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Social Problems:. From a Sociological Perspective How we define problems will shape how we try to “solve” them… How we define problems might be a reflection of where we are in society Sociologists aim to study “objectively, without bias or prejudgment… Is this possible?.

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Social Problems:

  • From a Sociological Perspective

    • How we define problems will shape how we try to “solve” them…

    • How we define problems might be a reflection of where we are in society

  • Sociologists aim to study “objectively, without bias or prejudgment…

    • Is this possible?


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Objective Social Science?

  • Toward a “value-free” social science?

    • Sociologists’ historical ideal, to be “value free”

    • Why have this ideal?

    • Has this ideal ever been realized?

    • Who has been behind this?

      • Durkheim

      • Weber

      • And Beyond….


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Our Aims In This Course:

  • To compare a number of theoretical approaches to “social problems”

    • Social Pathology approach

    • Social Disorganization approach

    • A Critical approach

  • To understand from this why and how the authors have adopted a Critical approach...


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Our Aims: Cont.

  • In the process… to understand the distinction between

    • Macro Problems (p. 11)

    • Micro Problems (p. 12)

  • …to understand the idea of the

    • lifecycle of social problems (p. 15)

  • …to understand the role of power in defining and addressing social problems


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    Social Problems….

    • Are not simply obvious things to be seen and solved

    • But are subject to definition and interpretation, depending on

      • who is doing the definition and interpretation

      • factors that bring the problem(s) to- or keep them from public awareness….


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    Then…..

    • The rest of the text (Neubeck and Neubeck) is a series of discussions of a variety of social problems, looked at from a Critical perspective….

    • ….each chapter starting with one of the authors’ stated ideals….

    • ….and then analyzing the status quo to see whether it matches the ideal...


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    Chpt. 1: The Global Context,Population and Underdevelopment

    • The stated ideal :

      • “Our relationship with poor, underdeveloped nations should be non-exploitative and supportive of movements to secure basic human rights…” (p. 31)


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    Chapter 1 continued:

    • Growth in Developed vs. Underdeveloped Nations…

    • Life Chances and Underdevelopment

    • …Poverty and Population Growth

      • Three “Myths of World Hunger”

    • Economic Security and Family Size

    • …The Colonial Legacy

    • The US and the Underdeveloped World

    • Where is it all going?


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    Chpt. 2: Concentration ofPolitical and Economic Power

    • The stated ideal…

      • “Members of society should be able to actively participate in or directly influence those political and economic decisions that affect them.” (p.61)


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    Chapter 2 continued...

    • Power in the US: Who rules?

      • the Pluralist Perspective…

      • people’s beliefs about political power

    • The Power Elite Perspective

      • The Attack on Pluralism

      • Identifying the Power Elite

      • The Erosion of Public Involvement


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    Chapter 2 continued...

    • The Instrumentalist Perspective

      • The social and economic upper class

      • Does the U.S. have a governing class?

      • Pluralism below

    • The Structuralist Perspective

      • From “free enterprise” to “corporate capitalism”

      • Corporate capitalism and politics


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    Chapter 2 continued...

    • Political Alienation

      • Political non-participation

      • The Influence of the “New Right”

      • Political Extremism

    • Toward the Democratic Ideal


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    Chapter 3: Militarism and War

    • The stated ideal…

      • “To an irrational degree, the U.S. devotes resources to military aggression and violence against other peoples of the world. Instead, our nation and others must move toward disarmament and the peaceful settlement of differences.”


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    Chapter 3 continued...

    • The Military Industrial Complex

      • The rise of the Mil. Indust. Complex

      • The Uniformed Military

      • The Aerospace-Defense Industry

      • The National Security Managers

      • The Militarized Congress...


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    Chapter 3 continued...

    • Protecting U.S. Economic Interests Abroad

      • The Corporate-Governmental Partnership

      • Defending the World against Socialism

      • Military Readiness in the Post-Cold War Era


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    Chapter 3 continued...

