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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
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?
objective social science
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….
our aims in this course
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...
our aims cont
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
social problems5
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….
slide6
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...
chpt 1 the global context population and underdevelopment
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)
chapter 1 continued
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?
chpt 2 concentration of political and economic power
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)
chapter 2 continued
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
chapter 2 continued11
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
chapter 2 continued12
Chapter 2 continued...
  • Political Alienation
    • Political non-participation
    • The Influence of the “New Right”
    • Political Extremism
  • Toward the Democratic Ideal
chapter 3 militarism and war
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.”
chapter 3 continued
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...
chapter 3 continued15
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
chapter 3 continued16
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
chapter 4 environmental abuse
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
chapter 4 environmental abuse18
Searching for Causes:

Human Nature

Population and Affluence

Science and Technology

Economic Organization

Online Links

Chapter 4: Environmental Abuse
chapter 4 environmental abuse19
Searching for Solutions:

Problems in Combating Environmental Abuse

Changing Institutions and Activities

Online Links

Chapter 4: Environmental Abuse
chapter 5 work
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
chapter 5 work21
The Changing World of Work:

Unemployment

Job Satisfaction

Controlling People/Controlling Work

Chapter 5: WORK
chapter 5 work22
The Changing World of Work:

The De-Industrialized Society

Decline of Self-Employment

Bureaucratization of Workplace

Rise of Contingency Work

Chapter 5: WORK
chapter 5 work23
Unemployment:

Extent of Unemployment

Causes of Unemployment

The Impact of Unemployment

Under-employment (1999)?

Chapter 5: WORK
chapter 5 work24
Job Satisfaction:

The Blue-collar Worker

The White-collar Worker

(The Pink-collar Worker?)

Job Dissatisfaction and the Consumer Society

Chapter 5: WORK
chapter 5 work25
Controlling People/Controlling Work:

Work and Other Macro Problems

Improving the Nature of Work

Chapter 5: WORK
chapter 6 economic inequality and poverty
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
chapter 6 economic inequality and poverty27
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
chapter 6 economic inequality and poverty28
Perpetuation of Economic Inequality

wealth begets wealth

unequal burden of taxation

ideological supports for inequality

Chapter 6: Economic Inequality and Poverty
chapter 6 economic inequality and poverty29
Poverty amidst Affluence

What is poverty?

Who are the poor?

Why are they poor?

Chapter 6: Economic Inequality and Poverty
chapter 6 economic inequality and poverty30
The Effects of EconomicInequality

Inequality and Life Chances

Homelessness

Hunger and Malnutrition

The Need for Government Intervention

Chapter 6: Economic Inequality and Poverty
chapter 7 schooling and unequal educational opportunity
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
chapter 7 schooling and unequal educational opportunity33
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
chapter 7 schooling and unequal educational opportunity34
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
chapter 8 racism
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
chapter 8 racism36
The Meaning of Racism

Personal Racism

Institutional Racism

The Myth of Innate Racial Inferiority

Chapter 8: Racism
chapter 8 racism37
Economic Deprivation and Exploitation

Employment and Income

Business Ownership

Chapter 8: Racism
chapter 8 racism38
Political Powerlessness

Government Employment

Voter Participation

Minorities and the Law

Chapter 8: Racism
chapter 8 racism39
Educational Deprivation

The Battle against Segregation

Obstacles to Equal Education

Chapter 8: Racism
chapter 8 racism40
Racism and Society

The Costs of Racism

The Inspiration of Minority Responses

The Civil Rights Movement

Toward a More Equal Society

Chapter 8: Racism
chapter 9 sexism
The Stated Ideal

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

Chapter 9: Sexism
chapter 9 sexism42
The Meaning of Sexism

The Economic Effects of Sexism

The Political Effects of Sexism

The Feminist Movement

Chapter 9: Sexism
chapter 9 sexism43
The Meaning of Sexism

Male Chauvinism versus Institutional Sexism

Is Biology Destiny

Socialization and Self-Concept

Chapter 9: Sexism
chapter 9 sexism44
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
chapter 9 sexism45
The Political Effects of Sexism

Women’s Rights and the Law

Political Participation

Chapter 9: Sexism
chapter 10 heterosexism
The Stated Ideal

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

Chapter 10: Heterosexism
chapter 10 heterosexism47
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
chapter 10 heterosexism50
Theories as to Why Homosexuality Exists

Psychological Theories

Social Contagion Theories

Biological Theories

Political Implications of Discovery of a “Gay Gene”

Chapter 10: Heterosexism
chapter 10 heterosexism52
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
chapter 10 heterosexism53
Arenas of Struggle against Heterosexism

Religion

Government Policy and the Church/State Separation

Marriage and Family

The Workplace

Education

Chapter 10: Heterosexism
chapter 11 ageism
The Stated Ideal

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

(p.369)

Chapter 11: Ageism
chapter 11 ageism57
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
chapter 11 ageism59
The Graying of the U.S. Population

Population Trends and Projections

Characteristics of the Elderly

Chapter 11: Ageism
chapter 11 ageism60
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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