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Social Problems

Social Problems
Sociology in Action

First Edition
Edited by:
Available with:

January 2020 | 400 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
The authors are proud sponsors of the 2020 SAGE Keith Roberts Teaching Innovations Award—enabling graduate students and early career faculty to attend the annual ASA pre-conference teaching and learning workshop.

Wake up your social problems classes! Social Problems: Sociology in Action helps your students learn sociology by doing sociology. 

Social Problems: Sociology in Action will inspire your students to do sociology through real-world activities designed to increase learning, retention, and engagement with course material. Inspired by the best-selling introductory sociology text, Sociology in Action, this innovative new book immerses students in an active learning experience that emphasizes hands-on work, application, and learning by example as they grapple with the causes and consequences of social problems as well as possible solutions. Each chapter explains key concepts and theories in social problems and pairs that foundational coverage with a series of carefully developed learning activities and thought-provoking questions. The comprehensive Activity Guide that accompanies the text provides everything you need to assign, carry out, and assess the activities that will best engage your students, fit the format of your course, and meet your course goals.

This title is accompanied by a complete teaching and learning package. Contact your SAGE representative to request a demo.
  • Digital Option / Courseware
    SAGE Vantage is an intuitive digital platform that delivers this text’s content and course materials in a learning experience that offers auto-graded assignments and interactive multimedia tools, all carefully designed to ignite student engagement and drive critical thinking. Built with you and your students in mind, it offers simple course set-up and enables students to better prepare for class. Learn more.
    • Assignable Video with Assessment
      Assignable video (available with SAGE Vantage) is tied to learning objectives and curated exclusively for this text to bring concepts to life. Watch a sample video now.
  • LMS Cartridge (formerly known as SAGE Coursepacks): Import this title’s instructor resources into your school’s learning management system (LMS) and save time. Don’t use an LMS? You can still access all of the same online resources for this title via the password-protected Instructor Resource Site.  Learn more.
  • SAGE Lecture Spark: Designed to save you time and ignite student engagement, these free weekly lecture launchers focus on current event topics tied to key concepts in Sociology. Access this week’s topic.

Learning Activities
About the Authors
About the Contributors
Unit I: Inequalities as Social Problems
Kathleen Odell Korgen
Chapter 1: Understanding and Solving Social Problems
What is a Social Problem?

Sociology and the Study of Social Problems

Why are some, But Not Other, Social Conditions Considered Social Problems?

How Can Professional Sociologists—and You—Help Solve Social Problems?

How to Conduct Social Scientific Research

Dawn R. Norris
Chapter 2: Analyzing Economic Inequalities
Economic Inequality and Social Problems

Explaining Economic Inequality

Wealth and Income Gaps: How Much Inequality Exists?

The Question of Mobility

Social Problems That Cause Economic Inequality

Social Problems Caused by Economic Inequality

Solving the Social Problem of Economic Inequality: Policies, Movements, and Action

Meghan Burke
Chapter 3: Recognizing Racism and Racial Inequalities
What is Race?

What is Racism?

Why Does Racial Inequality Exist?

Why Do Racial Inequality and Racism Persist?

What Social Problems Relate to Racism and Racial Inequalities?

How Can We Challenge and Address Racism and Racial Inequality?

Kris Macomber
Chapter 4: Examining Gender Inequalities
How Does a Social Constructionist Approach Examine Gender Inequality?

The Roots of Contemporary Gender Inequality: Identifying Patriarchal Culture

Contemporary Gender Inequality in the Workplace

Men’s Violence Against Women

How does Gender Inequality Affect Boys and Men?

Other Gendered Social Problems

Gender-Based Movements and Social Change

Jason Crockett
Chapter 5: Focusing on Sex and Sexualities
Sex and Sexualities

Social Responses to Sex and Sexualities

Enforcing Sexual Norms at the Micro Level

Why Attitudes Toward Sex and Sexualities Change

Unit II: Global Population Problems
Deborah Lowry
Chapter 6: Preparing for Aging Societies
What is Population Aging?

What Social Problems Accompany Aging Societies?

What are Governments Doing to Prepare for Aging Populations?

What Can Local Communities Do to Improve Conditions of Aging?

Daniel Herda
Chapter 7: Making Sense of Migration and Immigration
What Is Migration?

