Focus on Social Problems A Contemporary Reader

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2016-03-01
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
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Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?


Focus on Social Problems: A Contemporary Reader exposes students to current issues in the field. The selections in this reader help students understand how social problems are defined and constructed, increase their empirical knowledge about the causes and consequences of social problems, and
develop empathy. Working from a critical social constructionist foundation, the readings address a wide variety of social problems. Editors Mindy Stombler and Amanda M. Jungels include a combination of research-based articles and popular media pieces. Each chapter opens with an interview of a
social-change activist doing work related to the chapter's featured social problem, giving students an opportunity to envision themselves as agents of social change.

Author Biography

Mindy Stombler is a Senior Lecturer and Director of Instruction in the Department of Sociology at Georgia State University. She is a co-editor of Sex Matters: The Sexuality and Society Reader, Fourth Edition (2013) and a recipient of the Southern Sociological Society's Distinguished Contributions to Teaching Award.

Amanda M. Jungels is an ORISE Fellow studying social and behavioral health among U.S. Army soldiers. She is a past recipient of the Jacqueline Boles Teaching Fellowship and Teaching Associate Award at Georgia State University.

Table of Contents

Contributor List

Chapter 1: Social Construction of Social Problems

Activist Interview: Sut Jhally
1. Interpersonal Violence as Social Construction: The Potentially Undermining Role of Claims Making and Advocacy Statistics, Robin D. Perrin and Cindy L. Miller-Perrin
2. Terrorism, Ziad Munson
Box: Making Claims: The Role of Language in the Construction of Social Problems, Kiersten Kummerow
3. Telling the Truth about Damned Lies and Statistics, Joel Best

Chapter 2: Core American Values

Activist Interview: Stiv Wilson
4. The Way We Were: Rethinking the American Dream, David Kamp
5. Endangered Childhoods: How Consumerism is Impacting Child and Youth Identity, Jennifer Ann Hill
6. Public Attitudes toward the Next Social Contract, Bruce Stokes
Box: Hidden Beneficiaries of Federal Programs, Gwen Sharp
7. Political Polarization in Contemporary American Society, Megan M. Tesene
Box: The Story of Citizens United v. FECr, Annie Leonard, Jonah Sachs, and Louis Fox

Chapter 3: Wealth and Income Inequality

Activist Interview: Ann Larson
8. Building a Better America--One Wealth Quintile at a Time, Michael I. Norton and Dan Ariely
Box: For the Public, It's Not about Class Warfare, but Fairness, Pew Research Center
9. Rising Inequality and the Fading American Dream, Renee M. Shelby
Box: The "Middle Class" Myth: Here's Why Wages are Really So Low Today, Edward McClelland
10. Roots of the Widening Racial Wealth Gap: Explaining the Black-White Economic Divide, Thomas Shapiro, Tatjana Meschede, Sam Osoro
11. Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%, Joseph E. Stiglitz
Box: Paying for Politics: How Elite Donors Purchase Political Power, Lee Drutman

Chapter 4: Poverty

Activist Interview: David Pirtle
12. Rethinking American Poverty, Mark R. Rank
Box: Poverty as a Childhood Disease, Perri Klass, M.D.
13. Surviving the Great Recession: Growing Need and the Stigmatized Safety Net, Jennifer Sherman
14. Traps, Pitfalls, and Unexpected Cliffs on the Path Out of Poverty, Mary A. Prenovost and Deborah C. Youngblood
Box: Voices of the Near Poor, Sabrina Tavernise, Jason DeParle, Robert Gebeloff
15. The Compassion Gap in American Poverty Policy, Fred Block, Anna C. Korteweg, Kerry Woodward, Zach Schiller, and Imrul Mazid
Box: "I Wish I Could Eat That Well": Misconceptions and Resentment about Food Stamp, Arthur Delaney
16. The Myth of Prosperity: Poverty among Native Americans, Chris McGreal

