Social Problems: Constructionist Readings

Front Cover
Donileen R. Loseke, Joel Best
Transaction Publishers, 2003 - Social Science - 277 pages
0 Reviews
This collection of focused essays is directed at several levels of students of social problems. It is accessible to the uninitiated, who are not familiar with the constructionist literature, and aimed at those who are not particularly interested in subtle theoretical and empirical issues of concern to academics studying social problems from constructionist perspectives. Some readings focus on the construction of problems by scientists and other professionals; others examine the work of social activists, mass media, and social service personnel. Among the topics included are studies of social inequalities and individual deviance; a comparison of the images of social problems in the United States with those in other countries; and an examination of the importance of politics and power in constructing public images of social problems.

Constructionist perspectives have become the leading theoretical approach for sociology and allied fields in studying social problems. Yet constructionists' impact on the teaching of social problems has been far less dramatic. Undergraduate courses on social problems are often subject to a theoretical barrage of eclectic perspectives. Just as the first social problems textbooks did almost a century ago, textbooks continue to present a series of unrelated chapters, each devoted to a particular social problem. Social Problems is an effort at systematic analysis rather than random thought on the subject.

Social Problems presents detailed case studies demonstrating how constructionist perspectives can actually be applied to understand particular social problems. While these articles can be read alone, the editors have organized these selections to correspond with the chapter topics in the second edition of Donileen Loseke's Thinking about Social Problems, an accessible introduction to constructionist approaches. At the same time, some instructors who use this edited collection might wish to provide their own mix to the selection process. Many of the contributions make multiple points and so reasonably could be used to illustrate other basic texts or classic studies in the field of social problems.

Donileen R. Loseke is professor of sociology at the University of South Florida. Joel Best is professor and chair, Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice, University of Delaware. He has also served as an advisory editor for Aldine in the area of social problems.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Selected pages

Contents

The Changing Meanings of Spanking
6
Bullying as a Social Problem in Great Britain
13
The Problem with the Earthquake Problem
21
Reality Television Constructs Crime
29
ClaimsMakers and Audiences
37
Introduction
39
Audiences Evaluate Statistics
43
Promoters of Hate Crime Legislation
51
The Homeless Mentally Ill and Involuntary Hospitalization
146
Constructing a War on Drugs
154
Urine Testing and Social Control
162
The Size Acceptance Movement
169
Social Problems and Everyday Life
175
Introduction
177
Constructing the Need for LowFat Food
180
Pregnant Women as a Social Problem
188

Psychiatrists Construct Homosexuality
59
Television Talk Shows Construct Morality
66
Constructing Conditions
75
Introduction
77
Smoking Problems in Japan
81
Crime Frames and Their Sponsors
88
Framing in the Fathers Rights Movement
93
Factory Farming as a Social Problem
101
Constructing People
107
Introduction
109
The Rhetorical Appeal of Random Violence
113
Prostitutes Respond to AIDS
120
Science Constructs PMS
127
Multicultural Education as Moral Drama
135
Constructing Solutions
141
Introduction
143
Constructing Sexually Marginalized Catholics
196
The Beliefs of Recovery Religion
204
Social Problems and Troubled People
213
Introduction
215
Medicalizing Childhood
219
Teaching Gifted Children
226
Constructing Insanity in Involuntary Commitment Hearings
233
Formula Stories and Support Groups for Battered Women
241
Evaluating Constructionist Perspectives on Social Problems
249
Introduction
251
Crack Babies and the Politics of Mothering
254
The Symbolic Meanings of Pedophile Priests
261
Horror Stories and the Construction of Child Abuse
267
Constructing the Jewish Problem in Nazi Germany
272
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page ii - Holstein (editors), Constructionist Controversies: Issues in Social Problems Theory Philip Jenkins, Intimate Enemies: Moral Panics in Contemporary Great Britain Philip Jenkins, Using Murder: The Social Construction of Serial Homicide Valerie Jenness, Making It Work: The Prostitutes...

References to this book

When Crime Waves

Limited preview - 2005

About the author (2003)

Joel E. Best is professor at the department of sociology and criminal justice, University of Delaware. He is the author of numerous books, including Flavor of the Month: Why Smart People Fall for Fads; Deviance: Career of a Concept; and Random Violence: How We Talk about New Crimes and New Victims.