Social Constructionism Sociology

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Some scholars state that social problems are socially constructed by arguing they are defined by society, taking the social constructionist approach. Other scholars define the emergence of social problems through an objective approach, arguing that social problems arise in accordance to whether it is harmful to a large number of people. These two contrasting views provide us with some understanding as to how social problems are seen to emerge. This essay explores the meaning and usefulness of social constructionism in understanding social problems. One way to define social problems would be to focus upon the "objective" aspects of the problems themselves, this is to define social problems as "conditions or behaviors that have harmful effects…show more content…
Poverty and the poor in the UK for centuries was seen as a threat to social order by those of greater status though it was defined very much in personal rather than social terms; blaming the poor for their misfortune. The concept of social constructionism helps us understand the progression from the view of poverty as personal to the inclining view of poverty as social by the mid-1980s at the hands of a shift in social attitudes to the concept of poverty. These changing social attitudes has seen poverty been linked with other problems, highlighting poverty as a greater concern for the operation of the welfare state. The construction of poverty as a social problem has drawn upon the categorizing of poverty into two groups: 'Absolute Poverty' and 'Relative Poverty. Within the UK, absolute poverty refers to a lack of sufficient of resources with which to meet basic needs, whereas relative poverty defines income or resources in relation to the average, concentrating on the absence of the material needs to participate fully in accepted daily life, with both linking to the idea of welfare dependency and social exclusion. In addressing the idea of 'welfare dependency', those who define poverty as a social problem, do so by drawing upon the notion of 'dependency culture', arguing that one of the reasons for the persistence of poverty in society is the social security system. They argue that the social security system by giving benefit receipt as part of a policy solution, the welfare state further into financial burden and the poor further into poverty, in that it "encourages people to become dependent on be benefit and give up efforts to become self-reliant through paid work". This is

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