Economic Inequality as a Social Problem: Lack of Affordable Housing
Select a consequence of the economic inequality in the United States of America (as discussed in chapter 2 of our text book) to discuss as a social problem.
Define the Social Problem from the three theoretical points of view described in the text.
How do different values, norms and beliefs affect the definitions of the social problem?
A social problem is "a social condition or pattern of behavior that has negative consequences for individuals, our social world, or our physical world (p8). The lack of affordable housing in the United States is a major problem for many Americans. Without affordable housing, many families are finding it almost impossible to leave welfare. Families with low-incomes end up spending almost everything they make on housing. This means almost no money leftover for food, clothing, medical bills, and other expenses.
This much of an expense must mean they are living comfortably in a nice house, right? Wrong. Low-income families often live in rundown apartments that are lacking many of the amenities that some of us would assume to be essential.
Different sociological perspectives have different outlooks on the inequalities that are based on social class. From the functionalist standpoint, the lack of affordable housing in the United States in inevitable. They believe it emerges from the social system, a necessary system that maintains social order (p53, Four Points of View). Functionalists would believe that there is no need for more affordable housing because of the social order. A functionalist would say that "some individuals are better suited for certain positions and therefore should be compensated more than others" (Four Points of View). This means that the housing that a person can afford, or in this case cannot afford, reflects...