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Investigating Social Problems
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Investigating Social Problems

Second Edition
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January 2018 | 544 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

Proud sponsor of the 2019 SAGE Keith Roberts Teaching Innovations Award—enabling graduate students and early career faculty to attend the annual ASA pre-conference teaching and learning workshop.

“Given the complexity of the issues, the study of social problems requires, indeed demands, specialized focus by experts.”

-A. Javier Treviño

A. Javier Treviño, working with a panel of experts, thoroughly examines all aspects of social problems, providing a contemporary and authoritative introduction to the field. Each chapter is written by a specialist on that particular topic and the unique, contributed format ensures that the research and examples provided are the most current and relevant available. The text is framed around three major themes: intersectionality (the interplay of race, ethnicity, class, and gender), the global scope of many problems, and how researchers take an evidence-based approach to studying problems.

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Preface
 
PART I: The Sociological Study of Social Problems
A. Javier Treviño
1. Sociology and Social Problems
SETTLING FOR LESS

 
THE SOCIOLOGICAL STUDY OF SOCIAL PROBLEMS

 
THE SOCIOLOGICAL IMAGINATION

 
SOCIOLOGICAL RESEARCH

 
THREE SOCIOLOGICAL THEORIES

 
APPLYING THE THREE THEORIES TO SOCIAL PROBLEMS

 
SOCIAL POLICY

 
SPECIALIZED THEORIES

 
SERVICE SOCIOLOGY AND SOCIAL PROBLEMS

 
CHAPTER SUMMARY

 
KEY TERMS

 
 
PART II: Problems of Inequality
Keith M. Kilty, Leslie Hossfeld, E. Brooke Kelly, and Julia Waity
2. POVERTY AND CLASS INEQUALITY
WHO IS HUNGRY ON CAMPUS?

 
POVERTY, CLASS, AND INEQUALITY ARE SOCIAL CONSTRUCTIONS

 
PATTERNS AND TRENDS

 
SOCIAL CLASS

 
INEQUALITY

 
USING THEORY TO EXPLAIN POVERTY, CLASS, AND INEQUALITY: THE VIEWS FROM THE FUNCTIONALIST, SYMBOLIC INTERACTIONIST, AND CONFLICT PERSPECTIVES

 
SPECIALIZED THEORIES APPLIED TO POVERTY AND INEQUALITY

 
SOCIAL CHANGE: WHAT CAN YOU DO?

 
CHAPTER SUMMARY

 
KEY TERMS

 
Eileen O’Brien
3. RACE AND ETHNICITY
WHITE RACIAL PRIVILEGE

 
DEFINING RACE AND ETHNICITY IN A NEW MILLENNIUM

 
PATTERNS AND TRENDS

 
USING THEORY TO EXPLAIN RACIAL INEQUALITY: THE VIEWS FROM THE FUNCTIONALIST, SYMBOLIC INTERACTIONIST, AND CONFLICT PERSPECTIVES

 
SPECIALIZED THEORIES ABOUT RACIAL INEQUALITY

 
SOCIAL CHANGE: WHAT CAN YOU DO?

 
CHAPTER SUMMARY

 
KEY TERMS

 
Robin Ryle and Katie Ann Hasson
4. Gender
WAVES OF PROTEST AND PINK HATS

 
DEFINING GENDER INEQUALITY

 
FEMINISM, MEN, AND THE STUDY OF GENDER AS A SOCIAL PROBLEM

 
LOOKING AT GENDER ON CAMPUS AND BEYOND

 
USING THEORY TO UNDERSTAND GENDER INEQUALITY: THE VIEWS FROM THE FUNCTIONALIST, SYMBOLIC INTERACTIONIST, AND CONFLICT PERSPECTIVES

 
QUEER THEORY: AN INTERDISCIPLINARY PERSPECTIVE ON GENDER

 
SOCIAL CHANGE: WHAT CAN YOU DO?

