Types of Social Problems
- Norm violations are based on the assumption that a norm of behavior exists.
- Norm violators are interested in society’s failings, such as the criminal, the mentally ill, or the school dropout.
- However, Eitzen et al. (2009) argue that norm violations are indicators of societal problems rather than the problem itself. Deviants, for example, are victims who should not be fully faulted. The system in which they live is also criticized.
According to Eitzen et al. (2009), a second sort of social problem encompasses conditions that create emotional and material distress for some people. The emphasis is on how society works and who benefits and who does not benefit from current social systems.
- What is the system’s bias?
- How are the rewards of society distributed?
- Do certain groups of people suffer as a result of the way schools are organized?
- Are some groups of individuals disadvantaged as a result of the way jurors are chosen?
- Do some groups suffer as a result of the way health care is delivered?
- When characterizing human basic needs,
Eitzen et al. (2009) quote Maslow. They are the needs for housing, food, security, social support, esteem, respect, and self-actualization (the need for creative and constructive involvement in productive, significant activity).
Individuals will be antagonistic toward society and its rules if these requirements are not addressed. “Withdrawal, alcohol and other drugs, or the violence of crime, terrorism, or hostility” will be used to vent frustration (Eitzen et al. 2009). As people leave a system that fails to provide their demands, they will be labelled as “evil people, but this is because they live in bad civilizations” (Eitzen et al. 2009).
- When attempting to comprehend deviation, it is common to look to features of the individual to explain deviance.
- According to Eitzen et al. (2009), the source of deviance is found inside the social system. By naming persons who are considered abnormal, society contributes to the creation and maintenance of deviance.
- Eitzen (2009) defines institutional deviance as a condition in which society’s institutions benefit a select few people who are generally powerful. When society and its formal organizations fail to address the needs of individuals, institutional deviance exists.