The Social Construction of Immigrants as a Problem

Social Problems Causing Migration

Social Problems Affecting Immigrants

Social Problems Caused by Immigration

Lillian MacNell
Chapter 8: Researching Environmental Problems
The Link between Environmental and Social Problems

The Environmental Costs of Powering Our Lives

Recognizing and Curbing Climate Change

Food and Agriculture

Confronting Environmental Injustice

Bridget Diamond-Welch
Chapter 9: Contesting Crime
The Social Construction of Crime

Mistakes in Claim Construction

Class, Race, Gender, and Critical Criminology

Social Problems that Cause Crime

Amy Sodaro
Chapter 10: Understanding War and Terrorism
Understanding War as a Social Problem

Seeing War as a Social Problem

War’s Impact on Society

Understanding Terrorism as a Social Problem

Consequences of Terrorism

Confronting War and Terrorism

Unit III: Institutional Problems
Rena C. Zito
Chapter 11: Identifying Problems in the Criminal Justice System
The U.S. Criminal Justice System


Courts and Corrections

Criminal Records

Rena C. Zito
Chapter 12: Discovering Problems in the Family
What is a Family?

Social Construction of Families as Problems

Family problems as Social Problems

Social Problems Affecting Families

Erinn Brooks
Chapter 13: Pursuing Equity in Education
Education and Schooling

The Purpose of Education

Social Problems in Education and Schools

Reforms that Can Improve Education Systems

Gregory T. Kordsmeier
Chapter 14: Prioritizing Health and Health Care Inequalities
Understanding Health and Health-Related Social Problems

How Social Problems Affect Health

Social Problems and Inequalities in the Health Care System

Facing Health Challenges Collectively

Kathleen Odell Korgen and Maxine P. Atkinson
Chapter 15: Realizing the Power—and Vulnerability—of Institutions
Why Does a Society Need Social Institutions?

Why Do Institutions Fail?

Declining Faith in Institutions in the United States

How Can Social Problems Weaken Institutions?

How Can We Save Our Social Institutions?

Glenn A. Bowen
Appendix: Addressing Social Problems through Service-learning
Fundamentals of Service-learning

Assessment of Service-learning

Tips for Faculty Considering Service-learning

Service-learning in a Social Problems Course



Instructor Resource Site

For additional information, custom options, or to request a personalized walkthrough of these resources, please contact your sales representative.

LMS cartridge included with this title for use in Blackboard, Canvas, Brightspace by Desire2Learn (D2L), and Moodle

The LMS cartridge makes it easy to import this title’s instructor resources into your learning management system (LMS). These resources include:

  • Test banks
  • Editable chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides
  • Sample course syllabi
  • Lecture notes
  • All tables and figures from the textbook 
Don’t use an LMS platform?

You can still access all of the same online resources for this title via the password-protected Instructor Resource Site.
Student Study Site


The open-access Student Study Site makes it easy for students to maximize their study time, anywhere, anytime. It offers flashcards that strengthen understanding of key terms and concepts, as well as learning objectives that reinforce the most important material.

Key features
  • The new edition is available as a digital option through SAGE Vantage, an intuitive digital platform that offers auto-graded assignments and interactive multimedia tools—including video—all designed to enable students to better prepare for class.
  • Each chapter is contributed by an expert in that subject who also uses active learning techniques in his or her classroom.

  • Several "Confronting Social Problems" learning activities in each chapter provide instructors with an abundance of ready-to-use activities for a wide range of instructional settings. 

  • Choose from a variety of activity types including personal reflection, content and data analysis, collaboration and group activities, observations, and short guided-research projects.

  • "Consider This" discussion questions encourage students to think more deeply about concepts for in-class discussions or assignments.

  • “Sociologists in Action” boxes spotlight the work of a student or a professional sociologist to illustrate how students can use sociological tools to make a positive impact on  problems facing society.

  • The concluding chapter, “Realizing the Power—and Vulnerability—of Institutions,” explores an emerging social problem: public loss of faith in institutions like government and the media.

  • A Service Learning appendix provides step-by-step instructions on how to design and implement a service learning feature into a social problems course, including online and large-lecture

  • Chapter Summaries emphasize key chapter content as a quick study reference, helping reinforce material.

  • Check Your Understanding questions help students stop and self-assess whether they comprehend the key points of every section.

  • Key terms and a glossary reinforce and define concepts to encourage on-the-spot comprehension.

  • The Activity Guide for instructors includes the complete text of every activity, along with extensive teaching notes.

  • Assignable SAGE Premium Video (available via the interactive eBook version, linked through SAGE Coursepacks) is curated and produced exclusively for this text to bring concepts to life and appeal to diverse learners.

  • Assignable data analysis activities enable students to access and use statistical information created from more than 400,000 government and non-government datasets.
Vantage Reference: 
Social Problems- Vantage Digital Option

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