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Social Issues Research Papers Samples For Students
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The middle class person belongs to a social group that falls between the upper and the lower working class, speaking in terms of socio –economic factors. The degree of socio-economic factors varies from one country to another and differs significantly. However, it is seen that, in most parts of the developed world, the middle class has slowly and steadily started to vanish. The issue of vanishing middle class is primarily related to the business, the reasons for this are:
Understanding Why Crime Fell in the 1990s Research Paper Example
Understanding Why Crime Fell in the 1990s: Four Factors That Explain The Decline And Six That Do Not. Experience by Steven D. Levitt
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The economists are concerned with the maximization of the society well being due to scarcity of resources and unlimited wants. The scarcity is the presence of limited resources and competition on the demand side (Peter 524). In this situation, the scarce resources are located to the most efficient business via a competitive mechanism because the focus of economics is to allocate resources in the most efficient manner. Similarly, the resource scarcity causes a large allocation of time and effort to appropriate competition.
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Juvenile delinquency is an adolescent disorder that affects children between the ages of about 7 and 17 years. Juveniles at this age normally experience adolescent disorder that affects their rational decision making abilities. The victims of the disorder may get involved in certain crimes making them subject to law enforcement agencies.
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James Baldwin is best known for his novels, short stories and essays. Most of his work revolves around the themes of discrimination towards blacks and homosexuals. Most of his work is considered to be at least somewhat autobiographical because a reader can often detect the traces of his own past torture and dilemmas. The loneliness and the suffering from all the taunts which he faced all his life are reflected in his writings.
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A major part of Latino community in America is suffering from the obesity. The obesity and overweight are creating several other health related problems for this community. Obesity is one of the most common health problems in the United States of America and the Latinos are the second largest obese people in the nation. This paper intends to discuss the obesity in the Latino community and several other related aspects of the area under discussion.
Obese and overweight Latinos
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Background: Many people in the public circles tend to think that fast food is responsible for the increase in obesity cases, particularly in the US (Marlow & Shiers, 2012). There has been a notable increase in the cases of obesity in the US, in the past few decades. Aim: To find out if there is there a link between the increase in obesity cases and the consumption of fast food in the US?
Approach/method: An analysis of current literatures on this topic.
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Within the major profession of criminology, one recurring problem is the explanation of criminal behavior patterns and their relationship to crime, involving the subtopics of the sociological legal and psychiatric aspects of crime which contribute to defining and elaborating on criminal behavior.
Section 2: Body Sections
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Disorder and Social Norms
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The story is the story of the grandfather of David, one of my best friend. I knew that his family was migrated from Mexico, so I asked my friend to arrange my meeting with his grandfather. His name is George and now 90 years old. He told that they were six brothers, and he was the youngest one. He was graduated at that time.
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The 20th century saw number of social reforms and reformers who aimed at bringing about relive to the world. These individuals brought about massive change to the history and set a new trend towards leadership, social reforms and welfare of mankind. They have set precedence for human welfare and noble deeds.
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100+ Social Issues Research Paper Topics
There are many issues in society to write about, making social issue essay topics some of the most fun. However, choosing a social topic for an essay isn’t as easy as it sounds, especially when there are several social essay topics. The secret to choosing the best among the many social topics is knowing what makes the best social topics for an essay, the best.
This article will give you workable tips for choosing a great topic on specific social issues, argumentative essay topics , and social topics. We will also throw in 100 topics on social issues; they can serve as your social topic or inspiration for choosing.
What Are Top Tips for Choosing Social Topics to Write About?
What characterizes the best social issue topics, social issue topics list, fascinating research topics on social issues, interesting social commentary topics, interesting social issues on social media, ideas of social issues essay topics on health, socially significant topics to write on, social issues research topics for a professional paper on the environment, top-rated socially relevant topics, cool social issues to research on criminal justice, social problem topics for college students, issues in america to write about, argumentative essay topics on social issues, unique social issues to write a research paper on.
When it comes to social problems essay topics, the list is endless; there are so many social issues to talk about. However, not all social problem topics will make a great paper, and the wrong social issue topic can reduce your grade. Below are the top practical tips for choosing social issues topics for presentation.
- Choose easy social issues to write about – avoid trying to impress your professor by choosing complex social problems topics you can’t do justice to.
- Choose social problem topics or social media research topics that your audience can relate to and find interesting.
- When choosing from the myriads of social problems to write about, choose those with sufficient information. Also, you don’t want social problem essay topics you’ll have to walk miles to gather information on.
- Pick as many good social issues to write about as possible; chances are you will change issues essay topics midway. You don’t have to return to searching for current issues to write about.
- Source for articles that address problems in society to write about for an idea on how to write yours.
The “best” social topics, like social commentary essay topics, are those you’re passionate about. It would help if you cared about the social issue ideas you’ve decided to write on to do real justice to the paper. Writing an essay on them will be torture if you don’t care or know anything about social commentary ideas. Also, if your audience is clueless about a particular topic, consider omitting technical and social significance topics.
Interesting social topics are not hard to find if you know where to look. We will give you a social issues topics list here, but you can still find social issues ideas all over the internet. Find our social topics list below containing interesting and uncommon social issues for a distinction-worthy paper.
- Political polarization
- Racism in modern society’s healthcare
- Ageism: the new racism?
- The fairness of labor laws
- Fat-shaming in the corporate world
- Recovering addicts and social injustice
- Child pornography
- Prisoner rights violations: the types
- Making vaccinations mandatory
- Online education impact on obesity
- Increasing employment: the solution to poverty?
- Accessibility of healthcare in mobile clinics
- Women empowerment
- Social development in developing countries
- Overpopulation: a threat?
- How social networks impact friendship
- Age restriction on Instagram
- Social media effect on dependency
- Business Facebook accounts and digital ethics
- Cancel culture and mental health
- Restricting children from social media
- How to stay safe on the internet
- Freedom of speech on Twitter
- High cost of medical procedures
- Obesity in developed countries
- Abortion: legal or illegal?
- Drug addiction
- Hospices: should they be free?
- Why HIV in seniors remains unrecognized
- Dying with dignity
- Pro-life movement origins
- The social acceptance of autism
- Effect of malnourishment on children’s psyche
- Impact of fad diets
- Discrimination against older adults
- Acceptability of homeopathic treatment for children
- The scarcity of and state of available healthcare facilities in rural areas
- Poverty and health problems
- Ensuring global access to drinking water
- Implementing sustainable technology in agriculture
- Benefits of studying the environment
- Urban gardening and food security
- Deteriorating environment effect on labor conditions
- Religion and nature
- Global warming impact on South America
- Effect of racial profiling
- Prevalence of hate speech
- Discrimination against the LGBT community
- Modern feminism: the negative impact on society
- Pregnancy termination: morality vs. legality
- Food culture
- Emotional intelligence: impact on family life
- Harmful effects of financial illiteracy
- The perception of “Defund the police.”
- Evidence of structural racism
- The internet’s influence on human trafficking
- Legalizing prostitution
- Civil disobedience goals
- The consequences of restoring prisoners to society
- Influence of prejudices on criminal justice mechanics
- Prominent civil rights violations in developing countries
- Gender blindness
- Gender dysphoria
- The Khmer Rouge
- Social media and racist bias
- Justification of human rights limitations during a crisis
- How governments can secure freedom of speech
- Can satire be harmful?
- Protection of stateless persons
- Can illegal immigrants be pardoned?
- War on drugs: the negative side effects
- The importance of bipartisan cooperation
- College loans: are they worth it?
- Fake news: a severe problem?
- Charter schools vs. public schools
- The Great New Deal: pros and cons
- Gentrification in America
- Ableism effects in the US
- Death penalty: a just punishment?
- Healthcare: a fundamental human right?
- The right to own a gun
- Does history repeat itself?
- Commercials in kids’ programs
- Fiction vs. nonfiction: which is the better read?
- Video games should be a sport
- Hot dogs: have they caused more harm than good?
- Eating dessert before dinner
- Homework: is it too much?
- Should gym classes be required?
- The essentiality of feminism
- Free healthcare for everyone
- Exploring space: is it worth it?
- Parents’ role in childhood obesity
- Woman vs. man: who is more emotional?
- The effects of campaign finance reform
- Should illegal immigrants be granted residency?
With this list of social topics and others you’ll find on the internet, you can’t be short of social issues to talk about. Choosing the best social issues topics is essential for writing a great research paper,or write dissertation for me ranging from social change topics to social awareness topics. Considering the vast amount of community issues to write about, our tips on choosing from the best social relevance topics will come in handy. If you need professional writing services, you can contact our experts.
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Writing Your Analysis of A Social Problem Paper
Your paper should be typed, double spaced, with a title and reference section . Cite your sources every time you use them in the paper.
Research papers should have an introduction, a body, and a conclusion :
1. Introduction : summarizes what you will write and puts it into context. Should consist of 3 parts:
- "What You're Studying": start with a thesis statement about your social problem which includes background contextualizing it
- "So What?": demonstrate why your social problem is important and why your reader should care about it
- "Game Plan": outline the main points of your paper and the order in which you will address them
2. Body : presents the main points of the paper, with each paragraph representing one aspect of the paper's main focus. Prioritize and organize your main points and paragraphs to logically build your arguments to a compelling conclusion. Each paragraph should include a topic sentence, evidence, analysis, and a transition sentence:
- The topic sentence summarizes the paragraph's main idea
- Use evidence from your research sources to support or make the argument for your assertions about your main idea
- Analyze your evidence to show how it links to your broader thesis
- Include a transition sentence at the end of each paragraph to connect what you discussed in that paragraph with the main idea of the next paragraph
3. Conclusion : summarizes what you wrote and what you learned
- Restate your thesis from the introduction in different words
- Briefly summarize your main points or arguments and pull them together into the paper's main thesis
- End with a strong, final statement that ties the whole paper together and makes it clear the paper has come to an end
- No new ideas should be introduced in the conclusion, it should only review and analyze the main points from the body of the paper (with the exception of suggestions for further research)
4. References list : a list of the sources you cited
- Cite your sources in APA or ASA Style
- Format your References list in APA or ASA Style
For more writing help, contact the Writing Center and make an online appointment to meet with one of their consultants.
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Social Issues Research Paper: Topics, Examples, & a Writing Guide
What is wrong with social media? What can we do to fight gender discrimination in workplaces? How to address the growing number of hate crimes?
Let’s pore over the sharpest social issues of 2022 and 2023!
A social issue is a problem that impacts both society and particular individuals. Such issues should be addressed and resolved as soon as possible. However, many of them remain acute, and it’s worth discussing. COVID-19 pandemic, vaccines, women’s rights, climate change – these and many other issues are discussed in our article.
- ✍️ Writing Guide
- 🔬 Social Issues Topics
- 📝 Essay Sample
✍️ social issues research – 7 steps to write a paper.
Before we get down to essay topics, let’s do some pre-work!
Follow these steps to get a perfect social issues essay.
🔬 Social Issues Research Paper & Project Topics
Below, you will find the whole range of various topics: social media privacy issues essay, health, environment, & others.
Technologies & Social Media Ethical Issues
- Social media safety: are there reasons for users to worry about their privacy?
- Home offices and other trends that came with the digitalization and pandemic.
- Are social media and networking good for society?
- Is social media presence in people’s lives excessive?
- People become more vulnerable and unstable because of social media.
- Phishing attacks: what harm can these bring to a user?
- Are there ways to protect your personal information from being stolen?
- How can unprotected data be used for manipulation and fraud?
- Why do hackers use malicious software?
- What are the consequences of personal data getting into the wrong hands?
- Destructive bots: tell about such a concept as a DDoS attack.
- Should cybersecurity be taught in schools and colleges?
- What are the effects of global digitalization on society?
- Should phones and social media be banned in classrooms?
- What are the signs that we should reconsider our social media use?
- How do social media affect people’s stress, anxiety, and insecurity levels?
- Are there methods to prevent or fight bloggers’ burnout?
- What are the positive impacts of media on society?
- The effects of social media on sleep quality.
- Should social media addiction be considered a mental health disorder?
- Self-esteem issues caused by media are a huge problem among young people.
- How can social media positively affect our well-being?
- Do social media boost or reduce the sense of loneliness?
- How does cryptocurrency change financial awareness in society?
- How can a company manage employees’ productivity levels?
- The new digital reality: how to embrace the culture of work video calls?
- Is it possible to boost Internet speed and efficiency?
- In which spheres can robots and AI replace humans?
- Is automation of business processes profitable for any business?
- Deepfakes undermine our perception of reality.
- How not to overwhelm your business website with excessive plugins?
- What are the benefits of creating online shopping websites?
- Backup recovery: Is it possible to prevent your systems from going down?
- The number of ads on websites and social media platforms is overwhelming.
- How does tech companies’ concentration affect local public infrastructure?
- Is Google making us stupid?
- The extreme diversity of AI programs can be confusing for businesses.
- What are the means of defending your data from phishing, DDoS attacks, and malware?
Social Issues & Environment
- Air is polluted with carbon; how does it affect people?
- Is climate change a real issue that we should think about?
- Frozen planet: what are the consequences of air pollution?
- The burning of fossil fuels provokes CO 2 levels to grow.
- Analysis of the climate change global impact.
- How do deforestation and industrial activities lift the air pollution levels?
- Explore the statistics about the deaths caused by air poisons.
- Does replacing fossil fuels with alternative sources help reduce air pollution?
- Policies and financial issues need to be settled to implement new technologies.
- Tropical forests suffer from severe deforestation: what can we do?
- Are there any ethical methods of overpopulation control?
- How do cattle ranching and plantations destroy forests?
- Forests help keep out CO 2 from the atmosphere, and we need them.
- What are the advantages of nuclear power plants?
- Conservation and restoration: describe the methods of forest recovery.
- Explain how bribery contributes to deforestation and pollution.
- Should we teach children to use sustainable energy?
- Should ivory items be banned for the sake of extinct species?
- Explore and present the statistics concerning extinct species.
- The loss of biodiversity will hit hard if we don’t act now.
- Why do some people doubt that there is global warming?
- Poaching is a huge problem that needs governmental control.
- Explore the different ways of wildlife conservation.
- Analyze different ways of soil degradation: monoculture planting, pesticides, and overgrazing.
- Water suffers the most from overpopulation issues.
- Fighting against poverty can improve critical climate change situations.
- Not just outside: how does indoor air quality affect our health?
- What are the significant contributors to water pollution?
- Explore environmental conditions in your region: water, soil, and air.
- It’s up to you: can you influence climate change by not taking flights?
- Asthma issues grow: how can we prevent our children from the disease?
- Analyze your awareness level and tell about your positive impact on the environment.
- Formaldehyde and other poisonous substances: why are they dangerous?
- Don’t drink it: is the tap water in our households safe to use?
- What will happen if marine phytoplankton is extinct?
- Warmer soil can’t store enormous amounts of CO 2 : what does it mean?
- Nitrous oxide: analyze its impact on the greenhouse effect.
- Water shortage is a real problem that many regions have to face.
- Describe the methods of water conservation and filtration.
Health & Health Care Social Issues
- How has COVID-19 become one of the most burning social issues of 2021?
- Vaccination protests: are they disruptive or sensible?
- Doctors are the primary victims of COVID-19.
- Tell about the importance of providing more proper maternal and child care.
- How has COVID exposed the inadequacy of the whole medical industry?
- Explore the impact of lockdown on mental health in different societies.
- Explore the methods of health care systems reinforcement.
- What is the connection between the pandemic and the high divorce rate?
- The power of unity: why is it vital for countries to hold together?
- Social problems of health and healthcare.
- Should we do vaccines if they haven’t been adequately tested?
- The authorities should address health care inequities and reduce them.
- Classify the most harmful consequences of COVID on health.
- Which social groups suffer from COVID the most?
- What is happening to those who suffer from polio, measles, and other diseases in the meantime?
- Antimicrobial resistance: reveal the concept and elaborate on its importance.
- Reveal the essence of such a concept as “global health.”
- Can attending public health forums help raise awareness in society?
- Nations should look for opportunities to avoid health-threatening dangerous situations.
- How do environmental factors stimulate disease spreading?
- Authorities should enhance control over migration processes for the sake of safety.
- Inter-ethnic conflicts should be addressed, for they damage critical health infrastructure.
- The population needs to become more educated in terms of non-communicable diseases.
- How to make quality care more affordable in the United States?
- People should realize and change their lifestyles to prevent non-communicable diseases.
- Compare and contrast statistics concerning NCD’s death rate in wealthy and poor societies.
- Explore the connection between animal health and human well-being.
- The food supply chain suffers a lot from agriculture, pesticides, and improper waste management.
- Veterinary medicine should be considered on a more advanced level.
- Classify the opportunities people have to make a positive impact on global health.
- What are the most common sexually transmitted infections in the US?
- Small contributions matter: how can you act for the sake of global health?
- E-cigarettes have become a new threat to generation Z’s health.
- Should songs with substance abuse romanticization be banned?
- HIV/AIDS remains inappropriate to discuss, and we should change it.
- Explore the dementia issue among young people.
- While the COVID is raging, influenza and pneumonia remain harmful and contagious diseases.
Poverty, Homelessness, & Social Equity Issues
- How has COVID-19 shown huge disparities between countries and societies?
- Explore the correlation between homelessness and poverty.
- Why shouldn’t poverty always be viewed as a drawback for individuals?
- What roles do poverty and hunger play in international relations?
- Does supporting poverty victims make an issue worse?
- We shouldn’t consider poverty a moral failure.
- Poverty is a societal issue: inequity and disparities are the significant reasons.
- What are the causes of poverty?
- Is it possible to overcome poverty due to the lack of work?
- Will poverty be fought if the wages become higher?
- How is discrimination connected with low life quality?
- Social development and poverty reduction.
- Health and poverty: why do low-income families demand more health care resources?
- Can a person grow up properly in inadequate housing and with poor nutrition?
- Why do wealthy people become wealthier and poor ones – poorer?
- Describe global poverty.
- How do housing affordability issues bring family problems?
- Gender and wealth: how do gender prejudices affect financial well-being?
- Race and wealth: how do racial prejudices influence financial well-being?
- The concept of the minimum wage: explore and reveal it.
- How to provide fresh food for low-income families?
- What economic conditions can make the population wealthier?
- Wages and prices go up: is there a correlation between them?
- Is it possible to reduce financial insecurities in times of crisis?
- Should we care about income inequality?
- Classify the countries with the highest unemployment rate.
- Classify the barriers that prevent people from getting employed.
- Lack of work experience shouldn’t be an obstacle to getting a job.
- How can we change the fact that poor employment history decreases job opportunities?
- The rights of homeless people in the US.
- Can a formerly homeless individual become a full society member?
- Reveal the concept of hiring discrimination.
- Classify the countries with the highest homelessness rate.
- What is the situation with homelessness in America?
- Chronically homeless individuals: why do some people get back to homelessness?
- Explore the social forecast in terms of the global poverty rate in the future.
- Sheltered and unsheltered homelessness: expose the essence of these phenomena.
- Is criminalizing homelessness an excellent strategy to fight it?
- The relation of poverty and food security.
- Are there ways to make housing more affordable?
- Why is child hunger an acute social issue in America?
- Expose the connection between poverty and a criminal lifestyle.
- How does poverty correlate with chronic conditions?
- They know the secret: what are the wealthiest countries and why?
Migration & Overpopulation
- Migration: a natural process or danger?
- Describe how COVID-19 affected global migration processes.
- How can conditions in refugee camps be improved?
- Humanitarian protection for immigrants suffered a lot due to the pandemic.
- How has the BLM movement drawn attention to immigrant rights?
- The pandemic has deepened inconveniences for immigrant families.
- How do transit countries suffer from pandemic consequences?
- What are the countries with the most advanced anti-migrant rhetoric?
- What long-term consequences do global restrictions have on migration processes?
- Does the pandemic have any positive influence on migration?
- Xenophobic narratives towards migrants from Africa in the US.
- Migrant workers should obtain more protection due to the pandemic risks.
- Unsanitary conditions: the reasons that made refugees vulnerable to COVID-19.
- Is it fair that immigrant children don’t have proper access to quality education?
- Migrant labor should be regulated more responsibly.
- We should acknowledge the immigrants’ importance in terms of the workforce.
- Explore the psychological reasons for violence against refugees.
- Violence and instability in refugee camps: what can be done?
- Back home: how does chaos at the borders complicate migration processes?
- Are there ways to stop illegal migration?
- Describe what role natural disasters have in migration.
