What are contemporary social problems and how do they impact today’s society?

  

Select four contemporary social problems and discuss their impact on today’s society. Support your answers with research, which may include contemporary news reporting.
Submission Instructions:

Contribute a minimum of 8 pages. It should include at least eight academic or news sources, formatted and cited in APA.
Module 2: Lecture 1: Contemporary Social Issues
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Contemporary Social Justice
While in the earliest history of Social Justice, the focus was on the equitable distribution of wealth and poverty eradication, the contemporary era has incorporated new aspects of Social Justice as society has evolved.

Social justices special relationship with the social work profession has recently been confirmed by new definitions of social good that identify the promotion of social justice as a primary goal of social work research and practice. This contemporary use of Social Justice ideas and ideals creates an opportunity to reexamine it in the context of modern societies and
postmodern knowledge.

In addition to the issues that dominate the headlines, long-term issues like food insecurity and climate justice are ongoing. The list of social problems in the United States and worldwide in 2020 may seem overwhelming (bbc.com, 2020).

Main Contemporary Social Problems
Table: Contemporary Social Problems
Right to Vote

Exercising the right to vote is one of the social justice issues prioritized by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). The NASW’s goal is to encourage those who can vote to exercise their right and work to remove participation barriers. These barriers can include difficult voter registration, shortened early voting windows, and stricter identification requirements.
Climate Justice In the list of grand challenges for social work, it might be surprising to see “strengthening social responses to environmental change.” This may seem like a problem for scientists, not social workers, but climate change can strain resources and impact the well-being of entire communities (Molnar, 2020).
Health Care

There are several challenges in receiving quality healthcare, particularly in
the United States. Despite the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, gaps in coverage remain, particularly with mental health resources. This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated how vital access to medical care is, as many communities struggle to access testing, treatment, and mental health professionals.
Refugee Crisis According to the United Nations, more people than ever live in a country other than
where they were born. Approximately 70.8 million people have been forced to flee their homes. Nearly 30 million of them are refugees, and more than half of the world’s
refugees are under the age of 18. This displaced population faces challenges in accessing
education, health care, job opportunities, and other resources.
Racial Injustice Racism has a long history, and its impact can be found in all facets of education, business, media, and everyday life. Following the murder of George Floyd in Minnesota (2020) and several other high-profile police shootings, protests of Black Lives Matter took place across the United States and have continued as activists demand substantial change. The long-term consequences of racial injustice devastate people’s mental and physical health. (socialworkers.org, 2020).
Income Gap

A recent federal report (ACLU, 2020) found that, in 2018, the U.S. income gap was the largest in 50 years. After the COVID-19 pandemic, that gap will likely be much more significant. Wage disparities may be a factor at play based on race, gender, and sexuality. In the gender wage gap, there is a significant difference in how men and women are compensated for the same work.

Gun Violence

Many medical professionals consider gun violence a public health crisis, but its impact can be felt in all health and human services areas. From homicides to mass shootings and suicides, gun violence is a problem where gun-related homicides are the highest among developed nations. However, the impact of gun violence goes beyond those who have been killed. Those who have been injured, witnessed gun violence, or lost someone also suffers mental and physical long-term effects.
Hunger and Food Insecurity Before the pandemic, Feeding America discovered that 37 million people regularly
face hunger in the United States, and 38 million live in poverty. Food insecurity remains a
stubborn problem to solve. Hence, as unemployment rises and many schools remain closed, it will become more difficult to access food through food banks and free school lunches
(feedingamerica.org, 2020).
Equality

Ensuring equality is an issue that permeates almost all the problems already presented, whether related to finance or access to resources. It has also become more relevant as the COVID-19 pandemic affects marginalized communities at higher economic and medical rates.
Animal Law

Animal rights stem from early animal welfare organizations. However, there is a difference between the two movements. Animal rights advocates believe in letting animals live according to their nature and not be used as merchandise.
Civil Rights

Civil rights guarantee equal social opportunities and equal protection under the law, regardless of race, religion, or other personal characteristics.
Education

The State must guarantee the right to education for all its residents.
Homosexual Rights

Gay rights movement to end the criminalization of homosexuality and protect the civil rights of this community
Domestic Violence

Domestic violence, or intimate partner violence, is defined as a pattern of aggressive and coercive behaviors, including physical, sexual, and psychological assaults and economic coercion that adults or adolescents use against their intimate partners.

