Labelling: A Sociological Analysis

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Social problems are a wide spread phenomenon that exist in every society all over the world, whether they are the same or diverse, whether they are being tackled or not, they are still active. A social problem is a social condition or pattern of behaviour that has negative consequences for individuals, our social world, or our physical world (Leon-Guerrero, 2016). Social problems can be understood by a social constructionism approach, which explores the assumptions embedded in the labelling of people and emphasises the importance of social expectations in the analysis of taken-for-granted or apparently natural social processs ' (Clarke, 2001a, p 266). Social constructionism deploys norms, language, discourse and power as key concepts and analytical…show more content…
The media would seemingly be an excellent position to initiate social change and break down social problems, Yet, the media has failed to do so, It has served to reinforce social problems by the language it chooses to use. In terms of describing individuals with disabilities, the language used in the media is mostly negative such as seeing them as “incapable”, “pitiable or pathetic” and “a burden” (Hunt, 1991). Therefore, media in relation to labelling is seen to be a useful way of understanding social problems and can explain the development of relevant policies as they depend on how the social problem is constructed. Analysis of policies have focused on how language is used to shape perceptions of a social problem. (Lister, 2010). Discourses shape and become institutionalized in social policies and the organizations through which they are carried out ' (Clarke and Cochrane, 1998c, p 35). The Scottish government have made a delivery plan which sets to change the…show more content…
They believe that there is no reality beyond our own constructed experiences. This supports the criticism levelled against social constructionism as it is perceived to have a conceptualisation of realism and relativism. However, in fact it is accused of being anti-realist due to denying that knowledge is a direct perception of reality. (Craib 1997). The realism approach challenges social constructionism, as it suggests that social problems are not created by society through language, norms, power etc. But that, they exist whether our mind perceives them or not. Realism is the doctrine that an external world exists independently of our representations of it (Searle, 1995). This suggest that the physical world is objective, and knowledge acquired through our senses is the real perspective of the world. Therefore, social problems are real and not distorted by our representations and views. This indicates that a realistic approach may be a more useful way of understanding social
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