Social Problems: An Introduction to Critical Constructionism, Second Edition, synthesizes conflict theory and social constructionism to help students think critically about social problem construction. A concise alternative to the all-encompassing standard textbooks currently available, this book examines a single theoretical paradigm in depth, demonstrating how theory can be used to understand a breadth of real world phenomena. In six succinct chapters, it focuses on the four problems most often found in social problems courses--inequality, family problems, crime/deviance, and population/environment--analyzing each from a critical constructionist perspective. This approach, popular among many sociologists, helps students conceive of social problems not as objective situations that are "out there," but as socially constructed phenomena whose importance varies according to media attention and the needs of particular interest groups. A much-needed cross-cultural emphasis illustrates the range of possibilities in which social problems and their solutions can be conceived.
Revised and updated in this second edition, the book now includes new sections covering such topics as U.S. foreign policy, terrorism, bankruptcy and the family, the nation's deteriorating infrastructure, and the government's punitive stance toward marijuana. Providing students with a solid theoretical background, Social Problems: An Introduction to Critical Constructionism, Second Edition, is designed primarily for social problems courses. Given its readability and consistent application of theory, this book can also be used in introductory sociology courses and social theory courses.