Social Issues Introduction
One of the key roles of sociologists is in the examination of the social issues and problems faced with society. Researchers can examine these issues both in the online resources section of this guide and through some of our book resources. Below are just a few of the resources that deal specifically with social issues and social problems.
Online Social Issues Resources
You will likely be able to find a number of resources through the Online Article & Resources section of this guide. However, here is both a database and journal that might be particularly helpful when research social issues and problems.
Featured Social Issues Books
There are numerous social issues and social problems in the world today. Below are some books that delve into some of the current social issues and social problems in society today.
9780199989225Sara Wakefield; Christopher WildemanChildren of the Prison Boom: Mass Incarceration and the Future of American InequalityAn unrelenting prison boom, marked by racial disparities, characterized the latter third of the twentieth century. Drawing upon broadly representative survey data and qualitative interviews, Children of the Prison Boom describes the devastating effects of America's experiment in massincarceration for a generation of vulnerable children. Parental imprisonment has transformed from an event affecting only the unluckiest of children - children of parents whose involvement in crime would have been quite serious - to one that is remarkably common, especially for black children. Even for high-risk youth, Children of the Prison Boom showsthat paternal incarceration makes a bad situation worse, increasing mental health and behavioral problems, infant mortality, and child homelessness. These findings have broad implications for social inequality. Contrary to a great deal of research on the consequences of mass incarceration forinequality among adult men, these harms to children translate into large-scale increases in racial inequalities at the aggregate level. Parental imprisonment has become a distinctively American force for promoting intergenerational social inequality that should be placed alongside a decaying urbanpublic school system and highly concentrated disadvantaged populations in urban centers as factors that distinctively touch - and disadvantage - poor black children.More troubling, even if incarceration rates were reduced dramatically in the near future, the long-term harms of incarcerating marginalized men have yet to be fully revealed. Optimism about current reductions in the imprisonment rate and the resilience of children must therefore be set against thebackdrop of the children of the prison boom-a lost generation now coming of age. - Description from Syndetics
9781610393508Paul Taylor; Pew Research Center StaffThe Next America: Boomers, Millennials, and the Looming Generational ShowdownThe America of the near future will look nothing like the America of the recent past. America is in the throes of a demographic overhaul. Huge generation gaps have opened up in our political and social values, our economic well-being, our family structure, our racial and ethnic identity, our gender norms, our religious affiliation, and our technology use. Today's Millennials--well-educated, tech savvy, underemployed twenty-somethings--are at risk of becoming the first generation in American history to have a lower standard of living than their parents. Meantime, more than 10,000 Baby Boomers are retiring every single day, most of them not as well prepared financially as they'd hoped. This graying of our population has helped polarize our politics, put stresses on our social safety net, and presented our elected leaders with adaunting challenge: How to keep faith with the old without bankrupting the young and starving the future. Every aspect of our demography is being fundamentally transformed. By mid-century, the population of the United States will be majority non-white and our median age will edge above 40--both unprecedented milestones. But other rapidly-aging economic powers like China, Germany, and Japan will have populations that are much older. With our heavy immigration flows, the US is poised to remain relatively young. If we can get our spending priorities and generational equities in order, we can keep our economy second to none. But doing so means we have to rebalance the social compact that binds young and old. In tomorrow's world, yesterday's math will not add up. Drawing on Pew Research Center's extensive archive of public opinion surveys and demographic data, The Next America is a rich portrait of where we are as a nation and where we're headed--toward a future marked by the most striking social, racial, and economic shifts the country has seen in a century. - Description from Syndetics
9780199916580Naomi Cahn; June CarboneMarriage Markets: How Inequality Is Remaking the American FamilyThere was a time when the phrase "American family" conjured up a single, specific image: a breadwinner dad, a homemaker mom, and their 2.5 kids living comfortable lives in a middle-class suburb. Today, that image has been shattered, due in part to skyrocketing divorce rates, single parenthood,and increased out-of-wedlock births. But whether it is conservatives bewailing the wages of moral decline and women's liberation, or progressives celebrating the result of women's greater freedom and changing sexual mores, most Americans fail to identify the root factor driving the changes: economicinequality that is remaking the American family along class lines.In Marriage Markets, June Carbone and Naomi Cahn, co-authors of the acclaimed Red Families v. Blue Families, examine how macroeconomic forces are transforming our most intimate and important spheres, and how working class and lower income families have paid the highest price. Just like health,education, and seemingly every other advantage in life, a stable two-parent