The War on Drugs Conflict & Social Theory

Social conflict theory is a macro-theory that focuses on how structural factors in society affect rates of drug use, especially illicit drugs such as crack and heroin. Conflict theory holds that there are higher numbers of chronic drug abusers in lower social classes, disorganized neighborhoods, low-income families, and relatively politically powerless communities. The current study hypothesized that the likelihood of recent hard drug use would be higher among arrestees who lived in areas with high degrees of structural disadvantage, namely, low income, widespread poverty, high unemployment, limited high school graduation, numerous female-headed households, high population density, low stability, and large African-American population. It was also hypothesized that recent use of cocaine or opiates would be less likely among arrestees who experienced relatively greater social controls that discourage drug use. The study’s dependent variables, arrestees’ recent cocaine use and recent opiate use, were indicated by urinalysis results. Data for independent variables measured the various structural factors identified in the hypotheses. The study analyses support a version of social conflict theory. Arrestees who resided in structurally disadvantaged areas were found to be most likely to use cocaine and heroin. The study acknowledges the role of individual-level variables in the decision to use cocaine or opiates, but it views these individual decisions through the lens of social structure as a conditioning influence. These findings suggest that policies designed to reduce hard drug use should include efforts to change the structural conditions of the environment where the abuse of these drugs thrives. 3 tables and 87 references

Question Description

Theory Reflection: Through the past thirteen weeks you have explored decades worth of ideas. In this assignment, you are being asked to contemplate the question “What have I learned and how does it best apply in the context of the career I’m interested in, or the life I’m experiencing?”. You must respond to this question with either a 3-6, page essay. The goal of this assignment is to give you an opportunity to put the entire course into perspective. (APA Formatting but do not include an abstract. Make sure you include a reference list and in-text citations where needed.)

You must discuss which of the classical or grand theories makes the most sense to you and why. Part of this discussion should be applying the theory you choose to a social problem from the list below (a macro explanation) as well as applying the theory to your own social location (a micro perspective). You must also choose one other theory from the semester from a different theorist and school of thought (i.e. do not use two functionalist theories instead use a functionalist and a symbolic interactionist, or conflict and symbolic interactionism, etc.) and apply it in a similar fashion. Lastly give a critical perspective to each theory you have chosen. Discuss what seem to be the weakest aspects of the theory. Use a social problem as a tool to explain the weaknesses of the theory. Give one solid example of how the theory does not explain everything.

You do not need to define the theories you select. If you apply and discuss them correctly, I will see that you understand and can define them. Focus the paper on applying the theories you choose to a social problem and your social location. The same is true with the theory you choose to critique. Explain why this theory does not seem to offer solid understanding of the social world and your position in it.

Make sure any claims you make regarding evidence are supported with source material. You should provide 2 examples or explanations, for each theory, to display its use and application. You will lose points for improper or inadequate applications and explanations or for not enough explanations or examples. See the rubric for specific info on grading.

Social Problems

1. Abortion

6. The war on drugs / legalization of drugs

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