    • The Effects of Militarism

      • Military Expenditures and the Civilian Economy

      • The Quality of Life

      • The Nuclear Threat

    • Choosing Human Survival

    • Online Resources


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    Nature and Extent:

    Air Pollution

    The “Greenhouse Effect”

    Ozone Layer Depletion

    Acid Rain

    Water Pollution

    Toxic Substances

    Nuclear Radiation

    Radon: Indoors

    Solid Wastes

    Noise and Visual Pollution

    Land Misuse

    Resource Depletion

    Online Links

    Chapter 4: Environmental Abuse


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    Searching for Causes:

    Human Nature

    Population and Affluence

    Science and Technology

    Economic Organization

    Online Links

    Chapter 4: Environmental Abuse


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    Searching for Solutions:

    Problems in Combating Environmental Abuse

    Changing Institutions and Activities

    Online Links

    Chapter 4: Environmental Abuse


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    The Stated Ideal:

    “Work must be freely available to all. It should be organized cooperatively, with special attention to providing meaning, dignity, satisfaction and security.”

    (p. 161)

    Chapter 5: WORK


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    The Changing World of Work:

    Unemployment

    Job Satisfaction

    Controlling People/Controlling Work

    Chapter 5: WORK


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    The Changing World of Work:

    The De-Industrialized Society

    Decline of Self-Employment

    Bureaucratization of Workplace

    Rise of Contingency Work

    Chapter 5: WORK


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    Unemployment:

    Extent of Unemployment

    Causes of Unemployment

    The Impact of Unemployment

    Under-employment (1999)?

    Chapter 5: WORK


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    Job Satisfaction:

    The Blue-collar Worker

    The White-collar Worker

    (The Pink-collar Worker?)

    Job Dissatisfaction and the Consumer Society

    Chapter 5: WORK


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    Controlling People/Controlling Work:

    Work and Other Macro Problems

    Improving the Nature of Work

    Chapter 5: WORK


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    The Stated Ideal:

    “Gross differences in personal wealth and income should be greatly reduced, so that the life chances of all U.S. citizens are relatively equal and so that all share more equitably in the goods and services being produced.”(p.197)

    Chapter 6: Economic Inequality and Poverty


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    The Reality of Economic Inequality

    concentration of wealth and ownership

    unequal distribution of income

    growing economic disparities

    minorities and economic inequality

    Chapter 6: Economic Inequality and Poverty


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    Perpetuation of Economic Inequality

    wealth begets wealth

    unequal burden of taxation

    ideological supports for inequality

    Chapter 6: Economic Inequality and Poverty


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    Poverty amidst Affluence

    What is poverty?

    Who are the poor?

    Why are they poor?

    Chapter 6: Economic Inequality and Poverty


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    The Effects of EconomicInequality

    Inequality and Life Chances

    Homelessness

    Hunger and Malnutrition

    The Need for Government Intervention

    Chapter 6: Economic Inequality and Poverty


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    The Stated Ideal:

    “Each individual must have ready and continuing access to the education and training needed to develop his or her interests and capabilities to the fullest extent.”(p.231)

    Chapter 7: Schooling and Unequal Educational Opportunity


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    The “Great School Legend”

    Beliefs about U.S. Education

    A Revisionist Critique

    Chapter 7: Schooling and Unequal Educational Opportunity


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    Schooling as an Agent of Socialization

    The “Organization Child”

    Learning to Participate in the Economy

    The Political Impact of Schooling

    Chapter 7: Schooling and Unequal Educational Opportunity


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    Schooling and Inequality

    Tracking and Testing: an Overview

    An Elementary School Case Study

    The High School Level

    Higher Education

    The Special Role of the Community College

    Literacy and Inequality

    Altering the Educational System

    Chapter 7: Schooling and Unequal Educational Opportunity


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    The Stated Ideal:

    “There should be no personal and institutional discrimination against individuals on the basis of race and ethnicity.”(p.265)

    Chapter 8: Racism


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    The Meaning of Racism

    Personal Racism

    Institutional Racism

    The Myth of Innate Racial Inferiority

    Chapter 8: Racism


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    Economic Deprivation and Exploitation

    Employment and Income

    Business Ownership

    Chapter 8: Racism


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    Political Powerlessness

    Government Employment

    Voter Participation

    Minorities and the Law

    Chapter 8: Racism


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    Educational Deprivation

    The Battle against Segregation

    Obstacles to Equal Education

    Chapter 8: Racism


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    Racism and Society

    The Costs of Racism

    The Inspiration of Minority Responses

    The Civil Rights Movement

    Toward a More Equal Society

    Chapter 8: Racism


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    The Stated Ideal

    “There should be no personal and institutional discrimination against individuals on the basis of sex.”