- International colonies should receive more consideration from the authorities.
- The negative attitude towards migration should be eliminated in society.
- Classify the reasons for migration: human rights violations, natural disasters, etc.
- Illegal migration is one of the reasons for economic disruption.
- Explore migration out of wish and out of necessity.
- Expose the essence of such concepts as a “migrant” and “refugee.”
- How can safety be provided to immigrants and refugees?
- What can be done to change hostility towards immigrants?
- Does the crime rate have anything to do with a loose migration policy?
- We all are humans: how can we reach peace between migrants and locals?
- Prejudices or facts: do refugees undermine society’s well-being?
- What impact does illegal immigration have on the education system?
- Explore the connection between migration and overpopulation.
- What is overpopulation, and how can it be addressed?
- Overpopulation has a devastating impact on the global environment.
- Explore the tragic statistics on human rights violations in Russia.
- Classify the countries where human rights are violated to an extended degree.
- What are the fundamental human rights that each person should have?
- The concept of human rights: define its meaning and origins.
- Classify economic, cultural, and social rights.
- Should all people have equal freedom of opinion and expression?
- Bring up the history of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
- Presumption of innocence: is it an archaic human rights concept?
- Classify civil and political rights.
- What is international human rights law?
- Tell about all human rights conventions being adopted since the 20th century.
- Does Human Rights Council cope with its responsibilities?
- The sexual exploitation of children is one of the most terrible human rights violations.
- Research the most acute human rights social issues in America in 2023.
- Do authorities violate human rights by introducing and supporting the death penalty?
- Is mandatory military service a human rights violation?
- Not all people should have equal access to political and social affairs.
- What is lacking in the laws regulating the rights of people with disabilities?
- Plants and factory owners violate our rights to environmentally safe management.
- Freedom of expression: how can dangerous and hateful views be regulated?
- LGBTQ+ rights: how has the situation changed in the USA?
- Freedom of religion and fate: what can be done to provide it in intolerant countries?
- Classify the signs that can indicate your rights are being neglected.
- Are migrants’ human rights sufficiently acknowledged globally?
- How have women’s rights changed over the last two centuries?
- The Gulag in Soviet Russia: tell about the human rights violation in the USSR.
- Far from being perfect: how did Peng Shuai case show that women’s rights are still an issue to work on?
- Holocaust: is it better to remember or forget?
- What are the countries with the most respected human rights?
- Guantanamo and the like: why is human rights violation so common in prisons?
- Is it possible to save girls and women from an occupied Afghanistan?
Discrimination (Racial, Gender, Age, etc.)
- Is racial discrimination an overrated social issue?
- Fat-shaming: why do people care so much about someone else’s weight?
- Discrimination of people with disabilities: sexual violence, stigma, and lack of access to necessary resources.
- Discrimination of any kind is a severe obstacle in combating poverty.
- To eliminate discrimination, we should address the needs of the most vulnerable groups.
- A proper methodology for indicating marginalized groups is a must.
- Explore the problem of discrimination against people of age.
- Should ingenious people in each country be given more respect?
- How to teach people to stop being biased against other ethnicities?
- What is the point of discrimination based on marital status?
- It’s a huge social issue that same-sex marriages aren’t accepted globally.
- Social status shouldn’t be a ground for discrimination.
- Why doesn’t the globalization process reduce the levels of discrimination?
- How to stop victimizing people by their economic position?
- How does ageism reveal itself in everyday life?
- How can society ease the struggle of transgender people?
- Big corporations discriminate employees based on age.
- We all are good enough and worthy regardless of age, appearance, orientation, or social status.
- Explore the difficulties that people with albinism face.
- Young parents shouldn’t be judged for being who they are.
- Is there any chance to eliminate discrimination against people with HIV status?
- Explore the struggles of the Black LGBTQ+ community.
- Analyze the critical situation concerning sex workers’ discrimination.
- Childfree people deserve to be recognized and left alone.
- Discover the most discriminated ethnicities in Europe.
- How are people with disabilities being victimized even in developed countries?
- It is unlawful for companies to be biased against employees for their religion.
- Explore the issue of sexual harassment as a part of gender discrimination.
- National origin discrimination: define the concept and elaborate on it.
- Is it fair to have a bias against pregnant women regarding job opportunities?
- The toxic rhetoric of politicians should be addressed immediately.
- Why is the LGBTQ+ community one of the most discriminated groups in Russia?
- Children should be taught to embrace diversity since nursery school.
- Explore the discrimination issues in Middle Asia.
Social Issues in Criminal Justice
- Explore and classify the reasons for juvenile delinquency.
- Should marijuana-related sentences be so strict?
- Tortures and prisons: can this tandem be ever destroyed?
- Why does the justice system fail to cope with human trafficking?
- Should criminals in jails be provided with good nourishment and other conditions?
- Explore the changes in drug policy of a particular country.
- Should sentences for synthetic drug trafficking be more severe than for murders?
- Police brutality: analyze the case of George Floyd and its consequences.
- Is it possible that cannabis will be legalized in every state in the future?
- Kids in jails: do we need juvenile detention reform?
- Research how states’ authorities are reconsidering the approach to civil rights.
- What are the beneficial sides of marijuana legalization?
- How were punishment trends changing over the last 20 years in the US?
- Analyze the statistics: what are the states with the lowest crime rate?
- Should the death penalty be banned or accepted in all states?
- Police officers should be tested more thoroughly and frequently.
- Police violence or a mistake: explore the different views on Breonna Taylor’s case.
- How did technologies improve the legislation system and police work?
- Vulnerability to justice: how to avoid unjust conviction?
- Prison buildup: do we need more prisons or fewer criminals?
- Can analyses of the prison population help reduce the crime rate in the long run?
- People should protest more actively against police brutality.
- Police departments should provide advanced psychological assistance to their workers.
- Racial discrimination prevents the justice system from being efficient.
- Explore the lack in the justice system.
- Are there any reasonable and peaceful measures against police brutality?
- Recidivism issue: released criminals should be under stricter control.
- Has the BLM movement contributed to justice reform?
- More significant amounts of state budgets should be put into preventing violence.
- How do different states cope with justice reform?
- Police should be prohibited from using force against civilians.
- Social injustice and racial prejudices in drug enforcement.
Research Topics on Social Issues in America
Explore these topics on social issues in America.
- Obesity among young people: how to fight it?
- Why can’t body positivity be an excuse for obesity?
- Disney actors and pop singers: should children choose them as role models?
- Should ingenious people in the USA obtain more human rights?
- Electroconvulsive therapy turned out to be a promising treatment for severe depression. Is it ethical?
- Should social disparity be an obstacle the access to higher education?
- The political system in the USA is going through tough times.
- Should higher education in the USA become more affordable?
- Authorities should resolve social issues instead of equipping the army.
- What are the difficulties Hispanic Americans face?
- The government should support the rise of psychedelic retreats.
- PTSD spread among military men is an acute issue that needs to be addressed.
- Explore the issue of the San Francisco homeless crisis.
- Instagram has a strong negative impact on teens: how to protect them?
- Current problems and weaknesses of education in the US.
- How to deal with the dramatic death rate growth during the pandemic?
- Describe the values of a modern American family.
- Should schoolchildren be allowed to miss classes for mental health reasons?
- What can be learned from the case of Britney Spears’ conservatorship?
- What are the outcomes of teenage pregnancy?
- Why do veterans look for support for psychedelic drug decriminalization?
- How to nurture sympathy and kindness in new generation representatives?
- What is the situation with gun crimes in the USA?
- Body shaming has many faces: what is wrong with fitness culture?
- Is it safe to use ketamine as a depression treatment?
- How does adult acne prevent people from being socially active?
- Explore the issue of racial disparity in schizophrenia diagnoses in nursing homes.
- How have hate crimes facilitated Asian Americans to undergo therapy during a pandemic?
- Are Instagram and TikTok threatening American teens’ well-being?
- What measures can be taken to protect citizens from personal data exposure?
- Should the government take Meta under stricter control?
- More mentally ill people become suicide victims: what can be done?
- Drug abuse in nursing homes: what do we know about it?
- Female refugees in America become victims of abuse and discrimination.
- Why is gun violence still an unresolved problem after so many precedents?
- Are Generation Z representatives able to be responsible for the country’s future?
- Hate crimes against Asian Americans: we need to address the issue.
- Health affordability is one of the most burning issues in today’s America.
- Is it reasonable to let in the country more immigrants?
- Why is religious freedom in the USA problematic?
- What impact does media have on society?
- The declining marriage rate in America: is it a threat to society?
- The higher education costs grow, but the quality decreases.
- What are the benefits of having sex education in school?
- It is essential to dispel environmental myths and address real climate issues.
- Explore the state budget-related issues in the USA.
- How do video games affect children?
- The welfare system in America doesn’t work correctly for the poor.
- Is voter fraud a big problem in the USA?
- Tell about the agricultural crisis in rural areas of the USA.
- How to prevent and manage work stress?
- Parental care: do young parents in America receive sufficient support?
- Who should be role models for American teenagers?
- How can American citizens contribute to safeguarding electoral processes?
- What are the most critical environmental issues in the USA?
- The government should provide affordable housing for low-income families.
Other Social Issues Essay Topics
- Social Issues: The Uses of Global Poverty .
- Child Poverty in Canada Problem Analysis .
- Gender Inequality in the Workplace and Career .
- Homelessness and Poverty in the United States .
- Media Violence: Myths and Facts .
- The Concept of Animal Rights and Their Violation .
- Culture and Representations: Why Culture and Representation Matter .
- Social Problem, Its Components and Stages .
- The Maker Movement in Education: Achievements and Prospects .
- Gangs and Community-Based Organizations in Chicago .
- How Might Child Neglect Affect a Child’s Self-Esteem in Adulthood .
- Globalization Drives Inequality: Liberalist and Structuralist Perspectives .
- Degrees of Inequality in the UK .
- Environmental Ethics: the Case for Animal Rights .
- The Civil Rights Movement .
- Racial Discrimination Practices in Recruitment and Selection .
- American Civil Rights Movement Origins and Development .
- Gangs and Social Learning Theory Relationship .
- Social Institution of Family in the USA .
- Immigration Policies Affecting the Success of Immigrants in United States and Canada .
- Domestic Violence Issue and the Ways to Solve It .
- Corporate Social Responsibility: Business Benefits .
- Mental Health Issue and the Role of Social Worker .
- Challenges Immigrants Face in the USA .
- Women in Sports: Main Challenges .
- Human Trafficking, Its History and Statistics .
- Hate Crimes Toward Minorities in the United States .
- American Culture Reflection in Sport .
- Cinemas and Culture. Discussion of Readings and Films .
- Television Violence and Children’s Aggressiveness .
- Ethnic Groups and Discrimination .
- War on Drugs: Reducing and Defining the Trade of Illegal Drugs .
- Muslim Women’s Representation in American Newspapers .
- Family Support and Intervention in Substance Abuse Among Adolescents .
- Social Changes and Trends .
- Abortion Ethics: Right-to-Life vs. Pro-Choice .
- The Social Work: Ecological Perspective .
- Should Euthanasia Be Legal in Some Countries and Why?
- Teenage Sex: The Importance of Sex Education .
- A Family System and Social Care Service Users .
📝 Sample – Social Injustice Essay
Here you can find an essay sample on one of the sharp social issues. Read this sample and complete your paper assignment!
Recent studies have shown that teens who are active social media users are more prone to depression and other mental health disorders. In comparison to those who use social media less, the former ones have higher rates of depression. [ place for statistical evidence .] Even without statistical data, it has been known that social media abuse is critical to mental state. The first reason is the seeming success bloggers display on their Instagram pages. It is difficult for an adult to avoid constant comparisons, but it’s even more challenging for teenagers. Their fragile psyches tend to be extremely sensitive and perceptive to the content. The feeling of being “not good enough” brings youngsters down, causing depressive conditions. The other thing is perfect body images that teens see on the influencers’ and models’ pages. They start to look at their bodies critically. At the same time, they fail to understand that a perfect picture is just a part of modeling. We all are humans with flaws in real life, and it is okay. However, the trend for real pictures without filters and Instagram masks is spreading. Besides, it has also become more popular to share one’s genuine feelings and emotions on Instagram without trying to conceal the flaws and struggles of one’s life. Perhaps, the trend for sincerity will grow into something bigger, and social media’s negative impact on mental health will recede.
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- What Is a Social Problem? – University of Minnesota
- Social Issues – Contemporary Issues – LibGuides at University of California Merced
- Social Issues – The Brookings Institution
- Social Issues | Council on Foreign Relations
- Social Issues and Community Interactions | Waste Incineration and Public Health | The National Academies Press
- Social Issue Articles, Research, & Case Studies – HBS Working Knowledge
- Doing Research on Social Problems & Social Problems
- Social Issues | Databases Explored from Gale
- USC Libraries
- Research Guides
Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper
- The Research Problem/Question
- Purpose of Guide
- Design Flaws to Avoid
- Independent and Dependent Variables
- Glossary of Research Terms
- Reading Research Effectively
- Narrowing a Topic Idea
- Broadening a Topic Idea
- Extending the Timeliness of a Topic Idea
- Academic Writing Style
- Choosing a Title
- Making an Outline
- Paragraph Development
- Research Process Video Series
- Executive Summary
- The C.A.R.S. Model
- Background Information
- Theoretical Framework
- Citation Tracking
- Content Alert Services
- Evaluating Sources
- Primary Sources
- Secondary Sources
- Tiertiary Sources
- Scholarly vs. Popular Publications
- Qualitative Methods
- Quantitative Methods
- Using Non-Textual Elements
- Limitations of the Study
- Common Grammar Mistakes
- Writing Concisely
- Avoiding Plagiarism
- Footnotes or Endnotes?
- Further Readings
- Generative AI and Writing
- USC Libraries Tutorials and Other Guides
A research problem is a definite or clear expression [statement] about an area of concern, a condition to be improved upon, a difficulty to be eliminated, or a troubling question that exists in scholarly literature, in theory, or within existing practice that points to a need for meaningful understanding and deliberate investigation. A research problem does not state how to do something, offer a vague or broad proposition, or present a value question. In the social and behavioral sciences, studies are most often framed around examining a problem that needs to be understood and resolved in order to improve society and the human condition.
Bryman, Alan. “The Research Question in Social Research: What is its Role?” International Journal of Social Research Methodology 10 (2007): 5-20; Guba, Egon G., and Yvonna S. Lincoln. “Competing Paradigms in Qualitative Research.” In Handbook of Qualitative Research . Norman K. Denzin and Yvonna S. Lincoln, editors. (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1994), pp. 105-117; Pardede, Parlindungan. “Identifying and Formulating the Research Problem." Research in ELT: Module 4 (October 2018): 1-13; Li, Yanmei, and Sumei Zhang. "Identifying the Research Problem." In Applied Research Methods in Urban and Regional Planning . (Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing, 2022), pp. 13-21.
The purpose of a problem statement is to:
- Introduce the reader to the importance of the topic being studied . The reader is oriented to the significance of the study.
- Anchors the research questions, hypotheses, or assumptions to follow . It offers a concise statement about the purpose of your paper.
- Place the topic into a particular context that defines the parameters of what is to be investigated.
- Provide the framework for reporting the results and indicates what is probably necessary to conduct the study and explain how the findings will present this information.
In the social sciences, the research problem establishes the means by which you must answer the "So What?" question. This declarative question refers to a research problem surviving the relevancy test [the quality of a measurement procedure that provides repeatability and accuracy]. Note that answering the "So What?" question requires a commitment on your part to not only show that you have reviewed the literature, but that you have thoroughly considered the significance of the research problem and its implications applied to creating new knowledge and understanding or informing practice.
To survive the "So What" question, problem statements should possess the following attributes:
- Clarity and precision [a well-written statement does not make sweeping generalizations and irresponsible pronouncements; it also does include unspecific determinates like "very" or "giant"],
- Demonstrate a researchable topic or issue [i.e., feasibility of conducting the study is based upon access to information that can be effectively acquired, gathered, interpreted, synthesized, and understood],
- Identification of what would be studied, while avoiding the use of value-laden words and terms,
- Identification of an overarching question or small set of questions accompanied by key factors or variables,
- Identification of key concepts and terms,
- Articulation of the study's conceptual boundaries or parameters or limitations,
- Some generalizability in regards to applicability and bringing results into general use,
- Conveyance of the study's importance, benefits, and justification [i.e., regardless of the type of research, it is important to demonstrate that the research is not trivial],
- Does not have unnecessary jargon or overly complex sentence constructions; and,
- Conveyance of more than the mere gathering of descriptive data providing only a snapshot of the issue or phenomenon under investigation.
Bryman, Alan. “The Research Question in Social Research: What is its Role?” International Journal of Social Research Methodology 10 (2007): 5-20; Brown, Perry J., Allen Dyer, and Ross S. Whaley. "Recreation Research—So What?" Journal of Leisure Research 5 (1973): 16-24; Castellanos, Susie. Critical Writing and Thinking. The Writing Center. Dean of the College. Brown University; Ellis, Timothy J. and Yair Levy Nova. "Framework of Problem-Based Research: A Guide for Novice Researchers on the Development of a Research-Worthy Problem." Informing Science: the International Journal of an Emerging Transdiscipline 11 (2008); Thesis and Purpose Statements. The Writer’s Handbook. Writing Center. University of Wisconsin, Madison; Thesis Statements. The Writing Center. University of North Carolina; Tips and Examples for Writing Thesis Statements. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; Selwyn, Neil. "‘So What?’…A Question that Every Journal Article Needs to Answer." Learning, Media, and Technology 39 (2014): 1-5; Shoket, Mohd. "Research Problem: Identification and Formulation." International Journal of Research 1 (May 2014): 512-518.
Structure and Writing Style
I. Types and Content
There are four general conceptualizations of a research problem in the social sciences:
- Casuist Research Problem -- this type of problem relates to the determination of right and wrong in questions of conduct or conscience by analyzing moral dilemmas through the application of general rules and the careful distinction of special cases.
- Difference Research Problem -- typically asks the question, “Is there a difference between two or more groups or treatments?” This type of problem statement is used when the researcher compares or contrasts two or more phenomena. This a common approach to defining a problem in the clinical social sciences or behavioral sciences.
- Descriptive Research Problem -- typically asks the question, "what is...?" with the underlying purpose to describe the significance of a situation, state, or existence of a specific phenomenon. This problem is often associated with revealing hidden or understudied issues.
- Relational Research Problem -- suggests a relationship of some sort between two or more variables to be investigated. The underlying purpose is to investigate specific qualities or characteristics that may be connected in some way.
A problem statement in the social sciences should contain :
- A lead-in that helps ensure the reader will maintain interest over the study,
- A declaration of originality [e.g., mentioning a knowledge void or a lack of clarity about a topic that will be revealed in the literature review of prior research],
- An indication of the central focus of the study [establishing the boundaries of analysis], and
- An explanation of the study's significance or the benefits to be derived from investigating the research problem.
NOTE : A statement describing the research problem of your paper should not be viewed as a thesis statement that you may be familiar with from high school. Given the content listed above, a description of the research problem is usually a short paragraph in length.
II. Sources of Problems for Investigation
The identification of a problem to study can be challenging, not because there's a lack of issues that could be investigated, but due to the challenge of formulating an academically relevant and researchable problem which is unique and does not simply duplicate the work of others. To facilitate how you might select a problem from which to build a research study, consider these sources of inspiration:
Deductions from Theory This relates to deductions made from social philosophy or generalizations embodied in life and in society that the researcher is familiar with. These deductions from human behavior are then placed within an empirical frame of reference through research. From a theory, the researcher can formulate a research problem or hypothesis stating the expected findings in certain empirical situations. The research asks the question: “What relationship between variables will be observed if theory aptly summarizes the state of affairs?” One can then design and carry out a systematic investigation to assess whether empirical data confirm or reject the hypothesis, and hence, the theory.
Interdisciplinary Perspectives Identifying a problem that forms the basis for a research study can come from academic movements and scholarship originating in disciplines outside of your primary area of study. This can be an intellectually stimulating exercise. A review of pertinent literature should include examining research from related disciplines that can reveal new avenues of exploration and analysis. An interdisciplinary approach to selecting a research problem offers an opportunity to construct a more comprehensive understanding of a very complex issue that any single discipline may be able to provide.
