Two Discussion Board Questions


Please make sure to reference the diagram in the chapter to give you some idea of where we stand with regard to the social construction of social problems process.  Chapter 9 is quite methodical about how to evaluate different policies; that is, on what grounds can we critique a particular policy.

For this assignment, consider TWO different policies with regard to the same problem.  For example, the “THREE STRIKES AND YOU’RE OUT” mandatory sentencing guidelines that were implemented in the 90s have had questionable outcomes.  What would be the other, alternative policy to this policy?  Select either an already existing or pre-existing policy from another nation or time period and explain  on what basis is this policy preferable?  Succinctly cite a reputable source about the basic terms of the policy in order to argue why your proposed policy rests on better ideological grounds, is more fitting or less open to abuse, or completely redefines the “problem.”  

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No more than 2 paragraphs

7 points–argument 

2 points–source 

1 point–grammar



We’ve reached the point of the course at which you should be familiar with the entire social construction of social problems process.  The current chapter, titled, “Claims across space and time” intends to direct your analytical attention to COMPARATIVE or cross-cultural approaches to the social scientific study of social problems. The chapter lays out several factors with regard to which social problems could be fruitfully compared.

For this extended assignment (you will have until the end of next week to complete it), you will have to carry out some more extensive social and historical research to uncover some details about certain social problems that would otherwise be obscure.  The boxes on Page 321 and 328, along with the case study on page 337 (on statues and flags) features brief comparative perspectives on the social construction of different problems in different cities and periods.   Please read those because they provide very good EXAMPLES of the right set of basic questions you will be asking yourself in this assignment.

For this assignment, you will select ONE social problem and compare instances of the social problem process associated with this specific social problem:  


(1) compare the construction of a social problem in the same place but at different times.  Write a persuasive 1 page response citing academic, journalistic, or historical sources.  Identify the primary claims/frame, secondary claims by experts or activists, public reaction, and policy proposals at each time.  

(2) compare the construction of a social problems at different places during the same period of time.  Write a persuasive, minimum 1 page response citing academic, journalistic, or historical sources.  Identify the primary claims/frame and secondary claims by experts or activists, public reaction, and policy proposals at each place (city, county, even state).  

(3) Analyze expert or activist claimsmaker campaigns with the same types of claims for apparently 2 or 3 different social problems.  (For example, are there claimsmakers that lump excessive video game usage and drug use through the use of  the same set of claims?)  Why have claimsmakers privileged one set of claims or frames when others are possible?  What policy proposals follow from this set of claims?  Write a persuasive, minimum 1 page response citing academic, journalistic, or historical sources.