people deviant.  We must pay as much attention to the rule enforcer as we do to the rule violator.  The psychological model of behaviour change places the burden of ‘responsible gambling’ squarely on the shoulders of the individual gambler, citing personality weaknesses or cognitive distortion as the cause of gambling problems. Are Drugs and Alcohol Social Problems?  Drug: Any substance that causes a biochemical reaction in the body.  What people define as a legal drug or an illegal drug usually depends less on its chemical properties and more on economic, social, and political factors  Our attitudes towards specific drugs vary over time and from one society to another. When social and cultural sensibilities shift, people start rejecting what they once accepted.  Drug Abuse: This concept begins with the notion of excessive or inappropriate drug use resulting in social, psychological, and/or physiological impairments. It stems from a chronic physical and psychological compulsion to continue taking a drug in order to avoid unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.  The objective aspect relies on physical, mental, or social evidence that the use of a drug harms the individual and society.  Drug Dependency: The routine need for a drug for physiological and/or psychological reasons.  Tolerance: A symptom of repeated and frequent drug use. It refers to the decreased effectiveness of any given drug. Medicalization and the Transformation of a Problem  Medicalization: The process through which behaviours are reconceived as instances of illness and are deemed no longer sinful since they are outside personal control.  Where alcohol abusers were once thought sinners or moral weaklings and subjected to scorn or criticism, with medicalization they became sick people in need of treatment  Medicalization temporarily excuses the ‘affliction’—a perceived benefit to the drug abuser—and raises the power of doctors in society.  The common element was an obsession with cleanliness (also purity, virtue, and hygiene) versus dirt (also sin, wickedness, and filth).  Those who use alcohol in moderation are considered ‘clean’ but those who use illicit street drugs are considered ‘dirty’ and part of a drug subculture. Social and Physical Characteristics of Addictions Alcohol  Aside from sex and education, age is the most important determinant of alcohol use. According to data from the recent Canadian Addiction Survey, ‘past year use’ peaks between the ages of 18 and 24, with about 90 per cent of those in this age range consuming alcohol within the past year.  Like most other drugs, alcohol is relatively harmless when used moderately and responsibly  Women are likely to use other chemical substances to cope with stress. (happy pill 1950s).  Social factors shape alcohol use and abuse in at least two ways: by influencing the odds that a person will learn to use alcohol to cope with stress, and by influencing the opportunities a person has to use alcohol for any reason. Tobacco  Unlike alcohol use, there is a simple linear relationship between education and cigarette smoking: ‘People with less than a high school education are almost three times more likely than university graduates to be current smokers’  The psychoactive substance in tobacco—is highly addictive; a drug to blame for many health problems, and a costly habit, both for the individual and for society.  Among adolescents who experiment with smoking, the development of a smoking habit is positively correlated with poor academic performance, parental smoking, and having more than half of one’s friends smoking. Illicit Drug Abuse  In general, factors that reduce the likelihood of drug use and abuse include strong family bonds, which reduce the use of all illegal drugs except marijuana.  Married people and parents who adhere to conventional values may use illegal drugs when they come under stress, for the control of stress so they can continue to conform to dominant values  Drug use is a learned behaviour that depends on social opportunities and on inclusion in social occasions where drugs are being used.  Normative boundaries restricting girls’ access to and use of drugs are largely due to traditional gender roles that limit girls’ access to certain types of leisure and sociability. Substance Abuse among the Aboriginal Population  Because of poor living conditions, illicit substances provide an escape for Aboriginal people today.  Drug use is a significant problem among the Aboriginal population, studies show that ‘the use of marijuana is disproportionately higher among Native than non-Native American adolescents.’  The method of treatment that has worked best is addiction counselling by other Native people, sharing Aboriginal experiences, relearning the traditional culture, and practising Aboriginal rituals. Structural Functionalism  Structural functionalists hold that alcohol and drug a
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