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Chapter 1

A detailed summary of Chapter 1 What Are Social Problems from the textbook, Social Problems.

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University of Toronto St. George

CHAPTER 1: What are Social Problems? Social problem is a social condition or pattern of behaviour that is believed to warrant public concern and collective action. a. The rise of sociology coincided with the rise of the modern societies in the 19 century where fuelled by progress in industrialization, urbanization, scientific discovery, and innovation. Objective elements are measurable features of a negative social condition (e.g. crime, alcohol, poverty). We can study its causes and detrimental effects without making a moral judgement Positivism, a philosophical premise when we can perceive a physical reality with our senses and science is the systematic attempt to find and test natural laws through measurements of this reality Subjective elements are peoples evaluations of objective conditions and the processesthat influence their evaluations (i.e. moral labels as wrong, immoral). a. Peoples beliefs are a reality too, because beliefs set in motion have social consequences (e.g. laws) b. Subjective aspects of social problems affect & reflect emotional reactions to information we receive about the world (children dying remind us of health inequality & environment negligence) c. Our subjective responses lead to the social construction of social problems- catch villains, etc. Sociological imagination is a term coined by sociologist C. Wright Mills that describes the sociologist ability to connect seemingly impersonal and remote historical forces to the most basic incidents of an individuals life. Also, they are able to differentiate between personal troubles and public issues. a. Micro events (our life) vs. macro events (social world) (e.g. unemployment) b. Microsociology (micro-level analysis) focuses on interactions between individuals in small groups c. Macrosociology (macro-level analysis) focuses on interactions on a societal level (e.g. how trends in govt or major institutions affect the population on a whole) Post-modern approach is when narratives from subjects of inspection are analyzed and compared, rather than using an objective, positivistic, traditional approach Subjectivist or constructionist approach is when sociologists question people who arent affected why a certain social problem isnt a social issue Sociologists study social problems to engage in a moral enterprise whose goal is to improve societies: a. Life over death, health over sickness, knowing over not, cooperation over conflict, freedom of movement over physical restraint, self-determination www.notesolution.com
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