Are We Agents of Change? Are We Agents of Social Control?

Social Policy 1 – Weekly Assignment #1 

Are We Agents of Change? Are We Agents of Social Control?

There is no one agreed upon definition of a social problem.  Here are two for you to consider .

“A social problem is a social condition (such as poverty) or a pattern of behavior (such as substance abuse) that harms some individuals or all people in a society and that a sufficient number of people believe warrants public concern and collective action to bring about change” (Kendall, D.  Social Problems in a Diverse Society (4th ed).  Boston:  Pearson, 2007, p. 4.

“A social problem exists when people subjectively perceive and have empirical evidence to show that social conditions combine at a local, societal, or global level to cause personal problems” (Crone, J.  How Can We Solve Our Social Problems.  Thousand Oaks, CA:  Pine Forge Press, 2007, p. 2)

However, there is agreement on several characteristics shared by social problems.

  • The problem is perceived as a public issue, and a situation in need of change.
  • Social problems are socially constructed. Society decides when a private trouble moves into the realm of public issue.  Those with most influence and power often have the strongest say.
  • Once defined as a social problem civil society, interventions are developed to ameliorate it, usually through the social welfare sector

The Question:

We as social workers are often charged with developing and implementing this intervention either working with individuals and communities or developing policy solutions.  We act as agents of change!

Are we also agents of social control?  If so when does this happen? Try to be specific in your example(s.)

Please reflect on this and post your response to the Discussion Board for this week.  Remember the response should be short—about 500 words or 1 pp.  It can be informally written and you may also add any links or graphics/photos you choose. I will begin by posting my own example.

Post your comment by Saturday midnight.  I will give each of you feedback by Tues so look for it then.