How sociologists view social problems
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How Sociologists View Social Problems. The Abortion Dilemma. The Sociological Imagination. “The sociological imagination enables us to grasp history and biography and the relations between the two within society.” – C. Wright Mills. The Sociological Imagination.

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How Sociologists View Social Problems

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How sociologists view social problems

How Sociologists View Social Problems

The Abortion Dilemma

The sociological imagination

The Sociological Imagination

“The sociological imagination enables us to grasp history and biography and the relations between the two within society.”

– C. Wright Mills

The sociological imagination1

The Sociological Imagination

  • Seeing people’s behavior and attitudes in the context of the social forces that affect their lives

  • Our person troubles are a result of the public condition

The sociological imagination2

The Sociological Imagination

  • Also referred to as the sociological perspective

  • Social location

    • Where we are located in society

    • Predictions based on social location reference the group, not the individual

Social problem

Social Problem

  • Aspect of society that a large number of people are concerned about and would like to see changed.

Characteristics of social problems

Characteristics of Social Problems

Objective concerns


Whether abortions are legal

Who obtains abortions

Why they have abortions

Number of abortions

  • Can be measured or experienced

Characteristics of social problems1

Characteristics of Social Problems

Subjective Concerns


Some women may have unwanted children

Some women terminate their pregnancy

  • Concerns that a significant number of people (or a number of significant people) have about the objective concern

Characteristics of social problems2

Characteristics of Social Problems

  • Roe v. Wade

    • Before decision

      • Illegality

      • Back alley abortion

    • After decision

      • Legality

      • Changing the law


Respond to changes in society

Take shape as groups interact with one another

Characteristics of social problems3

Characteristics of Social Problems

  • Relative

    • What is a solution to some, might be a problem for others

    • Based on values

Natural history of social problems

Natural History of Social Problems

  • Defining the problem

  • Crafting an official response

  • Reacting to official response

  • Pursuing alternative stategies

Studying social problems

Studying Social Problems

  • Surveys

  • Case studies

  • Experiments

  • Field studies

Gathering information

Gathering information

  • Interviews

  • Questionaires

  • Documents

  • Observations

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