(1) After reading chapter one, I came away with a better understanding of social problems. How do you define a social problem? How many people should suffer for something to be defined as a social pr

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After reading chapter one, I came away with a better understanding of social problems. 

  1. How do you define a social problem? How many people should suffer for something to be defined as a social problem? Social problems can be defined as social situations that a large number of observers feel are inappropriate and need remedying. I would say that a number starting with five-hundred people could be categorized as a social problem, especially, if we are referencing a smaller community. It is important to understand that social problems are subjective. One such social problem that Americans can generally agree with is a great issue is that of child poverty. As McCarty (2016) states in her research, child poverty, although it is a terrible problem, it affects different social groups and classes of Americans in vastly different ways. With the ever-widening chasm between the poor and their more educated and wealthier citizen peers, the odds of the poor getting out of poverty are getting worse. Additionally, there are two types of social problems. There are norm-violating problems and societal-induced conditions (Eitzen, Zinn, and Smith 2012).
  2. How do different values, beliefs, and norms affect the definition of social problems? Different values and beliefs in a community will significantly affect the definition of a social problem. Norm violations can be deemed by the powerful in the public sphere as social deviants, but society itself must also be looked at. How the deviant, that is to say, the criminal, dropout, mentally ill, or poor, are viewed, should always include a societal component. Those in power in society get to define what is socially normal and what is deemed to be deviant. Different people from different strata in society can think very differently about what should be a norm. Some can even go as far as to create a so-called moral panic. As Eversman and Bird stated (2017), a moral panic is when a person, or group of people, can be deemed a threat to societal values, and usually, the claim of threat far outweighs the actual risk of harm.
  3. What are the causes of social problems, and what are the relationships between those causes? Social problems can be caused by a multitude of reasons. Again, they depend on the community and its location, beliefs, norms, and values. Social problems can emanate from one of two theories. First, is the person-blame idea, which is where you blame the poor person for being poor, or the prostitute for her dilemmas. Second, is the system-blame idea, which is where situations the so-called deviant is engulfed in, are brought about by society, such as poverty or alcoholism (Eitzen, et al. 2012).

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How do you define a social problem? 

A social problem arises as a result of an unacceptable behavior. It starts with a worry and escalates as other people express similar sentiments and seek justice for or against it. The topic of abortion can be used to illustrate how something morally dubious might lead to what is perceived as a social problem. In many countries, abortion has become a social problem, with women fearing criminal charges if they seek an abortion. Women are obliged to travel and risk their lives because the treatments are illegal, stigmatized, expensive, and unavailable (Ona Singer 2020). As a result, choosing an abortion looks to be a society decision rather than a woman’s personal choice.

How many people should suffer for something to be defined as a social problem? How do different values, beliefs, and norms affect the definition of social problems?

The number of people needed to perceive a societal problem as such varies, but the more people who support or oppose a cause, the more genuine it becomes and the more influence it gains. Different values, beliefs, and norms influence whether or not something is considered a societal problem. In Muslim cultures, for example, a woman is expected to unconditionally obey her husband. This is a form of gender oppression and breaking these rules would put women at risk of punishment. Domestic violence, on the other hand, is a social problem in the Western world that is difficult to eradicate due to the stigma that society places on victims.

What are causes of social problems, and what are the relationships between those causes?

Poverty, unemployment, gender inequality, racial prejudice, a lack of education, cultural and religious views, and other factors can all contribute to problems in society. The causes may intersect, exacerbating the consequences for the people who are affected. Domestic abuse, for example, might be exacerbated for women who are living in poverty or who lacked a higher education.  In general, social issues find their way into the political arena. Simultaneously, policymakers have the power to affect public perceptions of societal problems by changing reality and concealing portions of it (Bail 2015). Policymakers have then the ability to allow for social reform. 

Rina Parodi 

IN 5-6 LINES, RESPOND TO THIS TWO DISCUSSION BOARD