References

T., & Kay, A. C. (2010). Social justice: History, theory, and research. In S. T. Fiske, D. T. Gilbert, & G. Lindzey (Eds.), Handbook of social psychology. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Thompson, N. (2002). Social Movements, Social Justice and Social Work. The British Journal of Social Work, Vol. 32, Issue 6, 1 September 2002, pp. 711722
Module 2: Lecture 2: Policies as a Response
Policies as a Response to Social Justice Problems
What causes action?
Abram de Swaan (1988) identified three conditions facilitating collective solutions to personal adversity. First, the external effects of adversity must be recognized. One person’s suffering must affect another, and the other must recognize that effect. Second, individual remedies must have limited effectiveness. Attempts by individuals to escape the external effects or avoid the problem must be ineffective. Finally, collective responses are more likely when adversity and its external effects can strike at any time with unpredictable magnitude (uncertainty of timing and magnitude).

Nineteenth-Century Example
In the 19th century, cholera epidemics devastated many European cities. The cholera wave of 1832 claimed 18,000 victims in England and a comparable number in Paris. Nineteenth-century scientists quickly linked the infection to a lack of fresh water and inadequate sewage disposal. Still, the disease was rampant among the poor and began to invade the rich neighborhoods. Those who could apply individual solutions (the wealthy) retreated to healthier (usually higher) quarters.

As Swaan points out, “the massive epidemics provided an obvious picture of the interdependence between city dwellers, poor and rich, established and newcomers, ignorant and cultivated alike.” As the failure of individual solutions became apparent, there was widespread agreement that a collective approach was needed. Experts decided that citywide sanitation systems were the best solution, even though they would be disruptive and expensive. Initially, sewer lines were installed in wealthy neighborhoods and financed through what they now call user or connection fees. As soon as wealthy neighborhoods became saturated with pipes, the venous-arterial system of sanitation networks spread throughout the city, a public good supported by taxes and mandatory fees. Sanitation departments were established to collect fees and maintain the systems.

Uncertainty regarding the timing and magnitude of adversity, it was never known if, when, or how badly someone might be affected by the disease. Therefore, modern plumbing, the collective approach to supplying fresh water and disposing of sewage, developed because of the external effects of adversity experienced by the poor, the failure of individual remedies, or moving to the higher ground did not protect against disease. This is a clear example of the emergence of implementing policies applicable to social problems.

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Analysis of Social Problems
Social problem analysis helps understand the nature of social policies as a response to problems. It has four key components: problem definition, causal analysis, identification of ideology and values, and consideration of winners and losers.

The problem definition begins with the premise that social problems are important problems. Their importance may be a function of the status of the people experiencing or observing the problem and the large number of people affected by the problem. Often, social workers begin to define a problem by describing the population affected. One might go further and consider their demographic characteristics and historical trends.

Causal analysis in social policy differs from research designed to identify causes. There is less interest in objective reality than in public perceptions in social policy analysis. The question is not what causes this problem but what key participants in policy development believe causes the problem. Of course, good research should never be ignored. Policymakers should be aware of research on the causes of a social problem. But social policy analysis must recognize widespread beliefs that lack a scientific foundation. Beliefs about causes influence the design of social policies and programs to address problems. It is sometimes interesting to step back from this analysis by looking at the details of a policy or program and decode what they imply about the perceived causes of the problem. Identifying the ideology and values embedded in popular definitions of social problems is an interesting exercise in itself. Values can influence social policies.

