Social Problems – Eitzen Essay

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Subjective nature of social problems
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What is and what is not a social problem is a matter of definition. Thus, social problems vary by time and place.
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Objective reality of social problems
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Some societal conditions harm certain segments of the population and therefore are social problems.
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Self-actualization
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The assumed need (by Maslow) of individuals for creative and constructive involvement in productive, significant activity.
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Institutionalized deviance
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When a society is organized in such a way as to disadvantage some of its members.
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Social problems
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Societally induced conditions that harm any segment of the population, and acts and conditions that violate the norms and values found in society.
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Sociological imagination
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C. Wright Mills’ term, emphasizing that the troubles of individual people are inextricably linked to social forces.
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Person-blame
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The assumption that social problems result from the pathologies of individuals
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System-blame
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The assumption that social problems result from social conditions
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Cultural deprivation
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The assumption by the members of a group that culture of some other group is not only inferior but also deficient. This term is usually applied by members of the majority to the culture of a minority group.
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Recidivism
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Reinvolvement in crime
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Social Darwinism
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The belief that the place of people in the stratification system is a function of their ability and effort
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Deviant behavior
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Activity that violates the norms of a social organization
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Capitalism
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The economic system based on private ownership of property, guided by the seeking of maximum profits.
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Socialism
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The economic system in which the means of production are owned by the people for their collective benefit.
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Interlocking directorate
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The linkage between corporations that results when the individual serves on the board of directors of two companies (a direct interlock) or when two companies each have a director on the board of a third company (an indirect interlock).
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Shared monopoly
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When four or fewer companies control 50 percent or more of an industry.
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Oligarchy
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A political system that is ruled by a few.
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Plutocracy
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A government by or in the interest of the rich.
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Democracy
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A political system that is of, by, and for the people.
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Power elite
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People who occupy the power roles in society. They either are wealthy or represent the wealthy.
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Systemic imperatives
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The economic and social constraints on political decision makers that promote the status quo.
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Power
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The ability to get what one wants from someone else.
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Crime
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An act that breaks the law.
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Violence
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An act of force perceived by the powerful as threatening to the status quo.
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Moral order crimes
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Acts that violate laws that enforce the morality of the majority.
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Victimless crimes
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Acts that violate moral order crimes; they may offend the majority, but they do not harm other people.
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Secondary deviance
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Deviant behavior that is a consequence of the self-fulfilling prophecy of a negative label.
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Organized crime
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A business operation that seeks profit by supplying illegal goods and services.
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White-collar crimes
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Illicit acts committed by middle-class and upper-middle-class people in their business and social activities.
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Corporate crimes
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Illegal acts by business enterprises
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Political crimes
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Illegal acts intended to influence the political system. Also , the abuse of authority by those in power. Finally, actions by governments that are illegal or immoral.
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Racial profiling
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The practice of targeting citizens for police encounters on the basis of race.
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Bail
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Posting of money by the accused to guarantee that he or she will be present at the trial.
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Plea bargaining
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Arrangement between the prosecution and the accused where the latter pleads guilty in return for a reduced charge.
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Adversary system
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The U.S. system of justice, whereby the state and the accused engage in a public battle to argue and provide evidence before an impartial judge or jury.
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Mandatory sentencing
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By law, judges must incarcerate certain types of criminals.
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Determinate sentencing
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For a given offense, a judge must impose a sentence that is within the confines of the law.
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Underemployed
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Employed at a level below that for which one has been trained.
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Capital punishment
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Killing of a criminal by the state
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Parole
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Conditional release from prison in which the former prisoner remains under the supervision of a parole office.
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Recidivism rate
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Percentage of offenders who, after their treatment or punishment has ended, are arrested and convicted of new offenses.

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