What is a social problem? Use two examples of social problems to illustrate your answer
Social problems are an integral part of social life. The term ‘social problem’ refers to social conditions, processes and attitudes that are commonly perceived to be negative and undesirable (Jamrozik et al. 1998). A social problem is something that threatens the values of society such as law and order, social cohesion and the stability of social institutions. However some of the social conditions we now ignore may well come to be seen as social problems in the future. Similarly some of the societal arrangements that we consider to be social problems now were not so considered in earlier times (Rubington & Weinberg. 2003). What then makes a social problem?
Manning (1998) argues that social problems need to be distinguished from the mere existence of common problems with reference to three points: The extent to which they are perceived; the judgements made about them and the actions recommended to deal with them (I.C.J.S p.6).
When we ask groups of people in society about the main social problems that face Britain there is an enormous variety of answers (Butterworth & Weir. 1974). The extent, to which they are perceived as social problems, is often determined by the media. A problem is highlighted on T.V or receives coverage on the radio and in the press and people panic. There is a great outcry for a few days followed by silence (Butterworth & Weir. 1975). It is when these issues have sustained coverage that Manning’s second criterion of a social problem is achieved.
When a problem is incompatible with societies values or interests people make judgements about that problem. It is this area of social problems that is most complex as what one person considers a problem another may not (Rubington & Weinberg. 2003). It is only when a significant number of people perceive it to be a problem that the people in positions of leadership, and m...