You are here

Social Problems

Social Problems
Community, Policy, and Social Action

Sixth Edition
Additional resources:

Social Problems

August 2018 | 480 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

Proud sponsor of the 2019 SAGE Keith Roberts Teaching Innovations Award—enabling graduate students and early career faculty to attend the annual ASA pre-conference teaching and learning workshop.

Empower your students to become part of the solution.

The new Sixth Edition of Social Problems: Community, Policy, and Social Action goes beyond the typical presentation of contemporary social problems and their consequences by emphasizing the importance and effectiveness of community involvement to achieve real solutions. With a clear and upbeat tone, this thought-provoking text challenges readers to see the social and structural forces that determine our social problems; to consider various policies and programs that attempt to address these problems; and to recognize and learn how they can be part of the solution to social problems in their own community.

A Complete Teaching & Learning Package

SAGE Premium Video

Included in the interactive eBook! SAGE Premium Video tools and resources boost comprehension and bolster analysis. Learn more. 

Interactive eBook

Includes access to SAGE Premium Video, multimedia tools, and much more! Save when you bundle the interactive eBook with the new edition. Order using bundle ISBN: 978-1-5443-5143-8.

SAGE coursepacks

FREE! Easily import our quality instructor and student resource content into your school’s learning management system (LMS) and save time. Learn more.

SAGE edge

FREE online resources for students that make learning easier. See how your students benefit.


About the Author
1. Sociology and the Study of Social Problems
Using Our Sociological Imagination  
What Is a Social Problem?  
The History of Social Problems  
Understanding the Sociological Perspective  
The Science of Sociology  
The Transformation From Problem to Solution  
Making Sociological Connections  
Chapter Review  
Key Terms  
Study Questions  
Part I. The Bases of Inequality
2. Social Class
What Does It Mean to Be Poor?  
Sociological Perspectives on Social Class and Poverty  
The Consequences of Poverty  
Responding to Class Inequalities  
Chapter Review  
Key Terms  
Study Questions  
3. Race and Ethnicity
Defining Race and Ethnicity  
Patterns of Racial and Ethnic Integration  
Sociological Perspectives on Racial and Ethnic Inequalities  
The Consequences of Racial and Ethnic Inequalities  
Responding to Racial and Ethnic Inequalities  
Chapter Review  
Key Terms  
Study Questions  
4. Gender
Sociological Perspectives on Gender Inequality  
The Consequences of Gender Inequality  
Gender Nonconformity Discrimination  
Intimate Partner Violence and Sexual Assault  
Responding to Gender Inequalities  
Chapter Review  
Key Terms  
Study Questions  
5. Sexual Orientation
Sociological Perspectives on Sexual Orientation and Inequality  
Sexual Orientation and Inequality  
Responding to Sexual Orientation Inequalities  
Chapter Review  
Key Terms  
Study Questions  
6. Age and Aging
Our Aging World  
Sociological Perspectives on Age, Aging, and Inequality  
The Consequences of Age Inequality  
Responding to Age Inequalities  
Chapter Review  
Key Terms  
Study Questions  
Part II. Our Social Institutions
7. Families
Myths of the Family  
Sociological Perspectives on the Family  
Problems in the Family  
Community, Policy, and Social Action  
Chapter Review  
Key Terms  
Study Questions  
8. Education
The New Educational Standard  
Sociological Perspectives on Education  
Problems and Challenges in Education  
Community, Policy, and Social Action  
Chapter Review  
Key Terms  
Study Questions  
9. Work and the Economy
The Changing Nature of Work  
Sociological Perspectives on Work  
Problems in Work and the Economy  
Community, Policy, and Social Action  
Chapter Review  
Key Terms  
Study Questions  
10. Health and Medicine
Sociological Perspectives on Health, Illness, and Medicine  
Health Inequalities and Problems  
Community, Policy, and Social Action  
State Prescription Drug Plans  
Chapter Review  
Key Terms  
Study Questions  
11. The Media
Sociological Perspectives on the Media  
The Media and Social Problems  
Community, Policy, and Social Action  
Chapter Review  
Key Terms  
Study Questions  
Part III. Our Social and Physical Worlds
12. Alcohol and Drug Abuse
Sociological Perspectives on Drug Abuse  
What Is Drug Abuse?  
The Problems of Drug Abuse  
Community, Policy, and Social Action  
Chapter Review  
Key Terms  
Study Questions  
13. Crime and Criminal Justice
Sociological Perspectives on Crime  
Sources of Crime Statistics  
Types of Crime  
The Inequalities of Crime—Offenders and Victims  
Our Current Response to Crime  
Community, Policy, and Social Action  
Chapter Review  
Key Terms  
Study Questions  
14. Urbanization and Population Growth
Urban Sociology and Demography  
The Processes of Urbanization and Suburbanization  
Population Growth and Composition  
Sociological Perspectives on Urbanization and Population Growth  
The Consequences of Urbanization and Population Growth  
Community, Policy, and Social Action  
Chapter Review  
Key Terms  
Study Questions  
15. The Environment
Environmental Problems Are Human Problems  
Sociological Perspectives on Environmental Problems  
Social Problems and the Environment  
Community, Policy, and Social Action  
Chapter Review  
Key Terms  
Study Questions  
16. War and Terrorism
Defining Conflict  
Sociological Perspectives on War and Terrorism  
The Problems of War and Terrorism  
Community, Policy, and Social Action  
Chapter Review  
Key Terms  
Study Questions  
Part IV. Individual Action and Social Change
17. Social Problems and Social Action
Understanding Social Movements  
How Do Social Movements Begin?  
How Have Reform Movements Made a Difference?  
Making the Last Connection  
Chapter Review  
Key Terms  
Study Questions  


