Introduction to Social Pathologies
The terms social pathology and social problem are often interchangeably used. They refer to the diseased conditions of society. As the physical body suffers from various ailments, the society as a system also suffers from various pathologies that threaten its proper functioning and very existence. Sociologists prefer to use “social problems’ to “social pathologies”.
Problems that are limited to an individual’s psychological dimension or micro level social groups may not constitute social problems per se although they are the manifestation of the diseased conditions of society.
Some social problems have universal or global nature and others are tied to a society’s level of economic and technological development, history, ecology, sociopolitical and cultural set-up. Some social problems are thus more rampant in industrialized societies and others prevail in less industrialized societies.
The major social problems in third world countries include famine, prostitution, unemployment, drug addiction, homelessness, begging, urban poverty, and population explosion and ecological deterioration, among others. These problems have escalated since recent decades. They are the reflections of the country’s socio-political history, harmful traditional beliefs and practices, poverty, and natural factors, among others.