Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

If you need an accessible version of this item please contact JSTOR User Support

Defining Social Problems: Public and Professional Perspectives

Robert H. Lauer
Social Problems
Vol. 24, No. 1, SSSP as a Social Movement (Oct., 1976), pp. 122-130
DOI: 10.2307/800329
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/800329
Page Count: 9
  • Read Online (Free)
  • Download ($42.00)
  • Cite this Item
If you need an accessible version of this item please contact JSTOR User Support
Defining Social Problems: Public and Professional Perspectives
Preview not available

Abstract

A common way of defining social problems is to include a subjective element; objective conditions only become social problems when they are perceived to be undesirable by some segment of the public. In their actual treatment of social problems, however, sociologists have contradicted their own definitions by ignoring public opinion in their selection of specific problems for study. A survey of Gallup Polls from 1935 to 1975 shows certain patterns in public definitions of problems and identifies the kind of concerns held by the public. An examination of thirty-four social problems texts shows the kind of problems treated by sociologists, and there is considerable disparity between the public and the professional perspectives. A resolution of this disparity is suggested in the form of a new definition of social problems that gives both professional and public opinion a place in identifying and analyzing social problems.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
[122]
    [122]
  • Thumbnail: Page 
123
    123
  • Thumbnail: Page 
124
    124
  • Thumbnail: Page 
125
    125
  • Thumbnail: Page 
126
    126
  • Thumbnail: Page 
127
    127
  • Thumbnail: Page 
128
    128
  • Thumbnail: Page 
129
    129
  • Thumbnail: Page 
130
    130