Student Study Site

SAGE EDGE FOR STUDENTS enhances learning, is easy to use, and offers:

·         eFlashcards that strengthen understanding of key terms and concepts and make it easy to maximize student study time, anywhere, anytime

·         eQuizzes that allow students to assess how much they’ve learned and where you need to focus your attention

·         Chapter-specific study questions that allow students to engage with the material

·         Video and multimedia resources that bring concepts to life are tied to learning objectives and are curated exclusively for this text

·         Exclusive access to influential SAGE journal and reference content that ties important research and scholarship to chapter concepts to strengthen learning

Instructor Resource Site

Instructors: The following online resources are included FREE with this text. For a brief demo, contact your sales representative today.


Instructor Teaching Site  


SAGE COURSEPACKS FOR INSTRUCTORS makes it easy to import our quality content into your school’s learning management system (LMS)*. Intuitive and simple to use, it allows you to


Say NO to…

·         required access codes

·         learning a new system



Say YES to…

·         using only the content you want and need

·         high-quality assessment and multimedia exercises


*For use in: Blackboard, Canvas, Brightspace by Desire2Learn (D2L), and Moodle


Don’t use an LMS platform? No problem, you can still access many of the online resources for your text via SAGE edge.


SAGE coursepacks includes:

·         Our content delivered directly into your LMS

·         Intuitive, simple format that makes it easy to integrate the material into your course with minimal effort

·         Assessment tools that foster review, practice, and critical thinking, and offer a more complete way to measure student engagement, including:

o    Diagnostic chapter pre-tests and post-tests that identify opportunities for improvement, track student progress, and ensure mastery of key learning objectives

o    Test banks built on Bloom’s Taxonomy that provide a diverse range of test items with ExamView test generation

o    Activity and quiz options that allow you to choose only the assignments and tests you want

o    Instructions on how to use and integrate the comprehensive assessments and resources provided

·         Chapter-specific discussion questions to help launch engaging classroom interaction while reinforcing important content

  • Assignable SAGE Premium Video (available via the interactive eBook version, linked through SAGE coursepacks) that is tied to learning objectives and curated exclusively for this text to bring concepts to life and appeal to diverse learners, featuring:
    • Corresponding multimedia assessment options that automatically feed to your gradebook

o    Comprehensive, downloadable, easy-to-use Media Guide in the Coursepack for every video resource, listing the chapter to which the video content is tied, matching learning objective(s), and offering a helpful description of the video content and assessment questions

·         EXCLUSIVE, influential SAGE journal and reference content, built into course materials and assessment tools, that ties important research and scholarship to chapter concepts to strengthen learning

·         Editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides that offer flexibility when creating multimedia lectures so you don’t have to start from scratch but you can customize to your exact needs

·         Sample course syllabus with suggested models for structuring your course that give you options to customize your course in a way that is perfect for you

·         Lecture notes that summarize key concepts on a chapter-by-chapter basis to help you with preparation for lectures and class discussions

·         Integrated links to the interactive eBook that make it easy for your students to maximize their study time with this anywhere, anytime mobile-friendly version of the text. It also offers access to more digital tools and resources, including SAGE Premium Video

·         All tables and figures from the textbook



Key features
  • Many of the social policy discussions (including immigration, LGBTQ rights, the Affordable Care Act, and Internet neutrality) have been updated to reflect the most recent government actions and debates.
  • More recent data, and new data sources, have been incorporated throughout, both in the main narrative and in the "Exploring Social Problems" features.
  • New “Voices in the Community” subjects on gender, work and the economy, and war and terrorism appear in several chapters.
  • New “In Focus” topics include Black Lives Matter, assault weapons, and college drug problems.
  • The chapter on gender has been substantially updated with new or expanded coverage of binary/cisgender/transgender identification, gender nonconformity discrimination, sexual misconduct on college campuses, and the rights of trans and intersex individuals.
  • Other new or expanded coverage includes economic anxiety, robotization in the workplace, white nationalists, feminist theories about race, “fake” news, net neutrality, community policing, gentrification and segregation in U.S. cities, and the immigration and environmental policies of the Trump administration.
  • The author presents four theoretical perspectives for each social problem: functionalist, conflict, feminist, and interactionist.
  • More than most social problems texts, there is a strong focus on social policy, social action, and the significant social policy decisions and debates taking place in our society.
  • The text includes five chapters that focus on the bases of social inequality and emphasizes how social class and poverty, race and ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and age and aging contribute to our experience and understanding of social problems.
  • Throughout the text, the consequences of social problems throughout the world are highlighted (“Taking a World View”), drawing on data and research from international scholars and sociologists.
  • The “Exploring Social Problems” features use quantitative data to tell the story of one social issue (the demographics of poverty, public support for same-sex marriage, teen birthrates, etc.) through a series of maps, charts, and tables.
  • Each chapter discusses attempts to address the problem in question through government policies, social movements, and the actions of individuals and organizations.
  • “Sociology at Work” profiles recent graduates, the workplace skills they developed by studying sociology, and the jobs they perform in government or community service.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Preview this book

For instructors

Please select a format:

Select a Purchasing Option

Electronic version
Prices from
*180 day rental

ISBN: 9781544324081

ISBN: 9781506362724