 
CHAPTER SUMMARY

 
KEY TERMS

 
Rebecca F. Plante and Elroi J. Windsor
5. SEXUALITIES
AND THEN, SHE WAS GONE

 
UNDERSTANDING HOW SEXUALITIES CAN BE SOCIAL PROBLEMS

 
PATTERNS AND TRENDS

 
USING THEORY TO UNDERSTAND SEXUAL VIOLENCE: THE VIEWS FROM THE FUNCTIONALIST, CONFLICT, AND SYMBOLIC INTERACTIONIST PERSPECTIVES

 
SPECIFIC THEORIES IN SEXUALITIES AND SOCIAL PROBLEMS SCHOLARSHIP

 
SOCIAL CHANGE: WHAT CAN YOU DO?

 
CHAPTER SUMMARY

 
KEY TERMS

 
Duane A. Matcha
6. Aging
HOMESHARING: MILLENNIALS AND OLDER INDIVIDUALS

 
IS AGING A SOCIAL PROBLEM?

 
PATTERNS AND TRENDS

 
USING THEORY TO UNDERSTAND AGING: THE VIEWS FROM THE FUNCTIONALIST, CONFLICT, AND SYMBOLIC INTERACTIONIST PERSPECTIVES

 
SPECIALIZED THEORIES ABOUT AGING

 
SOCIAL CHANGE: WHAT CAN YOU DO?

 
CHAPTER SUMMARY

 
KEY TERMS

 
 
PART III: Problems of Institutions
Ryan W. Coughlan, Alan R. Sadovnik, Susan F. Semel, and Jenny Stuber
7. EDUCATION
IDRIS AND SEUN

 
PATTERNS AND TRENDS

 
U.S. EDUCATION SYSTEM: A BRIEF HISTORY

 
USING SOCIOLOGICAL THEORIES IN EDUCATION

 
SPECIALIZED THEORIES IN THE SOCIOLOGY OF EDUCATION

 
EXPLANATIONS FOR EDUCATIONAL INEQUALITY

 
EDUCATIONAL REFORM FROM THE 1980S TO 2017

 
SOCIAL CHANGE: WHAT CAN YOU DO?

 
CHAPTER SUMMARY

 
KEY TERMS

 
William Hoynes
8. Media
THE DRAMA OF “ROAD RAGE”

 
PATTERNS AND TRENDS

 
DEBATING MEDIA AS A CAUSE OF SOCIAL PROBLEMS

 
EMERGENT SOCIAL PROBLEMS AND NEW MEDIA TECHNOLOGIES

 
TRADITIONAL THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVES ON MEDIA AND SOCIAL PRO

 
THEORIES IN CONTEMPORARY MEDIA AND SOCIAL PROBLEMS SCHOLARSHIP

 
SOCIAL CHANGE: WHAT CAN YOU DO?

 
CHAPTER SUMMARY

 
KEY TERMS

 
Meg Wilkes Karraker
9. Family
A RETREAT FROM MARRIAGE AND FAMILY

 
PATTERNS AND TRENDS

 
FAMILY PROBLEMS AND THREE INSTITUTIONAL STAKEHOLDERS

 
USING THEORY TO EXPLAIN FAMILY PROBLEMS: THE VIEW FROM THE FUNCTIONALIST, CONFLICT, AND SYMBOLIC INTERACTIONIST PERSPECTIVES

 
FOUR SPECIALIZED THEORIES BEYOND FUNCTIONALISM, CONFLICT, AND SYMBOLIC INTERACTIONISM

 
SOCIAL CHANGE: WHAT CAN YOU DO?

 
CHAPTER SUMMARY

 
KEY TERMS

 
Rudi Volti
10. Work and the Economy
FROM 500 TO 750 ENVELOPES

 
WORK AND THE LABOR FORCE

 
PATTERNS AND TRENDS

 
STAKEHOLDERS

 
USING THEORY TO EXAMINE WORK AND THE ECONOMY: THE FUNCTIONALIST, CONFLICT, AND SYMBOLIC INTERACTIONIST PERSPECTIVES

 
SPECIALIZED THEORIES: WEBER AND SCIENTIFIC MANAGEMENT

 
SOCIAL CHANGE: WHAT CAN YOU DO?

