Social Problems: An Introduction to Critical Constructionism / Edition 4

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Why do certain problems and not others capture the public's attention at some times and not at others? Research indicates that there is frequently little or no correlation between the intensity of public concern and the seriousness of the social problem concerned. Certain interest groups have the power to draw the public's attention toward certain problems and away from others. This book provides a paradigm for thinking critically about social problem construction and about how many popular constructions benefit powerful interests at the expense of society's interest. Unlike most standard social problem texts, Social Problems examines a single theoretical paradigm in depth and demonstrates how theory can be used to understand a breadth of real world phenomena, including problems relating to inequality, the family, crime, and the environment. A much-needed cross-cultural emphasis is used to illustrate the range of possibilities in which social problems and their solutions can be conceived. Special attention is given to the role of the media and of corporate interest in problem construction and to the effects of globalization.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Praise for the previous edition
"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, Lewis P. and Linda Geyser University Professor, Harvard University

"...enormously readable..."--Titus Hjelm, University of Helsinki, from Acta Sociologica, vol. 47, no. 1, March 2004

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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: 194,356
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Heiner is Professor and Assistant Department Chair of Sociology at Plymouth State College. He is editor of Deviance Across Cultures (OUP, 2007), Social Problems and Social Solutions: A Cross-Cultural Perspective (1998), and Criminology: A Cross-Cultural Perspective (1995).

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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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