Social Problems An Introduction to Critical Constructionism

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  • Edition: 5th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2015-09-10
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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Social Problems: An Introduction to Critical Constructionism, Fifth Edition, synthesizes conflict theory and social constructionism to help students think critically about social problems. A concise, student-friendly alternative to all-encompassing standard textbooks, this book examines a single theoretical paradigm in depth, demonstrating how theory can be used to understand a range of critical social issues.

Author Biography

Robert Heiner is Professor of Sociology at Plymouth State University. He is the editor of Deviance Across Cultures: Constructions of Difference, Second Edition (OUP, 2013) and Conflicting Interests: Readings in Social Problems and Inequality (OUP, 2009).

Table of Contents


1. An Introduction to the Sociology of Social Problems
The Sociological Perspective
Critical Constructionism
Nonsociological Philosophies
The Cross-Cultural and Global Perspectives
Corporate America
The Media
The Homogenization of Culture
The Plan of this Book

2. Inequality and Capitalism
An Introduction to Critical Economics
The Gap between the Rich and the Rest
Cross-Cultural Perspectives - Social Mobility
Cross-Cultural Perspectives - The United States versus Other Industralized Countries
Global Inequalities
Application: The Gross Domestic Product

3. Inequality of Life Chances in the United States
Inequality and Race
Inequality and Gender
Cross-Cultural Perspectives - Addressing Gender Discrimination
Inequality and Education
Inequality and Health Care
Application: Immigration

4. Problems of the Family
The Family in Historical Perspective
The Current State of the Family
Children: Our Most Precious Resource?
Cross-Cultural Perspectives - Child Care
Cross-Cultural Perspectives - Family Friendly Policies
Capitalism versus the Family
Same-Sex Marriage
Application: Children Having Children

5. Crime and Deviance
Universality and Relativity
The Cultural Production of Knowledge about Crime
Crime Scares
Street Crime
The American Punishment Frenzy
The War on Drugs
Cross-Cultural Perspectives - Responding to the Drug Problem
The Medicalization of Deviance
Street Violence vs. Corporate Violence
Application: Terrorism

6. Problems of the Environment
Technology and the Environment
Scientific Uncertainty
Corporate Suasion
Cross-Cultural Perspectives - Responding to Traffic Congestion
Inequality and the Environment
Application: "Overpopulation"

7 Conclusions

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