Social Problems Essay

733 Words Nov 22nd, 2014 3 Pages
Soc 105-15 Chapter 1
Homework Questions

1.) Why are social problems everybody’s problems? A social problem is a condition within our society that we as a people view as unwanted or undesirable. Social problems can be found on a local or statewide level but can also expand to a national and even international level as well. With this in mind let’s answer the question of why these problems are everybody’s problem. Let’s use unemployment for our example. A husband and father of 3 young children is laid off from his job because the states largest manufacturing plant has gone out of business. Now at first this appears to be a personal or local problem to that specific family but we need to look at the bigger
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In turn this will cause the same issues for them as it has for us. Factories will close down and the unemployment rates for those countries will begin to rise. It could spread across the globe like a wildfire and before we know it the entire planet is suffering. This may be an extreme example and hopefully it will never come to this but it clearly shows how one problem can quickly become everybody’s problem.

2.) Discuss the difference between manifest and latent functions. Robert Merton was the first to come up with the concept of manifest and latent functions within our society. According to Merton manifest functions are those that are intended and recognized. They are functions that people assume and expect to be fulfilled by the given institution. An obvious example would be if we took a look at education. The purpose of the education system is to provide its students with the knowledge and skills needed to progress in our society. That is what we expect from educational institutions. While this may be the primary function of education there are also the unforeseen functions that it provides. This refers to latent functions.
A latent function may be an unrecognized or unintended function of an institution. Continuing with the topic of education some latent functions would be, providing mass entertainment for students, the forming of groups, and providing an environment that may result in human coupling. A student’s main purpose for

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