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Studying Social Problems in the 21st Century

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Jana Knibb

on 16 January 2015

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Transcript of Studying Social Problems in the 21st Century

Studying Social Problems in the 21st Century
Levels of Analysis
Macrolevel analysis
is analysis using the examination of large scale patterns of society

Microlevel analysis
is analysis using the examination of small scale patterns of society.

Using sociological insights to study social problems
Sociology is the academic discipline that engages in the systematic study of human society and social interaction.
A social problem is a social condition (such as poverty) or a pattern of behavior (such as substance abuse) that harms individuals in a society to the extent that a sufficient number of people believe the problem is a public concern
Questions for Discussion

Why are social problems everybody's problem?

How does sociology differ from '"common sense" in explaining social problems?


Using Social Research Methods to Study Social Problems
Common Research Methods Include
Field Research
Survey research
Secondary analysis of existing data
Participant Observation
Group and Individual Interview

Culture
Culture helps us define what we think is right or wrong and to identify the kinds of behavior we believe should be identified as a social problem. Public perceptions of what constitutes a social problem can change over time.
Sociological Examinations of Social Problems
A sociological examination of social problems primarily focuses on society and how its problems are socially constructed by culture
The Sociological Imagniation: Bringing together the personal and the social
The Sociological Imagniation:
C.Wright Mills
The sociological imagination is the ability to see the relationship between personal troubles and public issues.
Personal troubles are private problems of individuals and the networks of people they associate with regularly
The Sociological Imagination: Bringing together the personal and the social
Public issues are matters beyond a person's control that originate at the regional or national level and can be resolved only by collective action.
Increase in unemployment due to the global outsourcing of jobs.
Using social theory to analyze social problems
Sociologists develop theories and conduct research to determine how social life is organized
Major theoretical perspectives
Theories are sets of logically related statements that attempt to describe, explain, or predict social events.
Theories help us interpret social reality in a distinct way by giving us framework for organizing our observations
Major theoretical perspectives
Functionalism
emphasizes the stability and integration in to explain society through cultural, political, and economic factors.

Conflict theory
sees society as organized around the unequal distribution of resources and held together through power and coercion

Symbolic interaction theory
emphasizes the role of individuals in giving meaning to social behavior, thereby creating society.

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