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Society and the Individual (D)

by: Buster Heller

Society and the Individual (D) ISS 210

Buster Heller
GPA 3.91


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Class Notes
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Buster Heller on Saturday September 19, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to ISS 210 at Michigan State University taught by Staff in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 11 views. For similar materials see /class/207781/iss-210-michigan-state-university in Integrative Studies Social Sci at Michigan State University.

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Date Created: 09/19/15
ISS 210 731 Summer 2010 Social Problems Chapter 1 This chapter provides a framework for the textbook by presenting a sociological perspective for studying social problems The chapter raises important questions What is a social problem What are the causes of social problems What are the consequences of the social problems in society How are social problems de ned Who de nes them These questions are at the core of understanding social problems The chapter is divided into several sections In the rst section the authors explain historical theories of social problems Early sociologists used a medical model to determine if social pathological conditions existed in society Sociologists also studied problem individuals who violated the expectations of societal norms A more recent perspective explains how society creates and sustains deviance by labeling individuals who violate norms Most currently sociologists look at how social problems have a subjective nature because how they are de ned varies by place and time C Wright Mills clari ed an important distinction in looking at social problems He said that a problem can be de ned either as a private trouble or as a public issue Public issues are widespread systemized problems or a social problem The authors devote the second section to de ning social problems They argue that Ih is an obiective realitv of social nroblems there are real conditions in society that cause physical psychological and environmental problems However social problems are not so easily de ned because they also have a subjective nature That is what is de ned as a social problem depends on who is de ning the problem In the third section the authors de ne two types of social problems norm violations and social conditions Norm violations are acts and conditions that violate the norms and values in society This is the traditional approach to studying social problems 0 Focusing on norm violations directs attention toward society s failures the criminal the mentally ill the school dropouts and the poor It also directs attention away from the societal causes for these failures of society Norm violators are symptoms of social problems Focusing on norm violations is a recognition that deviance is culturally defined and socially labeled ie social problems are inherently relative 0 Power determines the definition of a social problem Social conditions are socially induced conditions that cause emotional and material suffering for different segments of the population Studying social problems in this way directs attention away from individuals who violate norms and toward society s institutions as the generators of social problems 0 Some types of social arrangements may re ect a bias in the system and therefore be unresponsive to many human needs including self actualization is the need for creative and constructive involvement in productive signi cant activity Individual deviance is a consequence of institutional deviance Institutional deviance is when society and its formal organizations are not meeting the needs its individuals e g health care is unevenly distributed criminal justice is biased against the poor and people of color and government is run for the bene t of the few Focuses on how power is distributed with society as the primary source of social problems The fourth section is a revised discussion of the sociological imagination as described by C Wright Mills The A B Moving away from individual terms and focusing rather on social economic and 0 U E ofthe 39 39 quot include A willingness to view the social world from the perspective of others historical circumstances With the sociological imagination one can shift from the examination of a single individual to the analysis of a whole society To develop a sociological imagination requires a a detachment from takenforgranted assumptions and b establishing a critical distance to question the structural arrangements We begin to see solutions to social problems in terms of changing the structure of society The fifth section examines social structure as the basic unit of analysis It compares a personblame versus a svstemblame approach to studying social problems The person blame approach emphasizes cultural deprivation and blames social problems on individuals There are several consequences of using the personblame approach It frees the institutions of society from blame and increases the difficulty of trying to change the dominant institutions It enables the welloff segments of society to retain their advantages It allows troublesome individuals and groups to be controlled in a publicly acceptable manner It demands a personchange not a societal change program It reinforces social myths about the degree of control individuals have over their lives and support The system blame approach points to society for sources of failure and social problems The authors express their support of a systemblame approach that is they identify the structure of society rather than problem individuals as the main source of social problems There are several reasons why the systemblame approach is preferred when studying social problems Social problems are highly complex phenomena that have both individual and systemic origins The systemblame approach presents a rigidly deterministic explanation of social problems An extreme systemblame approach absolves individuals from responsibility for their actions ISS 210730 Professor Garcia Fall 2010 Midterm Exam Review Social Problems Chapter 1 How are social problems de ned created and how should they be studied What are the bene ts and consequences when sociologists study social problems Who are norm violators according to society and according to the authors What is the sociological imagination and how is it applied Compare and contrast personblame and systemblame approaches How does cultural deprivation t in Which approach best suits the Social Darwinists Understand institutionalized deviance and recognize examples of it Chapter 2 Compare and contrast the concepts and components of capitalism with socialism How does the US t into the model of ideal capitalism Be familiar with Karl Marx and his perspective on capitalism What are some of the consequences of economic restructuring in the US How are they related to megamergers and interlocking directorates Be familiar with the consequences and bene ts of recent US tax policies What is a systemic imperative Who are the power elite Chapter 3 What characteristics are commonly found in developing nations Why How does new slaveryquot compare with the old What is corporate dumping Be familiar with examples What is demographic transition theory What are the components related to this theory Why does world hunger exist What role do transnational corporations play in the world economy How does foreign aid from the Us compare with other industrialized nations How has this trend changed over time What role does human agency play in reshaping the developing world Chapter 7 Who are the poor in the