module specification

SS4007 - Social Problems and Social Issues (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Social Problems and Social Issues
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Social Sciences
Total study hours 300
81 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
219 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 20%   Learning Reflection
Coursework 30%   Chapter review
Coursework 50%   Social Problem Essay
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Thursday Morning
Year (Spring and Summer) North Monday Afternoon

Module summary

To examine how social problems become conceived as such by the media, government and civil society and to analyse the impact of particular social problems on society. We shall also reflect on the location of particular social problems in different spaces: global, regional, national, local and examine policy responses to particular social problems

Module aims

- Analyse the social construction of a social problem

- Collate information on the location and scale of a social problem

- Reflect upon sociological interpretations of a particular social problem

- Outline policy responses to a particular social problem


Week 1- 3:       Introduction to social problems; competing explainations; common sense & social problems; the social construction of social problems
Week 4 - 7:      Poverty & Welfare, homelessness, poor neighbourhoods
Week 8 - 10 :   Migration; asylum seekers; 'Race', multiculturalism and anti-racism
Week 11          Applying Social Construction to a social problem
Weeks 12-16:  Childhood & Education, Education and Critical 'Race' Theory
Weeks17 -19:  Work; Unemployment;The Future of Work 
Weeks 20-23:  Crime, drugs and policing
Weeks 24 -25: Gangs, youth gangs and girl gangs
Weeks 26-28:  Ideologies & social problems; revisting the construction of social problems; the institutionalisation of discourses, power & social problems

Learning and teaching

The teaching and learning strategies are situated around the acquisition by students of analytical tools that can help them unpack social problems in the context of policy responses. To do this teaching takes places along the lines of examining and evaluating social problems  in terms of relevant modes of explanation, research and policy analysis. The module is delivered using a strategy of blended learning i.e. a mixture of traditional and online methods are used. Basic content is typically delivered via lectures, but students are expected to read relevant material before and/or after the lecture which is available via Weblearn.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

(1)  Discuss social problems using the methodology of social construction.

(2)  Use qualitative and quantitative material in an appropriate way to research social problems.

(3)  Compare and evaluate key social problems associated with the restructuring of contemporary society

(4)  Discuss the policy implications of various government solutions to the social problems that you have studied.

Assessment strategy

1. Learning Reflection for course and module.
2. 1,500 word chapter review of key text.
3. 2,000 word essay on a social problem using extended research.


Key text:
Isaacs, S., (2014) Social Problems in the UK: an introduction, Routledge.