Interviewing Practitioners The identification of research problems about particular topics can arise from formal interviews or informal discussions with practitioners who provide insight into new directions for future research and how to make research findings more relevant to practice. Discussions with experts in the field, such as, teachers, social workers, health care providers, lawyers, business leaders, etc., offers the chance to identify practical, “real world” problems that may be understudied or ignored within academic circles. This approach also provides some practical knowledge which may help in the process of designing and conducting your study.
Personal Experience Don't undervalue your everyday experiences or encounters as worthwhile problems for investigation. Think critically about your own experiences and/or frustrations with an issue facing society or related to your community, your neighborhood, your family, or your personal life. This can be derived, for example, from deliberate observations of certain relationships for which there is no clear explanation or witnessing an event that appears harmful to a person or group or that is out of the ordinary.
Relevant Literature The selection of a research problem can be derived from a thorough review of pertinent research associated with your overall area of interest. This may reveal where gaps exist in understanding a topic or where an issue has been understudied. Research may be conducted to: 1) fill such gaps in knowledge; 2) evaluate if the methodologies employed in prior studies can be adapted to solve other problems; or, 3) determine if a similar study could be conducted in a different subject area or applied in a different context or to different study sample [i.e., different setting or different group of people]. Also, authors frequently conclude their studies by noting implications for further research; read the conclusion of pertinent studies because statements about further research can be a valuable source for identifying new problems to investigate. The fact that a researcher has identified a topic worthy of further exploration validates the fact it is worth pursuing.
III. What Makes a Good Research Statement?
A good problem statement begins by introducing the broad area in which your research is centered, gradually leading the reader to the more specific issues you are investigating. The statement need not be lengthy, but a good research problem should incorporate the following features:
1. Compelling Topic The problem chosen should be one that motivates you to address it but simple curiosity is not a good enough reason to pursue a research study because this does not indicate significance. The problem that you choose to explore must be important to you, but it must also be viewed as important by your readers and to a the larger academic and/or social community that could be impacted by the results of your study. 2. Supports Multiple Perspectives The problem must be phrased in a way that avoids dichotomies and instead supports the generation and exploration of multiple perspectives. A general rule of thumb in the social sciences is that a good research problem is one that would generate a variety of viewpoints from a composite audience made up of reasonable people. 3. Researchability This isn't a real word but it represents an important aspect of creating a good research statement. It seems a bit obvious, but you don't want to find yourself in the midst of investigating a complex research project and realize that you don't have enough prior research to draw from for your analysis. There's nothing inherently wrong with original research, but you must choose research problems that can be supported, in some way, by the resources available to you. If you are not sure if something is researchable, don't assume that it isn't if you don't find information right away--seek help from a librarian !
NOTE: Do not confuse a research problem with a research topic. A topic is something to read and obtain information about, whereas a problem is something to be solved or framed as a question raised for inquiry, consideration, or solution, or explained as a source of perplexity, distress, or vexation. In short, a research topic is something to be understood; a research problem is something that needs to be investigated.
IV. Asking Analytical Questions about the Research Problem
Research problems in the social and behavioral sciences are often analyzed around critical questions that must be investigated. These questions can be explicitly listed in the introduction [i.e., "This study addresses three research questions about women's psychological recovery from domestic abuse in multi-generational home settings..."], or, the questions are implied in the text as specific areas of study related to the research problem. Explicitly listing your research questions at the end of your introduction can help in designing a clear roadmap of what you plan to address in your study, whereas, implicitly integrating them into the text of the introduction allows you to create a more compelling narrative around the key issues under investigation. Either approach is appropriate.
The number of questions you attempt to address should be based on the complexity of the problem you are investigating and what areas of inquiry you find most critical to study. Practical considerations, such as, the length of the paper you are writing or the availability of resources to analyze the issue can also factor in how many questions to ask. In general, however, there should be no more than four research questions underpinning a single research problem.
Given this, well-developed analytical questions can focus on any of the following:
- Highlights a genuine dilemma, area of ambiguity, or point of confusion about a topic open to interpretation by your readers;
- Yields an answer that is unexpected and not obvious rather than inevitable and self-evident;
- Provokes meaningful thought or discussion;
- Raises the visibility of the key ideas or concepts that may be understudied or hidden;
- Suggests the need for complex analysis or argument rather than a basic description or summary; and,
- Offers a specific path of inquiry that avoids eliciting generalizations about the problem.
NOTE: Questions of how and why concerning a research problem often require more analysis than questions about who, what, where, and when. You should still ask yourself these latter questions, however. Thinking introspectively about the who, what, where, and when of a research problem can help ensure that you have thoroughly considered all aspects of the problem under investigation and helps define the scope of the study in relation to the problem.
V. Mistakes to Avoid
Beware of circular reasoning! Do not state the research problem as simply the absence of the thing you are suggesting. For example, if you propose the following, "The problem in this community is that there is no hospital," this only leads to a research problem where:
- The need is for a hospital
- The objective is to create a hospital
- The method is to plan for building a hospital, and
- The evaluation is to measure if there is a hospital or not.
This is an example of a research problem that fails the "So What?" test . In this example, the problem does not reveal the relevance of why you are investigating the fact there is no hospital in the community [e.g., perhaps there's a hospital in the community ten miles away]; it does not elucidate the significance of why one should study the fact there is no hospital in the community [e.g., that hospital in the community ten miles away has no emergency room]; the research problem does not offer an intellectual pathway towards adding new knowledge or clarifying prior knowledge [e.g., the county in which there is no hospital already conducted a study about the need for a hospital, but it was conducted ten years ago]; and, the problem does not offer meaningful outcomes that lead to recommendations that can be generalized for other situations or that could suggest areas for further research [e.g., the challenges of building a new hospital serves as a case study for other communities].
Alvesson, Mats and Jörgen Sandberg. “Generating Research Questions Through Problematization.” Academy of Management Review 36 (April 2011): 247-271 ; Choosing and Refining Topics. Writing@CSU. Colorado State University; D'Souza, Victor S. "Use of Induction and Deduction in Research in Social Sciences: An Illustration." Journal of the Indian Law Institute 24 (1982): 655-661; Ellis, Timothy J. and Yair Levy Nova. "Framework of Problem-Based Research: A Guide for Novice Researchers on the Development of a Research-Worthy Problem." Informing Science: the International Journal of an Emerging Transdiscipline 11 (2008); How to Write a Research Question. The Writing Center. George Mason University; Invention: Developing a Thesis Statement. The Reading/Writing Center. Hunter College; Problem Statements PowerPoint Presentation. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; Procter, Margaret. Using Thesis Statements. University College Writing Centre. University of Toronto; Shoket, Mohd. "Research Problem: Identification and Formulation." International Journal of Research 1 (May 2014): 512-518; Trochim, William M.K. Problem Formulation. Research Methods Knowledge Base. 2006; Thesis and Purpose Statements. The Writer’s Handbook. Writing Center. University of Wisconsin, Madison; Thesis Statements. The Writing Center. University of North Carolina; Tips and Examples for Writing Thesis Statements. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; Pardede, Parlindungan. “Identifying and Formulating the Research Problem." Research in ELT: Module 4 (October 2018): 1-13; Walk, Kerry. Asking an Analytical Question. [Class handout or worksheet]. Princeton University; White, Patrick. Developing Research Questions: A Guide for Social Scientists . New York: Palgrave McMillan, 2009; Li, Yanmei, and Sumei Zhang. "Identifying the Research Problem." In Applied Research Methods in Urban and Regional Planning . (Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing, 2022), pp. 13-21.
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Social Problems in the US Research Paper
View sample sociology research paper on social problems in the US. Browse other research paper examples for more inspiration. If you need a thorough research paper written according to all the academic standards, you can always turn to our experienced writers for help. This is how your paper can get an A! Feel free to contact our custom writing service for professional assistance. We offer high-quality assignments for reasonable rates.
The study of social problems in the United States is no doubt one of the most difficult to summarize and analyze within sociology. In contrast to family sociology, criminology, social stratification, the sociology of sport, and so on, the study of social problems is always shifting in terms of what is included or excluded as the focus of study. But there is also the matter of shifting perspectives and theories within all the core issues within the field of social problems, such as racial discrimination, crime and delinquency, and sexual deviance, to name only a few of what have been among the core issues in the study of social problems in America.
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In what follows, we will briefly consider how social problems have been studied in early American history and then consider how social problems have been defined in sociology textbooks and look at the trends in these textbooks over the years. In the second half of this research paper, we will examine more critically how the particular pattern of American values have influenced our definitions of social problems, along with the impact of wealth and power on these definitions. With this examination of wealth and power, we will consider the impact of social movements on what comes to be defined as social problems. A complete understanding of the impact of social movements, however, also requires brief consideration of the causes of social movements. Finally, we will consider how solutions to social problems are also shaped by power, wealth, and American value orientations.
A Brief History of the Study of Social Problems in the United States
The first book in the United States with the title Social Problems was mostly likely that by Henry George, first published in 1883 (George 1939). But sociologists such as George Herbert Mead were already discussing the nature of social problems and the need for social reform in the late 1800s (see Mead 1899; Schwendinger and Schwendinger 1974:452–56). As industrialization took off dramatically in the final two decades of the nineteenth century, so did many conditions that came to be defined as social problems, such as urban poverty, unemployment, and crime. As the great historian Hofstader (1955) noted, it was soon after this that the United States entered one of its reoccurring cycles of reform movements (also see Garraty 1978). It was also a time when sociology was emerging as a major discipline of academic study in the United States (Gouldner 1970; Schwendinger and Schwendinger 1974). The timing of these two events is no doubt a reason why the study of social problems became one of the major subareas in American sociology. But it was also the unique set of utilitarian and individualistic values in the United States that affected the development of American sociology. A crusading spirit accompanied the emergence of American sociology, with many of the early American sociologists coming from Christian clergy backgrounds to a new secular orientation toward understanding the problems of the newly industrialized nation (Gouldner 1970).
It was also a liberal critique of the American society rooted in the early discipline of U.S. sociology, different from that found in European sociology. From the midnineteenth century, European sociology had developed with the full range of perspectives, from radical critiques of basic institutions provided by Marx to conservative support of the status quo from the likes of Herbert Spencer. American sociology through the first half of the twentieth century, in contrast, “came to dwell on those concrete institutional areas and social problems” (Gouldner 1970:93) accepted by the dominate society from a perspective of how to make them work better rather than suggesting basic change. “Indeed, nothing like Marxian sociology was even recognized by American sociology until well after World War II” (McLellan 1973). There were, of course, Marxian perspectives among European immigrants and the early labor movement in the United States, but little of this found its way into academic halls. It is telling that Talcott Parsons’s major book, designed to introduce Americans to European sociology in the early 1930s, had not one mention of Marx or Marxian theory (Parsons 1937). To this day, social problems are not considered a major subarea in European sociology or offered as a course in many European universities. The exception to this was sociology in the old Soviet Union, where the Soviet government found the social problem orientation of functional sociology a useful perspective for “fine-tuning” the Soviet society without criticism of the basic Soviet institutions (Gouldner 1970:447–52).
What is a Social Problem? Textbook Definitions
Standard “textbook” definitions of social problems are generally grouped into three categories, with the second two categories most often used by sociologists themselves. As we will consider in the following, however, there are many more underlying assumptions about the nature of society and humans that shape what sociologists as well as the general public come to define as social problems.
The public generally sees a social problem as any condition that is harmful to society; but the matter is not so simple, for the meanings of such everyday terms as harm and society are far from clear. Social conditions that some people see as a problem harm some segments of society but are beneficial to others. Take trade policy as an example. Shareholders and others affiliated with multinational corporate manufacturers typically argue that any kind of trade restriction is a problem because government regulation interferes with the free enterprise system and drives up costs to consumers. On the other hand, domestic workers and manufacturers argue that the government’s failure to exclude products produced in low-cost nations is a social problem because it costs jobs and hurts domestic business. As we will discuss in more detail later, one person’s social problem, in other words, is often another person’s solution. In fact, most people and organizations define something as a social problem only if it harms (or seems to harm) their own interests.
Sociologists have tried to take a less biased approach with mixed results. Most of the early sociological works on social problems held that a social problem exists when there is a sizable difference between the ideals of a society and its actual achievements. From this perspective, social problems are created by the failure to close the gap between the way people want things to be and the way things really are. Thus, racial discrimination is a social problem because although we believe that everyone should receive fair and equal treatment, some groups are still denied equal access to education, employment, and housing. Before this definition can be applied, however, someone must first examine the ideals and values of society and then decide whether these goals are being achieved. From this perspective, sociologists and other experts thus decide what is or is not a problem because they believe they are the ones with the skills necessary for measuring the desires and achievements of society (see Merton and Nisbet 1971).
Critics of this approach point out that no contemporary society has a single, unified set of values and ideals. When using this definition, sociologists must therefore decide which standards they will use for judging whether or not a certain condition is a social problem. Critics charge that those ideals and values used as standards are selected on the basis of the researcher’s personal opinions and prejudices, not objective analysis.
The “social constructivists,” who have become the dominant school in social problems research, take a different position, holding that a social problem exists when a significant number of people believe that a certain condition is in fact a problem. Here, the public (not a sociologist) decides what is or is not a social problem. The sociologist’s job is to determine which problems affect a substantial number of people. Thus, in this view, pollution did not become a social problem until environmental activists and news reports attracted the public’s attention to conditions that had actually existed for some time (see Blumer 1971; Spector and Kitsuse 1973).
The advantage of this definition is that it does not require a value judgment by sociologists who try to decide what is and is not a social problem: Such decisions are made by “the public.” However, a shortcoming of this approach is that the public is often uninformed or misguided and does not clearly understand its problems. If thousands of people were being poisoned by radiation leaking from a nuclear power plant but didn’t know it, wouldn’t that still be a social problem? A potentially more serious shortcoming of this approach is its hidden political bias. Obviously, in a mass society it is not simply the seriousness of the problem that wins it public attention but the way the corporate media present it. Furthermore, relatively powerless groups with little money or political organization are not able to get their problems recognized as social problems in the way that dominant groups can. Sociologists using the constructivist approach in the study of social problems creation have generally been very sensitive to the role power plays in this process, but researchers focusing more narrowly on individual social problems have often unreflectively accepted the definitions of problematic conditions provided by funding agencies or popular opinion (Galliher and McCartney 1973; Useem 1976a, 1976b; Kerbo 1981, 2006a:254–59).
But even these conflicting views of how social problems are to be defined miss important underlying assumptions that influence what people come to define as a social problem. These underlying assumptions account for how social problems are differently conceived across societies, through history, and across lines such as race, class, and religion within societies at one particular time. And it must be recognized that sociologists have also been influenced by these underlying and often hidden assumptions about humans and societies.
The Field Today: Trends in “Social Problems” Textbooks
The question of which problems are serious enough to warrant sociological attention has been a difficult and controversial one over the years. We will consider this issue from another perspective in the following. But for now, we can note that the pressure of social movements is one of four interwoven factors that determined which problems draw the most sociological attention. The public’s perception of its problems is a second important factor that, of course, is strongly influenced by the media of mass communication. Space does not permit an exploration of all the factors that influence the media’s decisions to turn its attention on one problem and not another, but certainly the corporate interests of the media conglomerates and the various political and financial pressures to which they are exposed are of prime importance (see, for example, Domhoff 2006, on the “policy formation process”). But in addition to the media, the public’s perception of social problems is also shaped by the actual experiences of everyday people. So a third factor is the social crises that have a wrenching impact on the public from time to time, as well as the ongoing contradictions of industrial capitalism. In January of 2001, for example, terrorism was not mentioned as a major problem in the Gallup Poll, but by the start of 2002, it was the number one problem identified by the respondents. With the start of the Iraq war the following year, warfare and international tension replaced terrorism on the list of national concerns. In 2001, less than 0.5 percent of the poll respondents mentioned warfare and international tensions as the nation’s most serious problem, but by 2003, 35 percent did so (Gallup 2004). A final factor involves the sociologists who are selecting the problems for consideration.
Since most practicing sociologists hold some kind of academic position, they function as semi-independent intellectuals in the arena of social problems creation. As such, they have considerably more independence (although less visibility and influence) than scientists and advocates working for the corporations or other special interest groups. But as noted in the foregoing, they are, nonetheless, still constrained by the need to obtain financial support for their research and the political climate of their universities. The paradigmatic shift that has occurred in sociology in the last 50 years as it moved away from the functionalist perspective to a more critical conflict orientation has certainly been an important influence both in the problems that are given attention and in the ways in which they are analyzed.
Since the focus of ociological research itself is determined as much by the priorities of the funding agencies as by the sociologists who carry it out, one of the best guides to the changes in sociological concerns is the content of the social problems textbooks. A comparison of contemporary texts with those from the earlier decades of the postwar era shows that although organizational styles and definitions vary, there is a significant group of problems that have maintained consistent sociological attention. If any social problems can be said to occupy the center of sociological concern, they are the ones related to crime and deviance. Certain types of crime and deviance were given more coverage in one era than another, but all the major texts have an extensive coverage of this topic. Other constants are the problems of the family, ethnic relations, population, and poverty or economic inequality. A second group of problems appears in some texts but not in others without any clear chronological pattern of increasing or decreasing attention. Surprisingly, given their importance in public opinion polls, economic problems other than poverty are not consistently covered. Other problems in this category include those of urbanization, sexuality, and education.
Finally, a third group of problems has shown an increase or decrease in sociological interest over the years. The first edition of the best-selling text by Horton and Leslie (1955) had chapters on two problems that are not seen in later texts: “Religious Problems and Conflicts” and “Civil Liberties and Subversion” (the focus of the latter being primarily on the dangers of communism). New social movements during this period also brought new problems to the foreground. By the time Joseph Julian’s text replaced Horton and Leslie as the top seller in the 1970s, several new problems had joined the core of sociological interest. In response to the rise of the environmental movement, Julian’s (1973) first edition contained a chapter on environmental problems—something that became a mainstay of social problems texts either on its own or with a presentation of population growth as a social problem. The feminist movement succeeded in adding another critical topic— gender inequity—to the mainstream texts. The extremely influential text, edited by Robert K. Merton and Robert Nisbet (1976), first added a chapter on gender in its fourth edition, and Julian (1977) added a similar chapter the following year. More recently, there has been growing attention to the problems faced by gays and lesbians, even though this topic has generally not been treated in an independent chapter of its own. Although chapters on the problems of aging are not quite as common, they also started showing up around the 1970s.
The main focus of most of these texts, like that of American sociology itself, has been on domestic issues, but there have been some important changes there as well. As the memories of World War II began to fade, there was some decline in interest in events beyond America’s borders. Horton and Leslie originally had two chapters with an international focus, “Population” and “Warfare and International Organization,” as did the Merton and Nisbet text in its early editions. In 1976, however, Merton and Nisbet replaced their chapter on “Warfare and Disarmament” with a chapter on “Violence,” which focused on criminal behavior, and Julian never had a chapter on warfare. However, as the process of globalization won increasing public attention in the 1990s, this trend was slowly reversed. Not only did many of the texts begin including more comparative material, but some added a chapter on global inequality as Coleman and Cressey (1993) did in their fifth edition.
Three overall trends are therefore evident in the sociological study of social problems in North America. As just indicated, one trend has been toward greater inclusivity. First African Americans, then other ethnic minorities, then women, and finally gays and lesbians have slowly won inclusion in what was originally an exclusively white male vision of the world. A second trend has been the slow expansion of sociological horizons to recognize the importance of environmental concerns as well as to take a more global perspective.
A third trend, not as easily recognizable from our previous analysis, has been an underlying paradigmatic shift. To the extent that they used any explicit theoretical approach, the earlier texts were based on functionalist assumptions. Following Horton and Leslie (1955:27–32), they tended to argue that there were three theoretical approaches to social problems: social disorganization, personal deviance, and value conflict. The value-conflict approach should not, however, be confused with contemporary conflict theory inspired by Marxian thought. Its basic assumptions were clearly functionalist: Society needed value consensus, and “value conflict” was therefore a cause of social conflict (Fuller and Myers 1941). As sociology slowly adopted a more critical perspective, a few books with an exclusively conflict orientation were published, and for most of the other textbooks, this tripartite approach was recast. The social disorganization approach was expanded and renamed to include all functionalist theory. The personal deviance approach expanded to become the interactionist approach, which had less of a functionalist cast and included other social psychological phenomena in addition to deviance. Finally, the issue of value conflict was subsumed under the much broader and more critical umbrella of a conflict approach (for example, see Coleman and Cressey 1980).
