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SOCI 1160, Week 2 Notes

by: Amber Levister

SOCI 1160, Week 2 Notes SOCI 1160 030

Amber Levister
GPA 4.01
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About this Document

These notes cover the lecture for week 2: 1/19- 1/21
Intro to Social Problems
Mindy Stombler
Class Notes
sociology, Social problems




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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Amber Levister on Friday January 22, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to SOCI 1160 030 at Georgia State University taught by Mindy Stombler in Summer 2015. Since its upload, it has received 31 views. For similar materials see Intro to Social Problems in Sociology at Georgia State University.


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Date Created: 01/22/16
▯ Tuesday 1/19/16 ▯ ▯ Social Problems= social phenomenon that affect large numbers of people negatively ▯ Conditions:  Must cause psychic or material suffering for a segment of society  Must be recognized or perceived as unacceptable by an (influential) group(s) of people  Conditions must be identified and targeted for social change/ corrective action  ** Tend to be interrelated (i.e. poverty and low level of education)  Have both: o Objective component = measurable aspect/ proof ( i.e. counting how many people are unemployed, pollution in the air) o Subjective component= based on our own beliefs (i.e. our varying thoughts on poverty in the world) Subjective  Yes No ▯ ▯ Homicide ▯ Drive cars ▯ School Shootings ▯ Using iPad Yes ▯ Objective No Social Constructionist Approach to Social Problems ▯ -Focus is on how a social problem is constructed and the process of it  Claimsmaking= process of convincing the public and important public officials that a particular issue/ situation should be defined as a social problem o Success? : shown in policy changes  Counterclaims= the argument in direct opposition to the original claims ▯ ▯ Blame for social problems:  Person-blame= social problems emanate (come from) from the pathologies of individuals in the problem o i.e. in poverty- poor people are the problem o i.e. in the school system- Parents have low expectations, poor work ethic; Teachers are not supportive; Students have no drive, less intelligent  System-blame= social problems emanate from the situations in which the individuals are involved o i.e. in the school system- lack of success, parents working 2+ jobs, poorly paid staff, property tax, federal policy ▯ Why is the recidivism rate (rate of return) in the prison system so high?  From a person-blame standpoint: attitude, lack of conscience/ moral compass  From a system-blame standpoint: lack of jobs for felons, no government assistance, no rehab programs ▯ Critiques of each blame Person-blame o 1) requires a person-change treatment program; frees all of the institutions from blame (media, government) System-blame o 1)by looking at the system you’re ignoring the possibility of individuals being problematic o 2)Individuals have agency (ability to act) ▯ Structure/ Agency Dialectic  Agents  creates structure structure impedes ▯ ▯ ▯ ▯ ▯ Thursday 1/21/16 ▯ ▯ Bias in the Political System (The Power Elite) ▯ “We can have a democratic society or we can have a concentration of great wealth in the hands of a few. We cannot have both.” – Supreme Court Justice Brandeis ▯ The Power Elite  Occupy power roles in society o i.e. president, key members of congress, key advisors, Supreme court members, Federal Reserve members  Tend to make decisions that will enhance and disproportionately benefit their own positions  Control: o Corporations: CEOs, Boards of Directors  Receive tax breaks, incentives, and other benefits from the government  Corporations sell the trickle-down structure (everyone benefits from the success) to the people to gain trust  Actually hold on to the money, benefiting the stockholders o Government  Maintain their power via campaign financing o Massive amounts of money are sabotaging democracy in the U.S. How? 1) Makes it harder to solve any social problems we have that would make us more equal as a culture 2) Have-nots are not represented among decision makers 3) Requires politicians to chase after money during the times they should actually be governing and making laws; part-time elected officials 4) Voting: many people are discouraged from voting and civic participation because they feel like their vote is unimportant ▯ Political system: Democracy  should generate equality ▯ Economic System: capitalism  generate inequality  conflicts of interest ▯ Defense Industry= political system Industry= economic system ▯ ▯ Prison Industry Mass Incarceration o U.S. has 710 prisoners per 100,000 citizens: Louisiana has 847 per 100,000 citizens o 1811-1979 federal & state governments built 711 prisons; 1980-2004 federal & state governments built 936 prisons  Private Prisons


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