Today, ‘Social Problems‘ is considered a sub-discipline of sociology. Sociology is a very vast field, encompassing such sub-disciplines as the sociology of family, sociology of crime and delinquency, sociology of education, sociology of environment etc
Drug abuse, alcoholism, ageing, population explosion corruption age inequality child abuse terrorism population power environmental degradation unemployment and crime against women are not individual problems but affect the society at large. And individual problem is one which affect one individual or one group.
Against this, A Social issue is one which affect the society as a whole or the larger part of society. the sociologist job is to understand the complexity of these problems and their related to social structure to study the operation of varied pattern of interrelationships in the society and how people are affected by them, and observe how social system need to recognise and restructured in dealing with them.
A social problem is a condition or set of events that some people in society view as being undesirable. A Social problem has been defined as
A situation confronting a group or a section of society which in flips injurious consequences that can be handled only collectively.Reinhardt
Thus, no one individual are a few individuals are responsible for the appearance of a social problematic situation, and the control of this situation is also beyond the ability of one person or a few persons. This responsibility is placed upon society at large. Walsh and furfey have defined a social problem as
Deviation from the social ideal ideal remediable by group effort
Two elements are important in this definition, one is a situation which is less than ideal, that is which is undesirable or abnormal; second is one which is remediable by collective effort.
True it is not easy to determine which situation is ideal and which is not, and there is no different standard that could be used to judge it. Yet it is clear that a social ideal is not something arbitrary and the term ‘social problems’ is applied only to that ‘issue’ which social ethics and society considered as unfavourable.
The issue should also be such as is behind and individual to handle it by himself. If an individual wants job and has to compete with others for getting it, then it is merely an individual problem. Likewise, if an individual has become addicted to drug and had to seek admission to a institute for community Centre for deaddiction that is his personal problem.
Thus, a problem may be an individual problem under one set of circumstances and social problems under another.
But social problems change with the passage of time. What was not considered a social problem a few decades ago may become a crucial social problem today or two decades later.
For example, the population explosion in our country was not viewed as a social problem up to the late 40s and the 20th century.
Definition of Social Problem
A condition which is defined by a considerable Number of persons as deviation from some social norms which they cherries.Fuller and Myers
A way of behaviour that is regarded by a substantial part of a social order or being in violation of one are more generally accepted or approved norms.Merton and Nisbet
This definition may apply to some problems like alcoholism, corruption and communalism but not the problems like population explosion.
A problem in human relationships which seriously threatens society or impedes the important aspirations of many people.Raab and Selznick
A social problem exist when you are we become conscious of a difficulty, a gap between our preferences and reality.Carr
Social problems involve actions or pattern of behaviour that are used by a substantial Number of persons in the society as been delete to the society or in violation of social norms, and about which ameliorative action is seen as both possible and desirable.Blummer
Behaviour pattern or condition which arise from social processes and are considered so objectionable or undesirable by many members of a society that they recognise that corrective policies, programs and services are necessary to cope with them.Weinberg