Of the new trends that seem to be developing for the twenty-first century, an increasing globalization perspective is most important. There is now greater recognition that for the United States, globalization is creating new social problems or making old ones such as poverty and unemployment worse. The movement of U.S. factories overseas and outsourcing of all kinds of work have helped reduce wages for the bottom half of the American labor force (see Kerbo 2006b:chaps. 2 and 3). In addition to this, the antiglobalization movements of recent years, as well as research on the negative impact of globalization for developing countries (Kerbo 2006b:chap. 4), have brought greater attention to the subjects of world poverty, environmental pollution, and global migration for most books on social problems. With global inequality expected to continue increasing for many years into the twenty-first century, the trend will likely become more pronounced.
Paradigm Assumptions and Defining Social Problems
In his classic work The Sociological Imagination, C. Wright Mills (1959) argued we should distinguish between “‘the personal troubles of milieu’ and ‘the public issues of social structure’” (p. 8). For him, of course, it was “the public issues of social structure” that should be the focus of sociology when defining the nature of a social problem. Mills offered this example:
In these terms, consider unemployment. When, in a city of 100,000, only one man is unemployed, that is his personal trouble, and for its relief we properly look to the character of the man . . . But when in a nation of 50 million employees, 15 million men are unemployed, that is an issue . . . Both the correct statement of the problem and the range of possible solutions require us to consider the economic and political institutions of the society, and not merely the personal situation and character of a scatter of individuals. (P. 9)
Mills, obviously, offers a definition of social problems that focuses on the breakdown of basic social institutions that must take care of individuals and assure the survival of the society and its social institutions. His plea for a focus on social institutions seems straightforward and obvious; but he made such a plea because of the particular aspects of American culture that create a bias against this focus.
It has long been recognized that power (generally defined) and values interact to determine what comes to be seen as social problems. Those with wealth and influence in government and/or the mass media in modern societies are the ones most able to shape what the society comes to view as a social problem. But there are many forms of influence held by those below the top ranks in the society, making the study of social problems overlap with the study of social movements. Several years ago, for example, one of the basic American social problems textbooks employed the title Social Problems as Social Movements (Mauss 1975). As we will consider in the following, however, assuming that social movements help define social problems is also problematic because of the complex set of forces that make the emergence of social movements possible. But in addition to this, the recognition that social movements help define social problems continues to neglect the question of cultural assumptions and values that make one country, in one historical epic, view conditions differently for people in other times and places, as well as neglect the ability of those with wealth and power to shape the perspective on the causes and solutions to social problems once they have been defined as such.
Sociological analyses of sociology itself, a form of “deconstructionism” popular among professional sociologists during the 1960s and 1970s, long before the current fad in humanities, has shown that “paradigm assumptions” or “metatheoretical assumptions” shape all sociological theories at least to some degree (Gouldner 1970; Strasser 1976; Ritzer 2005). And while all scientific disciplines are influenced by these political, religious, or cultural assumptions (Kuhn 1970), these assumptions shape some fields within the social sciences to a greater extent than others. Theories and research on politically sensitive subjects such as crime and poverty, along with most subjects within the general area of social problems, are most influenced by these paradigm assumptions (Galliher and McCartney 1973; Useem 1976a, 1976b; Kerbo 1981).
To understand theories and research on social problems in the American society, it is first important to examine some of the general American values that shape views on these subjects. Various international opinion polls show the following: Americans have the highest scores on (1) individualism (Hofstede 1991), (2) beliefs in the existence of equality of opportunity, (3) beliefs that government cannot and should not reduce inequality or poverty (Ladd and Bowman 1998), and (4) beliefs that high levels of poverty and inequality are acceptable (Verba et al. 1987; Ladd and Bowman 1998). For the study of social problems in general, this has meant that American values suggest that individuals themselves are responsible for their problems rather than some aspect of the society or basic institutions. In contrast to the early appeals of C. Wright Mills noted in the foregoing, content analyses of articles on social problems published in American sociology journals through the second half of the twentieth century confirm that the focus tends to be on the characteristics of individuals rather than problems of society (Galliher and McCartney 1973; Useem 1976a, 1976b; Kerbo 1981, 2006a:254–59).
This research also shows that it is not simply the views of sociologists themselves that set the trend toward blaming the characteristics of individuals for social problems as much as the assumptions of funding agencies; most social science research is funded by government agencies and private foundations that are more interested in controlling social problems rather than changing aspects of the society that are often at the root of social problems (Kerbo 1981). Interviews with social scientists indicate that they are most often conducting research on questions that they know will get funding rather than on what they think are the most important sociological questions or subjects in which they are most interested (Useem 1976a, 1976b). What this research suggests is that while the rich and powerful may not always define what is seen as a social problem, they do have extensive influence over what we think are the causes and solutions to social problems. They help set the research agendas, what gets research attention, and what gets talked about in government circles and the mass media through this influence on the social sciences through research funding (see Domhoff 2006:77–132).
This is not to say, however, that the assumptions and interests of the less affluent and politically powerless do not shape what we come to define as social problems. For example, an abundance of research has shown that the civil rights movements of the 1960s, and especially the violent demonstrations and riots of that period, shaped the American society’s definition of poverty as a social problem (Piven and Cloward 1971, 1977). Indeed, several studies have shown strong correlations between urban riots of the 1960s and the expansion of welfare benefits to the poor (Betz 1974; Kelly and Snyder 1980; Isaac and Kelly 1981).
The tie between social movements and what comes to be defined as social problems is especially critical in the United States. Compared with the rest of the industrialized world, of course, a much smaller percentage of Americans tend to vote during national elections. But an even bigger contrast to other industrialized nations is the class makeup of those who do vote in the United States: Toward the upper-income levels, some 70–80 percent of Americans who are eligible to vote do so, compared with 30 percent or less for people with a below-average income. This is not the case with other industrial societies, where the voter turnout is about the same at every income level (Piven and Cloward 1988, 2000; Kerbo and Gonzalez 2003). This is to say, therefore, that when the less affluent and less politically powerful in the United States have influenced definitions of social problems, it has been comparatively more often done in the streets than through the political process.
The Causes of Social Movements and Their Impact on Definitions of Social Problems
Recognizing that social movements are important in identifying what a society comes to view as a social problem forces us to ask how social movements themselves emerge. It is not our intent to review all the literature on the causes of social movements, but a brief summary of this literature is essential when considering how social problems have been defined in the United States.
For many years the study of social movements was dominated by theories based on some form of “deprivation” argument. In other words, social movements were seen to emerge and attract widespread membership because participants felt a sense of anger or outrage at their condition. Recognizing that long-standing deprivations do not always or even often spark widespread social movement activity (such as decades or centuries of discrimination and exploitation of a minority group by the majority), most deprivation theories of social movements attempted to explain how some type of change leads to a redefinition of the situation. The most popular of this type of theory has been called “relative deprivation theory” or “J-curve theory” (Davies 1962, 1969; Gurr 1970). During the early 1800s, Tocqueville (1955) recognized that, ironically, social movements and revolutions tend to emerge when conditions are actually improving. More recent refinements of “relative deprivation theory” distinguish between what is called “value expectations” and “value capabilities.” When value capabilities are low (such as high levels of poverty) and have been so for a long period of time, people come to accept their situation or assume improvements are unlikely or impossible. People in deprived situations are often, even likely, to be persuaded that they themselves are responsible for their condition and thus have no one else to blame (Piven and Cloward 1971; Gans 1972). This is to say that low-value capabilities are usually associated with lowvalue expectations over long periods of time. Thus, to understand the emergence of social movements, relative deprivation theories suggest the need to understand how value capabilities and value expectations move apart.
Obviously, the gap between the two can develop because value capabilities worsen (such as a big jump in unemployment of the working class), thus creating a gap between previous expectations and newly lowered capabilities. Faced with a sudden crisis, people seldom assume their situation is hopeless or that they deserve their worsening situation. However, as Tocqueville (1955) was first to recognize, social movements and revolutions actually seem to occur when long-standing conditions of deprivation are actually improving. Refinement of relative deprivation–type theories has come to suggest that improving conditions quickly raise levels of expectation, but improving conditions seldom occur without fluctuation, meaning that a sudden downturn in improving conditions creates the gap between value capabilities and value expectations. It is anger or fear that improvements finally achieved will be short lived that motivate more and more people to join a social movement.
While research has shown that some form of “relative deprivation” seems to have preceded many social movements, others have noted that this is not always the case— nor is anger or a sense of deprivation in and of itself usually sufficient to make a social movement. In recent years, what is generally referred to as “resource mobilization theory” has become much more popular among sociologists attempting to explain the development and spread of social movements (for original development of the perspective, see McCarthy and Zald 1977). In its basics, resource mobilization theory is a form of conflict theory focused on the balance of power between authorities (or the more powerful in a society) and those with possible grievances. Reduced power of authorities, increased power among those with a grievance, or both can lead to a strong social movement.
The concept of “resources” in resource mobilization theory refers to any value or condition that can be used to the advantage of a group. Obviously important are such things as money, publicity, arms, and the ability to interact with and organize larger numbers of people for the cause. In one of the first studies using resource mobilization theory, for example, Paige (1975) was able to show that certain kinds of crops and certain types of agricultural organization (such as wet rice agriculture with absentee landowners) are more likely associated with peasant revolts and revolutions because of the ability peasants have to interact freely, share common grievances, and be organized to oppose landowners. Likewise, the loss of legitimacy and the ability to punish opponents or hide information are conditions that reduce the power and resources of authorities. Ted Gurr (1970) has produced a long list of possible resources that includes things such as terrain (ability to hide or ability of authorities to uncover rebels), food supplies, and outside allies that can influence the power and size of social movements.
Perhaps more than any other social movement in recent American history, the new resource mobilization theory of social movements led to a reanalysis of the civil rights movement. Because of this extensive reanalysis of the causes of the civil rights movement, it is worth considering in more detail here how a particular social problem, racism and discrimination, came to be widely defined as a social problem in the second half of the twentieth century.
Civil Rights Movement
Considering the importance of the civil rights movement in the United States for defining racism, discrimination, and poverty as social problems, it is useful to consider how this social movement emerged and to consider the value of the social movement theories described in the foregoing.
Relative deprivation theory has some success in explaining why the more violent stage of the civil rights movement emerged in the mid-1960s. Sociologists using this perspective argue that the more violent stage of the civil rights movement was in response to a white “backlash” that resulted in some setbacks to the earlier achievements of the civil rights movement from the 1950s (Davies 1969). However, relative deprivation theory has difficulty in explaining why the civil rights movement suddenly appeared in the early 1950s, while so many other attempted social movements by black Americans failed in earlier American history. In recent years, research has shown resource mobilization theory to be a powerful tool in understanding why the civil rights movement became widespread and powerful when and where it did so (McAdam 1982).
In summary, the civil rights movement benefited from several changes that occurred in the American society after World War II. Among the most important changes was agricultural mechanization, which moved a majority of black Americans from rural areas and agricultural jobs into large cities all over the United States. Larger concentrations of black Americans in urban areas provided the ability to reach and organize far greater numbers of social movement participants than before. A key to organizational ability was also found in the huge churches dominated by black Americans in large cities in the southern United States. These black churches made possible organization within the denomination and across churches all over the South. At the same time, these large black churches provided support for social movement participants and their families when they were jailed or injured in social movement activities.
Among other new resources in the 1950s were more mass-media exposure to actions against black Americans and social movement activities that had remained relatively hidden in small cities and rural areas throughout the South in previous generations. But related to this was political change, as the Democratic Party lost its previously solid majority in the South. To counter this loss, the Democratic Party decided to “go for” new urban concentrations of potential black votes in the late 1950s. It was politicalization of black grievances in the presidential election of 1960 that gave black social movement activists more resources of many kinds and John F. Kennedy the presidency in one of the closest elections when newly organized black voters gave him overwhelming support.
Movements of Affluence
The foregoing analysis of social movements and their causes as instrumental in defining what comes to be seen as a social problem, however, should not be seen as reinforcing the common assumption that social movements are primarily by and for the poor and oppressed. We must recognize the distinction between what has been called “movements of crisis” and “movements of affluence” (Kerbo 1982). Most movements of crisis are made up of people who face critical problems such as poverty, discrimination, or some other deprivation. Most movements of affluence, on the other hand, involve people who are relatively comfortable, if not affluent, and have the luxury of devoting their attention and energy on “moral issues.” Current social movements in the United States that are usually pushed by people on the political right (such as the anti-abortion movement) as well as the political left (such as the environmental movement and antiglobalization) must be included among these movements of affluence, which focus on moral issues or issues that are not of immediate harm to individual social movement participants.
Solutions to Social Problems
We can conclude with an examination of what are considered “solutions” to social problems. While the possible solutions to social problems are seldom recognized, they are equally, if not more, shaped by power and influence in a society. Over the last four decades in the United States, the extent and seriousness of many, if not most, social problems have remained relatively unchanged. For example, while violent crime and property crime have dropped in recent years, violent crime especially remains at high levels compared with other industrial nations. Drug use has gone up and down within only a narrow range. Teenage pregnancy has dropped only slightly. Poverty rates have ranged between 11 and 15 percent of the American population in the last 40 years, among the highest in the industrialized world. These continuing high levels of social problems in the United States might suggest that relatively little has been learned about the subject in the last half century of sociological research. The reality, however, is quite different. Even more complex than definitions of social problems is finding solutions that do not adversely affect groups with more political and/or economic power or impinge on important values of the dominant group in the society. Consideration of possible solutions to poverty and inequality will be useful in demonstrating the point.
In most of the original European Union countries, poverty rates are substantially below the American rates. Using the purchasing power parity (PPP) method of estimating currency values, and using the poverty line established by the U.S. Census Bureau (roughly $11 per day per person), during the late 1990s (the most recent years we have data for several European countries) the U.S. poverty rate was over 13 percent, compared with about 7 percent in Germany and the Netherlands and around 4 percent in Scandinavian countries (Smeeding, Rainwater, and Burtless 2001:51). But while the American poverty rates are comparatively high, unemployment at around 4 to 5 percent in the same time period was low compared to over 10 percent unemployment in most original EU countries. There are two interacting explanations for this: First, in contrast to the United States, European labor unions are strong enough to force government action to keep poverty low even at the expense of higher unemployment rates (Esping-Anderson 1990; Thelen 1991; Goodin et al. 1999; Kerbo and Gonzalez 2003). Second, opinion polls indicate that Europeans are more concerned than are Americans about high inequality and poverty among their citizens and believe that governments have the responsibility to reduce poverty and inequality (Verba et al. 1987; Ladd and Bowman 1998). These two explanations are also behind the figures we see in Table 1. Without government action, poverty rates in Europe would be about the same or even higher than in the United States. But government interventions in Europe reduce poverty rates by 50 to 80 percent, compared with only a 28 percent reduction in the United States. Not surprisingly, the EU country with the weakest unions today and values closest to the United States, the United Kingdom, has the lowest rate of reducing poverty through government action in Europe and, using the PPP $11 per day poverty line, a poverty rate of 15.7 percent compared with 13.6 percent in the same time period in the United States (Smeeding et al. 2001:51).
The contrast between Germany and the United States is most clear. The influence of the American corporate elite, in the context of American values stressing individualism, has led the American public to generally accept the argument that the government should not be allowed to raise taxes, increase unemployment benefits, or raise minimum-wage laws to reduce poverty. Rather, the argument is that corporations and the rich should be left alone as much as possible to generate wealth that will then expand job opportunities that will reduce poverty among Americans. (For a broader discussion of this German vs. American contrast, see Kerbo and Strasser 2000, Kerbo 2006b:chap. 3.) In Germany, by contrast, the power of labor unions and labor laws already instituted with labor union pressure will not allow such government inaction as a presumed solution to the problem of poverty.
Another example can be briefly considered. Several studies indicate that high employment rates are instrumental in producing crime (Blau and Blau 1982; Williams 1984), which at least in part helps explain the lower crime rates in the United States from the early 1990s to the present. Thus, a guaranteed job after release from prison would significantly reduce the rate of recidivism. But since the 1930s, American politicians have not been willing to create employment through government programs in times of high unemployment or guarantee jobs to felons released from prison. The American corporate elite have been successful in blocking such government job guarantees or jobs created by government, even though it is clear this would be one viable solution to high rates of crime.
There are many other examples: Decriminalizing drugs would likely help reduce both property crime and drug addiction as it has in some European countries, and more sex education and freer access to condoms would help reduce teenage pregnancy rates, which are far higher in the United States than in Europe. But as with definitions of what is or is not a social problem, power and influence in combination with particular societal value orientations that can be exploited by those with power are also involved with what come to be viewed as accepted solutions to social problems.
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- Gans, Herbert. 1972. “Positive Functions of Poverty.” American Journal of Sociology 78:275–89.
- Galliher, John and James McCartney. 1973. “The Influence of Funding Agencies on Juvenile Delinquency Research.” Social Problems 21:77–90.
- Gallup, George H. 2004. The Gallup Report. Retrieved June 28, 2004 (http://www.gallup.com).
- Garraty, John. 1978. Unemployment in History: Economic Thought and Public Policy. New York: Harper & Row.
- George, Henry.  1939. Social Problems. New York: Robert Schalkenbach Foundation.
- Goodin, R. E., B. Headey, R. Muffels, and H. Dirven. 1999. The Real Worlds of Welfare Capitalism. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
- Gouldner, Alvin. 1970. The Coming Crisis in Western Sociology. New York: Basic Books.
- Gurr, Ted. 1970. Why Men Rebel. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
- Hofstader, Richard. 1955. The Age of Reform: From Bryan to FDR. New York: Knopf.
- Hofstede, Geert. 1991. Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind. New York: McGraw-Hill.
- Horton, Paul B. and Gerald R. Leslie. 1955. The Sociology of Social Problems. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.
- Isaac, Larry and William Kelly. 1981. “Racial Insurgency, the State, and Welfare Expansion: Local and National Level Evidence from the Postwar United States.” American Journal of Sociology 86:1348–86.
- Julian, Joseph. 1973. Social Problems. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
- Julian, Joseph. 1977. Social Problems. 2d ed. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
- Kelley, William and David Snyder. 1980. “Racial Violence and Socioeconomic Changes among Blacks in the United States.” Social Forces 58:739–60.
- Kerbo, Harold. 1981. “Characteristics of the Poor: A Continuing Focus in Social Research.” Sociology and Social Research 65:323–31.
- Kerbo, Harold R. 1982. “Movements of ‘Crisis’ and Movements of ‘Affluence’: A Critique of Deprivation and Resource Mobilization Theories of Social Movements.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 26:645–63.
- Kerbo, Harold R. 2006a. Social Stratification and Inequality: Class Conflict in Historical, Comparative, and Global Perspective. 6th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.
- Kerbo, Harold R. 2006b. World Poverty: Global Inequality and the Modern World System. New York: McGraw-Hill.
- Kerbo, Harold and Juan Gonzalez. 2003. “Class and Nonvoting in Comparative Perspective: Possible Causes and Consequences for the United States.” Research in Political Sociology 12:177–98.
- Kerbo, Harold and Hermann Strasser. 2000. Modern Germany. New York: McGraw-Hill.
- Kuhn, Thomas. 1970. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. 2d ed. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
- Ladd, Everett Carll and Karlyn H. Bowman. 1998. Attitudes toward Economic Inequality. Washington, DC: AEI Press.
- Mauss, Armand L. 1975. Social Problems as Social Movements. New York: Lippincott.
- McCarthy, John D. and Mayer N. Zald. 1977. “Resource Mobilization and Social Movements: A Partial Theory.” American Journal of Sociology. 82:1212–41.
- McAdam, Doug. 1982. Political Process and the Development of Black Insurgency: 1930–1970. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
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- Mead, George H. 1899. “The Working Hypothesis of Social Reform.” American Journal of Sociology 5:404–12.
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- Mills, C. Wright. 1959. The Sociological Imagination. New York: Oxford University Press.
- Nieuwbeerta, Paul. 2001. “The Democratic Class Struggle in Postwar Societies: Traditional Class Voting in Twenty Countries, 1945–1990.” Pp. 121–36 in The Breakdown of Class Politics: A Debate on Post-Industrial Stratification, edited by T. N. Clark and S. M. Lipset. Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson Center Press.
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- Piven, Frances Fox and Richard Cloward. 1988. Why Americans Don’t Vote. New York: Pantheon Books.
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Home — Essay Samples — Social Issues
Essays on Social Issues
World animal day: a global movement for animal rights and welfare, specific issues, awareness, and engagements in animal rights, made-to-order essay as fast as you need it.