 
CHAPTER SUMMARY

 
KEY TERMS

 
 
PART IV: Problems of Health and Safety
Kathleen Currul-Dykeman, Susan Guarino-Ghezzi, Kyle J. Thomas, and Benjamin C. Hamilton
11. Crime
IN A HOODED SWEATSHIRT

 
INTRODUCTION: CRIME AS A SOCIAL PROBLEM

 
CRIMES ARE SOCIALLY DEFINED

 
DATA SOURCES AND CORRELATES OF CRIME

 
PATTERNS AND TRENDS

 
THE U.S. CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM AND ITS STAKEHOLDERS

 
CRIME FROM THE STRUCTURAL FUNCTIONALIST, SYMBOLIC INTERACTIONIST, AND CONFLICT PERSPECTIVES

 
SPECIALIZED THEORIES ABOUT CRIME

 
SOCIAL CHANGE: WHAT CAN YOU DO?

 
CHAPTER SUMMARY

 
KEY TERMS

 
Brian C. Kelly, Dina Perrone, and Carrie B. Oser
12. Drugs
A CANARY IN A COAL MINE?

 
DRUGS IN SOCIETIES

 
DRUG DEPENDENCE AND ASSOCIATED HARMS

 
PATTERNS OF DRUG USE ACROSS SOCIAL GROUPS

 
USING THEORY TO UNDERSTAND DRUG USE: THE VIEWS FROM THE FUNCTIONALIST, CONFLICT, AND SYMBOLIC INTERACTIONIST PERSPECTIVES

 
SPECIALIZED THEORIES ON DRUG USE

 
SOCIAL CHANGE: WHAT CAN YOU DO?

 
CHAPTER SUMMARY

 
KEY TERMS

 
Kevin White and Valerie Leiter
13. Health
SUFFERING FROM DRAPETOMANIA

 
WHAT ARE DISEASE AND ILLNESS?

 
PATTERNS AND TRENDS

 
THE U.S. HEALTH CARE SYSTEM AND ITS STAKEHOLDERS

 
USING THEORY TO UNDERSTAND HEALTH: THE VIEWS FROM THE FUNCTIONALIST, CONFLICT, AND SYMBOLIC INTERACTIONIST PERSPECTIVES

 
SPECIALIZED THEORIES

 
SOCIAL CHANGE: WHAT CAN YOU DO?

 
CHAPTER SUMMARY

 
KEY TERMS

 
 
PART V: Problems of Global Impact
Katharine A. Legun and Michael M. Bell
14. THE Environment
EXPERIENCING THE HEAT WAVE

 
ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS AS SOCIAL PROBLEMS

 
PATTERNS AND TRENDS

 
THEORETICAL APPROACHES IN ENVIRONMENTAL SOCIOLOGY

 
SPECIALIZED THEORIES IN ENVIRONMENTAL SOCIOLOGY

 
SOCIAL CHANGE: WHAT CAN YOU DO?

 
CHAPTER SUMMARY

 
KEY TERMS

 
Wenda K. Bauchspies and Michael Mascarenhas
15. Science and Technology
SCIENCE AND THE PUBLIC TRUST

 
HACKING AND CYBERCRIME AROUND THE WORLD

 
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY AS SOCIALLY DEFINED

 
PATTERNS AND TRENDS

 
SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, AND THEIR STAKEHOLDERS

 
USING THEORY TO EXAMINE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY: THE VIEWS FROM THE FUNCTIONALIST, CONFLICT, AND SYMBOLIC INTERACTIONIST PERSPECTIVES

 
SPECIALIZED THEORIES

 
SOCIAL CHANGE: WHAT CAN YOU DO?

