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Make sure you have read the Module Notes: The Social Problems Framework
Watched the videos:
The Skinny on Obesity (Ep. 1): An Epidemic for Every Body (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
The Skinny on Obesity (Ep. 5): Generation XL (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
Answer the following questions:
Based on both the Module Notes and the videos, explain how obesity could be viewed as both a personal problem and a social problem.
What difference does the distinction between obesity as a personal problem versus a social problem make in understanding the causes and consequences of this problem?
To what extent do you perceive obesity to be a personal problem or a social problem? Why?
Your initial post should be at least 250 words and must substantively integrate the assigned readings in the instructions with proper
APA (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
Read attachement:Make sure you have read the Module Notes: The Social Problems FrameworkWatched the videos:The Skinny on Obesity (Ep. 1): An Epidemic for Every Body (Links to an external site.)Links t
Module 1: Module Notes: The Social Problems Framework The social problems framework is a lens through which any problem can be viewed. If one were to put on rose colored glasses, everything would look like it was rose colored; if one were to put on dark gray sunglasses, everything would look dark and gray; when one takes off the rose colored or the dark gray sunglasses, everything looks like it does in whatever lighting is in the environment. When one puts on a social problems “lens,” it enables him/her to view problems in society differently than if he/she were to put on a psychological “lens.” These module notes explain this framework in depth. If you are poor, is it your fault? If you are lazy and refuse to get a job or your spending is out of control, then you have a personal problem. However, if you are poor because you lost your job as a result of the housing market crash and the economy, then you belong to a larger group of people who suffer from a social problem. Most people are raised to believe that the problems from which people suffer are the fault of those who suffer from them. However, when problems are viewed as social problems, it means that their causes and solutions lie outside of the individuals or groups who suffer from those problems. In other words, the causes and solutions to problems perceived as social problems lie in the social environment, external to the individuals or groups who suffer from them. A personal problem is a problem whose causes and solutions lie within the individual. A social problem, on the other hand, is a problem whose causes and solutions are external to the individual who is suffering from the problem. It is important to point out that even if a problem is a personal problem, it does not necessarily mean that the individual has control over the causes and solutions. Depending on the internal causes and solutions, the individual may or may not have control over them. The extremely important point is that there is a major difference between internal factors over which an individual has control and internal factors over which an individual does not have control. “C. Wright Mills” (1959, pp. 8-9, as cited in Lauer and Lauer, 2014, p. 4), one of the earliest social thinkers and known as the father of sociology, “made a similar distinction, calling personal problems the ‘personal troubles of milieu,’ and social problems the ‘public issues of social structure.’” In other words, if one person in a city is homeless, then being homeless is a personal problem for that individual. If one person in a city is homeless, then it is fair to “blame the victim,” and say that there is something wrong with that person. He or she must be lazy, irresponsible, mentally unstable, etc. However, “if there are 100 million jobs in a society and 150 million people are available for work,” then it is a social problem (Lauer and Lauer, 2014, p. 4). When one begins to recognize the rates, percentages, or numbers of people who suffer from a particular problem, he/she is beginning to think in terms of social problems. In addition, it no longer makes sense to point a finger at each individual who is suffering from the problem and blame him/her for his/her situation. Social problems cannot be resolved by telling each person who suffers from a problem to make internal changes; they can only be resolved by making external, social, environmental changes. When people “blame the victim” for the problems from which one suffers, they are blaming the victim for causing the problems, as well as blaming him/her for not making the necessary internal changes to resolve the problems for himself/herself. When people blame poor people for poverty, they are blaming poor people for becoming poor (i.e., “you don’t work hard enough, you are lazy, you are irresponsible”), and they are blaming poor people for not resolving their situations themselves (i.e., “you need to work harder, not be so lazy, become responsible, etc.”). In sum, when problems are viewed as personal problems and the victim is blamed for his/her situation, the causes and solutions to the problem are perceived to lie within the individual. A few important points are worth noting. First, even when a personal problem can be viewed as a social problem, individual people still suffer from it. The fact that a problem is a social problem does not remove the suffering people experience from their problems. Second, all personal problems can be perceived as social problems when one puts on the social problems framework “lens.” Third, even though a problem can be perceived as a social problem, it does not mean that the individuals who suffer from the problem do not have any internal characteristics that contribute to the problem. Many people suffer from physiological and psychological conditions over which they have no control, but which also contribute to their problems. The point is that one’s view of the causes of problems will be distorted, biased, and inaccurate if one does not look beyond the individual level factors. Different causes and consequences will be identified, depending on whether one perceives a problem to be a personal problem or a social problem. Many people who suffer from various problems blame themselves for their situations, even though they are not mostly or entirely to blame for their situations. When people blame themselves, they are also expressing feelings of inadequacy. When a problem is defined as a personal problem, then internal or individual level strategies are used to try to resolve it. More specifically, when individuals blame themselves for their situations and feel inadequate, they look inward to resolve their situations. These internal solutions can range from escape mechanisms, like physical illnesses and self-destructive behaviors, to seeking specialists, like psychotherapists and religious counselors. Even when specialists help individuals with their problems, the problems are not solved. In sum, if every family received counseling for the problems from which they suffer within their families, each family would be better able to cope with them and endure them, but they would not be eliminated. Family problems would occur just as frequently, regardless of receiving counseling for their problems. When a problem is defined as a social problem, the consequences and corrective actions are much different than when it is defined as a personal problem. When poverty-stricken people recognize their situation as a social problem, then they will use social level strategies to try to resolve it. For instance, they may participate in collective behavior with others, like protests, social movements, or organizations that are designed to help poor people. In sum, personal problems are solved through the efforts of the individuals suffering from them and through individuals making internal changes. Social problems are resolved through social or collective action. Social problems cannot be solved through individual efforts. Social problems are analyzed through the use of nine fallacies. In order to cultivate critical thinking skills, one needs to develop an ability to recognize these fallacies. Once one is able to recognize these fallacies, one will be able to analyze and evaluate the validity of information with logic. You’ll learn more about the Nine Fallacies in our discussion in this module.