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Human-animal Interactions: Ethical, Social, and Emotional Dimensions
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Iran Protests: Economic Consequences of Civic Unrest
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The Abolitionist Movement: The Way for Freedom and Equality
Why do we need laws, what to the slave is the fourth of july, what is worth fighting for, the identity of the hyphenated american, the evolving role of women in society today, poverty in africa: challenges, causes, and potential solutions, migrant workers: challenges and seeking opportunities, internet access is a human right, topics in this category.
- Abortion Debate
- Discrimination and Prejudice
- Human Rights
- Social Inequality
- Social Movements
- Police Brutality
- Gun Control
- Pro Life (Abortion)
- Pro Choice (Abortion)
- Animal Testing
- Women's Rights
- Gender Equality
- Death Penalty
- Freedom of Speech
- Illegal Immigration
- Civil Disobedience
- I Have a Dream
- Martin Luther King
- Black Lives Matter
- Human Trafficking
- Racial Profiling
- Gun Violence
- Animal Rights
- Controversial Issue
- Cyber Bullying
- Deviant Behavior
- Sexual Abuse
- Social Protection Programs
- Vehicle Driving
- Verbal Abuse
- Violence against Women
- Violence in Video Games
- Workplace Violence
- Youth Violence
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Social Issues Paper Examples Collection
International migration, inclusion and exclusion.
I would like to emphasize the importance of the integrative approaches, including forced migration studies, migrant network analysis and the migration development nexus. Because these approaches would help our understanding of international migration. Firstly, I will start with forced migration studies. I think this study is more suitable for the story. Because most of the problems that he faced is...
Words: 1244 | Pages: 6
Work Place Harassment: Types, Concequenses And Solutions
Abstract Work place harassment that is getting ‘harass’ or ‘bully ‘in the work place by one of the co-worker or employee or third party or sometimes even by the employers. It is a serious problem which is increasing rapidly in the industry. It does not easily come in the lime light because of the people’s powers and their approach and...
Words: 1912 | Pages: 8
A Short Guide to Critical Race Theory
The categorization of race in the societies and cultures has been in the circle of questions after the civil rights movement of the 1960s in the USA. Racism is a term used for the belief of superiority that one race assumes over the other and has been criticised by many scholars of equal civil rights and liberty. So, criticism against...
Words: 2191 | Pages: 10
Homelessness in America
Institution Affiliate Homelessness in America is a persistent, complex, and widely-occurring problem that incorporates many economic, social, and psychological dimensions. After years of war and economic decline, the ranks of the homelessness have grown to include families with children (35%), military veterans (23%), children (25%), persons fleeing domestic violence (30%), and the mentally ill (20-25%) (National Student Campaign, 2012). Additionally,...
Words: 2381 | Pages: 10
Commentary on ‘The Hands of the Blacks’ by Luis Bernardo Honwana
For many centuries, theories have been propounded about the true nature of the black race. How did they come about? Are they human like other races? If so, why are they so different? Although evidences have proven over and over again that the black race is not different from any other race, aside from a few physical attributes that is,...
Words: 1665 | Pages: 7
The Fight for Women’s Suffrage
As early as 1776 during the drafting of the declaration of independence, the cry for inclusion of women began. Abigail Adams asked her husband John and his camaraderie to “remember the ladies”. However, it was not until much later in the 1920 that woman gained suffrage with the Nineteenth Amendment’s ratification. The history of women’s suffrage lasted a century following...
Words: 1351 | Pages: 6
Feminism and the Structure of Power
Feminism refers to a collection of ideologies as well as movements which tend to share common goals, to establish, define, and achieve equal economic, political, cultural, social and also personal rights for women. This therefore seeks to establish opportunities that are equal for women in both education and employment (Eagleton, 2010). Feminist advocates and also supports both the equality and...
Words: 731 | Pages: 4
Bullying and Its Effects on Learning and Development in Australian Primary School
Executive Summary In a world where the society prides itself in engaging with people from all over the world and shunning discrimination, it is unfathomable that bullying continues in primary schools. Australia is a developed country where the best learning models are adopted by the school systems adopted in these countries. However, there are numerous cases of bullying in primary...
Words: 3349 | Pages: 14
Impact of Elizabeth Cady Stanton in Women Rights and Suffrage Movement
Women rights for some time were violated with men being preferred in all endeavors to women. This led to the formation of women movements made of human rights activists especially those of women. The rights movements’ history in the united states dates back in the 1840s when women started championing for their rights. Women suffrage (otherwise called women's entitlement to...
Words: 2187 | Pages: 10
State’s Obligations Under International Human Rights
What happens when a state's obligations under international human rights law conflict with its obligations under general international law? On December 1948, the National General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and this strengthened the international human rights movement. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights spelled out the common standards which should be achieved by all people of...
Words: 3493 | Pages: 15
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155 Social Problems Essay Topics & Research Questions to Write about
Are you looking for the best social problem topics for research or essays? You’re at the right place! StudyCorgi has prepared a list of social issues research paper topics and questions for your speech, essay, and other writing assignments. You’ll find topics about inequality, teenage pregnancy, violence, hunger, and other problems facing contemporary society. Read on to discover the most interesting social issues topics for research and engaging essay examples!
✅ Easy Social Issues to Write About
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If you need to write a paper on social issues and wonder what social problems to write about, here are a few easy options you can consider:
- Social Problems of People with Disabilities People living with disabilities go through several challenges in life because society is yet to appreciate their presence.
- Social Problem of Inequality Studies of social inequality included non-urban areas and social inequality factors that had not been included in previous studies.
- Oppression as a Social Problem The paper defines oppression in terms of marginalization, exploitation, powerlessness, cultural imperialism and violence: the key facets of oppression according to Iris Young.
- Social Problem Analysis: Social Inequality in Education This paper encompasses the persistent issue of social inequality that we can witness as a routine practice every day. This topic analysis social inequality in educational institutions.
- Texting and Driving: Social Problems Texting and driving refers to the act of receiving, reading and sending text messages while operating a motor vehicle, which is a hazardous practice that causes many fatalities.
- The Issue of Adolescent Pregnancy as a Major Social Problem The purpose of this study is to investigate the issue of adolescent pregnancy as a significant challenge that affects society across the globe.
- Development of Children’s Friendship and Social Problems This analysis was reached upon following a close thirty-minute observation of infants, and it suggests various types of behaviors presented by children in play.
- Meth Epidemic as a Social Problem: Film Analysis Drug consumption has become a major social problem for many states in the US as many drug users and addicts consider meth as their top choice.
- World Poverty as a Global Social Problem Poverty and the key methods helping to reduce it attract the attention of numerous researchers in different areas of expertise.
- Social Problems in Wilson’s “Fences” Play People who have been subjected to social oppression have a good chance of developing mental health problems in the future.
- Poverty as a Social Problem Society often perceives poverty as an individualistic issue, believing that it is a consequence of bad decisions.
- Global Warming: Solving a Social Problem Global warming may be a cause of the cooling in some parts of the world. Global warming can slow down ocean heat transport which becomes the reason for cooling in some regions.
- Rawls vs. Nozick on Social Problems and Criminal Justice The essay reflects on the articles of Rawls and Nozick to compare their key points and determine whose theory is most applicable to social problems and criminal justice.
- American Modern Social Problem The United States is not renowned to having one of the best systems of health care worldwide, rather the U .S. is known for its best system in emergency care worldwide.
- American Social Problems: Family and Education The family and education are major socializing agents in society and to be particular the United States of America.
- Substance Abuse: The Cause of Social Problems Substance abuse is a contributing factor to social problems but cannot be said to be the one that is most responsible.
- Migration as a Social Problem The essay takes a look at migration as a social problem on the example of the current immigration situation in the United States and South Africa.
- Americas Social Problems Nowadays The article explains the social, economic, political, technological, and legal impacts of war and how the global community can address the reality of terrorism.
- Modern American Social Problems The essay lists the current American social problems and describes the key point of each problem the society faced nowadays.
- American Social Problems of Women and the Elderly The issues of social discrimination experienced by women and elderly people have their roots in two fundamental perspectives of social life.
- America’s Social Problems Through the Song “Cookie Jar” by J. Johnson The song Cookie Jar is a song written by Jack Johnson song talks about the blame game that is going on and in American society.
- Childhood Obesity: Medical Complications and Social Problems The children have also suffered from the adverse effects that have been instilled into our society. Obesity has become a common problem in children of American and European countries.
- Social Problems: Exploring the Main Types There are four main social problems; crime, violence, drug abuse, and environmental problems. The other social problems are very closely related to the above.
- Violence: The Social Problem The present paper provides extensive research on the problem of violence in communities, in terms of its significance in society, the different perspectives.
- Benchmark as Social Problems The impact of social phenomenon, for instance, social inequality, vulnerable population and other problems with politics, on poverty from a macro and micro perspectives.
- Social Problems Assignment: Juvenile Delinquency Juvenile delinquency or illegal behaviors committed by underage children is a significant social problem in the United States and worldwide.
- Juvenile Delinquency as Social Problem of Vulnerable Populations The theme of this paper is such a problem of vulnerable populations as juvenile delinquency, its interconnection with other social problems, and possible ways of its solution.
- Juvenile Delinquency as Social Problem Within Education Institutions Children, adolescents, and young people desire to discover something new, previously unknown, to assert themselves in innovative activities.
- Analyzing Social Problems: Health Disparities This discussion will examine the unequal access to healthcare and its cause, investigate its prevalence, describe vulnerable populations.
- Social Problems Related to Alcohol and Drugs The present paper will explain the content of three articles relating to the issue of Alcohol and drug use while also providing a personal reflection on the readings.
- Educational Institutions’ Social Problems: Juvenile Delinquency Juvenile delinquency is the problem that profoundly affects educational institutions as its representatives are people involved in education the most.
- Potential Threat of Coronavirus as a Social Problem in Haines City, Florida SARS coronavirus is only a potential threat for Haines City so far, but preventing misinformation and potential panic is still an important social problem.
- Social Deviance Contribution to Social Problems The paper examines the forms that social deviance may acquire contributing them to social issues, that is criminal and non-criminal deviance.
- Bullying: A Serious Social Problem Bullying is undesirable behavior that society must deter at all costs. In schools, teachers, parents, and other stakeholders should have working knowledge on managing the vice.
- Social Problem: Hunger in the United States Hunger problem, income gap, race discrimination, poverty in rural regions, and COVID-19 outbreak have severe effects on the hunger problem.
- Social Problem and Policy Analysis Human rights and social work perspectives show how standardized testing promotes inequality and increases the barriers for non-white individuals.
- Solving Social Problems With a Nudge The speaker’s perspective is on the human mind’s diversity and complexity, making people manufacture irrational behavior, perpetuating poverty, corruption, and discrimination.
- Perspectives on the Central Social Problem in Modern Society Social ills plaguing modern society have been a basic concern for many prominent philosophers throughout the ages.
- Analyzing Social Problems – Case Study: Jake Levy The analysis of Jake Levy’s case led to lobby the state legislature to start a suicide prevention program for veterans who are getting mental health services.
- Social Problems Within Educational Institutions It is necessary to understand and analyze the connection between various social problems within U.S. educational institutions.
- The Most Crucial Social Problems To conclude, it is essential not to forget about less fortunate people who have nothing to eat and nowhere to live.
- The Covid-19 Related Social Problems The paper discusses the Covid-19 pandemic that has caused devastating social disruption where millions of individuals have fallen into extreme poverty.
- The Use of Statistics in Evaluating Social Problems Statistics are an important tool for researchers and policymakers when analyzing particular social-related issues. The types of statistics are objective or subjective.
- Policies for Social Problems Social problems dominate in different parts of the world. Good policies should be devised to make it possible to pronounce dominant sociological problems.
- Queer (LGBTQ) Community as a Social Problem in Canada The Canadian government has shown interest in LGBTQ matters in recent years. Canadian queer persons are more likely to be victims of violent crime.
- The Social Problem of Bullying and the School System The present paper focuses on the connection between the social problem of bullying and the school system, describing each of these concepts.
- Obesity in Adolescence as a Social Problem The paper states that adolescence is one of the most crucial developmental phases of human life during which the issue of obesity must be solved.
- The Social Problem of Obesity in Adolescence The social worker should be the bridge uniting obese individuals and society advertising social changes, and ending injustice and discrimination.
- Modern Social Problems Through the Sociological Imagination Prism This paper aims to discuss the concept of the sociological imagination and its significance in understanding contemporary social problems.
- Social Problems and Policy: Youth Unemployment and Mental Health In the history of the US, the federal and state governments have been at the forefront to facilitate effective social programs.
- The Social Problems Behind the Military Suicide
- How Overpopulation Causes Social Problems?
- Ethical and Social Problems of Genetic Engineering
- The Economic and Social Problems of the 1930s
- Social Problems Among College Students
- Alphonso Pinkney’s Black American: Chronic Social Problems
- Race and Gender Impact on Social Problems
- Behavior and Social Problems in Classrooms
- Social Problems About School Drop Outs
- Current Political and Social Problems of Pakistan
- Social Problems Associated With Street Gangs
- Social Problems and the Theories of Emile Durkheim
- Unemployment and Social Problems in the Post-war United States
- Social Problems and Issues in Pakistan
- Sociology and Various Social Problems
- The Major Social Problems Facing the Teenagers of Today
- Values, Social Problems, and Balanced Development in Malaysia
- Political, Economic and Social Problems of France
- Social Problems Associated With Health and Happiness
- The Environment and Social Problems
- Social Problems Amongst the Homeless
- Mauritius: Tourism and Social Problems
- Social Problems Affecting Youth Today and Ways To Solve Them
- Nature and Social Problems
- Social Problems and Drug Abuse
- Critical Social Problems Affecting African Americans
- Social Problems Arise From the Views and Values of the Society
- Connection Between Social Problems and Urbanization
- Unemployment Social Problems Faced by China and West
- Social Problems Among Youth in Malaysia
- Social Problems Exam Practice
- PRS and Its Social Problems
- Social Problems and Legalization of Marijuana
- The Increasing Social Problems of Violence in the 20th Century
- Child Abuse – Social Problems
- Social Problems and Solutions Chart
- The Social Problems Facing Homeless Youth
- Social Problems Are Due to Society’s Tolerance of Immorality
- Realist and Constructivist Approaches to Social Problems
- Social Problems During the Industrial Revolution
- Emile Durkheim and Social Problems
- Literature During the Old Times Until Now Contribute To Address Social Problems
- Substance Abuse and Social Problems
- Public Education and the Impact of Social Problems
- Social Problems Facing Our US Veterens
- Physiological and Social Problems in the Middle East
- Social Problems and Homelessness in Savannah, Georgia
- Technical and Social Problems of Nuclear Waste
- Social Problems Associated With Interfaith Marriages
- Technology and Social Problems
- Social Problems Affecting Students and Schools in the US
- Ethnography: Social Problems
- Social Problems Affecting Society, Big and Small
- Appalachia: Culture and Social Problems
- Social Problems Associated With Racial Discrimination
- Political, Economic, and Social Problems in India
- Social Problems Behind Sexual Deviance
- Poor Neighborhoods Give Rise to Social Problems
- Literary Realism and Social Problems
- Prevalent Social Problems That Impacts Society
- What Are the Ethical and Social Issues of Genetic Engineering?
- What Social Problems Occur in Substance Abuse?
- What Are the Main Social Issues among the Youth in Malaysia?
- What Are the Social Problems behind War Suicide?
- What Are the Economic and Social Issues of Women Entrepreneurs in Turkey?
- What Are the Incentives for Solving Social Problems?
- What Business and Social Problems Does Data Center?
- Why Do Poor Neighborhoods Give Rise to Social Problems?
- What Are the Reasons for the Social Problems of Adolescents?
- What Are the Economic and Social Issues of the Caribbean?
- What Social Problems Arise Because of Society’s Tolerance for Immorality?
- What Are the Various Social Issues Faced by Black Women in the American South?
- How Social Problems Caused by the Elizabethan Poor Law of 1601?
- What Are Pakistan’s Current Political and Social Problems?
- What Are the Common Social Problems Affecting Society?
- What Is the Influence of Literary Realism on Social Problems?
- What Business and Social Problems Does Data Center Power Consumption Cause?
- How Does the Media Impact Social Problems?
- What Social Problems Are Revealed in the Great Gatsby?
- What Are the Social Problems Associated with Interfaith Marriages?
- Should the State Pay More Attention to Solving the Pressing Social Problems of Our Time?
- What Is the Connection between Social Policy and Social Problems?
- What Are the Social Problems Faced by Homeless Youth?
- What Are the Physiological and Social Problems in the Middle East?
- Online misinformation and its effects on society.
- Racial bias and discrimination in policing.
- The impact of populism on democracies.
- Factors perpetuating the gender pay gap.
- The influence of climate change on vulnerable populations.
- The impact of automation on the job market.
- The effects of cyberbullying on adolescents.
- The social consequences of rapid urbanization.
- Youth unemployment and social exclusion.
- Social implications of genetic modification technologies.
- Strategies to prevent cyberbullying and online harassment.
- The impact of social media on youth.
- Access to quality education for all.
- The importance of safeguarding personal information online.
- Encouraging youth to get involved in the democratic process.
- The influence of technology on social interactions.
- Ways to combat human trafficking.
- Raising awareness of human rights violations in conflict zones.
- The effects of social media on body image.
- Why should guns be prohibited?
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These essay examples and topics on Social Problems were carefully selected by the StudyCorgi editorial team. They meet our highest standards in terms of grammar, punctuation, style, and fact accuracy. Please ensure you properly reference the materials if you’re using them to write your assignment.
The essay topic collection was published on March 1, 2022 . Last updated on September 14, 2023 .
Social Issues Topics: Exploring the Challenges Shaping Our World
Did you know that social issues are not just distant problems affecting others? They are deeply intertwined with our lives and have a profound impact on our daily experiences, shaping the very fabric of our society. From systemic inequality to environmental degradation, these issues have the power to shape the course of history and determine the well-being of generations to come. Get ready to dive into the fascinating realm of social issues topics! In this article, we'll explore their complexities, understand why they matter, learn how to write compelling essays about them and discover a captivating list of the most important social issues examples of our time. This thought-provoking journey will challenge our beliefs and inspire us to take meaningful action for a better future. So, let's dive in and get started!
What Are Social Issues
Social issues are the threads that intricately weave through the fabric of our society, demanding our attention, empathy, and action. They are the challenges and complexities that affect individuals, communities, and even entire nations, often leaving a profound impact on people's lives. These issues stem from the interconnectedness of our world, where various factors like politics, economics, culture, and individual experiences intersect, creating a tapestry of social problems that need to be addressed.
Social issues encompass a wide range of concerns, encompassing everything from poverty and inequality to gender discrimination, environmental degradation, and access to healthcare and education. They represent the barriers that prevent individuals from thriving, the disparities that hinder progress, and the injustices that undermine equality and human rights.
Take poverty, for example. It is not merely a lack of financial resources; it is a pervasive condition that robs individuals of their dignity, opportunities, and hope for a better future. Poverty intertwines with education, as limited access to quality education perpetuates the cycle of disadvantage. It intersects with healthcare, as inadequate medical services disproportionately affect the most vulnerable members of society. And it connects with inequality as wealth disparities widen and prevents social mobility.
As per our essay writing service , to address social issues today, it is crucial to recognize that they are not isolated problems. They are intertwined and interdependent, requiring holistic solutions that encompass multiple dimensions. It takes collective efforts from individuals, communities, governments, and organizations to foster change. Raising awareness, advocating for policy reforms, and promoting equality are essential steps toward ensuring that marginalized groups benefit and creating a more just and equitable society.
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Understanding the Importance of Social Issues in Today's World
Social issues are not abstract concepts confined to textbooks or news headlines. They are pressing challenges that affect real people and demand our attention. By actively engaging with these issues, we have the opportunity to shape a more equitable and compassionate world for ourselves and future generations.
The importance of social issues in developing countries lies in their impact on human rights, well-being, and social progress. By addressing these issues, we strive to build inclusive societies where everyone has equal opportunities and can live a dignified life. It is not only a matter of justice and compassion but also essential for sustainable development and peaceful coexistence.
Moreover, social issues highlight the power of collective action and advocacy. They remind us that we have a shared responsibility to stand up for what is right and work towards positive change. Thanks to the advancements in technology and communication, it is now easier than ever to raise awareness, mobilize communities, and bring about transformative social movements. Social media platforms have become powerful tools for amplifying marginalized voices and shedding light on systemic injustices.