    Chapter 9: Sexism


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    The Meaning of Sexism

    The Economic Effects of Sexism

    The Political Effects of Sexism

    The Feminist Movement

    Chapter 9: Sexism


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    The Meaning of Sexism

    Male Chauvinism versus Institutional Sexism

    Is Biology Destiny

    Socialization and Self-Concept

    Chapter 9: Sexism


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    The Economic Effects of Sexism

    Earnings and Job Opportunities

    Forces Favoring Economic Subordination

    The Issue of Comparable Worth

    Laboring in the Home

    The Consumer Role

    Chapter 9: Sexism


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    The Political Effects of Sexism

    Women’s Rights and the Law

    Political Participation

    Chapter 9: Sexism


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    The Stated Ideal

    “There should be no personal and institutional discrimination against individuals on the basis of sexual orientation.”

    Chapter 10: Heterosexism


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    The Meaning of Heterosexism

    Sexual Orientation

    Theories as to Why Homosexuality Exists

    How Many Homosexuals are There in the U.S.?

    Myths and Stereotypes about People Who are Gay

    Arenas of Struggle against Heterosexism

    Consequences of Heterosexism

    Supporting Gay Rights

    Chapter 10: Heterosexism


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    The Meaning of Heterosexism

    Chapter 10: Heterosexism


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    Sexual Orientation

    Chapter 10: Heterosexism


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    Theories as to Why Homosexuality Exists

    Psychological Theories

    Social Contagion Theories

    Biological Theories

    Political Implications of Discovery of a “Gay Gene”

    Chapter 10: Heterosexism



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    Myths and Stereotypes about People Who are Gay

    “Homosexuals are Easy to Identify”

    “Homosexuals Lead Unproductive, Dissolute Lives”

    “There is a Gay Lifestyle”

    “Homosexuals are Sexually Obsessed and Promiscuous”

    “Homosexuals are Sexual Predators and Child Molesters”

    “Homosexuals Give You AIDS”

    Chapter 10: Heterosexism


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    Arenas of Struggle against Heterosexism

    Religion

    Government Policy and the Church/State Separation

    Marriage and Family

    The Workplace

    Education

    Chapter 10: Heterosexism


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    Consequences of Heterosexism

    Chapter 10: Heterosexism


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    Supporting Gay Rights

    Chapter 10: Heterosexism


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    The Stated Ideal

    “There should be no personal and institutional discrimination against individuals on the basis of age.”

    (p.369)

    Chapter 11: Ageism


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    Biological and Social Definitions of Aging

    The Graying of the U.S. Population

    Myths and Stereotypes

    Disengagement versus Activity Theory

    Income and Poverty Status

    Employment and Retirement

    Health and Healthcare

    Housing and Transportation

    Criminal Victimization

    Elder Abuse

    Old Age and Political Power

    Chapter 11: Ageism



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    The Graying of the U.S. Population

    Population Trends and Projections

    Characteristics of the Elderly

    Chapter 11: Ageism


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    Myths and Stereotypes

    “Old People are All the Same.”

    “Old People are Unproductive”

    Old People are Senile

    Old People Are in a State of Deterioration and Decline”

    Chapter 11: Ageism



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    Income and Poverty Status

    Chapter 11: Ageism


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    Employment and Retirement

    Chapter 11: Ageism


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    Health and Healthcare

    Chapter 11: Ageism


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    Housing and Transportation

    Chapter 11: Ageism


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    Criminal Victimization

    Chapter 11: Ageism


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    Elder Abuse

    Chapter 11: Ageism


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    Old Age and Political Power

    Chapter 11: Ageism


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