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Social Problems in Society (Essay Sample)


a social problem is an issue that adversely affects a person’s state of being in a society.


Social Problems in Society
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Social Problems in Society
Brent and Scott (2010) define a social problem as an objective reality and a subjective perception. As an objective reality, a social problem is intrinsically real in as much as it has a harmful effect on the lives of some people. As a subjective perception, what constitutes a social problem depends on a community’s perception of the issue. One community can perceive an issue to be a social problem while another community may regard the same issue as a harmless practice. Concisely, a social problem is an issue that adversely affects a person’s state of being in a society.
One issue universally acknowledged as a social problem is poverty. Eitzen, Zinn & Smith (2011) define poverty as a standard of living that is under the minimum required for maintenance of basic human needs: food, clothing, shelter, and health care. Poverty as a phenomenon is both subjective and objective. Objectively poverty creates degrading conditions in which people cannot cater for their basic needs. Subjectively poverty is an embodiment of perceived social deprivation. Roots of poverty can be traced to a confluence of factors that revolve around inequality of access to resources and opportunities. Poverty though a social problem also give rise to a multitude of other social problems as victims seek ways of extricating themselves from the jaws of poverty (Kolsky & Letelier, 2010).
Drug and substance abuse is another problem, universally acknowledged as a social problem. Sussman and Ames (2001) define drug abuse as a maladaptive trend of drug use leading to clinically significant mental impairment or distress. This may be manifested in an individual’s inability to fulfill their expected duties and roles at home, work or school. Causes of drug abuse range from peer pressure to the spirit of adventurism. The social toll of drug abuse both on the individual and on society is huge and can lead to breakdown of the individual or his family. Another social problem closely related to drug abuse is crime and violence. Crime expresses itself in forms of violence whereby a victim is psychologically tortured, physically injured, or killed. It may assume the form of murder, mugging, robbery, theft, extortion, blackmail, kidnapping among others. Crime debases human dignity and violates the rights of people. It deteriorates the quality of life that people in a community expect thereby distorting social harmony (Makhanya, 2000).
Corruption is another universal social problem. According to Myint (2000), corruption refers to the use of public office for private gain. This behavior may take the form of cronyism, bribery, embezzlement, nepotism, extortion, fraud, and arrogation of public property for private use. Corruption thrives due lack of administrative transparency, institutional weaknesses in public bodies for instance the legislature and the judiciary and greed by public officials. Corruption leads to skewed distribution of resources, which is manifest in the high levels of inequality in corrupt societies. This inequality has negative effects on distribution of income, consumption patterns, investment trends, and government expenditure.
While the definition of what constitute social problems may differ across societies, some problems cut across the board and are problems in all societies. Other social problems like pros...
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