home has become a luxury that only the well-off can afford. The best educated and most prosperous have the most stable families, while working class families have seen the greatest increase in relationship instability. Why is this so? This book offers a new answer: it is due to the economics of marriage markets, and of how men and women match up when they search for a life partner. For instance, when eligible (i.e., desirable and marriageable) men outnumber eligible women, the marriage and marital stability ratesare significantly higher than when the reverse situation occurs - the exact situation we have in America today. The failure to see marriage as a market affected by supply and demand has obscured any meaningful analysis of the way that societal changes influence culture. Only policies that redressthe balance between men and women through greater access to education, stable employment, and opportunities for social mobility can a culture that encourages commitment and investment in family life.A rigorous and enlightening account of why American families have changed so much in recent decades, Marriage Markets cuts through the ideological and moralistic rhetoric that drives our current debate and offers real insight into - and solutions for - a problem that will haunt America forgenerations to come. - Description from Syndetics
9780812993424Matt Taibbi; Molly Crabapple (Illustrator)The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth GapNEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST, NPR, AND KIRKUS REVIEWS A scathing portrait of an urgent new American crisis Over the last two decades, America has been falling deeper and deeper into a statistical mystery: Poverty goes up. Crime goes down. The prison population doubles. Fraud by the rich wipes out 40 percent of the world's wealth. The rich get massively richer. No one goes to jail. In search of a solution, journalist Matt Taibbi discovered the Divide, the seam in American life where our two most troubling trends--growing wealth inequality and mass incarceration--come together, driven by a dramatic shift in American citizenship: Our basic rights are now determined by our wealth or poverty. The Divide is what allows massively destructive fraud by the hyperwealthy to go unpunished, while turning poverty itself into a crime--but it's impossible to see until you look at these two alarming trends side by side. In The Divide, Matt Taibbi takes readers on a galvanizing journey through both sides of our new system of justice--the fun-house-mirror worlds of the untouchably wealthy and the criminalized poor. He uncovers the startling looting that preceded the financial collapse; a wild conspiracy of billionaire hedge fund managers to destroy a company through dirty tricks; and the story of a whistleblower who gets in the way of the largest banks in America, only to find herself in the crosshairs. On the other side of the Divide, Taibbi takes us to the front lines of the immigrant dragnet; into the newly punitive welfare system which treats its beneficiaries as thieves; and deep inside the stop-and-frisk world, where standing in front of your own home has become an arrestable offense. As he narrates these incredible stories, he draws out and analyzes their common source: a perverse new standard of justice, based on a radical, disturbing new vision of civil rights. Through astonishing--and enraging--accounts of the high-stakes capers of the wealthy and nightmare stories of regular people caught in the Divide's punishing logic, Taibbi lays bare one of the greatest challenges we face in contemporary American life: surviving a system that devours the lives of the poor, turns a blind eye to the destructive crimes of the wealthy, and implicates us all. Praise for The Divide "Ambitious . . . deeply reported, highly compelling . . . impossible to put down." --The New York Times Book Review "These are the stories that will keep you up at night. . . . The Divide is not just a report from the new America; it is advocacy journalism at its finest." --Los Angeles Times "Taibbi is a relentless investigative reporter. He takes readers inside not only investment banks, hedge funds and the blood sport of short-sellers, but into the lives of the needy, minorities, street drifters and illegal immigrants. . . . The Divide is an important book. Its documentation is powerful and shocking." --The Washington Post "Captivating . . . The Divide enshrines its author's position as one of the most important voices in contemporary American journalism." -- The Independent (UK) "Taibbi [is] perhaps the greatest reporter on Wall Street's crimes in the modern era." -- Salon - Description from Syndetics
9780807051160Andrea Ritchie; Joey Mogul; Kay WhitlockQueer (In)Justice: The Criminalization of LGBT People in the United States A groundbreaking work that turns a "queer eye" on the criminal legal system, and winner of the 2011 PASS (Prevention for a Safer Society) Award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency Drawing on years of research, activism, and legal advocacy, Queer (In)Justice is a searing examination of queer experiences--as "suspects," defendants, prisoners, and survivors of crime. The authors unpack queer criminal archetypes--like "gleeful gay killers," "lethal lesbians," "disease spreaders," and "deceptive gender benders"--to illustrate the punishment of queer expression, regardless of whether a crime was ever committed. Tracing stories from the streets to the bench to behind prison bars, the authors prove that the policing of sex and gender both bolsters and reinforces racial and gender inequalities. A groundbreaking work that turns a "queer eye" on the criminal legal system, Queer (In)Justice illuminates and challenges the many ways in which queer lives are criminalized, policed, and punished. - Description from Syndetics