United States What is their experience Be familiar with the different types of poor communities and their circumstances How does the infant mortality rate in Us inner cities compare with developing nations Be familiar with the theoretical explanations for poverty What is institutional discrimination Be familiar with examples ISS 210 731 Summer 2010 Social Problems Chapter 16 pp 483499 This chapter examines the institution of education In the first section the authors describe the characteristics of US education They discuss how education in the US is a conservative institution because the goal of education is to preserve dominant culture not transform it Aside from just teaching basic disciplines the educational system is a process whereby members of society are instructed to understand and support the American way of life The avowed function of schools is to teach the attitudes values roles specialties information skills and training necessary for the maintenance of society The special task of schools is to preserve the culture not transform it Schools indoctrinate their pupils in culturally prescribed ways There is an explicit or implicit assumption in US schools that the American way is the only right way Creativity and a questioning attitude are curtailed in school The history of resistance to slavery racism US expansionist wars Native Americans and immigration is largely untaught in US schools at any levels Inthe US the basic goal the educational curriculum is at odds with stated beliefs of creating a system that promotes equal opportunity for all students to get the same quality education In addition to discussing education as a conserving force the authors discuss mass education local control of education the competitive nature of education and the US educational system s preoccupation with order and control 0 Mass Education 0 A democratic society requires an educated citizenry so that individuals can participate in the decisions of public policy 0 The quot quot for J quot is r 39 39 not an interest in acquiring skills or curiosityimany students are in school for the wrong reason 0 As a result of the goal of mass education an increasing proportion of people have received a formal education 0 Local Control of Education 0 The bulk of money and control for education comes from local communities 0 There is a general fear of centralization of education 0 Local school boards believe they know best the special needs oftheir children 0 There are several problems with an emphasis on local control including I Tax money from the local area to finance schools may come from a strong or weak tax base and can have a pronounced effect on the quality of education I Dissatisfaction with high taxes is often expressed at the local level in the defeat of school bond issues Typically local school boards do not represent all segments of their community I The religious views of the majority may intrude in public education in order to gain control I The lack of curriculum standardization across the nation leads to a wide variation in the preparation of students There are certain trends in educational reform which indicate that the educational system is moving toward greater fragmentation I More children are going to private schools I More children are being homeschooled I There are more charter schools I There is a voucher system based on a freemarket In 2001 Congress passed the No Child Left Behind Act to close the gaps in education However a number of problems have resulted I Instead of one system we have 50 I Conservative critics are concerned with intrusion into local control and states rights I Emphasis on test results focuses competence along a narrow range of skills I There is no attempt to address funding inequities I It does not address minority issues I It is underfunded 0 Competitive Nature of US Education 0 0 Schools in a highly competitive society are competitive Throughout different school activities such as academics clubs and sports students lea1ns two lessons I Your classmates are enemies because if they succeed it is at your expense I You had better not fail Fear of failure is the greater motivator not intellectual curiosity or love of knowledge 0 Preoccupation with Order and Control 0 0 Schools are characterized by constraints on individual freedom The clock regiments the school day Activities begin and end on atimetable not according to degree of interest or mastery of the subject There is a preoccupation with discipline and the following of orders Some schools demand conformity in dress codes Some paradoxes indicate the profound dilemmas in education I Formal education encourages creativity but curbs creative individuals I Formal education encourages the open mind but teaches dogma I Formal education has the goal of turning out mature students but does not give them the freedom to foster maturity I Formal education pays lip service to meeting individual needs but encourages conformity I Formal education has the goal of allowing students to reach their potential but fosters competition that causes some to be labeled as failures 0 Formal education is designed to allow people with the greatest talent to reach the top but systematically bene ts certain groups of people regardless of their talent The second section focuses on how corporate society reproduces itselfthrough education by perpetuating class and race inequalities The authors argue that schools are not the great equalizer they are touted to be They discuss how the educational system perpetuates class and race differences that currently exist in larger society ofUS There is a strong relationship between test scores in reading writing and math and poverty Children in the poorest families are 6 times more likely to drop out of school Students from highincome families complete their college education faster than students from lowincome families Achievement gaps in reading writing and math persist between minority and White students Minority students lag behind their White peers in graduation rates and most other measures of student performance Minority students have much higher dropout rates than Whites Minority students are suspended or expelled in disproportionate numbers to Whites Social class and racial gaps in academic achievement are found in almost every school and district in the US The chapter also discusses inequities in financing public education Approximately 88 children attend public schools which are funded through three governmental sources about 9 from the federal government about 57 from the state about 34 from property taxes in each district within the state The result is that schools are funded unequally in the US The financing of public education is upside down with the schools and students who need the most help receiving the least The final section you were responsible discusses the relationship between educational opportunity family economic resources and the curriculum For example the average SAT Scholastic Aptitude Tests scores are higher for youth from families with higher annual incomes White youth score higher on average than Black youth Among the explanations for income and race differences on SATs Poor children do not receive adequate nutrition decent medical care and a safe and secure environment Thus they are less alert less curious and less able to interact effectively than wealthier children Poor children are more likely than a luent children to attend schools with poor resources Poor children live in communities that lack opportunities to apply academic skills or build new ones Poor families cannot afford private early development programs that prepare children for school


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