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Sociology and the Study of Social Problems

A social problem refers to the issues facing the society. There are some issues that the whole society regards as social problems. These include racial discrimination and crime, but there are issues that will be disputed on whether they are social problems or not. Some of the debatable issues include steroid use and online gambling. Therefore, this leads to questions regarding what a social issue is, and what criteria can be used to determine whether an issue is a social problem or not (Leon-Guerrero 4). One area of distinction that can help define a social problem will entail differentiating between public issues from personal problems. Personal problems are the things that affect a person, as well as the things around them. For example, in the case that a family member attempts suicide, the situation becomes a problem for the family. On the other hand, public issues touch more people. Despite the fact that in some cases, public issues can overlap with personal problems, not all personal issues are of concern to the public (Sullivan 25).
For an issue to be regarded a social concern, it is supposed to have a wide and influential group defining it like so. The influential group should be one, which can  endorse major impact in the areas of social policy and public debate (Leon-Guerrero 2). One example is the case of MAD (Mothers Against Drunk Drivers) have successfully led social campaigns, but other groups like PEATA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) have not generated successful debates over the ill treatment of animals. Another area that defines an issue as being a social problem is that it should be a product of social conditions, and it requires remedying through the collective action of the society (Leon-Guerrero 4). For example, natural disasters like tornados cannot be referred as social problems, mainly because they are not caused by the forces of the society and cannot be remedied by collective action.
Sociological perspective refers to the methodical exploration of social life and human groups, and their interactions while in the society or societies. The different theoretical models are adopted by sociologists when analyzing social situations and phenomena. The main perspectives under the bracket model include the conflict theory, symbolic interactionism and functionalism theories (Leon-Guerrero 5-6).
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