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SOC102H1 (285)
Chapter 1

Social Problems - Chapter 1 A concise summary of Chapter 1 - What are Social Problems from the Social Problems book. Everything is organized in point form and it includes all important information.

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University of Toronto St. George
Lorne Tepperman

Chapter 1What are Social Problems Social problem a social condition or pattern of behaviour that is believed to warrant public concern and collective actionSociology is about social change social conflict and social cohesionObjective and subjective elementsObjective elements are the measurable features of a negative social condition Such a condition might include crime poverty or alcohol abuse and can be considered an objective reality o Systematic measurements show that the condition exists and that it harms people o Can study its causes and effects without making a moral judgment and without judging it as serious or trivial o Can study changes in social life that cause the numbers or rates of these events to increase and decrease o This activity is based on philosophical premise aka positivism of a material reality we can perceive with our sense o To find and test natural laws about these subjective beliefs and their consequences which is usually hard to measure so theories are developedSubjective elements peoples evaluations of objective conditions and the processes that influence their evaluations They include moral labels that people apply to particular acts or situations and the accounts they give for these acts and situations o Reflect peoples beliefs and tastes o Eg Believe that smoking marijuana is evil then this belief is an aspect of social realities o subjective aspects affect and reflect our emotional reactions to information we receive about the world o Our subjective or emotional responses often lead to what we call the social construction of social problems Claims makinga process by which people try to capture attention and mobilize public opinion around particular problems and their solutionsSocial Problems and the Sociological ImaginationSociological imagination a term used by sociologist C Wright Mills in his 1959 book The Sociological Imagination that describes the sociologists ability to connect seemingly impersonal and remote historical forces to the most basic incidents of an individuals life The sociological imagination enables people to distinguish between personal troubles and public issues o Eg Unemployment due to economic recession corporate downsizing and advances in technology that replace people with machinesMicrosociology or microlevel analysis focuses on the interactions between individuals in small groups o Studies peoples understanding and experience of social problems at the local personal levelMacrosociology or macrolevel analysis focuses on the societal level o Explores the ways that social trends occurring within major bureaucratic organizations and social institutions affect the population as a whole Social Problems Research as a Moral EnterpriseSociology is an engaged progressive and optimistic discipline founded on the notion that we can improve society through research and the application of researchbased knowledgeMany so research aimed directly at reducing poverty violence injustice and inequalityModernization itself and its associated features leave primary problems unresolved and they fail to ensure that we preserve a decent quality of life homelessness discrimination recurrent warfare mass deaths genocideModernization carries heavy costs for natural environmentMuch of the sociological research on social problems is guided by 7 value preferences 1 Life over death 2 Health over sickness 3 Knowing over not knowing 4 Cooperation over conflict 5 Freedom of movement over physical restraint 6 Selfdetermination over direction by others 7 Freedom of expression over restraint of communication
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