From violence and abuse, homelessness and poverty, racial and gender inequality, health disparities and environmental issues, there are many social problems affecting society today. Yet, at various times, in different places, and among different people, some issues become labeled as serious social problems, some less serious, or some not problems at all. We will explore how some social issues become recognized as social problems while others are not, and the underlying factors that contribute to the labeling of these problems as well as the problems themselves.
We will learn descriptive and statistical information about these issues, apply different sociological theories and perspectives to these problems, discuss how social problems are formed, supported and diffused over places and time, and explore how sociologists have investigated these problems. We will also discuss how systems of power and social inequality such as poverty, racism, sexism, and homophobia contribute to social problems. Finally, we will discuss existing and potential responses to social problems, and work towards addressing social problems.