The challenge is bringing these hidden assumptions into public scrutiny and dialogue as professionals. It is sometimes difficult to distinguish what is known from what is believed. The values that serve as the basis for social policies generally reflect judgments about how people should or should not behave. As Chambers (2000) pointed out, some people benefit from social problems, and these “winners” can become obstacles when social workers try to ameliorate the problem.

References

T., & Kay, A. C. (2010). Social justice: History, theory, and research. In S. T. Fiske, D. T. Gilbert, & G. Lindzey (Eds.), Handbook of social psychology. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Thompson, N. (2002). Social Movements, Social Justice and Social Work. The British Journal of Social Work, Vol. 32, Issue 6, 1 September 2002, pp. 711722
Module 2: Lecture 3: Implementation of Policies
Implementation of Policies
Philosophical Approaches to the Implementation of Social Policies
Social Insurance: Europe
The first social insurance plans in Western Europe addressed the three fears of
industrial workers: poverty in the elderly, sickness, and unemployment. The social insurance programs established during the 19th century were adopted by authoritarian rather than democratic regimes (Flora, 1983; Flora & Heidenheimer, 1981; Rimlinger, 1971). Undoubtedly, an important motivation was the need to retain the growing number of industrial employees.

In GermanyIn EnglandIn France
Germany
Otto von Bismarck’s regime in Germany is credited with establishing Europe’s first social insurance program through a series of laws passed in the 1880s. Popular myth holds that Bismarck’s motivation for establishing this program was to force his political enemies to retreat. A more likely explanation is that the social insurance program (Sozialversicherung) was established to strengthen the German state by securing the loyalty of the industrial working class. Sozialversicherung was successful in this regard. It offered workers a stake in the political order. It gained enough popular support to survive two world wars, National Socialism, and foreign occupation and remained a central feature of the German welfare state (Swaan, 1988).

The leaders of the German labor movement opposed the establishment of Sozialversicherung. Based on Marxist doctrine, labor leaders believed that workers should have overall allegiance to other proletariat members rather than a nation-state. Labor party leaders may have seen the program as another tactic in the government’s ongoing repression
of their organizing efforts. Despite their initial opposition, union leaders were effectively co-opted by the program. As de Swaan (1988) notes, union leaders and Socialist Party officials were “quickly integrated into the state’s web as executives of the national insurance system.”

Social Policies in the United States
Like the French, the Americans established social insurance for workers. Despite growing recognition of elderly dependency as a social problem, the widespread belief that personal inadequacies cause poverty prevented comprehensive federal legislation. Workers were expected to set aside personal savings for retirement.

Pensions, Retirement Programs, Old Age InsuranceOld-Age and Survivors InsuranceUnemployment InsuranceDisability InsurancePublic Health InsuranceHealth Insurance in the United StatesReform Proposals for WomenTemporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)
Pensions, Retirement, and Aid for the Elderly
After the 1920s, several large corporations, utilities, railroads, and manufacturing companies established private pension plans for their employees. Retirement insurance became available to federal employees in 1920 by establishing the Federal Employees’ Retirement Program. By 1931, 18 states had established mandatory elderly insurance programs
for workers (Piven and Cloward, 1971). By 1933, 21 states and the territories of Alaska and Hawaii were operating aid programs for elderly dependents (Achenbaum, 1986).

Introduction:

As society has evolved, new aspects of social justice have emerged, creating an opportunity to reexamine it in the context of modern societies and postmodern knowledge. While the earliest focus was on the equitable distribution of wealth and poverty eradication, contemporary social justice has come to encompass issues like food insecurity, climate justice, health care, refugee crisis, and racial injustice. These issues have a significant impact on today’s society and require immediate attention.

