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How Can We Solve Our Social Problems?

How Can We Solve Our Social Problems?

Third Edition

Social Problems

November 2015 | 344 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
“Rarely do I find a book that so clearly and concisely presents the material is such an accessible engaging manner. I just hope it never goes out of print!”  
– Chris Adamski-Mietus, Western Illinois University  

Many of today’s social problems—poverty, crime, racism, sexism, drug abuse, unequal access to quality health care or education, threats to the environment, over-population—can seem intractable. James A. Crone’s How Can We Solve Our Social Problems?, Third Edition is designed to give students studying these types of social problems a sense of hope. Unlike the standard survey texts that focus heavily on the causes and consequences of problems, this book is devoted to analyzing possible solutions. It maintains a sense of sociological objectivity throughout, and without moralizing, describes what could be done in America and on a global scale, through government policies, private sector initiatives, and the collective actions of citizens, to address even our most pervasive social problems.  

Contributor to the SAGE Teaching Innovations and Professional Development Award

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Chapter 1: Preparing to Solve Our Social Problems
What Is a Social Problem?  
History of Studying Social Problems  
Teaching About Social Problems in Today’s World  
How Can Sociologists Address Social Problems and Yet Remain Objective?  
What Social Problem Should We Solve First?  
How Might Sociological Theory Help Us to Solve Social Problems?  
A Theory of Conflict and Social Change: A Way to Better Understand and Therefore Solve Our Social Problems  
Causal Model: A Picture of Our Theory  
My Own Theoretical Orientation  
Other Sociological Theories That Can Help Us Understand and Solve Social Problems  
Concluding Thoughts on Theory and Social Problems  
Addressing Social Problems Within Capitalism  
The Next Chapter  
Questions for Discussion  
Chapter 2: Barriers, Possibilities, and How Sociology Can Help
Barriers to Solving Our Social Problems  
Possibilities for Solving Our Social Problems  
How Can Sociology Help to Solve Social Problems?  
Questions for Discussion  
Chapter 3: How Can We Solve the Problem of Increasing Inequality?
Definition and Statistics  
Causes of Growing Inequality  
Consequences of Growing Inequality  
Options We Have With Inequality  
What Should We Do?  
Questions for Discussion  
Chapter 4: How Can We Solve the Problem of Poverty?
Assumptions We Can Make About Solving Poverty  
What Can We Do?  
Concluding On an Optimistic Note  
Questions for Discussion  
Chapter 5: How Can We Solve the Problem of Racial/Ethnic Inequality?
Now, and Where to Next?  
What Might Racial/Ethnic Equality Mean?  
What More Can We Do?  
Questions for Discussion  
Chapter 6: How Can We Solve the Problem of Gender Inequality?
What Can We Do?  
Concluding Thoughts  
Questions for Discussion  
Chapter 7: How Can We Solve the Problem of Unequal Education?
What Can We Do?  
Problems That Prevent Us From Having Excellent Public Schools  
Tax Money for Schools  
Positive Consequences  
What Will Not Work If We Want Excellent Public Education: The Voucher System  
Questions for Discussion  
Chapter 8: How Can We Solve the Problem of Crime?
What Can We Do?  
A Dilemma: Capitalism and Crime  
Questions for Discussion  
Chapter 9: How Can We Solve the Problem of Drugs?
Keep the Current Policy  
Legalize Drugs for Adults  
Take a Step-by-Step Approach by Legalizing One Drug at a Time  
Where to Go From Here?  
Questions for Discussion  
Chapter 10: How Can We Solve the Problem of Health Care?
Consequences of Our Problem  
Why Don’t We Have a Health Care System That Covers All Citizens Like All Other Industrial Nations?  
Criteria for a Health Care System For All Americans  
How We Could Implement These Criteria  
Advantages of Health Care For All Americans  
Disadvantages of Health Care For All Americans  
What Other Countries Include in Their National Health Care Systems  
The Future: What Could Happen?  
Summer and Fall 2009 and Winter 2010: Finally, Serious Debate  
March 21, 2010: Health Care Reform Passes Congress  
Questions for Discussion  
Chapter 11: How Can We Solve the Problems of Families?
Decreasing Inequality to Help Families  
Decreasing Poverty to Help Families  
Creating Enough Jobs and Enough Decent-Paying Jobs to Help Families  
Creating Racial and Ethnic Equality to Help Families  
Creating Gender Equality to Help Families  
Including Gay and Lesbian Couples to Help Families  
Decreasing Crime to Help Families  
Changing the Way We Deal With Drugs to Help Families  
Creating a National Health Care System to Help Families  
Creating Good-Quality Education for All Students to Help Families  
Educating Students to Help Families  
Educating Parents to Help Families  
Summary of What We Can Do to Help Families  
Questions for Discussion  
Chapter 12: How Can We Solve the World’s Population Problem?
Causes of the World’s Population Problem  
What Can We Do?  
Where Are We?  
Questions for Discussion  
Chapter 13: How Can We Solve the World’s Environmental Problem?
What Can We Do?  
Questions for Discussion  
Chapter 14: Solving Our Social Problems: Predictions and Conclusions
A Number of Similar Social Conditions  
Defining a Social Condition as a Social Problem  
Values and Vested Interests  
Loss of Control Over the Social Problem  
Attention and Resources  
Someone Will Be Dissatisfied  
Becoming Accustomed to Social Change  
Capitalism and Social Problems  
Environment, Population, and Standard of Living  
Building a Sustainable Society  
Questions for Discussion  

“It is easy to read and gets to the point quickly without including unnecessary details. I also like that it provides realistic solutions, things that can be done either by individual or group effort…Rarely do I find a book that so clearly and concisely presents the material is such an accessible engaging manner. I just hope it never goes out of print!”

Chris Adamski-Mietus
Western Illinois University

“I adopted this book because of its readability and its emphasis on solving problems. Social problems can, quite frankly, be depressing to cover day in and day out. It's great to be able to end each unit or topic of discussion on a high note by discussing solutions.”

Laci Fiala
Walsh University

I lIke the information contained in this book, but it was a little light on introductory knowledge for my freshman level class. I may adopt it as a supplement next semester, but I don't think it could stand on its own in my particular class.

Ms Jennifer Darling
Soc Crim Just Sub Abuse Dept, University Of Central Oklahoma
September 15, 2016

Chose a different Sage textbook, shared this with a colleague who may be interested in it.

Mr barry davis
Arts Humanities Dept, Tri-State Bible College
September 17, 2015
Key features


  • Includes the most recent efforts to address problems of affordable and universal health care, marriage equality, and climate change.
  • Explores the latest thinking in the continuing debate over economic inequality in the U.S.
  • Key data and statistics have been updated throughout.


  • Gives students hope and a sense that there are indeed answers to the challenges we face in today's world with specific and realistic steps that can be taken to solve our social problems.
  • Illustrates how many problems are linked (like overpopulation and threats to the environments), and that solving one social problem can also help address others.
  • Helps students use theory to better understand the social problems we face, and to see sociology as a key tool for solving our social problems.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 3

Chapter 10

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