How to Write an Essay About Social Issues
So you've got an assignment on social issues essay topics, huh? Don't worry; we've got your back! Writing about social issues may seem like a tough nut to crack, but trust us; it's a crucial part of academic writing. Social issues are basically problems that affect a whole bunch of people in society. We're talking about everything from politics and economics to education and health and so much more. But hey, no need to stress! Our custom writing experts are here to give you some awesome tips to help you rock that essay and make it super interesting. Let's dive in, shall we?
Choose Your Topic Wisely
Let's begin by taking the first step, my friend! It's all about choosing a topic for research papers that resonates with your heart and feels like a natural fit for your mind. When you opt for a subject that genuinely sparks your personal interest, the research and essay writing process, complete with the proper format of academic paper , will become a delightful adventure.
Engage in brainstorming sessions to generate ideas and conduct thorough investigations to gather factual information. Now, here's a nifty trick: if the chosen issue seems a bit overwhelming with its multiple dimensions, no worries! Just narrow down your focus to a specific aspect. For example, if you're tackling poverty, you can zoom in on the causes, the consequences, or even strategies to alleviate it. The world is your oyster, so let's get cracking!
Support Your Opinion with Examples
When you're writing a research paper about examples of social issues, it's really important to include research and data that support your position. This helps the reader understand why your perspective is necessary and what evidence you have to back it up. For instance, if you're discussing the impact of poverty, you can provide statistics on the number of people in need, how poverty and health problems affect education, and the connection between poverty and crime. Including these kinds of details, just like in economics essay topics , will make your essay more persuasive and engaging.
Keep It Simple
Ensuring your essay is simple and easy to understand is crucial. Instead of using complex words, opt for simpler alternatives that convey the same meaning effectively. By keeping your essay readable, you make it more engaging and easier for the reader to follow. Avoid employing jargon or technical terms that might confuse your audience. Instead, use plain language and take the time to explain any intricate terms or concepts, making the essay accessible to all readers. Following these guidelines on how to write an essay on social issues will help you effectively communicate your ideas and engage your audience.
Revise and Edit
Before you submit your essay, it's important to take a few steps to ensure its quality. Start by checking its structure, making sure it flows smoothly and logically. Verify that your arguments are well-supported and presented in a cohesive manner. Give your essay a thorough review to catch any spelling or grammar mistakes. Additionally, pay attention to formatting, ensuring consistency throughout the entire piece. It can be beneficial to have someone else read your essay and provide feedback as well. Taking these precautions will help you present polished and well-crafted topics for essays .
Social Issues Essay Example
For students seeking a practical example of a well-structured and insightful social issues essay, the pursuit of global citizenship stands as a compelling topic to explore. Through this example, you can gain inspiration and guidance for your own social issues essays, understanding how to construct a compelling argument and convey the importance of promoting positive change in society.
5 Social Issues of Today
Today's society is facing a multitude of social issues that have a significant impact on people's lives. Here is a list of some of the most pressing social issues that affect people worldwide:
- Climate change and global warming : The effects of climate change are already being felt around the world, with rising sea levels, more frequent natural disasters, and changes in weather patterns. The burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, and other human activities are contributing to this issue, and it is essential that we take action to reduce our carbon footprint.
- Income inequality : The gap between the rich and the poor is widening, with the wealthiest 1% of the world's population owning more than half of the world's wealth. This inequality can lead to social unrest, and it is important that we address this issue by promoting fair wages, progressive taxation, and other policies that support economic equality.
- War : Armed conflicts continue to plague different regions around the world, resulting in significant humanitarian crises. Wars not only cause immense suffering, displacement, and loss of life but also have far-reaching consequences on infrastructure, economies, and social stability.
- Gender equality : Despite progress in recent years, gender inequality remains a significant issue in many parts of the world. Women still face discrimination in the workplace, unequal pay, and limited access to education and healthcare. It is crucial that we continue to work towards gender equality and empower women to achieve their full potential.
- Mental health issues and addiction : Mental health issues and addiction are becoming increasingly prevalent in today's society, affecting people of all ages and backgrounds. The stigma surrounding mental health can prevent people from seeking help, and it is important that we raise awareness and provide access to affordable and effective treatment options.
Social Issues Essay Topics
Are you feeling stuck while searching for fascinating subjects or a comprehensive list of social issues that can also serve as perfect dissertation topics ? We understand the challenge you're facing, but don't worry! Selecting the right topic is crucial for crafting an exceptional essay and earning your degree from a reputable American college or university. To ignite your creativity, we've compiled a comprehensive list of captivating social issues for you to explore. Get ready to dive in and discover that perfect idea for your next academic project!
👀 Interesting Social Issues Essay Topics
- Income inequality and its impact on modern society.
- The role of social media in shaping public opinion and activism.
- Mental health stigma and its effects on individuals and communities.
- The challenges faced by refugees and their integration into new societies.
- The impact of technology on interpersonal relationships.
- Gender inequality and the fight for gender equity.
- The effects of climate change on vulnerable communities.
- The basic ethical principles of genetic engineering and human enhancement.
- The impact of globalization on cultural identity.
- The role of education in reducing poverty and social inequality.
- The criminal justice system and its approach to rehabilitation versus punishment.
- The implications of automation and artificial intelligence on employment.
- The impact of media portrayal on body image and self-esteem.
- The effects of racial discrimination and strategies for achieving racial equality.
- The challenges and opportunities of multiculturalism in contemporary society.
🎲 Peace and War Topics
- Causes and origins of the Russia-Ukraine war: Explore the underlying factors that led to the outbreak of the conflict, such as historical, political, and ethnic tensions.
- International response to the Russia-Ukraine war: Analyze the reactions and actions taken by various countries, regional organizations, and global institutions in response to the conflict.
- The conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the challenge of achieving lasting peace.
- The Kashmir conflict between India and Pakistan: Historical context, current status, and potential solutions.
- The ongoing tensions in the Korean Peninsula: Assessing the prospects for peace and denuclearization.
- The Syrian Civil War and its Regional and global implications.
- The Israel-Palestine conflict: Historical background, current dynamics, and prospects for peace.
- The war in Afghanistan: Challenges, consequences, and prospects for stability.
- The conflict in South Sudan and the impact on regional security.
- The war on terror: Assessing the effectiveness of counterterrorism strategies and the implications for civil liberties.
🔬 Social Science Topics
- The impact of microaggressions on marginalized communities and its implications for mental health.
- Exploring the social and cultural factors that influence body image dissatisfaction among different ethnic groups.
- The role of social capital in fostering community resilience and disaster preparedness.
- Investigating the relationship between cultural heritage preservation and sustainable development.
- Analyzing the influence of social networks on political participation and civic engagement.
- Exploring the social implications of virtual reality technology on empathy and perspective-taking.
- Investigating the role of humor and laughter in social interactions and psychological well-being.
- Analyzing the effects of eco-anxiety on environmental attitudes and behavior.
- The impact of social media accounts activism on social movements and policy change.
- Exploring the cultural and societal implications of the sharing economy and collaborative consumption.
🏙 Migration and Immigration Topics
- The experiences and challenges faced by LGBTQ+ migrants and refugees.
- Analyzing the role of migrant remittances in economic development and poverty reduction in sending countries.
- Exploring the impact of immigration policies on family dynamics and the well-being of immigrant families.
- Investigating the role of social networks in facilitating successful integration of immigrants into host societies.
- The effects of climate change-induced migration and its implications for global governance and social justice.
- Analyzing the influence of cultural identity preservation among second-generation immigrants.
- The impact of labor migration on gender roles and dynamics within migrant communities.
- Exploring the role of language acquisition and proficiency in the social integration of immigrants.
- Investigating the intersections of migration, health, and access to healthcare services.
- Analyzing the economic, social, and cultural contributions of immigrant entrepreneurs to host countries.
🌳 Environmental Social Issues Essay Topics
- The intersection of environmental justice and social equity: Analyzing the disproportionate impacts of environmental degradation on marginalized communities.
- The role of indigenous knowledge and practices in sustainable resource management.
- The impact of consumerism and overconsumption on the environment and social well-being.
- Exploring the social and economic implications of climate-induced migration and displacement.
- The influence of environmental education and awareness on individual and collective environmental behaviors.
- Analyzing the relationship between environmental degradation and public health, focusing on air and water pollution.
- The role of corporate social responsibility in promoting environmental sustainability and addressing social concerns.
- Investigating the social implications of plastic waste and exploring strategies for reducing single-use plastics.
- The impact of urbanization on ecosystems and the social well-being of urban communities.
- Analyzing the social dimensions of renewable energy transitions and the equitable distribution of benefits.
💖 LGBT Topic Ideas
- The historical evolution of LGBT rights movements: From Stonewall to present-day advocacy.
- Exploring the experiences and challenges faced by transgender individuals in healthcare systems.
- Analyzing the representation of LGBT characters in media and its impact on social perceptions.
- The intersectionality of race, gender, and sexuality in the LGBT community.
- Investigating the effects of conversion therapy on the mental health and well-being of LGBT individuals.
- Exploring the experiences of LGBT youth in educational settings and the impact of supportive environments.
- The role of LGBT support organizations and community centers in fostering social inclusion and well-being.
- Analyzing the impact of religious beliefs and attitudes on the acceptance of same-sex marriage.
- Exploring the experiences and challenges of older LGBT adults and the importance of inclusive care and support systems.
- The impact of policies and legislation on LGBT rights and equality, both nationally and internationally.
🏛 Social Justice Essay Topics
- Exploring the concept of reparations for historical injustices and its role in achieving social justice.
- The impact of language and communication barriers on access to justice for marginalized communities.
- Analyzing the social justice implications of algorithmic bias in artificial intelligence systems.
- Examining the role of art and creative expression in advancing social justice movements.
- The intersection of disability rights and social justice: Challenges and advancements.
- Exploring the impact of gentrification on communities and strategies for promoting equitable development.
- Analyzing the role of restorative justice in addressing harm within educational institutions.
- The impact of colonialism on indigenous communities and the pursuit of social justice.
- The role of community organizing in promoting grassroots social justice initiatives.
- Examining the social justice implications of mass incarceration and advocating for criminal justice reform.
🔗 Discrimination and Prejudice Topics
- The effects of racial profiling on marginalized communities and its implications for social justice.
- Analyzing the psychological mechanisms underlying implicit bias and its impact on decision-making processes.
- The intersectionality of discrimination: Exploring how multiple forms of discrimination (race, gender, sexuality, etc.) intersect and compound.
- Discrimination and prejudice in the workplace: Examining challenges and strategies for promoting diversity and inclusion.
- Exploring the effects of religious discrimination on individuals and communities.
- The impact of ageism on older adults and strategies for combating age-related discrimination.
- Analyzing the social and psychological consequences of fat shaming and weight-based discrimination.
- Discrimination against individuals with disabilities and the importance of accessibility and inclusive practices.
- The role of the media in perpetuating stereotypes and its influence on discrimination.
- Examining the effects of prejudice and discrimination on mental health and well-being.
🔪 Violence Topics
- The role of violence in sports: Examining the impact of aggression and its consequences in athletic competitions.
- Violence against healthcare workers: Analyzing the prevalence, causes, and strategies for ensuring safety in healthcare settings.
- The impact of violence on refugee and displaced populations: Exploring the challenges and interventions for addressing violence in these contexts.
- Violence in the digital realm: Investigating online harassment, cyberbullying, and the psychological effects on victims.
- The relationship between animal cruelty and violence towards humans: Exploring the link and implications for social well-being.
- The effects of violence in video games: Analyzing the debate and research surrounding its potential influence on real-life aggression.
- The role of violence in hazing rituals and initiation ceremonies: Understanding the dynamics and potential harm caused.
- Exploring violence in marginalized communities: Addressing the underlying factors and strategies for promoting community safety.
- Silent Suffering: Unmasking the Reality of Domestic Violence
- Violence in the workplace: Examining the impact of bullying, harassment, and assault on employees and organizational well-being.
👩🦯 Humanity Topics
- The power of empathy and compassion in fostering understanding and social harmony.
- Exploring the ethics of artificial intelligence and its impact on human dignity and autonomy.
- The role of forgiveness in healing personal and societal wounds.
- Analyzing the concept of human rights and its universality across different cultures and contexts.
- The pursuit of global citizenship and its potential for promoting peace and cooperation.
- Exploring the intersection of technology and humanity: Examining the benefits and challenges of the digital age.
- The impact of cultural diversity on societal progress and innovation.
- Analyzing the concept of altruism and its role in creating a more compassionate world.
- The importance of intergenerational connections and the wisdom of older generations in shaping our future.
- Examining the concept of identity and the balance between individuality and collective belonging.
Social issues are like a cosmic web, connecting countless lives worldwide. This article has been your guide, exploring their intricacies and significance while equipping you to create a powerful social issues essay. Remember, every essay has the power to inspire change.
And here's a little nugget of wisdom: some of the most remarkable social movements in history were sparked by a single person's words on paper. Yes, you heard that right! So, my friend, now you know how to start an essay , so get ready to unleash the power of your pen and leave your mark on the world. Together, we can be the catalysts for a brighter tomorrow!
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Best Social Issues Essay Topic Examples
03 Nov 2022
❓What is a Social Justice Essay?
✍️How To Choose Topics
Social Issues Essay Topic Ideas:
- 🕊️War and Peace
- 🚨Police and Criminal
- 🌎Migration and Refugees
- ⚖️Human Rights
📑Tips For Writing
Students often look for social issues essay topics to write about, but it can be challenging to come up with one that both sounds interesting and important.
For example, finding a problem in society that can be an essay topic for social science issues can be tricky. And many of them go like, "should I pay someone to do my essay ." So, before you decide, we have prepared a list of examples of social issue essay topics.
These topics are diverse and exciting because they provide food for thought and teach potential writers how to think critically. Furthermore, these are all original ideas with nothing plagiarized or copied from somewhere else, so they're perfect for any student struggling with coming up with a subject. So, check out this list of social justice issues essay topics!
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What Are Social Justice Topics for Essay?
Social justice is a complex matter covering various problems affecting a group of individuals. Thus, social issues essay topics affect our society as a whole. It can be anything from pollution to poverty, racism, etc., and it usually has a negative impact on the lives of others.
The said issues are not limited to what is happening in the world today and have broad coverage. Social problems can be about something that happened in the past or something that could happen in the future; therefore, they are not bound by time.
The main reason why you should care is that it affects you too. The environment in which we live is constantly changing, and if we don't take action, then our future will be bleak. That's why, when writing examples essays about social issues , you ought to gain insights into the matter and express your position. Below you will see social justice essay topics, essay examples, and more that will significantly aid you when you need ideas.
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How To Choose The Right Social Justice Persuasive Essay Topics
Choosing a social issue essay topic is more challenging than it seems. However, there are a few things to consider which may help you before you decide on one.
The first thing is to make sure that the essay topic is interesting and relevant to the audience. You want your essay to be exciting and engaging so that the reader will stay interested in your writing. In addition, you must pick a topic that will resonate with your readers, something they can relate to.
Secondly, you should always try to pick a topic that has some connection with your life experience or personal passions. That will help you stay motivated while writing the essay because you will be eager to learn more and, accordingly, write more. This connection will also make it easier for you to come up with ideas for your paper.
Lastly, remember the length of the essay is crucial! Make sure that your choice won't leave too little space for all of your thoughts and explanations because this can make writing difficult and tedious.
Now you know what a social justice essay is and how to pick the right subject for it, even without an essay title generator . Then it is time to check our well-written social issues topics list, with various examples that can help you.
Good Social Justice Argumentative Essay Topics
- Define the meaning of modern gaming and its relation to students' violence boom.
- Racism and reverse racism, are they equally bad, and why?
- Define the term justice and its place in our society.
- Are the effects of social media catastrophic to young people's relations?
- Do countries need visas, and if not, then why?
- Utopia and world peace, is it possible or just a wishful fantasy of the young rebels?
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Social Issues Topics About Health
- Why is obesity in America one of the significant health issues?
- Elderly people, who should be responsible for taking care of them and why?
- Should the legal drinking age be lowered, and what issues can it cause?
- Porn, what it means to the modern world, and how it affects people's health?
- Against vaccines, why do people not believe in medicine?
- Free healthcare for anyone defines the benefits of changes in the healthcare system.
Social issues essay topics are a great way to tackle important topics in society. With the help of essay writers online , students can gain insights into the issues and develop a well-informed opinion about them. Such essays can lead to a better understanding of the diverse issues that plague our society and can help us in finding solutions.
Social Issues Essay Topics About Environment
- Climate changes, how traveling the world affects them, and what to avoid.
- Drinking water and its pollution ensure everyone has access to it.
- How do plastic products affect the environment, and how can social media change that?
- Global warming and the rising levels of the oceans define the possible threats.
- The issue with climate change and what modern society should do to avoid it.
- Waste reduction, describe how it will protect our planet's ecosystem.
Social Issues Topics About War and Peace
- Peace and wars, their relation, and can one exist without the other?
- European countries' restoration after the first and second World Wars.
- Technology and scientific revolutions, can they be war aftermaths?
- What are the population's thoughts about the war in our peaceful times?
- Are war monuments necessary, and what are their effects in calm times?
- How do war and peace influence children's minds?
Social Issues Topics About Police and Criminal
- Underage people and how to respond to their crimes?
- What is the importance of racial profiling for criminal cases?
- Deescalating riots, modern measures to avoid conflicts and harm.
- Futuristic ways of decreasing criminal activities.
- Should the police officers' recruitment standards and education be stepped up?
- How should drug usage be punished, or should it be legal?
Social Issues Topics About Pornography
- What are the effects of pornography, and how does it affect the perception of sex?
- In the porn industry, is the concept of permission a valid issue or not?
- How should we perceive paid sex? Is it legal, and should it be?
- Adult industry and how pornography should be controlled?
- Porn stars and the unfair contract strategies they have to deal with.
- Pornography, what is its acceptance in our society?
Social Issues Topics About Feminism
- Has feminism always existed, or is it a plot of modern society?
- Feminism, radical or not, which is the best current option?
- Waves of feminism throughout the ages.
- Who created the feminist movement and why?
- Is feminism still a must in the 21st century?
- How powerful women in history made the first feminist movements that shook the world.
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Social Issues Topics About Abortion
- What are the possible aftermaths of delegalizing abortion?
- Modern society, thoughts on abortion, and outlook towards past tendencies.
- Should men be allowed to speak up and make decisions in matters like abortion?
- How does abortion affect psychological health in women and men?
- Religion, health, and abortion, the connection between them, and how they affect each other.
- Birth control and abortion, what is the impact and importance of non-hormonal birth control pills?
Social Issues Topics About Racism
- Racism and how did it change over the years?
- Can racism be tracked back in history, how, and where?
- Did racism come out as an aftermath because of colonialism or not?
- How does racism affect our society, and how should it change?
- Everyday racism, and how can it be prevented?
- Is racism an over-discussed matter, and how does it affect the population?
Social Issues Topics About Migration and Refugees
- How has migration changed the world over the past 50 years?
- Ancient migration and its effect on the continents and our civilization.
- Importance of immigrants' integration in our society.
- Chinese settlers in Europe and America and the marks they left in the local culture.
- Immigrants and the tension between the American and Mexican borders.
- How did immigration enrich world cuisine?
Social Issues Topics About Human Rights
- Male circumstantial right after birth, is it a legit violation of human rights and why?
- Freedom of speech, how does it affect society?
- How should the world act against the issues with human rights in some countries?
- Should we consider access to the internet a human right in our modern society?
- Human rights during history, and how did they affect the world back then?
- Civil and human rights describe the difference between them and their effects.
Social Issues Topics About Education
- Define the benefits of free education and how it benefits the world.
- Should all schools have a dress code or not?
- How does the education system prevent modern-day bullying?
- Is the educational system accessible to everyone, and why?
- What is the impact of cyberbullying on the education and life of young students?
- Schools and the issue with discrimination and poor treatment of students.
Tips For Writing Social Issues Essays
We have explained how to pick your topic. That can serve you as a great social justice essay topic example. Now you are almost ready to start writing. The last thing left for you is to take these few tips we have prepared. They will aid you beyond our website and help you write your essay.
- Carefully select the subject of your essay. Do not pick something boring but something exciting that has an impact on the life we live or our society. It should be something relevant to the latest issues happening.