Chapter 5: Racial and Ethnic Inequality

Activist Interview: Allegra Phox
17. Sociologists on the Colorblind Question, Elaine McArdle
Box: White Americans' Racial Attitudes and their Effect on Anti-Discrimination Policies in the 'Age of Obama', Amanda Atwell
18. Fences and Neighbors: Segregation in 21, John E. Farley and Gregory D. Squires
19. The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander
20. Explaining and Eliminating Racial Profiling, Donald Tomaskovic-Devey and Patricia Warren
21. Tomahawk Chops and "Red" Skin: Cultural Appropriation of Sports Symbols, Elizabeth S. Cavalier
22. Learning to Be Illegal: Undocumented Youth and Shifting Legal Contexts in the Transition to Adulthood, Roberto G. Gonzales

Chapter 6: Gender Inequality

Activist Interview: Emily May
23. The Problem When Sexism Just Sounds So Darn Friendly, Melanie Tannenbaum
Box: Selling Feminism, Consuming Femininity, Amanda M. Gengler
24. "Men are Stuck" in Gender Roles, Emily Alpert Reyes
25. Normalizing Sexual Violence: Young Women Account for Harassment and Abuse, Heather R. Hlavka
Box: Tackling the Roots of Rape, Frank Bruni
26. Transgender Discrimination in the Workplace, Elis Herman and Elroi J. Windsor
27. Why Gender Equality is Good for the World, Stacy Gorman Harmon

Chapter 7: Social Problems related to Sex and Sexuality

Activist Interview: Heather Corinna
28. "Children" Having Children, Stefanie Mollborn
Box: Reducing Unintended Pregnancy: The Role of Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptives (LARCs), Stacy Gorman Harmon
29. Sexuality Education in the United States: Shared Cultural Ideas across a Political Divide, Jessica Fields
Box: The Social Consequences of Abstinence-Only Sex Education, Lanier Basenberg
30. One Town's War on Gay Teens, Sabrina Rubin Erdely
31. Prostitution: Facts and Fictions, Ronald Weitzer
Box: Selling People: Sex, Money, and Brutality, Sutapa Basu

Chapter 8: Social Problems related to Media

Activist Interview: Josh Golin
32. A Modern Empire: The Concentration of Media, Desmond Goss
Box: Connection Failed: Internet Still a Luxury for Many Americans, Jana Kasperkevic
33. How to Stop the Bullies, Emily Bazelon
34. Constructing Crime, Gary W. Potter and Victor E. Kappeler
Box: #IfTheyGunnedMeDown and the Power of Social Media to Change the Message, Mindy Stombler and Nate Steiner
35. Equal Opportunity Objectification? The Sexualization of Men and Women on the Cover of Rolling Stone, Erin Hatton and Mary Nell Trautner
Box: At the Movies, The Women are Gone, Linda Holmes

Chapter 9: Social Problems related to Education

Activist Interview: Jesse Hagopian
36. Inequality and School Resources: What Will it Take to Close the Opportunity Gap, Linda Darling-Hammond
Box: Why Some Schools Want to Expel Suspensions, NPR Staff
37. How Schools Really Matter, Douglas B. Downey and Benjamin G. Gibbs
38. The (Mis)Education of Monica and Karen, Laura Hamilton and Elizabeth A. Armstrong
Box: A Campus More Colorful than Reality: Beware that College Brochure, Deena Prichep
39. Screw U: How For-Profit Colleges Rip You Off, Yasmeen Qureshi, Sarah Gross, and Lisa Desai

Chapter 10: Social Problems related to Families

Activist Interview: Oscar Hernandez
40. Families Facing Untenable Choices, Lisa Dodson and Wendy Luttrell
Box: Challenges Faced by LGBT Families with Children, Kaitlin A. Hippen
41. Unmarried with Children, Kathryn Edin and Maria Kefalas
Box: The Changing American Family: Bonding from Behind Bars, Natalie Angier
42. Does It Pay to Have Kids? Not for Working Moms, Kirstin Ralston-Coley
Box: Lean In, Dad: How Shared Diaper Duty Could Stimulate the Economy, Catherine Rampell
43. Fighting Back, Tim Stelloh
44. Families and Elder Care in the Twenty-First Century, Ann Bookman and Delia Kimbrel