9780691086750Penny EdgellReligion and Family in a Changing SocietyThe 1950s religious boom was organized around the male-breadwinner lifestyle in the burgeoning postwar suburbs. But since the 1950s, family life has been fundamentally reconfigured in the United States. How do religion and family fit together today? This book examines how religious congregations in America have responded to changes in family structure, and how families participate in local religious life. Based on a study of congregations and community residents in upstate New York, sociologist Penny Edgell argues that while some religious groups may be nostalgic for the Ozzie and Harriet days, others are changing, knowing that fewer and fewer families fit this traditional pattern. In order to keep members with nontraditional family arrangements within the congregation, these innovators have sought to emphasize individual freedom and personal spirituality and actively to welcome single adults and those from nontraditional families. Edgell shows that mothers and fathers seek involvement in congregations for different reasons. Men tend to think of congregations as social support structures, and to get involved as a means of participating in the lives of their children. Women, by contrast, are more often motivated by the quest for religious experience, and can adapt more readily to pluralist ideas about family structure. This, Edgell concludes, may explain the attraction of men to more conservative congregations, and women to nontraditional religious groups. - Description from Syndetics
9781138843004Alan R. Sadovnik (Editor); Ryan W. Coughlan (Editor)Sociology of Education: A Critical ReaderThis comprehensive and bestselling reader examines the most pressing topics in sociology and education while exposing students to examples of sociological research in schools. Drawing from classic and contemporary scholarship, noted sociologist Alan R. Sadovnik with Ryan W. Coughlan have chosen readings that examine current issues and reflect diverse theoretical approaches to studying the effects of schooling and society. The third edition provides students with nine new readings from some of the best theorists and researchers in education including Sean F. Reardon, Ann Owens, Prudence L. Carter, and Pedro A. Noguera. Through full, rather than excerpted primary source readings, students have the opportunity to read sociological research as it is written and engage in critical analyses of readings in their entirety. This edition features a greater focus on issues of equality and accessibility in schooling for minority students and those with learning disabilities, while an all-new Part IV offers a selection of articles on the shifting social and political factors which have influenced the development of education policy and reform within the last six years. Including comprehensive section introductions, questions for reflection and discussion, and suggested readings, Sociology of Education will stimulate student thinking about the important roles that schools play in contemporary society and their ability to solve fundamental social, economic, and political problems. - Description from Syndetics
9780199391134Laura ChoateSwimming Upstream: Parenting Girls for Resilience in a Toxic CultureA guide to help parents teach their daughters to resist negative cultural messages.Never before have adolescent girls faced so many confusing and contradictory expectations. From a young age, popular culture teaches girls that their worth is based on their appearance, their ability to gain attention, and an ever-increasing accrual of accomplishments. With such unattainablestandards, it is no wonder that many girls experience stress, self-doubt, and even mental health problems. Girls struggle to develop an authentic sense of self, even as they attempt to meet a set of impossible cultural expectations. Many parents feel helpless against the onslaught of negative influences targeting their daughters, but in Swimming Upstream: Parenting Girls for Resilience in a Toxic Culture, Laura Choate offers a message of reassurance. This book provides parents with a set of straightforward tools they can use tohelp their daughters navigate the trials and demands of contemporary girlhood. Choate draws upon years of research and counseling literature to teach parents how to instill the power of resilience in their daughters, including developing a positive body image, maintaining healthy relationships withfriends and romantic partners, and navigating high-pressure academic environments. Based on cutting-edge research, this book contains the strategies that parents need to prepare their daughters with the life skills they need to resist destructive cultural influences. Though the journey through modern girlhood may be complicated - and even treacherous - this guide offers a user-friendly way for parents to help their daughters thrive in the midst of the negative pressures of modern culture. Practical and engaging, Swimming Upstream is a must-read for parents ofgirls of all ages. - Description from Syndetics
9780335262762Anne Rogers; David PilgrimA Sociology of Mental Health and IllnessHow do we understand mental health problems in their social context? A former BMA Medical Book of the Year award winner, this book provides a sociological analysis of major areas of mental health and illness. The book considers contemporary and historical aspects of sociology, social psychiatry, policy and therapeutic law to help students develop an in-depth and critical approach to this complex subject.New developments for the fifth edition include: Brand new chapter on prisons, criminal justice and mental health Expanded coverage of stigma, class and social networks Updated material on the Mental Capacity Act, Mental Health Act and the Deprivation of Liberty A classic in its field, this well established textbook offers a rich and well-crafted overview of mental health and illness unrivalled by competitors and is essential reading for students and