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SOC 409 CLASS NOTES I. Social Constructionist Approach to the Study of Social Problems a. Defining a social problem i. “a problem does not exist until it is defined as such” ii. Shared belief meaning that an issue is problematic iii. What makes an issue a social problem is that people are convinced of its troublesome nature b. Subjective and objective aspects i. Objective - external to the mind; actually existing 1. objective condition and people a. tangible aspects of situation b. one family member hits another member with their hand ii. subjective - proceeding from or belonging to the individual consciousness or perception 1. people construct meaning through the use of cognitive categories and sub-categories a. meaning attached to situation i. disciplinary strategy ii. physical abuse iii. defense strategy iii. How do we use this system of categorization to think about social issues or conditions? iv. Typifications 1. images we see as a typical instance of something or someone c. social conditions and social problems i. social condition is the objective or tangible aspects of an event or set of events ii. social problem is the subjective definition of a social condition as problematic d. subjective and objective indicators of social problems i. objective (social condition) indicators 1. research findings (closest we can get to reality) ii. subjective (social problem) indicators 1. news media 2. political campaigns 3. educational curriculum 4. everyday conversations with people e. social problems work i. the process through which people convince others that their definition of a condition as a social problem is accurate ii. who does social problems work on family violence? iii. Claimsmakers 1. organizations
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a. family violence prevention fund amnesty international 2. politicians 3. government institutions 4. films (documentaries or fictional) 5. newspapers or TV news broadcasts 6. our friends/family II. Explaining Family violence a. Claimsmakers compete to shape opinions i. Societal definitions of family violence are constructed through a negotiation process 1. involves claimsmaking and audience response to claims 2. successful claims are those that people adopt and use to inform their thoughts and behaviors related to family violence ii. Why is it important to study family violence from this perspective? 1. facilitates critical thinking about family violence 2. we act based on our perceptions b. For whom is this ambiguity very problematic? i. Public officials dealing with FV 1. police 2. judges 3. prosecutors 4. child services 5. defense attorneys 6. teachers 7. daycare workers ii. Researchers of family violence need to operationalized a definition iii. Operational definition: a definition of a concept used to measure that concept 1. definition of violence a. an act carried out with the intention of, or an act perceived as having the intention of hurting another person 2. Definition of family? 3.
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This note was uploaded on 04/17/2008 for the course SOC 409 taught by Professor Hunter during the Spring '08 term at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

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