Stages in the development of Social Problem

Stages in the development of Social Problem is defined by many sociologist. We will study some models of famous ideas that defines this.

Stages in the development of Social Problem

We will study the ideas of following famous sociologist in this field.

  • Fuller and Myres
  • Blumer
  • Spector and Kitsuse

According to Fuller and Myers-

Fuller and Myres have referred to three states through which a problem passes in the process of being defined and solved:

  1. Awareness: In this first stage, people become convinced that the problem exists, the condition is undesirable, and that something can be done about it. In the beginning, only a few people raise questions but gradually more people become aware of the existence of the problem.
  2. Policy determination: As awareness is press to larger segment of society, possible solutions come to be discussed, for example discussion of population explosion in India and various means of family planning in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. Thus the emphasis in the second stage shifts from what should be done to house should be done.
  3. Reform: as basic solutions and policies are decided upon, the stage of action is reached, for example, not only a plan for clearing the slums put into practice but people living there are also accommodated elsewhere. No wonder, this stage is called the stage of implementation rather than the stage of decision.
Stages in the development of Social Problem
Stages in the development of Social Problem
Characteristics of social problemReactions to social problems
Causes of social problemsSocial problems Approaches
Types of social problemsStages in the development of a social problem
Solving social problemsSocial problems and social change in India
Sociology, sociologists and social problems

According to Blumer-

Blumer has referred to five stages in the course of a social problem. These are

  1. Emergence of a problem
  2. Legitimation of a problem
  3. Mobilization of action
  4. Formulation of an official plan
  5. Implementation of the official plan

He says that movement from one state to another is not automatic but it depends on many contingencies.

According to Spector and Kitsuse-

They have talked of four stages in the development of social problem. These are

  1. Agitation: The people feel aggrieved about the existing situation in the society. They agitate against this grievance
    • to convince others that the problem exists
    • to initiate action to improve conditions and to attack the alleged cause of the grievance.
  2. Legitimation and Capitation: when the group in power are the power holders acknowledge the existence of problem, the problem acquired legitimacy. Whereas in the first stage, the claimants of the problems are viewed as peculiar individuals.
  3. Bureauratization and reaction: when the focus in the first stage is on the complaint group, in the second stage it is on the decision makers, and in the third stage, it is on the bureaucrats and their efficiency which attracts attention. the extent to which the bureaucracy look for solution of the problems and the extent to which they are able to form of vested interest will determine whether the education will take the form of a movement or not.
  4. Re-emergence of the movement: the defective policies of the decision makers and the European sign their this interestedness vis-a-vis the problem is a rekindle the feeling of the agreed people and their who started a movement to force the power holders to adopt measures for solving the problem.

Thus, according to Spectre and Kitsuse:

Social problems are pre-eminently a political process through which the problem comes to be publicly accepted as such and through which particular institutional responses to the problem are shaped and then reshaped.


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