Chapter 11: Social Problems related to Health and the Healthcare System

Activist Interview: Elba L. Saavedra
45. They've Got a Pill for That: The Medicalization of Society, Stephanie Medley-Rath
Box: Selling Sickness: How Drug Ads Changed Health Care, Alix Spiegel
46. Paying Till It Hurts: The $2.7 Trillion Medical Bill, Elisabeth Rosenthal
47. Big Pharma Comes of Age, Rose Weitz
Box: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Rose Weitz
48. What's Killing Poor White Women?, Monica Potts
49. How We Do Harm, Otis Webb Brawley, M.D., and Paul Goldberg

Chapter 12: Social Problems related to Crime and the Criminal Justice System

Activist Interview: Nicole D. Porter
50. Mass Shootings and Masculinity, Tristan Bridges and Tara Leigh Tober
Box: More Guns, More Mass Shootings-Coincidence?, Mark Follman
51. Crimes of the Powerful: Crafting Criminality, Miriam Konrad
Box: Inequality in Life and Death: The Death Penalty in the U.S., Erin Thomas Echols
52. For-Profit Justice: How the Private Prison Industry and the Criminal Justice System Benefit from Mass Incarceration, Amanda Atwell
53. How Prisons Change the Balance of Power in America, Heather Ann Thompson
54. Can the Police be Reformed?, Ronald Weitzer

Chapter 13: Social Problems related to the Economy and Work

Activist Interview: Ai-jen Poo
55. The Rhetoric and Reality of "Opting Out", Pamela Stone
Box: How Sheryl Sandberg and Getty are Making Stock Photos Less Sexist, Claire Suddath
56. Sex Segregation at Work: Persistence and Change, Anastasia Prokos
57. Pride and Prejudice: Employment Discrimination against Openly Gay Men in the United States, AndrĂ¡s Tilcsik
Box: ENDA's End Game: Why Workplace Protections for LGBT People is a Necessary Step, J. Jennings Moss
58. The Case against Racial Colorblindness in the Workplace, Carmen Nobel
Box: What's in a Name? Discrimination, Erin Thomas Echols
59. The Hands that Feed Us: Challenges and Opportunities for Workers along the Food Chain, Food Chain Workers Alliance
Box: Why U.S. Taxpayers Pay $7 Billion a Year to Help Fast-Food Workers, Allison Aubrey
60. In China, the Human Costs that are Built into an iPad, Charles Duhigg and David Barboza

Chapter 14: Social Problems related to the Environment and Food System

Activist Interview: Daniel Wildcat
61. Environmental Inequalities,Hollie Nyseth Brehm and David Pellow
Box: U.S. Electronic Waste Gets Sent to Africa, Ron Claiborne
62. Fixing the Bungled U.S. Environmental Movement, Robert Brulle and J. Craig Jenkins
63. Why Beef is What's for Dinner: Agricultural Policy and Its Implications, Emily Stutzman Jones
Box: Consumers Fight Back, Food Chain Workers Alliance
64. The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food, Michael Moss
65. A Bug in the System: Why Last Night's Chicken Made You Sick, Wil S. Hylton

Chapter 15: Strategies for Social Change

Activist Interview: Alicia Garza
66. Same-Sex, Different Attitudes, Kathleen E. Hull
67. Small Change: Why the Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted, Malcolm Gladwell
68. Get Angry. Go Viral. Change Everything!, Alexis Jetter
69. What Can We Do? Becoming Part of the Solution, Allan G. Johnson
Box: The Arc of Justice and the Long Run: Hope, History, and Unpredictability, Rebecca Solnit

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