Description:

This 8-page essay discusses four contemporary social problems that have a significant impact on today’s society. The essay begins by introducing the concept of social justice and its evolution over time. It then highlights four contemporary social problems: the right to vote, climate justice, health care, and refugee crisis, and illustrates how these issues are affecting communities worldwide. The essay concludes with an in-depth discussion on racial injustice, its long history, and how it manifests in all facets of society. To support the arguments presented, the essay draws on at least eight academic or news sources, formatted and cited in APA.

Objectives:
1. To identify and analyze four contemporary social problems that are affecting society.
2. To understand the impact of these issues on individuals and communities.
3. To comprehend the connection between social justice and social work.
4. To learn about the efforts made by organizations to address these social concerns.

Learning Outcomes:
1. Students will be able to conduct research to identify contemporary social problems in society.
2. Students will be able to analyze the root causes and impact of these social issues.
3. Students will understand the role of social justice in social work and the promotion of social good.
4. Students will be able to explain the current efforts made by organizations to address social issues and promote social justice.

Contemporary Social Problems and Their Impact on Society

Introduction:
The world is facing several social problems today and these issues affect individuals, communities, and societies as a whole. This paper will discuss four contemporary social problems and their impact on today’s society. The chosen topics are the right to vote, climate justice, healthcare, the refugee crisis, and racial injustice.

Right to Vote:
The right to vote is a fundamental democratic right, but there are still barriers in place that prevent people from exercising this right. The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) aims to remove these barriers and encourage people to vote. Voter registration difficulties, shortened early voting windows, and stricter identification requirements are some of the barriers that people face. The impact of these barriers is that people are excluded from participating in the democratic process.

Climate Justice:
Climate change is a global issue that is affecting the well-being of communities. The social work profession recognizes the importance of addressing this issue and has identified it as a grand challenge for social work. Climate change is impacting resources, which in turn impacts the livelihood of entire communities. Rising sea levels, food scarcity, and natural disasters are just some of the impacts of climate change.

Healthcare:
Despite the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, gaps in healthcare coverage remain, specifically with mental health resources. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light the importance of access to medical care, as many communities struggle to access testing, treatment, and mental health professionals. The impact of a lack of healthcare coverage results in poorer health outcomes and premature death.

Refugee Crisis:
A record number of people are living in countries other than where they were born. Approximately 70.8 million people have been forced to flee their homes due to war, conflict, and persecution. Over 30 million are refugees and more than half of them are under the age of 18. Forced displacement results in a lack of access to education, healthcare, job opportunities, and other resources.

Racial Injustice:
Racism has a long history, and its impact can be found in all facets of education, business, media, and everyday life. Following the murder of George Floyd in 2020, protests of Black Lives Matter took place across the United States, calling attention to police brutality, racial profiling, and systemic racism. The impact of racial injustice is significant and long-lasting, resulting in discrimination and inequalities in all areas of society.

Conclusion:
Contemporary social problems are complex issues that require collective action to address and solve. This paper discussed the impact of the right to vote, climate justice, healthcare, the refugee crisis, and racial injustice on society. The social work profession recognizes the importance of social justice and aims to promote it as a primary goal. Organizations and individuals can play a crucial role in addressing social problems and promoting social justice to create a more equitable and just society.

Solution 1:

Social Justice Issues and Their Impact on Today’s Society

Social justice issues are becoming more prevalent in today’s society. These issues cover a broad spectrum of problems, including the right to vote, climate justice, healthcare, the refugee crisis, and racial injustice. These social justice issues have put a significant impact on society, which can be seen in several ways.

Right to Vote

The right to vote is considered one of the most crucial social justice issues by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). Historically, voting has been a challenging task for minorities, low-income individuals, and people with disabilities. The NASW aims to encourage those with voting rights to cast their votes and remove barriers like difficult voter registration, limited early voting windows, and stricter identification requirements. The right to vote has an essential impact on society because it allows individuals to take an active role in shaping their communities.

