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Social Problems: A Re-Formulation

Malcolm Spector and John I. Kitsuse
Social Problems
Vol. 21, No. 2 (Autumn, 1973), pp. 145-159
DOI: 10.2307/799536
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/799536
Page Count: 15
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Social Problems: A Re-Formulation
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Abstract

A definition of social problems is proposed as a generic phenomenon: the process by which members of groups or societies, through assertions of grievances and claims, define a putative condition as a social problem. Then a four-stage natural history model of social problems is described. In Stage One, groups assert the existence and offensiveness of some condition. In Stage Two some official agency responds to the claims; in Stage Three claims and demands re-emerge, expressing dissatisfaction with the official response. In Stage Four alternative, parallel, or counter-institutions are established.

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