Best Chapter 1

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objectivist approach
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defines social problems in terms of objectively measurable characteristics of conditions; is something an actual issue to society
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3 issues in defining social problems OBJECTIVELY
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1. conditions that might be deemed harmful are not always identified as social problems 2. people can disagree on why a certain condition is harmful; contradictory views 3. an objective list of social problems would be very vague; can range from individual issues (depression or the pain from someone who had it) to global trends (overpopulation, global warming, etc.)
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subjectivist approach
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1. defines a social problem in terms of people’s subjective sense that something is or is not a problem; if people do not think something is a problem then it isn’t 2. views a social problem as a method to arouse concern or bring attention to a certain problem in society
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issue with the SUBJECTIVIST approach
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people often disagree on what is/is not a problem
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social construction
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the way people assign meanings to the world
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examples of social constructions
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cases of UFO abductions, witch hunts, poverty, etc.
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social problems process
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the how and why particular conditions come to be constructed as social problems
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the 3 foundational processes of the social problems process
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claims, claimsmaking, and claimsmaker
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claim
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the argument that a particular troubling condition needs to be addressed
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claimsmaking
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the process of making claims and bringing others’ attention to the claim
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claimsmakers
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people who seek to convince others of their claim
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troubling conditions
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conditions that become subjects of claims
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natural history
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a sequence of stages that tends to appear in lots of different cases
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the 6 stages of natural history
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claimsmaking, media coverage, public reaction, policymaking, social problems work, and policy outcomes
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activists
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members of social movement organizations
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experts
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people who have special knowledge and claim to speak with special authority; scientists, physicians, lawyers, etc.
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policymaking
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the process of devising policy to address a particular condition
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social problems work
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where whoever is responsible for enforcing a particular policy do so; police officers, social workers, teachers, etc.
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policy outcomes
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reactions to the social problems process
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3 themes that influence the social problems process
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1. resources 2. rhetoric 3. feedback
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resources
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– anything that can be drawn upon to construct a claim; status, power, money, education, ect. – \”because i have more _____, my claim is more important\”
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rhetoric
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– the study of persuasion – \”this claim is important to you because _____ and you should help take action\”
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feedback
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– the idea that a particular cause produces an effect that then affects the cause – claimsmaking can affect media coverage, media coverage can affect claimsmaking

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