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Social Problems: Who makes them?
Anti-social behaviour, homelessness, drugs, mental illness: all problems in today’s...
Anti-social behaviour, homelessness, drugs, mental illness: all problems in today’s society. But what makes a problem social? This unit will help you to discover how these issues are identified, defined, given meaning and acted upon. You will also look at the conflicts within social science in this area.
After studying this unit you should be able to:
- illustrate what is social about social science;
- demonstrate how certain social constructions become dominant;
- distinguish how labelling something can create expectations about behaviour and actions;
- give examples of inequalities that result from particular social constructions.
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 The social construction of social problems
- 2 ‘What everybody knows’
- 3 Tracing the deposits
- 4 Mapping the field: competing constructions
- 5 Scepticism and social construction
- 6 The question of ideology: social interests and social constructions
- 7 Norms, truth and power: discourses of social problems
- 8 Conclusion: the view from social constructionism
- Further reading
Study this free course
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Social Problems: Who makes them?
Anti-social behaviour, homelessness, drugs, metal illness: all problems in today’s society. But what makes a problem social? This unit will help you to discover how these issues are identified, defined, given meaning and acted upon. You will also look at the conflicts within social science in this area.
This material is from our archive and is an adapted extract from Social Policy: Welfare, Power and Diversity (D218) which is no longer taught by The Open University. If you want to study formally with us, you may wish to explore other courses we offer in this.
This is an extract from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free Sociology courses or view the range of currently available OU Sociology courses.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Thursday, 14th July 2011
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements section.
- This site has Copy Reuse Tracking enabled - see our FAQs for more information.
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