a problems “natural history” : ch.2, p.7

what’s the sociological social constructionist process for how conditions become problematic?

“Spector and Kitsuse outline the process and activities involved in defining conditions as problematic by conceptualizing it as a “heuristic, four-stage natural history model” (Schneider 1985). Stage one includes “collective attempts to remedy a condition that some group perceives and judges offensive and undesirable…Initial social problems activities consist of attempts to transform private troubles into public issues” (Spector and Kitsuse 1973:148). Stage two occurs when “governmental agencies or other official and influential institutions” acknowledge these claims (Spector and Kitsuse 1973:154). Whether stage three comes next is contingent on first, official agencies or institutions accepting these claims and then responding, and secondly, this response becoming seen itself as problematic. If this occurs, stage four commences when advocates (claimants, claimsmakers) of problematic conditions declare “that it is no longer possible to ‘work within the system’…” and they set out to craft alternative institutions (Spector and Kitsuse 1973:156).”

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Mobilizing Ideas

Activists and Scholars Debate Social Movements and Social Change

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