 
CHAPTER SUMMARY

 
KEY TERMS

 
Paul Joseph and Ori Swed
16. War and Terrorism
THE ISLAMIC STATE AND THE BLURRING LINES BETWEEN WAR AND COUNTERTERRORISM

 
WAR AS A SOCIAL CONCEPT

 
PATTERNS AND TRENDS

 
THE FUTURE OF WAR

 
USING THEORY TO EXAMINE WAR AND TERRORISM: THE VIEWS FROM THE FUNCTIONALIST, CONFLICT, AND SYMBOLIC INTERACTIONIST PERSPECTIVES

 
SPECIALIZED THEORY: THE TWO-SOCIETY THESIS

 
TERRORISM

 
SOCIAL CHANGE: WHAT CAN YOU DO?

 
Katie Hasson
Gender
CHAPTER SUMMARY

 
E. Brooke Kelly, Leslie Hossfeld, Julia Waity
2. Poverty and Class Inequality
KEY TERMS

 
Michael Ian Borer and Tyler S. Schafer
17. Urbanization
URBANIZATION AND CITY GROWTH IN GLITTER GULCH

 
URBANIZATION, GROWTH, AND SOCIAL PROBLEMS

 
PATTERNS AND TRENDS

 
THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVES IN URBAN SOCIOLOGY

 
SPECIALIZED THEORIES IN URBAN SOCIOLOGY

 
SOCIAL CHANGE: WHAT CAN YOU DO?

 
CHAPTER SUMMARY

 
KEY TERMS

 
 
Glossary
 
References
 
Index

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Key features

 NEW TO THIS EDITION: 

  • All chapters have been thoroughly updated to reflect current events, new scholarship, and the latest data.
  • A number of new expert contributors have revised chapters for the second edition: Katie Ann Hasson (Gender), Elroi J. Windsor (Sexuality), Jenny Stuber (Education), Kyle J. Thomas and Benjamin C. Hamilton (Crime), Carrie B. Oser (Alcohol and Other Drugs), Valerie Leiter (Health and Illness), Michael Mascarenhas (Science and Technology), Ori Swed (War and Terrorism).
  • New chapter opening photos illustrate key themes and intended aid students in connecting personally with real-life situations.
  • Updated data, tables, and figures reflect the latest information available from the 2017 U.S. Census Bureau, GSS, National Center for Transgender Equality, SNAP, TANF, and more.
  • New topics and examples include: Black Lives Matter, Trump’s travel ban, the 2017 Women’s March, fake news, mass shootings, the Flint water crisis, changes to the social safety net, microaggressions, hookup culture, sexual violence, summer learning loss, the small schools movement, affordable housing, work-related injuries, the future of the labor force, cybercrime and terrorism, abuse of prescription drugs, stop-and-frisk policing, ADHD, election-hacking by foreign actors, the vaccine-autism debate, the Kyoto Protocol and Paris Agreements on climate change.

KEY FEATURES:

  • “Our Stories” allow the expert contributors to explain why the problem in question is interesting from a personal and professional perspective, and some of the ways he or she studies that problem.
  • Each chapter considers the social problem in question from the point of view of three general theoretical approaches (structural functionalism, conflict theory, and symbolic interactionism), and also discusses a few specialized theories that provide deeper understanding of the problem in question.
  • “Experiencing” features help to reveal concepts of intersectionality, exploring the interplay of race/ethnicity, class, and gender, and how their various combinations compound social inequalities among certain populations.
  • “Beyond our Border” features encourage the reader to consider the global scope of the social problem in question and examine how the interconnectedness, or transnational character, of these problems impact people (often quite differently) around the world.
  • “Researching” features show how social scientists form research questions, investigate particular issues, and help build empirically-based understanding of social problems.
  • Each author proposes policy recommendations for social change that arise from the three main theoretical perspectives.
  • “Social Change: What Can You Do?” discusses how students can help solve a particular social problem through volunteer work, service learning, community activism, and other forms of civic engagement.
  •  “What Do You Think?/What Does America Think?” uses questions and data from the current General Social Survey to help readers better understand their own beliefs and attitudes about social problems, and those of the population at large.
  • A unifying pedagogical framework provides continuity for the reader with common features such as chapter opening vignettes, learning objectives, and “Ask Yourself” questions.

 


Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1- Sociology and Social Problems

Chapter 4- Gender


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