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The Making of a Social Problem: The Case of the British Press on Male Youth Suicide - Dissertation Example

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The paper operates mainly based on research question which can be stated as follows: What was the role of the British press in helping to turn male youth suicide from a private issue into a social problem at the turn of the century?…
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The Making of a Social Problem: The Case of the British Press on Male Youth Suicide
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Download file to see previous pages It is evident from the study that the issue of male youth suicide in the UK has been considered as a major social problem post-1998. During this period, while the overall rate of male suicides was declining, suicide rates among the 15-44 year age groups remained significantly high. This period witnessed a remarkably high media interest in the issue of male youth suicide, following which the issue was raised to the status of a social problem. In the UK, the rate of male youth suicide more than doubled between 1970-1998, so much so that it became the most common cause of death for young males in the 15-34 year age groups, second only to road deaths. Prior to the late 1990s and the beginning years of the 21st century, suicides were considered more of a criminal act rather than a social problem. However, when the rates of male youth suicide continued to remain substantially high, it was subsequently emphasized by the media as a social problem needing attention. This sudden emphasis by the media on the issue of male youth suicide can be explained on the basis of Cohen’s ‘moral panic’ theory, according to which moral panic occurs when an entity, such as a person or a group of persons, emerges as a threat to “societal values and interests”. Leonard Beeghley, in his book, Angles of Vision, extensively discusses how private issues are turned into social problems, and thus, Beeghley’s methodology is applied in the present study....
In the UK, the rate of male youth suicide more than doubled between 1970-1998, so much so that it became the most common cause of death for young males in the 15-34 year age groups, second only to road deaths (Bell 2008). Prior to the late 1990s and the beginning years of the 21st century, suicides were considered more of a criminal act rather than a social problem. However, when the rates of male youth suicide continued to remain substantially high, it was subsequently emphasized by the media as a social problem needing attention. This sudden emphasis by the media on the issue of male youth suicide can be explained on the basis of Cohen’s ‘moral panic’ theory, according to which moral panic occurs when an entity, such as a person or a group of persons, emerges as a threat to “societal values and interests” (1973, p. 9). 1.1. Problem Statement The purpose of this paper is to study how male youth suicide developed from being a private issue into a social problem. While a vast literature exists on the causes of male youth suicide, the aim of this paper is to focus on the more limited literature concerned with the creation of and not the causes of social problem. Leonard Beeghley, in his book, Angles of Vision, extensively discusses how private issues are turned into social problems, and thus, Beeghley’s methodology is applied in the present study. Beeghley’s methodology of studying social problems has been specifically chosen because it views social problems from different angles of vision. His methodology breaks down social problems into individual and structural components and places them in the context of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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