- Make sure your essay topic is not too narrow or broad-minded. It must be a social issue with a lot to be said, yet not too much, so everyone can speak whatever they want.
- Make sure you conduct a proper background check on the social issue you plan to write about. Do not write only from experience but with proven facts.
- When writing any type of essay, the best thing you can do is bring out facts. An essay paper may be about anything, but without being backed by examples, it is just empty words.
- Please keep it simple, make the tone friendly or informative, and do not get too emotional over the topic you have selected to write about.
In addition, when writing a social issue essay, make sure you check your facts. You do not want to write about facing issues that can cause you problems. Lastly, check and proofread your work a few times before submitting it, making sure it's full.
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Examples of Essays On Social Issues Worth Reading and Following
An essay about social issues is aimed at provoking a public dialogue on various problems that modern societies face nowadays, especially ones related to economy, culture, social aspects, etc. Thus, popular topics for study in essays on social issues are poverty, violence, racism, crime, equality, mutual respect, etc. Social issues are diverse and vary in their severity and urgency, hence needing to be prioritized to respond effectively.
WePapers.com provides a free directory with sample papers, where you can find the best social issues essay examples written for high school, college, and university students. Our samples will help you find out more about various social problems that have an impact on society, their causes, and remedial measures – and how to write about them. Each paper is written by an expert with extensive experience and knowledge in a specific area. All the examples in our catalog are based on scientific research and present an in-depth and multidimensional analysis of current social problems.
Finding it difficult to write an essay yourself? Use paper writing services at WePapers.com. Our professional writers guarantee effective and high-quality assistance, along with meeting all academic requirements.
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215 Latest Social Issues Topics for Academic Writing
Table of Contents
If you have no idea what topic to choose for your essay or research paper writing, then go can very well choose to discuss any social issue. Every country, culture, and community in this world is continuously facing a lot of social issues as a result of an event or happening. So, you will never run short of ideas. Moreover, when writing about a social issue, you can bring more ideas, facts, and proofs for discussion. In case, you are unsure of what social issue to choose for your academic paper, take a look at this blog. Here, we have presented 200+ trending social issues topics of 2023 along with various other societal problems that exist in our society. Explore them all and pick a topic that suits your needs.
How to Find an Ideal Social Issue Topic for Academic Writing?
Subsequently, it’s significant to choose social issues topics wisely, as this might help you fetch good scores. Hence, consider the below criteria to choose your social issues topics:
- Firstly, ensure to choose social issues topics that might cause some debate and keep your audience hooked.
- Secondly, consider topics on which you may conduct research easily and find some relevant evidence to claim your support.
- Thirdly, consult your professors regarding the topics you choose, as you ought to ensure that it’s acceptable for 2021. Perhaps, you need to ensure that the chosen social issue topic is relevant for class discussion or not.
- Finally, search for trending hashtags of 2023 on media channels as well as look for news in the newspapers. Possibly, search for international news as well and attempt to understand the events across the world. Most importantly, you ought to consider how the events affect the lives of Americans in the different states.
Learn How to Write an Academic Paper on Social Issues
Certainly, writing on social issues topics might require conducting hardcore research. Also, it may require you to exercise sympathy and act tactfully, while writing such types of essays. Thus, let’s explore a few conditions that may help you write captivating essays on social issues topics.
- Specifically, identify the guidelines provided by your instructor. Since research papers need a comprehensive analysis, ensure to cite several references to support your claim. Perhaps, arguments play an important role because the essay requires your opinions.
- Besides, select topics that are either historical or modern. However, ensure to choose topics that might drive interest in you.
- Subsequently, conduct your research through books or encyclopedias on the topics, develop ideas, and create your first draft.
- Simultaneously, determine, how much information does the audience has on your subject. Also, watch your attitude as well and ensure to have the right tone because social issues topics are sensitive.
- Though, you have powerful feelings on your subject, keep it neutral in the essay. Perhaps, highlighting your viewpoints is correct, but remember you ought not to control others’ viewpoints.
Finally, proofread your work as you might want to maintain a logical flow and avoid grammatical mistakes. Possibly, you may leave your assignment idle for a day, and then edit it the next day.
List of Social Issues Topics and Ideas
Find here, a list of captivating social issues topics to draft an outstanding essay or a research paper.
Trending Social Issues Topics 2023
- Green energy conversion.
- Black Lives Matter- Elaborate on the social movement.
- Remote education and its challenges.
- US military troops in Afghanistan- Explain its relevance.
- Write about Same Sex marriage.
- Present your views on the fear of missing out.
- Write an essay on Urban Sprawl.
- Analyze the environmental situation of the Arctic Pole.
- Post Covid-19 society and supply chain diversification.
- Political polarization- How it is increasing?
- Modern society and the healthcare bias.
- Global unemployment at the peak- What is your viewpoint?
- Reasons behind the war between Russia and Ukraine
- Discuss the key social issues across the world
- How overpopulation becomes a global issue?
Simple Social Issues Topics
- Impact of Stereotype and Prejudice on social health and Wellbeing
- Domestic Violence and its Impact on Society
- Effect of Climate Change on Indian Economy
- Who is to blame for drug usage among youngsters?
- Technology addiction.
- Women Empowerment
- The presence of US Military troops in Afghanistan
- What are the challenges of remote education?
- Discuss the factors that influenced the worldwide pandemic and the specific role of vaccination.
- What is the supply chain diversification in the post covid-19 society?
- How Harmful is social media dependency?
- Should employers check employees’ accounts?
- Online ethics and business Facebook accounts.
- The effect of the cancel culture on mental health.
- Is modern society forcing us to participate in social networking?
Top Social Issues Topics for Assignment Writing
- Australian immigration and its history.
- The influence of war on terrorism in society.
- Pornography and children.
- Abuser and victim in the virtual environment- Cyberbullying.
- Write about Manipur Violence
- Internet and its safety- Discuss a few management strategies.
- Data safety and its importance.
- TikTok Challenges- Pros and Cons.
- Hate Speech- How does a social media website manage it?
- Social media accounts- Permission for children to access.
- Propagation of self-care and mindfulness on social media improve health: Explain with justifications
- Why do celebrities need to stay away from promoting alcoholic beverages and other addictive products?
- How social media ignites the social issue related to racism by spreading fake and manipulated news?
- Every society needs to focus on waste reduction for safeguarding ecosystems: Explain
- Why overpopulation is becoming a serious social issue?
Basic Essay Ideas on Social Issues
- Digital Divide in Washington- Elaborate on it.
- Social media and its benefit for marginalized groups.
- Technology and personal isolation in communication.
- The impact of online platforms on democracy.
- Basic ethical principles and how it goes overboard on the internet.
- The influence of Instagram on a healthy lifestyle.
- Youth and social media- Does it make puberty more difficult?
- Twitter and Politics- Discuss the outcomes of Donald Trump’s tweet
- Discuss the differences between stereotypes, discrimination, and prejudice
- The refugee crisis in the United Kingdom due to the war between Ukraine and Russia
- Racial Injustice in the United States
- Gun violence in the United States
- Black Lives Matter movement
- Child labor
- Corruption in High Places
Social Issues Topics for University Students
- Changing the Face of the Caste System
- Role of Bureaucracy
- Crime against women
- Drug Addiction
- Is Twitter’s cancel culture doing more harm than good?
- How do marginalized groups benefit from social media?
- Are people on social media more aggressive than in real life?
- Does the internet shorten our attention span?
- Ways in which social media impacts your interactions with other people.
- Marketing, social media, and you: how do influencers impact your buying behavior?
- How internet reduces your attention span?
- Social media policies and code of conduct- What is the debate?
- Facebook’s Safety Check Feature- Analyze the benefits.
- Social media- How to get your opinions heard?
- The impact of Twitter hashtags on the political discourse.
- Relevance of likes on social media.
Good-Quality Social Issues Topics
- Drawbacks of Twitter’s cancel culture over its advantages.
- Free speech principle and outrageous contents- Analyze Reddit’s rights.
- How the ban of online platforms at the workplace does influence productivity.
- Social media accounts and the school children.
- Online gaming and the threat of microtransactions.
- Censorship and the removal of abusive content.
- Dependences of people on social media.
- The impact of the Internet on students’ lives.
- How is YouTube spreading propaganda?
- Facebook’s Safety Check Feature- Analyze its benefits
- Food insecurity and hunger
- Crime Rate and substance abuse in Mexico
- Crowd-funding through social media platforms
- Impact of social media on Adolescents’ mental health and Safety
- Social media challenges in 2022
Best Research Topics on Social Issues
- What would happen if we could rate everyone online? (Think Community ’s episode “App Development and Condiments”)
- How does participating in Instagram challenges for social justice help?
- Is the propagation of mindfulness and self-care on social media improving our health?
- Speaking out in the online communities- What is your viewpoint?
- Refugees in the world.
- Porn world and the frequency of suicide cases.
- Labor Laws- How is this fair?
- School bullying and its causes.
- The impact of cybercrime on an individual’s life.
- Discuss the influence of teen pregnancy on young girls.
- How is prostitution legal in several countries?
- Racism and its influence on society.
- The impact of domestic violence on children.
- LGBT people- Discuss the five stereotypes.
- Health deprivation and its consequences.
Interesting Social Issues Research Topics
- Sports and its discrimination.
- The impact of hate speech on the job market.
- Cultural heritage and its protection.
- Illiteracy and the problems it causes.
- Rape culture and society.
- The US and the overconsumption issues.
- Same-sex couples and your perception of it.
- Common physical and mental health issues among people belonging to the LGBTQIA community
- Discuss the purpose and activities of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW)
- Challenges imposed by immigration on developed countries
- Global issue related to substandard housing
- Racial discrimination and civil rights
- The Impact of Gangs and Violence on Miami
- Job market and fat-shaming.
- Ageism and the new racism.
Also, Read – Outstanding Social Studies Topics for you to Consider & Explore
Appealing Research Ideas on Social Issues
- Middle Easterners and Arabs- How do they deal with discrimination?
- How does a society do manages poverty?
- The porn industry and its associated pressure.
- Eating utensils and their evolution.
- Polygamy in the United States.
- Gift-giving traditions in different countries.
- Evolution of languages.
- Strange burial customs.
- Why unequal opportunity is considered as one of the most common social issues?
- Explain how mobile clinics are making healthcare more accessible
- Why women’s empowerment is key to ensuring social development?
- Discuss the effects of the cancel culture on mental health
- Discuss the impact of culture on cosmetics consumer behavior
- Discuss how being disabled affect the social status of an individual
Excellent Social Issues Research Topics
- Forced migration.
- Wars- Role of women.
- Significance of media in wartime.
- Ethnic cleansing.
- Reverse discrimination.
- White privilege and the media.
- US and segregation.
- Discuss the impact of racial profiling.
- Workplace and sexual discrimination.
- Gay people and discrimination.
- Asia and its cultural heritage.
- Air loot and wartime.
- Illiteracy and its associated issues.
- Discuss the impact of financial illiteracy
- Critical analysis of the concept of the ‘Right to Die’.
Impressive Social Issues Essay Ideas
- Food culture and its analysis.
- Social media bullying- How to manage it?
- Child abuse prevention.
- Children and their aggression.
- The impact of business on consumption trends.
- Sustainable Development in the US- History
- Water consumption in Africa.
- The strengths of buyers in various industries.
- Alcohol consumption.
- Consumption culture.
- US market and advantages of consumption.
- Stolen Antiques and their Ownership.
- Genocide in America- Historical account.
- Palestinian refugees in Jordan.
- Roman culture and its collapse.
Amazing Social Issues Essay Topics
- Past and present body modification.
- Selling copied artifacts.
- Stealing the Cultural Heritage- Provide instances from history.
- Cultural heritage and its protection- War, and peace.
- Boasting the rape culture.
- Movies and violence.
- How do people overcome their addictions? Compare the projects.
- Unaffordable medical treatment- What should a person do?
- Taking care of the elders- Discuss.
- Illiteracy and poverty.
- African women and illiteracy.
- The sports world and the abuse stories.
- Fast-food consumption among children.
- Gun control initiative in the US.
- The impact of emotional illiteracy on family life.
Current Social Issues Topics
- How to overcome adult illiteracy.
- Overcoming the illiteracy issues and the role of social media.
- War crimes across different countries.
- The impact of the Irish Diaspora transformed life in the US.
- Leaked personal pornography videos- How to deal with it?
- How the porn stars do suffer from society shaming?
- Discuss the porn stars who went over to the other industries.
- Skinheads and racist upbringing.
- How to revise Miranda’s warning?
- Miranda’s warning and the need to revise it.
- Ableism is a form of discrimination.
- The breach of modern labor rights.
- Police abuse and its benefits.
- Why do few men discriminate against women?
- Total equality and its impact on our future.
Outstanding Social Issues Essay Ideas
- Mistreatment of autistic children in schools.
- Absence of sex education in schools.
- Is immunization a mandatory requirement or not?
- The impact of advertisements on our buying habits.
- Discuss the influence of society on the ethical values of teenagers.
- The influence of drugs on human behavior.
- Internet versus Social media- What is your opinion?
- Child labor is a major issue in the country.
- How do you realize that you are addicted to pornography?
- Punishments to convicts after their serving time.
- Developing a wall between the US and Mexico.
- How to blend immigrants into American society.
- Illegal Egyptian immigrants in Italy.
- The impact of the war economy on society.
- Ancient artifacts homes- The role of European museums.
If you want to write a good essay, certainly, you ought to select impressive social issues topics. Moreover, choosing impressive social issues topics, may reduce half your struggle and assure you outstanding grades. However, if you experience any sort of problems, perhaps you may contact our assignment help experts. Alternatively, you may consult your professor, who might assure you that the topics you choose are valid.
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IMF Working Papers
Social unrests and fuel prices: the role of macroeconomic, social and institutional factors.
Alassane Drabo ; Kodjovi M. Eklou ; Patrick A. Imam ; Kangni R Kpodar
October 27, 2023
Free Download . Use the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view this PDF file
Disclaimer: IMF Working Papers describe research in progress by the author(s) and are published to elicit comments and to encourage debate. The views expressed in IMF Working Papers are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of the IMF, its Executive Board, or IMF management.
This paper investigates the impact of fuel price increases on social unrests in addition to the macroeconomic, social and institutional factors driving this relationship. Using the IV fixed-effect estimator on a sample of 101 developing countries during 2001-2020, we find that changes in fuel prices are positively associated with the number of social unrests, mainly anti-government demonstrations. This impact is however amplified: (i) during economic downturns and periods of high exchange rate instability; (ii) when government spending is low, especially on health and education, thus suggesting that streamlining fuel subsides and diverting parts of the reform savings to the health and education sectors is an appropriate policy that could appease social tensions; (iii) in countries with high income inequality, low institutional quality and high level of corruption. The results are robust to a battery of tests, including the use of an instrumental variable approach to address reverse causality concerns given that social unrests could also prompt a freeze in fuel prices. We also find consistent results using either changes in diesel or gasoline prices. Overall, the findings of the paper provide support to the grievance and deprivation theory in explaining the association between fuel price increases and social unrests, but fail to find evidence for the resource theory and the theory of political opportunities.
Working Paper No. 2023/228
Please address any questions about this title to [email protected]
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Why we need to talk more openly about birth control side effects.
By Jessica Grose
Last week, Axios reported that OB-GYNs “have seen a wave of patients quitting hormonal birth control.” According to Tina Reed, the author of the Axios Vitals newsletter, there’s a small surge of patients who are opting for “natural” birth control. Some may be making this shift because they’re getting health information from social media.
Reed referenced a study published earlier this year in the journal Health Communication, which analyzed the content of 50 YouTube videos about birth control that were posted between 2019 and 2021 by social media influencers, and found that the videos were “primarily about the discontinuation of hormonal birth control and may provide inaccurate sexual health information.”
If you’ve spent as much time as I have surveying the dark corners of the anti-vaccine and free-birthing social media worlds, you won’t be surprised by the fact that wellness influencers pushing “natural” birth control are all over the place. Sometimes they’re promoting some version of the rhythm method , also known as fertility awareness (tracking your menstrual cycle to figure out when you’ll ovulate and avoiding sex or using condoms on or near those days); sometimes they’re selling some poultice of herbs.
So let’s start there: I have no problem, in theory, with fertility awareness methods — they’re effective if used perfectly, but with typical, human, imperfect use, “12-24 women out of 100 will become pregnant” within the first year of employing these methods, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. I am, however, firmly against misinformation being spread about the supposed harms of hormonal birth control, which is much more effective with typical use in preventing pregnancy (between fewer than one and 12 pregnancies per 100 women per year, depending on the type of hormonal method used). And for many women suffering from problems like endometriosis, menstrual migraines and fibroids , hormonal birth control can make life a lot more manageable, for reasons beyond the prevention of unintended pregnancies.
Part of the reason that some non-hormonal birth control methods seem to have gained such traction on social media is that there is a tendency among some medical professionals to downplay the side effects of hormonal birth control methods that many women experience. Most women who use birth control are completely or somewhat satisfied with their methods of choice, but a minority of them experience reactions unpleasant enough to seriously impede their daily lives.
Over the years, I have heard anecdotally about — and experienced — various side effects to different types of contraception: heavy breakthrough bleeding and abdominal pain with IUDs, mood disturbances with different types of pills, and sexual side effects with everything. Discussion of these issues, often confined to intimate chats among women, was aired out in a great extended bit from the comedian Beth Stelling’s new Netflix special , in which she recounts the various kinds of birth control she’s “experimented recreationally” with over the years. “In my 30s,” she says, “I started taking the pill, just ’cause I wanted to know what it would be like to be a different person.” She asks audience members for their experiences with a particular pill before whipping out a pair of reading glasses and going over a list of potential side effects about another, including vomiting, abdominal cramps, depression and rashes.
As Sara Cravatts reported for Stat in 2021, in an article headlined “Patients and doctors are clashing about side effects of hormonal birth control,” many younger patients have been raised to advocate more assertively for themselves and for their bodily autonomy:
They want physicians to spend more time questioning potential side effects of hormonal contraception and less time questioning the validity of patients’ claims. But some physicians say without data that point to the prevalence of some side effects, they find it difficult to respond. Some choose not to engage at all.
And that lack of engagement leaves patients feeling dismissed, Cravatts wrote. When women — particularly women of color, whose pain has a long history of being undervalued — feel dismissed by the medical establishment, that leaves the door open for all manner of snake oil salesmen.
A paucity of open discussion between doctors and patients about the side effects of hormonal contraceptive methods also allows information to be politicized by those looking to undermine birth control more generally, as Kat Tenbarge reported in a July article for NBC News about how conservative influencers were weaponizing rare issues with hormonal contraceptives that didn’t have solid data behind them.
As Dr. Kate White, the vice chair of academics in obstetrics and gynecology at Boston Medical Center, told me over the phone, “what is happening is that people who have not been listened to, who have been disregarded, are then turning to sources that are not only not board-certified but also have their own agendas to push. And then they’re making decisions out of fear and misinformation.” Particularly in a post-Roe universe, she said, that is “tragic, because at a time that people need more autonomy over their bodies and more information about what the consequences of their choices about what using methods or not using methods means for them, they’re actually working in more of an information vacuum.”
She mentioned an example of a side effect that showed up in patient anecdotes before it was studied, and was at first dismissed by doctors: an elevated risk of vaginal infections in patients who have copper IUDs .
I asked Dr. White — who is not only a board-certified OB-GYN but is also board-certified in complex family planning , which involves an additional two-year training in reproductive health after an OB-GYN residency — how medical professionals can work with their patients to find the contraception that will work best for them based on their personal contraindications, the risks and benefits of each method, and where they are in their reproductive lives.
She described the counseling model that she would like to see implemented: “You say you need birth control. Your provider asks you a series of questions, starting with: What have you used in the past, what has worked for you, what hasn’t and why?” Finding out a person’s contraceptive journey is important, she said, because “The average person is going to use three to four methods of contraception over the course of their life. It’s not typical, it’s not normal to find one method when you’re 17 and stick with it until you’re 40.”
After a patient’s contraceptive history is documented, providers should ask about overall health history, Dr. White said: “Do you have medical conditions that are going to make a difference about what methods you’re eligible for versus what methods could do for you?” And finally, “The most vital question is: What’s important to you about your birth control? Because people are using birth control not just to not get pregnant, but they may need bleeding control, pain control, acne [management], privacy, reversibility.” She also mentioned accessibility issues, both around refilling prescriptions and also the insertion or removal of implanted devices.
