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Explain the objective Social problem subjective components of the definition of a social problem. Understand the social constructionist view of social problems.
List the stages of the natural history Social problem social problems. A social problem is any condition or behavior that has negative consequences for large numbers of people and that is generally recognized as a condition or behavior that needs to be addressed.
This definition has both an objective component and a subjective component.
The objective component is this: For any condition or behavior to be considered a social problem, it must have negative consequences for large numbers of people, as each chapter of this book discusses.
How do we know if a social problem has negative consequences? Reasonable people can and do disagree on whether such consequences exist and, if so, on their extent and seriousness, but ordinarily a body of data accumulates—from work by academic researchers, government agencies, and other sources—that strongly points to extensive and serious consequences.
The reasons for these consequences are often hotly debated, and sometimes, as we shall see in certain chapters in this book, sometimes the very existence of these consequences is disputed. A current example is climate change: This type of dispute points to the subjective component of the definition of social problems: There must be a perception that a condition or behavior needs to be addressed for it to be considered a social problem.
In this view, many types of negative conditions and behaviors exist. Many of these are considered sufficiently negative to acquire the status of a social problem; some do not receive this consideration and thus do not become a social problem; and some become considered a social problem only if citizens, policymakers, or other parties call attention to the condition or behavior.
Sometimes disputes occur over whether a particular condition or behavior has negative consequences and is thus a social problem.
Wikimedia Commons — public domain. The history of attention given to rape and sexual assault in the United States before and after the s provides an example of this latter situation. These acts of sexual violence against women have probably occurred from the beginning of humanity and certainly were very common in the United States before the s.
Thus although sexual violence existed, it was not considered a social problem.
Thanks to this focus, rape and sexual assault eventually entered the public consciousness, views of these crimes began to change, and legal policymakers began to give them more attention. In short, sexual violence against women became a social problem.
Before the s, rape and sexual assault certainly existed and were very common, but they were generally ignored and not considered a social problem. The social constructionist view raises an interesting question: When is a social problem a social problem?
According to some sociologists who adopt this view, negative conditions and behaviors are not a social problem unless they are recognized as such by policymakers, large numbers of lay citizens, or other segments of our society; these sociologists would thus say that rape and sexual assault before the s were not a social problem because our society as a whole paid them little attention.
Other sociologists say that negative conditions and behaviors should be considered a social problem even if they receive little or no attention; these sociologists would thus say that rape and sexual assault before the s were a social problem.
This type of debate is probably akin to the age-old question: If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it, is a sound made?
As such, it is not easy to answer, but it does reinforce one of the key beliefs of the social constructionist view: Perception matters at least as much as reality, and sometimes more so. In line with this belief, social constructionism emphasizes that citizens, interest groups, policymakers, and other parties often compete to influence popular perceptions of many types of conditions and behaviors.
They try to influence news media coverage and popular views of the nature and extent of any negative consequences that may be occurring, the reasons underlying the condition or behavior in question, and possible solutions to the problem. Sometimes a condition or behavior becomes a social problem even if there is little or no basis for this perception.The New Social Worker magazine publishes articles on social work careers, social work education, social work ethics, technology, books, and more.
Published quarterly since Start Date: Apr 18, Social and human service assistants provide client services, including support for families, in a wide variety of fields, such as psychology, rehabilitation, and social work. They assist other workers, such as social workers, and they help clients find benefits or community services.
Employment of. A social problem is a condition that at least some people in a community view as being undesirable.
Everyone would agree about some social problems, such as murders and DWI traffic deaths. Other social problems may be viewed as such by certain groups of . The Amateur Athletic Union is committed to improving the development, safety and welfare of athletes and participants involved in sport. Definition.
Since the s, corporate social responsibility has attracted attention from a range of businesses and stakeholders. A wide variety of definitions have been developed but with little consensus. Part of the problem with definitions has arisen because of the different interests represented.
Pre-Social Security Period. Traditional Sources of Economic Security. All peoples throughout all of human history have faced the uncertainties brought on by .