A complete set of tools for analyzing any social problem. Updated with over 60 new examples and case studies, Social Problems shows how activists, experts, and their opponents frame social problems through the logic that they use; the rhetoric of claims-making; and the ways that access to resources determines who gets their claims heard. Drawing on social constructionist theory, the idea that our experience of reality is created through the interaction and participation of individuals and groups, Joel Best helps readers understand the complex competitive process through which problems emerge. In order to help students connect theory to everyday life, Joel Best fills the book with colorful examples and case studies from the real world.
Making Sense of Social Problems:
New Images, New Issues
Internet addiction. Cell-phone-distracted drivers. Teen suicide. Economic recession. The health risks of trans fats. The carefully selected collection of case studies in Making Sense of Social Problems is designed to help students understand and critically evaluate a wide range of contemporary social issues.
The cases are organized to highlight a series of key elements:
• why "objective" claims deserve critical attention
• how advocates bring attention to issues
• why expert interpretations may change over time
• the role of the media in shaping or distorting concerns
• the consequences of public policy
The introduction, conclusion, and section notes provide a coherent framework for the text. Reflecting the promise of the constructionist approach, the result is a powerful set of tools for systematically investigating social problems. It can be used to advantage as a "stand-alone," as well as with such texts as Joel Best's Social Problems.
Damned Lies and Statistics:
Untangling Numbers from the Media, Politicians, and Activists (Updated Edition)
Here, by popular demand, is the updated edition to Joel Best's classic guide to understanding how numbers can confuse us. In his new afterword, Best uses examples from recent policy debates to reflect on the challenges to improving statistical literacy. Since its publication ten years ago, Damned Lies and Statistics has emerged as the go-to handbook for spotting bad statistics and learning to think critically about these influential numbers.