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Social problems: Who makes them?
Social problems: Who makes them?

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3.6 Summary

Three explanations of poverty developed by social scientists have been considered. The first sees poverty as natural or inevitable, the second focuses on the behaviour of poor people, while the third analyses poverty as the result of economic or political processes. Considering these explanations makes it possible to draw some conclusions about the social science approach to social problems:

  • It relies on arguments making causal claims, rather than assertion.

  • Social science is characterised by competing and contested perspectives.

  • Social scientists use evidence of various sorts to support and explore the arguments they develop; their conclusions can be judged against that evidence.