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Lecture 1 Notes.docx

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Lorne Tepperman

SOC102September 13 2011 Lecture 1 What are Social Problems Text Social Problems Chapter 1What is a Social Problem A social condition or pattern of behavior that is believed to warrant public concern and collective actionThere is no shortage of social problems in Canada todayStruggles over issues and inequalities across the country include rallies representing identities and personal interests in efforts to change broader social political and economic relationshipsSociology is wellequipped to help us inform ourselves about problems and how we can solve themInequalities are socially constructed hierarchical differences betterworseNatural inequalities such as gender or race have social implications because we have associated them with a social differentiation either good or badSociology and the Study of Social Problems Early sociology was the study of social problems Marx Durkheim and Weber ignited early concerns with social problems though they viewed them in different waysSociology is very much about social change conflict and cohesionThe rise of sociology and modern societies brought about the idea of progress which included industrialized and urbanization but also the possibility of social improvement or amelioration Most early sociologists believed that social life could be improved through the systematic student of social issues Today we still struggle to see and record these patters and use research to help clarify our ideasObjective and Subjective Elements Objective Elements The measurable features of a negative social condition Such a condition might include crime poverty or alcohol abuse and can be considered an objective realitySystematic measurements of objective elements can show us that the condition exists and that it harms peopleWe can also study the changes in social life that cause the rates of these elements to increase or decreaseSubjective Elements Peoples evaluations of objective conditions and the processes that influence their evaluation They include the moral labels that people apply to particular acts or situations and the accounts they give for these acts and situationsSubjective elements of social problems affect and reflect our emotional reactions to information we receive about the worldAccording to our values and beliefs we decide what problems are worthy of social concernOur emotional responses often lead to the social construction of social problems This is influenced by changes in measurable reality objective elements and our perceptions of measurable reality subjective elementsSocial Problems and the Sociological Imagination C Wright Mills 1959The Sociological ImaginationSociological Imagination A sociologists ability to connect seemingly impersonal and remote historical forces macroevents to the most basic incidents of an individuals life microevents The sociological imagination enables people to distinguish between personal troubles and public issuesSociologists make these connections by analyzing reality at two levels
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