professionals studying a range of medical sociology and health-related courses. It is also highly suitable for trainee mental health workers in the fields of social work, nursing, clinical psychology and psychiatry. "Rogers and Pilgrim go from strength to strength! This fifth edition of their classic text is not only a sociology but also a psychology, a philosophy, a history and a polity. It combines rigorous scholarship with radical argument to produce incisive perspectives on the major contemporary questions concerning mental health and illness. The authors admirably balance judicious presentation of the range of available understandings with clear articulation of their own positions on key issues. This book is essential reading for everyone involved in mental health work." Christopher Dowrick, Professor of Primary Medical Care, University of Liverpool, UK "Pilgrim and Rogers have for the last twenty years given us the key text in the sociology of mental health and illness. Each edition has captured the multi-layered and ever changing landscape of theory and practice around psychiatry and mental health, providing an essential tool for teachers and researchers, and much loved by students for the dexterity in combining scope and accessibility. This latest volume, with its focus on community mental health, user movements criminal justice and the need for inter-agency working, alongside the more classical sociological critiques around social theories and social inequalities, demonstrates more than ever that sociological perspectives are crucial in the understanding and explanation of mental and emotional healthcare and practice, hence its audience extends across the related disciplines to everyone who is involved in this highly controversial and socially relevant arena." Gillian Bendelow, School of Law Politics and Sociology, University of Sussex, UK "From the classic bedrock studies to contemporary sociological perspectives on the current controversy over which scientific organizations will define diagnosis, Rogers and Pilgrim provide a comprehensive, readable and elegant overview of how social factors shape the onset and response to mental health and mental illness. Their sociological vision embraces historical, professional and socio-cultural context and processes as they shape the lives of those in the community and those who provide care; the organizations mandated to deliver services and those that have ended up becoming unsuitable substitutes; and the successful and unsuccessful efforts to improve the lives through science, challenge and law." Bernice Pescosolido, Distinguished Professor of Sociology, Indiana University, USA - Description from Syndetics
9780199557127Thomas F. Babor; Robin Room; Ingeborg Rossow; John Strang; Jonathan P. Caulkins; Griffith Edwards; Benedikt Fischer; David R. Foxcroft; Keith Humphreys; Isidore S. Obot; Jürgen Rehm; Peter ReuterDrug Policy and the Public GoodDrug use represents a significant burden to public health through disease, disability and social problems, and policy makers are becoming increasingly interested in how to develop evidence-based drug policy. It is therefore crucial to strengthen the links between addiction science and drugpolicy.Drug Policy and the Public Good is collaboratively written by an international group of career scientists to provide an analytical basis on which to build relevant global drug policies, and to inform policy makers who have direct responsibility for public health and social welfare. Drug Policy and the Public Good presents, in a comprehensive, practical, and readily accessible form, the accumulated scientific knowledge on illicit drugs that has direct relevance to the development of drug policy on local, national, and international levels. The authors describe the conceptualbasis for a rational drug policy and present new epidemiological data on the global dimensions of drug misuse. The core of the book is a critical review of the cumulative scientific evidence in five general areas of drug policy: primary prevention programs in schools and other settings; supplyreduction approaches, including drug interdiction and legal enforcement; treatment interventions and harm reduction approaches; criminal sanctions and decriminalization; and control of the legal market through prescription drug regimes. The final chapters discuss the current state of drug policy indifferent parts of the world, and describe the need for a new approach to drug policy that is evidence-based, realistic, and co-ordinated. The authors describe the conceptual basis for a rational drug policy and present new epidemiological data on the global dimensions of drug misuse. The core of the book is a critical review of the cumulative scientific evidence in five general areas of drug policy: primary prevention programs inschools and other settings; supply reduction approaches, including drug interdiction and legal enforcement; treatment interventions and harm reduction approaches; criminal sanctions and decriminalization; and control of the legal market through prescription drug regimes. The final chapters discussthe current state of drug policy in different parts of the world, and describe the need for a new approach to drug policy that is evidence-based, realistic, and co-ordinated. By locating drug policy primarily within the realm of public health, this book draws attention to the growing tendency of governments, both national and local, to consider illegal psychoactive substances as a major determinant of ill health, and to organize societal responses accordingly. It willappeal to those involved in both addiction science and drug policy, as well as those in the wider fields of public health, health policy, epidemiology, primary prevention, and treatment services. A companion volume published by Oxford University Press, Alcohol: no ordinary commodity - research and public policy, is also available. - Description from Syndetics