Reflecting on a Constructionist Approach to Social Problems

Edward Collins

1.The Constructionist Approach basically says that you should focus on the general topic of the Social Problem. This ensures that they are socially instructed and have the same things in common. It talks about global warming. Environmentalist told citizens that they were on the verge of global climate change. There was an ice age caused by global cooling, but it was later resolved because of global warming which is the opposite of global cooling.

2. I really enjoyed the claimsmaking blog. I learned a lot from looking up information on troubling social problems. It was also fun to think of different ways that we could get people involved and work towards fixing the social problem.

Blog 4 was the hardest blog because it was struggling to find two articles and put them together with the information from the previous blog.

This process has helped me a lot. When it comes to thinking about how to tie the information from one blog to the information in another, you must think about how everything is going to be put together. In blog number 7, we had to determine which social problem fell under a certain category. This really made us think into debt about each social issue.

During the Civic Engagement part of the class, a lot of groups had different topics. We learned about each topic and solutions that could make these topics better. For example, the obesity group had an exercise activity in the hotbox. We learned about obesity and they taught us ways that we could exercise to fight the social problem.


Baylee Bouknight

1. The general idea of the constructionist approach is that it is intellectually coherent and not a traditional approach to the study of many social problems. The constructionist approach focuses on a more general topic of the social problems process and it is used in the book to show the ins and outs of the process of social constructions. Using this approach instead of others allowed the book to give readers the ability to recognize and think about social problems claims and be able to respond to them. An example of this is that throughout history many warnings were given to people about horrible problems that seem mistaken. More specifically, In the 1990s, many commentators warned people that violent crimes would begin to spiral out of control and a generation full of “super predators” would come about in their time. However, crime rates went the opposite direction and began to fall during the years following the so called “violent” claim. At the beginning, these claims were raved about and many people respected them until they were proven wrong. Overall, Constructionism can not tell you which conditions should be concerning o you, but constructionism can offer guidelines for ow to think about social problems process that this book does.

2. The one topic I enjoyed the most out of this course was our last assignment which was the civic engagement assignment. I loved working on this assignment because it opened by eyes to a social problem that I knew existed but did not know that much about. My group chose the social problem of active shooter safety on college campuses. This topic allowed me to see the social problem from other people’s viewpoints and I was able to decide for myself what I believed my values were on the topic and what needed to be changed in my opinion. The constructionist approach helped my group and I through how to go about the changes that needed to be done when it comes to active shooter safety and I believe that we were very successful about it. Although we did not write a blog about our civic engagement, I know that if we did it would have been my favorite blog. The most difficult topic or blog in this course to me was Blog number 7 on Policy Outcomes. This blog was difficult for my group and I because the three it was hard for us to tell the difference in three different types of policies. We tried finding an example that covered all three of the policies but were not successful in our research. Although the blog was shorter than previous blogs, it gave our group some trouble and took some time to understand the concepts fully. A process like this including creating blogs and understand social problems has helped my critical thinking skills in more ways than one. I can recognize a social problem and its aspects more quickly now than I was able to before this course and I can understand the concepts that are help within the problem and am able to generate my own opinion based on the constructionist approach. Not only has this course helped my critical thinking skills, it has also helped me think about what problems really are and how they are addressed in our society today. For example, when I am approached with a topic like our blog number 2 on claims making, I realize that we do not live in a perfect world and that there are problems in our society that are not addressed the same way that I would address them. IN blog number two, my group chose to talk about poverty and homelessness. This blog opened my eyes to the world that we live in and how some people do not care as much about those in poverty as others and I was able to realize that not everyone has the same ideas as I do and opinions as I do. This class and the book along with it helped me to think more critically about certain processes and has led me to become more engaged in certain claims that I encounter.


Shianna Culclasure

1. Constructionist approach is not the traditional way fir thinking about social problems. Instead, this approach is intended to help give tools for recognizing, thinking, and responding to different social problems. This process also helps us understand that claims need to be persuasive since claims makers are competing against others to bring their claims to the public’s attention. We also want to ask ourselves if “the problem is clearly defined, or are we encouraged to understand it primarily through typifying examples?” There is also another way that a constructionist approach can be used. This is basically the study of constructionist research to gain advice on how to look at or bring up a specific concern. It also helps one gain the ability to properly act in whatever you believe is a troubling condition. “Constructionism cannot tell you which conditions ought to concern you.” Everyone has their own values and beliefs on what is troubling.
An example used in the book states that the approach gives you tools to recognize social problems claims. In ten, twenty years from now, you will encounter warnings about a terrible new social problem. There isn’t a way of predicting what exactly of those warnings will be (a new crime, or a new disease, or a new form of drug abuse). It states they are reasonably confident we will run into such claims. Claims are spread through all forms of communications. A specific example would be in the 1970s, environmentalist warned everyone that global climate change was going to be an issue, bringing and “ice age.” About fifteen years later, fears of global climate change converted to fears of global warming. Although this claim on the predicted forecast proved to be extremely wrong, it still received a lot of attention when it first appeared. Many claims have proved to be exaggerated and completely wrong, not just this one.
This approach was used in our book because the information is intellectually coherent. Instead of the author letting our attention drift off into space by looking into one thing at a time, the book focuses on the overall topic of social problems as a whole. This helps us understand better how to approach different claims or troubling conditions and how to act according.

