Cover image for The study of social problems : seven perspectives
The study of social problems : seven perspectives
Rubington, Earl.
Sixth edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Oxford University Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
x, 366 pages : illustrations, map ; 24 cm
Format :


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HN17.5 .S837 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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This critically acclaimed volume delineates seven sociological perspectives used to examine social problems--social pathology, social disorganization, value conflict, deviant behavior, labeling, the critical perspective, and social constructionism. Unlike most introductory texts, which areorganized topically around issues such as drug abuse, racial violence, and juvenile delinquency, this anthology focuses on the major theoretical perspectives used to examine social problems. Each section begins with an overview of the main contributors to the perspective, its history, and an outlineof its major characteristics, and closes with a critique of the perspective and questions for discussion. For this edition, the editors have significantly updated the text, the readings, and the annotated references. New selections cover such topics as the decline of a Black community, white-collarcrime, the devaluation of women, the universalization of social problems, how to successfully construct a social problem, and child sexual abuse. Long a standard in its field, The Study of Social Problems, 6/e, is an indispensable volume for building a strong theoretical foundation in courses onsocial problems.

Author Notes

Earl Rubington is at Northwestern University (Emeritus). Martin S. Weinberg is at Indiana University.

Table of Contents

I The Problem
1 Social Problems and Sociology.
The Definition of a Social Problem
The Development of American Sociology
Sociological Perspectives on Social Problems
Plan of the Book
Summary and Conclusion
Selected References
II The Perspectives
2 Social Pathology.
The Concept of Social Problems
Roots of the Social Pathology Perspective
Changes in the Social Pathology Perspective
Characteristics of the Social Pathology Perspective
Summary and Conclusion
The Organic AnalogySamuel Smith
The Criminal as a Born Criminal TypeCesare Lombroso and William Ferrero
The Child SaversAnthony M. Platt
A Universal Criterion of PathologyVytautas Kavolis
The Pursuit of LonelinessPhilip Slater
The Moral Premises of Social PathologyCarl M. Rosenquist
Questions for Discussion
Selected References
3 Social Disorganization.
Problems of Society
Problems of Discipline
Differences Between the Pathology and the Disorganization Perspectives
The Major Social Disorganization Theorists
Characteristics of the Social Disorganization Perspectives
Summary and Conclusion
Social Change and Social DisorganizationRobert E. Park
The Ecology of Urban DisorganizationRobert E. L. Faris and H. Warren Dunham
Family DisorganizationW. I. Thomas and Florian Znaniecki
The Decline of a Black CommunityElijah Anderson
A Disorganizing ConceptMarshall B. Clinard
Questions for Discussion
Selected References
4 Value Conflict.
Conflict Theorists and the Formulation of the Value Conflict Perspective
Characteristics of the Value Conflict Perspective
Summary and Conclusion
The Conflict of ValuesRichard C. Fuller and Richard R. Myers
The Stages of a Social ProblemRichard C. Fuller and Richard R. Myers
Values, Politics, and Social ProblemsJoseph A. Gusfield
Words Without DeedsWillard Waller
A Critique of the Value Conflict PerspectiveKenneth Westhues
Questions for Discussion
Selected References
5 Deviant Behavior.
The Refocusing of Sociological Thought
Roots in Classical Theory
The Development of Anomie Theory
The Development of Differential Association Theory
Characteristics of the Deviant Behavior Perspective
Summary and Conclusion
Robert Merton: Anomie and Social StructureMarshall B. Clinard
Learning to Be DeviantEdwin H. Sutherland and Donald R. Cressey
A Theory of White Collar CrimeEdwin H. Sutherland
Anomie: Theory and FactMarshall B. Clinard
An Evaluation of the Theory of Differential AssociationDonald R. Cressey
Questions for Discussion
Selected References
6 Labeling.
Focus and Concerns of the Labeling Perspective
The Discipline and Its Problems
Philosophical Sources of the Labeling Perspective
Founders of the Labeling Perspective
Characteristics of the Labeling Perspective
Summary and Conclusions
OutsidersHoward S. Becker
Primary and Secondary DeviationEdwin M. Lemert
The Devaluation of WomenEdwin M. Schur
The Saints and the RoughnecksWilliam J. Chambliss
A Critique of LabelingGwynn Nettler
Questions for Discussion
Selected References
7 Critical Perspective.
The Main Idea of the Critical Perspective
The S