The Difference Between Social Issues And Problems


¶ … socially constructed. What was considered a problem in one era or cultural context is not considered a problem at all in another context. Social issues can be reframed as social problems, and likewise, social problems can be downgraded into simple issues that matter to specific segments of the population. However, sociologists need to be mindful of the problems of ethical relativism when offering too much leeway with regards to downgrading social problems into mere issues or vice versa. Injustice and inequality are generally problematic, whether or not a culture or religion advocates hierarchy or inequitable power distribution based on race, gender, or class status. Although I am more generally interested in studying gender as a social issue, a more pressing problem has recently come to my attention especially in the United States. That problem is anti-intellectualism or anti-science. It seems as if there has been a consistent undercurrent of anti-intellectualism among conservatives in particular, who feel that academia is biased towards liberal political views. Because of that assumption about academia, a large section of the American public has come to deny the importance of science and critical thought. The media helps to proliferate anti-intellectualism by creating propaganda and essentially continuing the process of brainwashing....


Religion may also be complicit in the social problem of anti-intellectualism, especially when science is presented as something in direct conflict with faith.
Anti-intellectualism is not a new problem; it has been long endemic in human society because information is power. When Galileo and other scientists offered information, the Catholic Church responded with its full political power to try and maintain its strong social and political control. Other Renaissance thinkers like Giordano Bruno were burned at the stake for promoting science over religiosity. In the 21th century, we continue to struggle with anti-intellectualism both within religious and secular sectors. Hofstadter's (1963) Pulitzer Prize-winning book Anti-Intellectualism in American Life was one of the seminal books treating the unique cultural and historical phenomena of anti-intellectualism in the United States, and can be used in my future research.

Part Three

Using multiple sources including Hofstadter (1963), I would like to explore the social problem of anti-intellectualism in greater depth. Anti-intellectualism is a social problem and not just a social issue because denying facts and science is essentially denying the truth. It is difficult to argue for falsehood over truth; truth can be considered a basic human right. From a human rights…

Sources Used in Documents:


Hofstadter, R. (1963). Anti-Intellectualism in American Life. Random House.

Raphael, T.J. (2016). A policy expert explains how anti-intellectualism gave rise to Donald Trump. Retrieved online:

Williams, R. (2014). Anti-Intellectualism and the "Dumbing Down" of America. Psychology Today. 7 July, 2014. Retrieved online:

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