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Defining Social Problems: Welfare Essay

997 words - 4 pages


“A social problem is a social condition or pattern of behavior that has negative consequences for individuals, our social world, or our physical world (Leon-Guerrero, 2011).” Sociologists seek to figure out the causes and consequences of social problems. Sociologists struggle with how they should go about a specific problem in regards to solving that solution. For sociologists, their job is to study what occurs in regards to social problems. They wish to remain objective which is why they struggle with solutions. “The result would be that sociologists would be seen as just another interest group with its own vested interests, with sociologists looking out for what benefits them instead of being a group that the public and government can trust to report valid data and provide objective knowledge about a subject so that others can make more informed judgments as to what should be done (Crone, 2011).” Sociologists then lean towards helping solve social problems by analyzing social patterns in social problems. They do this while remaining objective. To ensure sociologists stay objective, they study practical examples of how previous social problems have been solved.
Sociological imagination is when one links their personal experiences to that of the social world. Then, objective and subjective realities need to be considered. An objective reality comes from the acknowledgment that a particular condition exists within society and subjective reality talks about how a problem becomes defined as exactly that. Social Constructionism goes into depth about how social problems become exactly that by how society perceives them to be. To put it in simpler terms, what you see is what you get. Functionalists view society as a human body and believe that rapid change eventually threatens social order because it changes or interrupts the balance within society. The Conflict perspective believes that the social problem is the system itself and the inequality that is created by it. These are just some of the alternative views opposed to that of the sociological viewpoint.
One social problem that exists in society today is poverty, but more specifically, welfare. The sociological standpoint on poverty is defined as absolute and relative poverty. Absolute poverty is when a person lacks basic necessities to survive and relative poverty is when a person works, but doesn’t reach the average level of income necessary. To prevent poverty, the welfare system was implemented. The welfare system is supposed to address poverty and assist the poor. This program was implemented to develop programs that would only ensure the survival and legitimacy of the poor.
The Center for Women Policy Studies (2002) showed that low-income women were not enrolling in college as much as before. Former TANF recipients with college education are less likely to return to welfare than those who did...

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