Social Problems: Solutions and Policy. Sociology A185
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Social Problems: Solutions and Policy Sociology A185 “The tidal waves of social change of our lifetimes…were not generated by the established leaders in government, business, labor, religion, or higher education. They boiled up from people who had not previously been heard from” (Cleveland, 1992:16).
Sociology, Social Problems, and Social Change • The sociological imagination involves moving away from thinking in terms of the individual. • A focus on changing the social structure rather than on changing people
Sociological Paradox: Structure and Agency • The power of society over its members (Structure) versus the power of social actors to change society (Agency) • Society is not a rigid, static entity. We are not passive robots. • Social structures are created and sustained by people, and thus imperfect. They can be changed.
Sociological Dilemma: Recognition and Rejection • Government and corporate leadership rarely understand or acknowledge preventative measures. • Sociologists have important knowledge that could help solve social problems.
Why Are Sociologists Rejected By Those in Power? • Sociology is subversive. • Sociology challenges the core of society’s dominant ideology. • Sociology is critical of society.
Critical Constructionism and Solutions • Constructing problems and solutions and shaping policy • Corporate (elite) interests shape social and economic policy as well as public perceptions of what is right and wrong in society • The influence of corporate elite over government • Campaign contributions, corporate media, and the democratic process
Democracy and Corporate Media • “Money is Speech” doctrine • The media is an “arm of the corporate world” • I.e.: Coverage of public demonstrations/protests
Can people get adequate information to make informed decisions? • Can Americans have a voice in politics today?
Human Agency: Social Change from the Bottom Up • Throughout U.S. history individuals have organized to create a more just, equal society. • Environmental sensitivity, civil rights, and women’s rights were not generated by people high up, but from collective action of individuals. • Consumer boycotts can be highly effective
Human Agency: Social Change from the Bottom Up • Individuals Protesting and Organizing for Change • Racial Minorities • Workers • Women • Immigrants • The Gay and Lesbian Community • Environmental activists • The disabled
What does Heiner see as the root of many of the social problems experienced throughout America and the world? • What does Heiner suggest in order to alleviate many of these social problems?
A Step in the Right Direction • Regulate corporations who disregard the needs of American families and the the global workforce while destroying the Environment • Stable employment, quality health care, minimum standard of living, better wages and benefits, workers rights • Heiner Suggests that there is a balance, a middle ground, in terms of economic regulation that promotes the health and welfare of the American citizenry and creates an economic system that values more than just profit
Invest in education • The United States needs to take the lead on adopting economic policies that are fair and just to people and the environment • “ As long as capitalism’s only goal is profit, it will continue scouring the globe for the least expensive, least restrictive working conditions” • …and what is the cost?