Why do certain problems and not others capture the public's attention at some times and not at others? Research indicates that there is frequently little or no correlation between the intensity of public concern and the seriousness of the social problem concerned. Certain interest groups have the power to draw the public's attention toward certain problems and away from others. This book provides a paradigm for thinking critically about social problem construction and about how many popular constructions benefit powerful interests at the expense of society's interest. Unlike most standard social problem texts, Social Problems examines a single theoretical paradigm in depth and demonstrates how theory can be used to understand a breadth of real world phenomena, including problems relating to inequality, the family, crime, and the environment. A much-needed cross-cultural emphasis is used to illustrate the range of possibilities in which social problems and their solutions can be conceived. Special attention is given to the role of the media and of corporate interest in problem construction and to the effects of globalization.