The Social Issue Of Homelessness Essay

1038 Words Nov 6th, 2016 5 Pages
This essay will be discussing the social issue of homelessness within Australia from the sociological perspective of a functionalist. This essay will firstly define what a social problem is; secondly, the definition of homelessness and the nature and extent of it within Australia; thirdly, explaining the functionalist perspective, and; lastly applying the functionalist perspective in regards to homelessness.
A social problem as defined by Lauer (1976) is said to only exist when society perceives something as being problematic. Lauer (1976) explains that a social problem is both subjective and objective, namely, particular objective circumstances which are subjectively perceived to be disagreeable and therefore they are then defined as a problem. For example, one group of people in society may believe smoking is a social problem, whereas another group may not. Social problems are changing all the time due to elements such as social structure, culture, era and geographical location. Every society is different in their values, morals and societal norms so what could be a social problem in Japan, for example might not be a problem in Australia. An example of a social problem within Australia is homelessness.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) defines homelessness as a person not having adequate and satisfactory shelter/accomodation. They explain that homelessness can be understood as ‘home’lessness not rooflessness. The ABS places emphasis on the word ‘home’ as home is…

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