Climate Justice

Climate change is a challenging problem for scientists and social workers. Climate change can strain resources and impact the well-being of entire communities. People who are already marginalized, such as low-income individuals, represent a higher risk for already challenging situations, like floods and extreme heat. There is a significant need to strengthen social responses to environmental change to address this problem.

Health Care

Health care is a fundamental human right, yet there are several challenges in receiving quality healthcare, particularly in the United States. Gaps in healthcare coverage remain despite the Affordable Care Act’s implementation, particularly with mental health resources. The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized how vital access to medical care is, as many communities struggle to access testing, treatment, and mental health professionals. These challenges put a severe impact on individuals’ health, overall community wellness, and the economy.

Refugee Crisis

According to the United Nations, more than 70.8 million people have been forced to flee their homes, and half of the world’s refugee population is under the age of 18. The displaced population faces challenges in accessing education, health care, job opportunities, and other resources. This refugee crisis can impact countries’ social, political, and economic landscapes, imposing significant responsibilities on the host countries to integrate individuals and families into their societies.

Racial Injustice

Racial injustice has been prevalent in society’s history and is still prevalent today. Its impact can be found in all facets of education, business, media, and everyday life. Following the murder of George Floyd in Minnesota and several other high-profile police shootings, protests of Black Lives Matter took place across the United States. Racial injustice undermines the core values of democracy, equality, freedom, and opportunity for all.

Solution 2:

Socio-Economic Issues in the Contemporary World

Socio-economic issues are critical challenges that people face in today’s society. These can include poverty, unemployment, inequality, and education. These issues pose significant impacts on individuals, families, and communities’ overall dynamics, creating broad-ranging social, economic and political implications.

Poverty

Poverty is one of the most significant socio-economic issues in the United States and in many countries worldwide. It can cause a severe impact on education, health, and overall well-being. Poverty can create a cyclical effect of limited access to resources and opportunities, leading to negative social outcomes. It is essential to address poverty with comprehensive policy and social work actions that provide people with adequate education, housing, and employment resources.

Unemployment

The unemployment rate is always a significant issue in almost every country. Even though unemployment can vary between countries, it can still be a social, economic issue that can create negative outcomes. It can have an impact on multiple areas, such as poverty, crime, health, and mental health. Unemployment can severely undermine community well-being, leading to social marginalization and deprivation.

Inequality

Inequality is another socio-economic issue that can be seen in all aspects of life. It can manifest in gender, race, education, or wealth background, leading to different experiences and outcomes. Inequality can cause a lack of access to resources, opportunities, and decision-making power, leading to negative social implications. Addressing inequality with policies that narrow gaps and provide equal opportunities can enhance social justice and well-being in communities.

Education

Access to education is always a significant socio-economic issue that affects individuals and communities’ well-being. It can impact health, income, employment, and social mobility. A lack of access to quality education can limit individuals’ opportunities and resources, creating a cycle of social deprivation and negative outcomes. Addressing inadequate education access through comprehensive policy and social work actions can benefit society in several ways.

In conclusion, contemporary social problems and socio-economic issues create significant impacts on individuals, families, and communities. Addressing these issues requires comprehensive policy and social work actions that provide resources and opportunities to marginalized groups and communities. Using research, news reporting and academic literature can help develop solutions for these prevailing issues.

Suggested Resources/Books:
1. “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” by Michelle Alexander
2. “The Refugees” by Viet Thanh Nguyen
3. “The Climate Chronicles: Inconvenient Revelations You Won’t Hear From Al Gore–And Others” by Joe Bastardi
4. “Health Care Reform and American Politics: What Everyone Needs to Know, Revised and Updated Edition” by Lawrence R. Jacobs and Theda Skocpol

Similar Asked Questions:
1. How does social injustice affect marginalized communities?
2. What are some long-term effects of climate change on society and the environment?
3. How can healthcare access and affordability be improved for underserved populations?
4. What are the challenges faced by refugees in accessing educational, healthcare, and job opportunities?
5. What are some effective ways to address and combat systemic racism in different aspects of society?

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