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Social Sci LibreTexts

1.3: Continuity and Change in Social Problems

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  • Learning Objectives

    1. Explain what is meant by this book’s subtitle, “Continuity and Change.”
    2. List the three sources of changes to social problems.
    3. Describe how the United States compares to other democracies regarding the seriousness of social problems.

    This book’s subtitle, “Continuity and Change,” conveys a theme that will guide every chapter’s discussion. Social problems are, first of all, persistent. They have continued for decades and even centuries, and they show no sign of ending anytime soon. In view of social problems’ long history, certainty of continuing for some time to come, and serious consequences, it is easy to feel overwhelmed when reading about them, to think that little can be done about them, and even to become a bit depressed. As a result, it is easy for students to come away from social problems courses with a rather pessimistic, “doom and gloom” outlook (Johnson, 2005).


    An important source of change in social problems is protest by a social change group or movement.

    M 2 – Fantasia Protest, Castro Theater, 1991 – CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.