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social problems chapter 1 Cheat Sheet by

social problems chapter 1 study guide

what is a social problem?

- existence of a social condition
- someone has to think its a problem (BELIEF)
larger group= more attention
- awareness/ spreading thru out media
example- drug addiction, not a social problem unless part of society BELIEVES it diminishes quality of human life

methods of data collec­tion

experi­ments, surveys, field research, secondary data research

Social Groups

- 2 or more people who have a common identity, interact, and form a social relati­onship
primary groups- charac­terized by intimate and informal intera­ctions (friends and family, comfor­tab­ility)
secondary groups- task oriented and charac­terized by impersonal and formal intera­ction (class mates, co workers)

Blumer's Stages of a Social Problem

1. societal recogn­ition
process by which a social problem is "­bor­n" legiti­mation
social problems is recognized by the larger community
3.mobili­zation for action
leads to develo­pment and implem­ent­ation of a plan for dealing with the problem


the set of rights, obliga­tions, and expect­ations associated with a status
- guide our behavior and allow us to predicts others behaviors
examples student: do work; prisoner: w/ guards and w/ inmates
- you learn what the roles are, then accept them to maintain that status

Stru­ctural- Functi­onalist Perspe­ctive

society is composed of parts that work together to maintain a state of balance
latent- conseq­uences unintended and often hidden
father got fired, how kids feel; gay rights ( ur gay), how fam feels
manifest- intended and commonly recognized
a problem that throws that "­"­nor­m" off
social pathology- social problems result from 'sickness' in society
social disorg­ani­zation- rapid social change disrupts norms in society
you adapt ( like coming to college)

The Sociol­ogical Imagin­ation

putting yourself "­in" the situation to get a different perspe­ctive and better unders­tanding
- im not homeless, but what would it be like if i was

methods of data collec­tion

experi­ments, surveys, field research, secondary data research


a social condition that a segment of society views as harmful to members of society and in need of remedy
gun control- threat to civil rights OR its necessary for safety
abortion- pro life OR pro choice

Theo­retical Perspe­cti­ves

labeling theory:
social condition or group is viewed as proble­matic if it is labeled as such
social constr­uct­ionism:
argues that reality is socially constr­ucted by indivi­duals who interpret the social world around them

symbolic intera­cti­onist perspe­ctive

basic premise is that a condition must be defined or recognized as a social problem for it to be a social problem
individual level
3 types:
Blumer's Stages of a Social Problem
labeling theory
social constr­uct­ionism

conflict perspe­ctive

two groups opposing each other
rich vs poor, pro life vs pro choice


the meanings and ways of life that charac­terize a society, including beliefs, values, norms, sanctions, and symbols
people think the same way as you do
... wouldn't be in the drug culture if you don't believe in drugs
beliefs: defini­tions and explan­ations about what is assumed to be true
"is 2nd hand smoke danger­ous­?"
values: social agreements ab what is considered good or bad, right and wrong*
racism, sexism , child abuse, violate the values of equality and fairness
norms: defined rules of behavior
1. folkways: customs, habits, and manners of society (not the law)
ways u act (sneeze= cover ur nose)
2. laws: formal norms backed by authority (LAW)
3. mores: norms w/ a moral basis


a position that a person occupies within a social group
ex: mother, father, child, husband
ascribed statuses: status that society assigns to an individual on the basis of factors with NO CONTROL over (age, race etc)
achieved statuses: assigned on the basis of some charac­ter­istic or behavior over which there is some control (college graduate, spouse, parent, criminal) (+/-)

elements of social structure and culture

the structure of a society refers to the way it is organized
Organized into:
social groups


something that represents something else
- language, gestures, and objects whose meaning is commonly understood by the members of a society
ex.) flipping someone off, gang sings (meaning to them not me)


conseq­uences for conforming to or violating norms
- can be positive or negative
(+)= being nice, receiving an award for a kind act
(-)= breaking the law

levels of analysis

macros­oci­ology looks at 'big picture' of society suggests how social problems are affected at the instit­utional level
micros­oci­ology concerned with the psycho­logical dynamics of indivi­duals intera­cting in small groups

elements of social struct­ure

an instit­ution is an establ­ished and enduring pattern of social relati­onships
5 tradit­ional instit­utions are:
family, religion, politics, economics, education
family- everyone comes from one (+/-)
religion- guides a lot of issues ( gay rights, legalized prosit­ution)
politics- huge impact, set policies with a direct impact on you (happy if ur guy wins, sad if loses)
economics- micro and macro, every thing is tied into it, SPENDING, globally interc­onn­ected, high unempl­oyment = worst economy
education- HS drop outs: not great jobs, high crime


Stages of conducting a research study
1. formul­ating a research question
2. reviewing the literature (whats already out there?)
3. defining variables (measu­rable event, charac­ter­istic, or property that is subject to change)
4. formul­ating a hypothesis (B4 research)
*methods of data collection
experi­ments: involves manipu­lating the indepe­ndent variable to determine how it affects the dependent
survey: not v accurate; eliciting info from respon­dents thru questions (sample: portion of popula­tion)
interv­iews: survey research, people ask respon­dents questions and make written notes ab (advan­tage: clarifying questions)
questi­onn­aires: less expensive and less time consuming but response rate is a downside
web based surveys: growing in popula­rity, thought to reduce problems associated with tradit­ional survey research
field research: observing social behavior in settings in which it occurs naturally
^^ partic­ipant observ­ation (resea­rcher partic­ipates in whatever is studied); nonpar­tic­ipant observ­ation ( researcher observ­es).... presence influences behavior
secondary data research: resear­ching what has been researched


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