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The Social Problems Process
Transcript of The Social Problems Process
1 Objectivist Outlook
2 Subjectivits Outlook Objectivist Outlook:
1. Measurable characteristics of conditions (4).
2. Spot harmful conditions (ibid).
Ex. A social problem is a condition that undermines
the well-being of some or all members of a society and that is usually a matter of public controversy" (4) Limits to an Objectivist Outlook 1. Conditions that might be deemed harmful aren't
always identified as social problems (4).
Sexism/ Racism/ Classism/ Ageism... 1. To evenly apply objective stanard for identifying what is or
what is not a social prolem (6). Issues: 1. Drug Abuse (use) Marijuana/ Heroine
2. Pro-Life/ Pro-Choice
3. War on "Poverty", "Illiteracy," "Drugs,"
"Terror," and so on. 2. Objectivism is that the same condition may be identified as a social problem for very different reasons; that is, people may disagree about why a certain condition is harmful (6). 3. For an objectivist point of view, has to define
topics fairly vague. Subjectivist Outlook Defines social problems in terms of people's subjective sense that something is or isn't a problem (9). 1. People will disagree about what is or is not a social
2. People's judgements change.
3. People react to social problems differently (9). Social Construction 1. means a way people assign
meaning to the world.
2. Language is essential to our
understanding of the world
that surrounds us (11).
3. Language helps to categorize
the world (ibid). What is Joel Best advocating to understand Social Problems? Efforts to find a workable definition of social problems based on objective characteristics
of social conditions have proved futile p. 10. Best advocates to think systematically about social problems, which requires a subjectivist approach Constructionist Approach Constructing a social problem involves a process of
claimsmaking/ claimmaker/ claims (15).
A clear distinction is necessary to understand a 'claim' and the conditions by which claims are made (15). Word of Caution about a Subjecivist Approach 1. Adopting a subjective stance can seem confusing
at first (16).
Social problems are reduced to an imaginary or non-existent phenomenon.
2. Sociologist are engaged in social construction
(ibid). This book explores the constructionist approach
to social problems (27).