Tag Archives: The Society for the Study of Social Problems

rather than the social or structural causes of objective conditions…

“After this seminal text detailing the social construction approach to social problems appeared, past presidents of the Society for the Study of Social Problems extended Blumer’s original notion (Lopata 1984). Although arising from and still compatible with other theoretical traditions in sociology, proponents argued its distinction came from its presumption “that social problems are the definitional activities of people around conditions and conduct they find troublesome, including others’ definitional activities” (Schneider 1985). This stance not only shifted the analytical focus, but consequentially changed analysts’ relationship to the object of study (social problems). On the basis of professional research and personal activism, analysts become their own subjects. “Sociologists who act as experts on problematic conditions are social problems participants. They become part of the problems rather than an analysis of it” (Schneider 1985). Advocates of the social constructionist approach to the study of social problems made unequivocal, value-based assertions about the purpose of their work. “Sociologists of social problems should not concern themselves with the validity of participants’ (their colleagues included) claims about conditions, but with how such claims and definitions are created, documented, pressed, and kept alive. Documenting claims or definitions about conditions constitutes participation. The point is to account for the viability of these claims, not judge whether they are true” (Schneider 1985).”


English: Underlying structure of the social co...

English: Underlying structure of the social construction of reality (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mobilizing Ideas

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