Research Papers

Social Problems Analysis Research Paper

The role of the sociologist is to understand social problems and hypothesize conclusively about the issues that societies face. However, one needs new knowledge and strategic approaches to make sense of these problems and to provide practical and actionable solutions. From the sociological imagination perspective, I would have to connect individual troubles to public issues and then reflect on the environmental and social causes of human suffering. Social work imagination would enable me to connect the theory to action, and then suggest new ideas concerning the way interventions could follow from the explanations gathered. However, I would have to ensure that the responses suggested connect to the desired outcomes. In essence, research and analytical skills that enable me to gain an understanding of Liberia’s social problems would allow me to explore solutions and mobilize efforts towards finding amicable and empirical solutions.

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In an attempt to solve some of Liberia’s most intractable social challenges, I would start by carrying out comprehensive research to ascertain their causes. Research would enable the sociologist to bring closer theory to the study of contemporary problems as they apply to Liberia; this would require me to pull the general from the specific and to be involved in the daily struggles of the people. Some people argue that the primary role of the sociologist is to state the problem that occurs, focus on the description, the causes, and the consequences, and predict the possible outcomes (Crone 42). As a result, they worry about the part of solving the problem because they posit it raises the issue of objectivity. The argument is that sociology would lose credibility if the public perceives it as no longer objective. However, sociology ought to go beyond descriptions and theory and ought to be seen to play a central part in finding solutions.

My contribution as a sociologist would be to play a role in raising consciousness. Some of the most challenging problems occur because of a lack of awareness of their existence. The sociologist has to inform the relevant political authorities and the media about the issues in Liberia and help to start a meaningful discourse. Solutions can only come when society and the international community rally behind a common goal. Hence, the sociologist must point out what he or she sees as the social problems of the time. Admittedly, Liberia faces multiple social issues that threaten the fabric of society, and only concerted efforts from the international community could create meaningful change.

It is impossible to find solutions to problems without meaningful data because efforts ought to be in line with the magnitude of the problem. In line with this, the research I carry out would uncover the interests and values that are in conflict, which I would then analyze the effect of current policy. In some cases, social problems occur when relevant authorities implement defective policies or fail to enforce the right policies (Mooney 112). My role would entail analyzing the current policies that the government and society of Liberia have implemented. Subsequently, I would establish if the systems are defective such that they cannot solve the problems. Additionally, I would have to document the existence, the frequency at which the problems occur, and the intensity of the challenges to enable the formulation of the new policy (Ia︡khiel 67). Such empirical data would be vital when suggesting and executing solutions.

In sociology, solving specific problems lessens the severity of others because some of them are interrelated. For instance, poverty could be related to the high incidence rates of HIV and Aids because poor people might not be in a position to make conscious choices about their health. I would begin by studying the problems that might be interconnected and then design a response that addresses them simultaneously. In some instances, people attempt to solve problems using ineffective approaches; they apply cosmetic solutions that have minimal and short-lived effects such that the social problem rebounds within a short time (Alessio 122). Hence, there is a need for a strategic approach to solving these problems to ensure the effects are lasting.

The procedure of solving the social problems in Liberia would require ranking, where the sociologist prioritizes the challenges and decides the one to solve first. It would be essential to address poverty first because research shows it exacerbates other social problems (Mood, and Jonsson 635). In this regard, it would be prudent to address poverty first because the positive ripple effects would help to alleviate the other social problems. However, it is essential to note that solving poverty is a critical challenge because various factors interconnect to entrench it in society. Besides, some of the people might require a paradigm shift in thinking, economic literacy, and resilience to enable them to escape poverty. Research shows that poverty often occurs as a vicious cycle and that surviving years and generations of poverty is hard (Royce 19). For this reason, I would expect to face critical problems when addressing the poverty question.

It would be advisable to examine the social problems of other countries and determine how they have used them to solve similar problems. Subsequently, the sociologist has to ascertain whether the solutions that worked in other countries could work in Liberia as well. In the current dispensation, I would have to determine the details of the policies, the resources that were needed to implement it, and the unintended consequences of the solutions that were suggested (Brady and Burton 97). A systematic analysis of similar problems in other countries and communities would provide a clear picture of whether the same solutions would apply to Liberia. However, it will be essential to note that solutions that worked in other countries may not necessarily apply to the Liberia context because circumstances might be fundamentally different.

My role in Liberia would entail developing social perspectives with which policymakers and the government could view the social problems the society faces. The sociological approach to the study of social issues posits individuals problems are inherently rooted in the problems that stem from diverse aspects of society. In the context of Liberia, social problems such as poverty, drugs, diseases, unemployment, teenage-pregnancies, young adult mortality, low life-expectancies, malnutrition, sex-trafficking, and poor education are deeply entrenched because of years of neglect, flawed social policies, and weak government, among others. The role of the sociologist is to sensitize society and the international community to view these problems from a broad perspective and to recommend measures that address them comprehensively. As noted earlier, the above issues are interconnected and stem from poverty; solving them would require the international community to invest in the economic development of the country.

When examining the social problems in Liberia, the three sociological perspectives could help a sociologist and society better understand them. The functionalist perspective holds that social stability is critical to creating a stable community; social problems could weaken the stability of society but cannot be used to find fault with the structure of society (Ashworth and Long 22). Little evidence exists to suggest that the structure of society in Liberia is to blame for the social problems that manifest at every level. The conflict theory examines the pervasive inequality that is based on various factors. Correspondingly, symbolic interactionism holds that individuals construct their roles as they interrelate. The understanding from this perspective is that the social problems in Liberia arise out of the natural evolution of society. Solving the issues the country faces is vital because they threaten its stability.

In conclusion, solving the social problems in Liberia would require gradual social reform that should start with a clear understanding of the causes, the most affected sections of society, and their effects on the stability and functioning of the country. The approaches should be all-inclusive and comprehensive; there is a need for a holistic approach to the challenges because some of them have existed for generations. Equally, the sociologist could raise awareness about the problems, but the government and the relevant authorities ought to take a keen interest and mobilize resources for the most vulnerable. Economic empowerment might the most significant measure against social problems in Liberia because people with opportunities for advancement are likely to be upwardly mobile. Efforts should be geared towards eliminating factors that make Liberian society dysfunctional and prone to intractable social problems.

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Works Cited
Alessio, John. Social Problems and Inequality: Social Responsibility through Progressive Sociology. Routledge, 2016
Ashworth, Lucian M, and David Long. New Perspectives on International Functionalism. Springer, 2016
Brady, David, and Linda Burton. The Oxford Handbook of the Social Science of Poverty. Oxford University Press, 2016.
Crone, James A. How Can We Solve Our Social Problems? SAGE Publications, 2010
Ia︡khiel, Niko. Sociology and Social Practice: A Sociological Analysis of Contemporary Social Processes and Their Interrelationship with Science. Elsevier Science, 2014.
Mood, Carina, and Jan O. Jonsson. “The Social Consequences of Poverty: An Empirical Test on Longitudinal Data.” Social Indicators Research, vol. 127, no. 2, 2016, pp. 633-652.
Mooney, Linda A. Understanding Social Problems. Nelson Education, 2012.
Royce, Edward C. Poverty, and Power: The Problem of Structural Inequality. Rowman & Littlefield, 2018.