SOC 2 - chapter 1 outline - Approaches To The Study Of...

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Approaches To The Study Of Social Problems I. What Is a Social Problem? A. Personal Troubles, Public Issues, and Social Problems. 1. Social problem: a. “an influential group defines a social condition as threatening its values; when the condition affects a large number of people; and when the condition can be remedied by collective action” 2. Influential group: a. “one that can have a significant impact on public debate and social policy” 3. Values: a. “people’s ideas about what is good or bad, right or wrong” B. The Social Context of Social Problems. 1. Four distinct social conditions that can play a role in the emergence of social problems: a. deviation from group values and norms, a decline in the effectiveness of social institutions, extensive social and cultural diversity, and the exercise of power. 2. Norms: a. “Rules of conduct that guide people’s behavior” 3. Deviance: a. “Behaviors or characteristics that violate important group norms and as a consequence are reacted to with social disapproval” 4. Social institutions: a. “relatively stable clusters of social relationships that involve people working together to meet some basic needs of society” 5. Subculture: a. “a group within a culture that shares some of the beliefs, values, and norms of the larger culture but also has some that are distinctly its own” 6. Ethnocentrism: a. “the tendency to view one’s own culture or subculture as the best and to judge other cultures or subcultures in comparison to it” 7. Power: a. “the ability of one group to realize its will, even in the face of resistance from other groups” 8. Authority: a. “legitimate power that is obeyed because people believe it is right and proper that they obey” C. The Sociological Imagination.
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1. Focus on social interaction and social relationships rather than on individuals 2. Sociological imagination: a. “the ability to understand the relationship between what is happening in people’s personal lives and the social forces that surround them” 3. Sociological imagination also offers empowerment a. assists people in taking control of their lives and circumstances through the struggle against social problems II. Theoretical Perspectives on Social Problems. A. The Functionalist Perspective. 1. Functionalist Perspective: a. “Society is a system made up of a number of interrelated elements, each performing a function that contributes to the operation of the whole” 2. A change in one element of society may lead to changes in other parts in a system with all the parts so tightly interdependent.
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  • Spring '12
  • VeraKennedy
  • Sociology, The Study Of Social Problems

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