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The Study of Social Problems

Seven Perspectives

Seventh Edition

Edited by Earl Rubington and Martin Weinberg

Publication Date - 10 February 2010

ISBN: 9780199731879

400 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

The most theoretical social problems anthology available


Now in its seventh edition, The Study of Social Problems uses seven sociological perspectives--social pathology, social disorganization, value conflict, deviant behavior, labeling, the critical perspective, and social constructionism--to examine social problems. Focusing on theory, this critically acclaimed anthology distinguishes itself from other texts, which are organized topically. Each section opens with an overview of the perspective's major contributors, its history, and its main characteristics and closes with a critique of the perspective and questions for discussion. Thirty-six readings drawn from a wide range of primary sources illustrate and expand upon the key elements of each approach.

The seventh edition features updated textual material, readings, and annotated references. Ten new contemporary selections cover the pathology of everyday life; sexual education and value conflict; self-injury and differential association; the stigma of charity; attacks on labeling theory; capitalism and the problems of class, race, and gender; state-corporate crime; changing constructions of rape; immigration; and terrorism as a social problem.

Long a standard in its field, The Study of Social Problems, Seventh Edition, is an affordable, comprehensive, and indispensable volume for social problems courses.

New to this Edition

  • New contemporary pieces, including articles on terrorism and immigration
  • Additional attention to issues of race, glass, and gender
  • A final reading giving students the opportunity to apply analytical tools from all seven perspectives

Previous Publication Date(s)

August 2002
March 1995
April 1989


"The coverage of the theories is exceptional. I like the text because unlike its glossy high-cost competitors, it focuses on the essential things."--Annegret Staiger, Clarkson University

"The theoretical coverage is outstanding! Very broad and presented in a way that students can understand and that allows for relatively easy comparing/contrasting. I would absolutely adopt a new edition because of the variety of perspective/theories presented and their organization and presentation."--Kelly A. Dagan, Illinois College

"I view this book as an antidote to the mindless mediocrity of conventional (brick-sized) social problems texts. It is the best book on the subject and I will adopt the new edition, because it is the only option for thoughtful instruction."--Mahmoud Sadri, Texas Woman's University

Table of Contents

    *=New to this Edition
    Chapter 2-9 end with Questions for Discussion and Selected References.
    Chapter 1. Social Problems and Sociology
    The Definition of a Social Problem, The Development of American Sociology, Sociological Perspectives on Social Problems, Plan of the Book, Summary and Conclusion, Selected References
    Chapter 2. Social Pathology
    The Concept of Social Problems, Roots of the Social Pathology Perspective, Changes in the Social Pathology Perspective, Characteristics of the Social Pathology Perspective, Summary and Conclusion
    The Organic Analogy, Samuel Smith
    The Child Savers, Anthony M. Platt
    A Universal Criterion of Pathology, Vytautas Kavolis
    * The Pathology of Everyday Life, Dalton Conley
    The Moral Premises of Social Pathology, Carl M. Rosenquist
    Chapter 3. Social Disorganization
    Problems of Society, Problems of the Discipline, Differences Between the Pathology and the Disorganization Perspectives, The Major Social Disorganization Theorists, Characteristics of the Social Disorganization Perspective, Summary and Conclusion
    Social Change and Social Disorganization, Robert E. Park
    The Ecology of Urban Disorganization, Robert E. L. Faris and H. Warren Dunham
    Family Disorganization, W. I. Thomas and Florian Znaniecki
    The Decline of a Black Community, Elijah Anderson
    A Disorganizing Concept, Marshall B. Clinard
    Chapter 4. Value Conflict
    Conflict Theorists and the Formulation of the Value Conflict Perspective, Characteristics of the Value Conflict Perspective, Summary and Conclusion
    The Conflict of Values, Richard C. Fuller and Richard R. Myers
    The Stages of a Social Problem, Richard C. Fuller and Richard R. Myers
    * Sexual Education and Value Conflict, Janice M. Irvine
    Words Without Deeds, Willard Waller
    A Critique of the Value Conflict Perspective, Kenneth Westhues
    Chapter 5. Deviant Behavior
    The Refocusing of Sociological Thought, Roots in Classical Theory, The Development of Anomie Theory, The Development of Differential Association Theory, Characteristics of the Deviant Behavior Perspective, Summary and Conclusion
    Robert Merton: Anomie and Social Structure, Marshall B. Clinard
    Learning to Be Deviant, Edwin H. Sutherland and Donald R. Cressey
    * Self-Injury and a New Form of Differential Association, Patricia A. Adler and Peter Adler
    Anomie: Theory and Fact, Marshall B. Clinard
    An Evaluation of the Theory of Differential Association, Donald R. Cressey
    Chapter 6. Labeling
    Focus and Concerns of the Labeling Perspective, The Discipline and Its Problems, Philosophical Sources of the Labeling Perspective, Founders of the Labeling Perspective, Characteristics of the Labeling Perspective, Summary and Conclusion
    Outsiders, Howard S. Becker
    Primary and Secondary Deviation, Edwin M. Lemert
    * The Stigma of Charity, Alice Fothergill
    The Saints and the Roughnecks, William J. Chambliss
    * Attacks on Labeling Theory, Joel Best
    Chapter 7. Critical Perspective
    The Main Idea of the Critical Perspective, The Social Sources of the Critical Perspective, Characteristics of the Critical Perspective, Summary and Conclusion
    Crime and the Development of Capitalism, Richard Quinney
    Toward a Political Economy of Crime, William J. Chambliss
    * Capitalism and the Problems of Class, Race, and Gender, Allan G. Johnson
    * The Case of a State-Corporate Crime, Judy Root Aulette and Raymond Michalowski
    Evaluating the Critical Perspective, Marshall B. Clinard and Robert F. Meier
    Chapter 8. Social Constructionism
    The Labeling Perspective: The Critique from Outside, The Rise of Social Constructionism, Constructionism's Growth, Development, and Change, Characteristics of the Constructionist Perspective, Summary and Conclusion
    The Definition of Social Problems, John I. Kitsuse And Malcolm Spector
    How to Successfully Construct a Social Problem, Donileen R. Loseke
    * Changing Constructions of Rape, Ken Plummer
    * Claims About Immigration, Joel Best
    Constructionism in Context, Joel Best
    Chapter 9. A Sociological Review of the Perspectives
    The Seven Perspectives, Applicability, Combining Perspectives
    * The Social Problem of Terrorism, Austin Turk
    The Dual Mandate and Sociological Perspectives, Society, Sociology, and the Study of Social Problems