I don’t want to overplay the power of the anti-hormone influencers. Hormonal contraception is still very popular among American women. In 2022, the Kaiser Family Foundation polled women between the ages of 18 and 49 about the prospect of an over-the-counter birth control pill (one was approved this year by the Food and Drug Administration and should be available to consumers in 2024). K.F.F. found that 77 percent “of reproductive-age females favor making birth control pills available over the counter without a prescription if research showed they are safe and effective,” which suggests that the backlash against hormones isn’t overwhelming overall trust in the medical establishment or the desire for contraception that’s effective and easy to purchase.
And there’s more good news on the horizon for people whose side effects are so unpleasant that any hormonal contraception is not a good fit for them: In next Wednesday’s newsletter, I’ll discuss the renewed investment in contraception and the development of new forms of birth control that may reach the market in the coming decades.
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At the Supreme Court, 'First Amendment interests all over the place'
The Supreme Court heard arguments in a case where two local school board members in Poway, Calif., blocked two persistently critical parents from their social media pages. Samuel Corum/AFP via Getty Images hide caption
The Supreme Court heard arguments in a case where two local school board members in Poway, Calif., blocked two persistently critical parents from their social media pages.
The usually quite certain justices of the U.S. Supreme Court seemed to be un certainly groping their way on Tuesday, as they sought to craft a new rule for dealing with the social media age.
At issue were cases that test the ability of public officials to block critics from their "personal" social medial pages , a practice that Donald Trump often engaged in when he was president.
The first of Tuesday's cases dealt with two local school board members in Poway, Calif. They blocked two persistently critical parents from their social media pages, and the parents sued, contending the school officials had used their government authority to violate their First Amendment right of free speech.
Can public officials block you on social media? It's up to the Supreme Court
Representing the school board members, lawyer Hashim Mooppan told the justices that the social media pages were extensions of the board members' campaign pages and thus were purely personal because the state had no control over them.
That prompted Justice Samuel Alito to ask, "What if you showed a Facebook page to a thousand people and 999 of them would think that this is an official page? Under your test, that wouldn't matter?"
"That shouldn't matter," Mooppan replied.
The example of former President Trump
"So that means President Trump's Twitter account was also personal?" Justice Elena Kagan interjected, raising the issue of then Trump's practice of blocking critics on his Twitter account .
"I think that was a harder question," Mooppan replied, noting that a government staffer facilitated Trump's page for him.
That didn't satisfy Justice Kagan. "I don't think a citizen would be able to really understand the Trump presidency, if you will, without any access to all the things that the president said on that account" she said. "It was an important part of how he wielded his authority. And to cut a citizen off from that is to cut a citizen off from part of the way that government works."
U.S. Appeals Court Rules Trump Violated 1st Amendment By Blocking Twitter Followers
Who can be excluded.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor pressed lawyer Mooppan further, asking if a school board member's social media page is deemed to be personal, could he "exclude Muslims, Jews, whoever he wanted to exclude... because that's a social account?"
Mooppan replied that these were not government social media pages. They were campaign pages. "My clients were elected officials who have to run for re-election. So what they were doing is what incumbent officials all over the country do as a regular matter. They talk to their constituents to show what a good job they've been doing and why they should be re-elected." And they do that on their personal social media pages.
Several justices asked about school board members devoting their pages to school business. Why doesn't that transform their pages into a place where the public's business is being done? Mooppan replied that school business could just as well have been discussed in the board members' backyards, or for that matter, at a campaign event that is open only to fellow Republican or fellow Democratic party members.
Justice Amy Coney Barrett followed up, observing, "I think it's very difficult when you have an official who can in some sense define his own authority." After all, she noted, "My law clerk could just start posting things and say this is the official business of the Barrett chambers, right?"
Lawyer Mooppan replied, somewhat inscrutably, that "It becomes harder the higher up you go in the chain because it's harder to identify a superior who can tell you what to do."
What is state action?
Arguing the contrary position, on behalf of the blocked school board critics, lawyer Pamela Karlan contended that the parents were being denied access to important information about the public school system that is only available on the board members' personal pages.
Justice Alito asked how blocking a critic from a social media page is different from a public official at the grocery store deflecting a critic by telling her to call his office.
Karlan replied that when a public official is "clearly off duty, that is ... pushing the shopping cart down the aisle, arguably, they're not doing their job." But, she added, "If they say they're doing their job, then, yes, I would say the starting point is they're state actors," meaning they are exercising the authority of the state and their page is not purely personal.
Justice Brett Kavanaugh asked Karlan if her position would be the same if the White House press secretary were to invite a select group of reporters to her house for dinner, leaving out other members of the press. "Is that state action?" he asked.
Karlan replied that there would be "no meritorious constitutional claim" the uninvited reporters would "have a right to come to your dinner ... as opposed to you don't allow people to show up at press briefings altogether."
She contended that a public official, talking about public business, can't kick constituents off of his or her social media page without violating the constituents ' first amendment rights.
"That's what makes this case so hard," opined Justices Kagan. "There are First Amendment interests all over the place."
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FACT SHEET: President Biden Issues Executive Order on Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence
Today, President Biden is issuing a landmark Executive Order to ensure that America leads the way in seizing the promise and managing the risks of artificial intelligence (AI). The Executive Order establishes new standards for AI safety and security, protects Americans’ privacy, advances equity and civil rights, stands up for consumers and workers, promotes innovation and competition, advances American leadership around the world, and more. As part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s comprehensive strategy for responsible innovation, the Executive Order builds on previous actions the President has taken, including work that led to voluntary commitments from 15 leading companies to drive safe, secure, and trustworthy development of AI. The Executive Order directs the following actions: New Standards for AI Safety and Security
As AI’s capabilities grow, so do its implications for Americans’ safety and security. With this Executive Order, the President directs the most sweeping actions ever taken to protect Americans from the potential risks of AI systems :
- Require that developers of the most powerful AI systems share their safety test results and other critical information with the U.S. government. In accordance with the Defense Production Act, the Order will require that companies developing any foundation model that poses a serious risk to national security, national economic security, or national public health and safety must notify the federal government when training the model, and must share the results of all red-team safety tests. These measures will ensure AI systems are safe, secure, and trustworthy before companies make them public.
- Develop standards, tools, and tests to help ensure that AI systems are safe, secure, and trustworthy. The National Institute of Standards and Technology will set the rigorous standards for extensive red-team testing to ensure safety before public release. The Department of Homeland Security will apply those standards to critical infrastructure sectors and establish the AI Safety and Security Board. The Departments of Energy and Homeland Security will also address AI systems’ threats to critical infrastructure, as well as chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and cybersecurity risks. Together, these are the most significant actions ever taken by any government to advance the field of AI safety.
- Protect against the risks of using AI to engineer dangerous biological materials by developing strong new standards for biological synthesis screening. Agencies that fund life-science projects will establish these standards as a condition of federal funding, creating powerful incentives to ensure appropriate screening and manage risks potentially made worse by AI.
- Protect Americans from AI-enabled fraud and deception by establishing standards and best practices for detecting AI-generated content and authenticating official content . The Department of Commerce will develop guidance for content authentication and watermarking to clearly label AI-generated content. Federal agencies will use these tools to make it easy for Americans to know that the communications they receive from their government are authentic—and set an example for the private sector and governments around the world.
- Establish an advanced cybersecurity program to develop AI tools to find and fix vulnerabilities in critical software, building on the Biden-Harris Administration’s ongoing AI Cyber Challenge. Together, these efforts will harness AI’s potentially game-changing cyber capabilities to make software and networks more secure.
- Order the development of a National Security Memorandum that directs further actions on AI and security, to be developed by the National Security Council and White House Chief of Staff. This document will ensure that the United States military and intelligence community use AI safely, ethically, and effectively in their missions, and will direct actions to counter adversaries’ military use of AI.
Protecting Americans’ Privacy
Without safeguards, AI can put Americans’ privacy further at risk. AI not only makes it easier to extract, identify, and exploit personal data, but it also heightens incentives to do so because companies use data to train AI systems. To better protect Americans’ privacy, including from the risks posed by AI, the President calls on Congress to pass bipartisan data privacy legislation to protect all Americans, especially kids, and directs the following actions:
- Protect Americans’ privacy by prioritizing federal support for accelerating the development and use of privacy-preserving techniques— including ones that use cutting-edge AI and that let AI systems be trained while preserving the privacy of the training data.
- Strengthen privacy-preserving research and technologies, such as cryptographic tools that preserve individuals’ privacy, by funding a Research Coordination Network to advance rapid breakthroughs and development. The National Science Foundation will also work with this network to promote the adoption of leading-edge privacy-preserving technologies by federal agencies.
- Evaluate how agencies collect and use commercially available information —including information they procure from data brokers—and strengthen privacy guidance for federal agencies to account for AI risks. This work will focus in particular on commercially available information containing personally identifiable data.
- Develop guidelines for federal agencies to evaluate the effectiveness of privacy-preserving techniques, including those used in AI systems. These guidelines will advance agency efforts to protect Americans’ data.
Advancing Equity and Civil Rights
Irresponsible uses of AI can lead to and deepen discrimination, bias, and other abuses in justice, healthcare, and housing. The Biden-Harris Administration has already taken action by publishing the Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights and issuing an Executive Order directing agencies to combat algorithmic discrimination , while enforcing existing authorities to protect people’s rights and safety. To ensure that AI advances equity and civil rights, the President directs the following additional actions:
- Provide clear guidance to landlords, Federal benefits programs, and federal contractors to keep AI algorithms from being used to exacerbate discrimination.
- Address algorithmic discrimination through training, technical assistance, and coordination between the Department of Justice and Federal civil rights offices on best practices for investigating and prosecuting civil rights violations related to AI.
- Ensure fairness throughout the criminal justice system by developing best practices on the use of AI in sentencing, parole and probation, pretrial release and detention, risk assessments, surveillance, crime forecasting and predictive policing, and forensic analysis.
Standing Up for Consumers, Patients, and Students
AI can bring real benefits to consumers—for example, by making products better, cheaper, and more widely available. But AI also raises the risk of injuring, misleading, or otherwise harming Americans. To protect consumers while ensuring that AI can make Americans better off, the President directs the following actions:
- Advance the responsible use of AI in healthcare and the development of affordable and life-saving drugs. The Department of Health and Human Services will also establish a safety program to receive reports of—and act to remedy – harms or unsafe healthcare practices involving AI.
- Shape AI’s potential to transform education by creating resources to support educators deploying AI-enabled educational tools, such as personalized tutoring in schools.
AI is changing America’s jobs and workplaces, offering both the promise of improved productivity but also the dangers of increased workplace surveillance, bias, and job displacement. To mitigate these risks, support workers’ ability to bargain collectively, and invest in workforce training and development that is accessible to all, the President directs the following actions:
- Develop principles and best practices to mitigate the harms and maximize the benefits of AI for workers by addressing job displacement; labor standards; workplace equity, health, and safety; and data collection. These principles and best practices will benefit workers by providing guidance to prevent employers from undercompensating workers, evaluating job applications unfairly, or impinging on workers’ ability to organize.
- Produce a report on AI’s potential labor-market impacts , and study and identify options for strengthening federal support for workers facing labor disruptions , including from AI.
Promoting Innovation and Competition
America already leads in AI innovation—more AI startups raised first-time capital in the United States last year than in the next seven countries combined. The Executive Order ensures that we continue to lead the way in innovation and competition through the following actions:
- Catalyze AI research across the United States through a pilot of the National AI Research Resource—a tool that will provide AI researchers and students access to key AI resources and data—and expanded grants for AI research in vital areas like healthcare and climate change.
- Promote a fair, open, and competitive AI ecosystem by providing small developers and entrepreneurs access to technical assistance and resources, helping small businesses commercialize AI breakthroughs, and encouraging the Federal Trade Commission to exercise its authorities.
- Use existing authorities to expand the ability of highly skilled immigrants and nonimmigrants with expertise in critical areas to study, stay, and work in the United States by modernizing and streamlining visa criteria, interviews, and reviews.
Advancing American Leadership Abroad
AI’s challenges and opportunities are global. The Biden-Harris Administration will continue working with other nations to support safe, secure, and trustworthy deployment and use of AI worldwide. To that end, the President directs the following actions:
- Expand bilateral, multilateral, and multistakeholder engagements to collaborate on AI . The State Department, in collaboration, with the Commerce Department will lead an effort to establish robust international frameworks for harnessing AI’s benefits and managing its risks and ensuring safety. In addition, this week, Vice President Harris will speak at the UK Summit on AI Safety, hosted by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
- Accelerate development and implementation of vital AI standards with international partners and in standards organizations, ensuring that the technology is safe, secure, trustworthy, and interoperable.
- Promote the safe, responsible, and rights-affirming development and deployment of AI abroad to solve global challenges, such as advancing sustainable development and mitigating dangers to critical infrastructure.
Ensuring Responsible and Effective Government Use of AI
AI can help government deliver better results for the American people. It can expand agencies’ capacity to regulate, govern, and disburse benefits, and it can cut costs and enhance the security of government systems. However, use of AI can pose risks, such as discrimination and unsafe decisions. To ensure the responsible government deployment of AI and modernize federal AI infrastructure, the President directs the following actions:
- Issue guidance for agencies’ use of AI, including clear standards to protect rights and safety, improve AI procurement, and strengthen AI deployment.
- Help agencies acquire specified AI products and services faster, more cheaply, and more effectively through more rapid and efficient contracting.
- Accelerate the rapid hiring of AI professionals as part of a government-wide AI talent surge led by the Office of Personnel Management, U.S. Digital Service, U.S. Digital Corps, and Presidential Innovation Fellowship. Agencies will provide AI training for employees at all levels in relevant fields.
As we advance this agenda at home, the Administration will work with allies and partners abroad on a strong international framework to govern the development and use of AI. The Administration has already consulted widely on AI governance frameworks over the past several months—engaging with Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, the UAE, and the UK. The actions taken today support and complement Japan’s leadership of the G-7 Hiroshima Process, the UK Summit on AI Safety, India’s leadership as Chair of the Global Partnership on AI, and ongoing discussions at the United Nations. The actions that President Biden directed today are vital steps forward in the U.S.’s approach on safe, secure, and trustworthy AI. More action will be required, and the Administration will continue to work with Congress to pursue bipartisan legislation to help America lead the way in responsible innovation. For more on the Biden-Harris Administration’s work to advance AI, and for opportunities to join the Federal AI workforce, visit AI.gov .
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Election Day 2023: What to know about Ohio Issue 1 and Issue 2
Posted: November 6, 2023 | Last updated: November 6, 2023
In Ohio on Tuesday, voters will determine the future of two hot-button social issues – abortion and marijuana.
Voters will decide Nov. 7 whether to approve Issue 1 and Issue 2, along with a range of other local races and levies. Issue 1 would enshrine the right to an abortion and other reproductive health care in the state constitution. Issue 2 is an initiated statute that would legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older.
Ohio Issue 1: What would the amendment mean for abortions later in pregnancy?
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Both are complex in their own ways, so here are some answers to common questions about each measure.
What is Ohio Issue 1?
Issue 1 would enshrine in the state constitution the right to an abortion up until viability, which is when a fetus can survive outside the uterus with reasonable measures. It also states that there's a right to access contraception, miscarriage care, fertility treatment and continuing a pregnancy.
Ohio Issue 1: Michigan approved abortion rights measure last year? Will Ohio follow suit?
How does Ohio Issue 1 compare to Roe v. Wade?
Both Issue 1 and the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade use viability to dictate when most abortions are allowed. And they each allow abortions later in pregnancy − or post-viability − to protect the patient's life or health.
Would Ohio Issue 1 let minors get abortions without parental consent?
Critics say so, because the measure uses the term "individual" or "pregnant patient" instead of "woman." Supporters say they chose that word to be inclusive of transgender and nonbinary people. The amendment itself does not expressly mention parental consent.
Ohio currently requires minors to get their parents' approval, and judges will ultimately decide if that law violates the amendment, should it pass. Legal experts are mixed on how this could turn out. Children generally have fewer rights than adults, and some attorneys don't expect a Republican-leaning state Supreme Court to greatly expand those rights.
Attorney General Dave Yost's office , on the other hand, said "there is no guarantee that Ohio’s parental-consent law will remain in effect."
Ohio Issue 1: What do different religions say about abortion?
Would Ohio Issue 1 allow abortions up until birth?
This is another talking point among the issue's opponents. Under the proposal, abortions after viability would be allowed to save the pregnant patient's life or health. That decision would be made by the person's doctor.
That means abortions later in pregnancy could happen, although they're extremely rare in Ohio and nationwide. Proponents of Issue 1 say abortions later in pregnancy occur only under difficult, potentially life-threatening circumstances and don't happen on a whim.
Dig deeper on Ohio Issue 1
- What you need to know about November ballot issue on abortion
- What do different religions say about abortion?
- Why Ohio abortion opponents, Republicans aren't banning abortion before Issue 1 vote
- Michigan approved abortion rights measure last year. Will Ohio follow suit?
- Abortion rights side wins fundraising battle as out-of-state money flows
What is Ohio Issue 2?
The proposed law would allow Ohioans age 21 and older to possess 2.5 ounces of cannabis in any form except extract and 15 grams of extract. They could also grow up to six plants individually and no more than 12 in a household with multiple adults.
Products would be taxed 10% on top of Ohio's sales tax. The revenue would go toward a cannabis social equity and jobs program, municipalities with dispensaries, a state fund to combat substance abuse and administrative costs.
Ohio Issue 2: What Ohioans need to know about November ballot issue to legalize recreational marijuana
Could you smoke in public if Ohio Issue 2 passes?
Smoking marijuana would fall under the state's smoking ban . That law prohibits people from smoking plant material in enclosed areas open to the public, with exceptions for outdoor patios, smoke shops and hotel rooms designated for smoking.
Public use beyond that is less clear. Under the proposal, using marijuana in "public areas" would land someone with a minor misdemeanor. But it also says property owners and "any public place" could decide for themselves whether to accommodate marijuana use.
Proponents compare this to alcohol: You generally can't drink on a sidewalk, but you can in a licensed bar or restaurant. Business leaders who oppose the measure contend the language is unclear.
Does Ohio Issue 2 expunge marijuana convictions?
No. While other states automatically expunged certain arrests or convictions as part of their adult-use marijuana programs, Ohio's proposal does not include that .
Instead, it establishes the social equity program to help business owners who are disproportionately affected by the enforcement of marijuana laws. This would include people who are disadvantaged based on their race, gender, ethnicity or economic status. People with marijuana arrests or convictions on their record − or with a parent, child or spouse who has one − would also qualify.
Will the Legislature repeal Ohio Issue 2?
Since Issue 2 is an initiated statute, lawmakers are free to change or toss out the version that voters approve. But even though GOP leaders disapprove of recreational marijuana, a total repeal seems unlikely . They may instead look at the revenue distribution or impose additional requirements.
A quick side note: If Issue 2 passes, the Division of Cannabis Control will hash out specific program rules within the parameters of the new law.
More on Ohio Issue 2
- What to know about November ballot issue to legalize recreational marijuana
- Michigan marijuana shops make money off Ohio consumers. Issue 2 could change that
- Who's behind Ohio Issue 2? Marijuana businesses that will benefit from it
- Does recreational marijuana make roads less safe?
- Group behind Ohio Issue 2 gets boost from marijuana industry ahead of Nov. 7 election
What is Ohio's voter ID law?
A new state law no longer allows voters to use utility bills and other documents as identification to receive a ballot.
Now, a photo ID is required for in-person voting , either on Election Day or during the early voting period. To cast a ballot by mail, voters must provide a copy of their photo ID, driver's license number or the last four digits of their Social Security number.
Free state IDs are available to residents at local Bureau of Motor Vehicles deputy registrar locations. More information can be found at bmv.ohio.gov .
When do polls open in Ohio?
Polls open Tuesday, Nov. 7 at 6:30 a.m. and close at 7:30 p.m. To check your polling location, view a sample ballot and more, visit voteohio.gov .
Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional information about public marijuana use.
USA TODAY Network Ohio Bureau reporter Jessie Balmert contributed.
Haley BeMiller is a reporter for the USA TODAY Network Ohio Bureau, which serves the Columbus Dispatch, Cincinnati Enquirer, Akron Beacon Journal and 18 other affiliated news organizations across Ohio.
This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Election Day 2023: What to know about Ohio Issue 1 and Issue 2
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