Social Problem – Definition, Effects, Characteristics, Classification & Causes

Sat, 08/13/2011 - 05:21 -- Umar Farooq

Social Change and Social Problems

Social change creates so many social problems in a functional society. The norms, values, customs, traditions, mores and law of the society get changes as the changes are occurring inside the society. It means that the society disturbed by external or internal forces of social change. A changing society inevitably develops problems, either the conditions themselves change and become unacceptable (population growth, soil erosion, and deforestation create a conservation problem) or the society's changing values define an old condition as no longer tolerable (child labor, poverty, racism. or sex inequality). Social problem is part of the price of social change. In the coming pages we are discussing various dimensions created by social change.

Definition of Social Problem

Some important definitions of soial problems are given below:

  1. Horton and Leslie: It is often defined as a condition which many people consider undesirable and wish to correct.
  2. Lindbergh: "It is any deviant behavior in a disapproved direction of such a degree that it exceeds the tolerance limit of the community".
  3. L.K. Frank: Any difficulty of misbehavior of a fairly large number of persons which we wish to remove or correct."
  4. Fuler & Mayer: "A social problem starts with the awakening of people in a given locality, with the realization of certain cherished values that are threatened by the conditions which have become acute."

We can say that an undesirable and unwanted disturbing situation, which has no readymade solution, is called a social problem.

Effects of Social Problems

Social problem very adversely affect our society. One of the major effects is that our harmony disturbed and in its stead in the society there is hostility and suspicion. These also result in large-scale social dissatisfaction and create suffering and misery. On the whole These do not at all help in solving any problem but creates problem of serious magnitude, which is disadvantageous to the whole society. But in this connection it may be pointed out that 'problem' is not an absolute term. It is only a relative term because what is problem for one society may not be problem for the other. Similarly 'problem' is not permanent and universal. What may appear problem today may not remain so tomorrow.


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