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Homelessness: Sociological Theories That Explains Homelessness (Essay Sample)


Learning Outcomes

This week students will:

  1. Understand social problems associated with the shift from rural to metro America.
  2. Discuss and critique the rationale for defining global climate change as a social problem.
  3. Assess the interrelationship of environmental inequality and climate change.


We have reached our final week of class! This also means your final papers are due. As always, remember to review the instructions for this assignment to gain a clear understanding of expectations. You have also received feedback on your Week Two Final Paper Preparation assignment, so be sure to integrate all suggestions in your Final Paper.

The variety of social problems continues this week as we shift our focus to the impact of social change of rural America. We also examine broader impacts with a focus on global climate change and environmental inequality. This week’s reading reminds us that inequality overlaps with many social problems. The scope of inequality in America can be shocking, especially given that our culture reminds us of so many opportunities (at least in theory) for success. 


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Problem Statement
Homeliness refers to a condition whereby people live without a permanent home, house or any form of dwellings. Sociologist have defined homelessness as social problem that is triggered by structural inequalities as well as lack of resources which renders the affected individuals are highly vulnerable. People who are affected by this condition are normally unable to access and acquire regular, secure, safe and adequate housing. Similarly the homelessness problem is attributed to a complex array of social and economic issues that generates situation of tenant's insecurity, inadequate income, health problems, individual crisis, inadequate affordable housing supply, mental health challenges, addictions, child abuse as well as abject poverty. According to the National Alliance to End Homeliness (NAEH), the state homelessness in America is on the rise with 564,708 people experiencing homelessness as at January 2015. It is justifiable to say that the homelessness problem is perpetrated by the society's failure to ensure that all people receive adequate funding, systems and support in the events of crisis situations. Thus, homelessness is a social problem as it is caused by structural inequalities and lack of resources, where the less fortunate and the minority groups in the society are more highly susceptible than others.
Homelessness as a Social Problem
Homelessness qualifies as social problem as they are normally triggered by social or socio-economic factors such as, deinstitutionalization economic downturns as well as lack of family support (Ravenhill, 2016). Deinstitutionalization refers to the process of abolishing cultural and constitutional practice that has been treated as a norm overs the years. Homelessness is seen as an element of dehumanization in the society as it is a right of every citizen to own a land or protective shelter however poor or humble they may appear (Ravenhill, 2016). Additionally, homelessness is a social problem as it is an error consequent on human's mismanagement and mismanagement of human life conducts tend to trigger inequality. Therefore, the problem affects the wider society as the structural causative agents such as unemployment, high levels of poverty and lack of affordable housing are triggered by social aspects as foreclosure of homes and cases of women and children who flee domestic violence (Ravenhill, 2016).
Sociological Theories That Explains Homelessness
There are three major sociological theories that explains the idea of homelessness, namely, functionalist by Emile Durkheim's, conflicts by Karl Marx and interaction theory by Michael Long (Dillon, 2009). The functionalist theory argues that many of the homeless have the capacity to support themselves and, often, they can manage to survive the daily life hardships despite their meagre earnings or existence. Emile Durkheim perceives that homelessness as situation that is a bit more than social infestation, thus becoming a massive problem to the society at large (Dillon, 2009). In addition, Emile Durkheim suggest that the state of homelessness can be self-solvable as well as providing solutions to other society problems as it urges the victims to look for jobs to provide welfare to their families (Dillon, 2009).
According to Karl Marx's theory of conflict, homelessness is not perceived as a problem and instead the blame is on capitalists who creates a conflicts of power. The conflicts emanates from the competition between different classes in the society for limited resources like employment, education and housing (Dillon, 2009). The capitalists who represents the upper classes tend to battle with the lower classes that is the workers in a bid to maintain and expand their social affluence, prosperity and power. In other wo...
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