Sociology Index -

Social Problems

Books on Social Problems, Social Problems Abstracts, Bibliography, Social Problems Syllabus, Journals

The study of social problems focuses on analyzing broader social and structural sources and contributors to issues that are problematic for and detrimental to the social health of a society, and then creating solutions based on it.

Social problems confront us everywhere. Sociologists consider a social problem to be an alleged situation that is incompatible with the values of a significant number of people who agree that action or remedy is needed to alter the situation.

How does the differential power of various social groups affect how some issues become constructed into social problems while others do not? What role do the media play in the social construction of social problems?

Studying Social Problems involes the study of all and more of the following subjects: Poverty and all types of inequality like inequality of condition, inequality of opportunity and Gender Inequality.

Research on social problems has largely overlooked a central question: What characteristics must a phenomenon possess before the general public will consider it a social problem?

Only by answering that question will one have a clear basis for predicting the outcomes of campaigns to define phenomena as social problems. The authors propose that any phenomenon will be perceived as a social problem to the degree that people (1) condemn it (i.e., view it as wrong or hazardous), (2) perceive it to be frequent or prevalent, and (3) consider it mutable. Data from a 1981 survey of Seattle residents provide strong support for this position, but they also show that the effect of perceived mutability is contingent on the type of social problem under consideration. - Public Perceptions of Social Problems: Some Propositions and a Test - Mark C. Stafford, Washington State University, Mark Warrk, Pennsylvania State University - The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, Vol. 21, No. 3, 307-316 (1985).