2. I think one of the blogs I liked the best was blog 1 just because it was one of the easiest because I was able to talk about myself. I was able to describe why the word female identifies me. Strangely, I had never thought about what words actually identifies a person.
One blog that was the most difficult was blog 4 because it was difficult to tie in the information used in blog 3 and gather 2 scholarly articles. I think this blog just required a lot of information, making it one of the harder ones.
The process of completing these blogs really has helped me improve my critical thinking skills. You have to be able to link topics used in previous blogs and expand on them even more. This process has also made me more aware of the social problems today. Like for instance, police brutality. I never really thought into depth of this issue until it was one of my topics.
This class has overall helped me in recognizing a social problem when I hear/see about one. The police brutality and school shooting topics were examples of two social problems that have made me more aware.


Courtney Sanders

1. The constructionist approach is meant to help give you the tools to recognize, think and respond to social problems. There will always be new social problems as the years pass due to everything being put on the internet and shown on the news. Some claims will be false or overly exaggerated. For example, in the 1970s the world was worried about global cooling and the threat of an ice age. Then 15 years later, it was proven that global warming was occurring which is now the exact opposite. Not all claims are accurate some can present themselves as wrong. Constructionist approach focuses on how social problems are constructed. The main topic would be how to arouse concern. Though these all hold true for this approach, it cannot tell you which claims should concern you, it is primarily up to you to decide that. This approach wants you to know how to think about the social problem works.
2. I enjoyed the blog “Social Problems Process & The McDonald’s Example.” I was the most interesting in term of it being relatable. We all eat at McDonald’s or have at some point in our lives, so the blog really makes you look into your personal life and the choices you make. I can honestly say I have not been to McDonalds since I watched this video. The thought of putting all that nasty stuff in my body disgusts me.
The most difficult blog was the media blog. Finding a newspaper article that we could make more interesting was difficult. Especially choosing one about gun crimes. Gun crimes are so prominent right now and widely talked about. I think most people are intrigued by just the word gun.
The social problems process most definitely makes you think. You basically have to immerse yourself into the problem in order to understand its stance. Stepping in their shoes allows you figure out what claim they are trying to make. For example, in the blog “Claimsmaking” we had to step in the shoes of the homeless in order to figure out that they were making a claim that they were hungry, and they needed help.
This class has made me think about all the issues we are currently having in the world. For instance, animal abuse is happening probably as we speak and there is not much that can be done about it, especially if its not happening where people can see. The ASPCA has done a phenomenal job bringing light to the situation and showing people it is wrong to abuse animals. I still believe that some problems in the society are not looked upon enough and the world we live in today messed up. Society closes their eyes to the problems they don’t want to deal with.


Reese Sanders

1. The general idea of what the Constructionist Approach is, is to not accept causes as they are presented. It is important for people to not always believe what the media is saying as their views may not always be correct, it’s their job to present a story. People should take a step back from the claim being addressed and make their own evaluation of what’s happening. It’s okay to ask our own questions on the issues, to do our own research and believe what we think is right. This approach has been used in the book by getting people to question what is right and wrong and bringing issues to people’s attention and not assessing a way to solve them. This approach has been used instead of others because it provides a constructive way of viewing social problems from all angles not just the first reaction that comes to the mind. An example from the reading is, In the 1970s, some environmentalist warned that civilization was jeopardized by global climate change. That humans faced an impending ice age brought on by global cooling. Fifteen years later, fears about the threat of global cooling would be replaced by what seem to be their exact opposite, concerns over the danger of global warming.
This just proves that what is reported can change and people should have their own views of issues.

2. What I liked the best was Blog #2, Claimsmaking. I liked this topic and blog the best because my group and I got to look at a troubling social problem and address how people should get involved and help find a solution.

What I found to be the most difficult was Blog #4. This topic and blog was difficult because it was hard finding the information and scholarly article that covered the issue addressed.

This process helps develop critical thinking skills by asking difficult questions to issues that could be answered multiple ways and the best approach to the issue should be the one used. An example of this approach is seen in Blog #7, where policies are labeled Insufficient, Excessive, or Misguided. This blog was difficult as it made my group and I think of policies that fall under the best category.

This class has given me the opportunity to address problems by preforming research and providing information on what we learned about the troubling issues and how society deals and interacts with these issues daily. This can be seen in Blog #2, because my group and I had to state a claim that affected a certain group of people or thing and how society views and associates with them.


Jennie Jackson

1. The general idea of what the Constructionist Approach is to focus on the general topic of the social problems process. This is so that the only thing the social problems have in common is that they are socially constructed while being explored by the ins and outs of the process. An example of this approach is global warming. In the 1970s environmentalists warned civilization in jeopardy by global climate change. Humans faced an ice age bought on by global but was replaced 15 years later by the opposite, global warming.

2. I think what I liked the best on my CE project – campus shooter safety. Even though I did not complete a blog for this assignment, I was able to continue to work with my group to get some final aspects done. I think that the most difficult was Policy Outcomes. A process like this helped me develop my critical thinking skills. For example, in blog 3 – framing and frame alignment that my group and I did on the ASPCA.  It took a lot of critical thinking as well as building on from the past blog to get it done.  This class has helped me think about what problems are and how they are addressed in society. For example, blog 5. In this blog I had to put together the process after listening to the McDonalds Broke My Heart podcast. This assignment showed how a problem changed the what fast food restaurants cook their food in. This further helped me think of what causes heart disease and how to address it in society.

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