Social Problems: An Introduction to Critical Constructionism / Edition 4

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Social Problems: An Introduction to Critical Constructionism synthesizes conflict theory and social constructionism to help students think critically about social problems. A concise, student-friendly alternative to all-encompassing standard textbooks, this book examines a single theoretical paradigm in depth, demonstrating how theory can be used to understand a range of critical social issues.

New to the Fourth Edition:

* A new chapter on inequality of life chances in the U.S., with updated material on race, a new discussion of gender inequality, fresh material on health care, and a new section on education and inequality
* Chapter 4 on family includes a new section on same-sex marriage
* Chapter 5 on crime and deviance provides a new section introducing the sociological concept of social control as it relates to the medicalization of deviance
* New discussions of the "Great Recession," the Occupy Wall Street movement, and the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This impressive and accessible volume uses a unique theoretical framework to discuss and analyze some of the most important social problems at the dawn of the twenty-first century. It is packed with insightful information that will be useful to students, scholars, and educated laymen alike."—William Julius Wilson, Harvard University

"From the opening words, I found the book to be exciting, vibrant, and engaging. As I was reading, I found that I could not put the book down. I have NEVER had that experience with any other textbook. I have previously used "standard" social problems texts for the course, and would characterize Heiner's book as different from (and superior to) those so-called standard texts. Heiner has managed to skillfully and successfully integrate a variety of material into the current configuration of chapters. I will absolutely adopt this new edition."—Kathy Zawicki, St. Bonaventure University

"I have yet to find a book that does a better job in taking a critical examination of the major social problems facing America. I would like to thank Oxford for not copying the typical format of Social Problems textbooks."—Herbert Ziegler, Chesapeake College

"This is a short social problems text that avoids the 'laundry list' approach to studying social problems by focusing on four specific areas of social life: inequality, family, crime and environment. It presents a clear theoretical approach that melds the best of symbolic interactionist approaches to social problems without losing focus on social inequality."—Karen Kendrick, Albertus Magnus College

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199859078
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 7/13/2012
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 142,341
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Heiner is Professor and Coordinator of Sociology at Plymouth State University. He is editor of Deviance Across Cultures (OUP, 2007) and a number of other anthologies.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1: An Introduction to the Sociology of Social Problems
The Sociological Perspective
Critical Constructionism
Non-Sociological Philosophies
The Cross-Cultural and Global Perspectives
Corporate America
The Media
The Homogenization of Culture
The Plan of this Book
Author's Note

Chapter 2: Inequality and Capitalism
An Introduction to Critical Economics
The Gap between the Rich and the Rest
The Plight of the American Worker
Global Inequalities
Application: The Gross Domestic Product

Chapter 3: Inequality of Life Chances in the United States
Inequality and Race
Inequality and Gender
Inequality and Education
Inequality and Health Care
Application: Immigration

Chapter 4: Problems of the Family
The Family in Historical Perspective
The Current State of the Family
Children: Our Most Precious Resource
Capitalism vs. the Family
Same-Sex Marriage
Application: Children Having Children

Chapter 5: Crime and Deviance
Universality and Relativity
Examples of the Relativity of Deviance
The Cultural Production of Knowledge about Crime
Crime Scares
Street Crime
The American Punishment Frenzy
The Medicalization of Deviance
Application: Terrorism

Chapter 6: Problems of the Environment
Technology and the Environment
Scientific Uncertainty
Corporate Suasion
Inequality and the Environment
Global Inequality
Application: Overpopulation

Chapter 7: Conclusions

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