Why do the same social problems emerge in different societies? Unlike traditional sociological explanations, which argue that the structural and cultural causes of social problems are to be found within different societies, the chapters in this collection examine the role played by external diffusion in the construction of social problems. Claims that appear in one country spread to other nations through various channels, ranging from interpersonal contacts among claimsmakers, to mass media coverage, to folklore. Diffusion of claims is possible, but by no means inevitable; a claim may be adopted in some countries but be ignored in others. Often, diffusion involves reconstructing social problems to fit the concerns of those in the countries adopting the claims. Various chapters in this collection examine the diffusion of particular social problems between the United States and such countries as Britain, Canada, Japan, and Austria, as well as among the nations of Europe. Topics include such social problems as post-abortion syndrome, road rage, gun violence, bullying, sexual abuse, youth cultures, and organ thefts, as well as such social policies as sexual harassment law, adoption of the metric system, and child welfare. The effect of How Claims Spread is to expand the constructionist orientation by raising new questions about how social problems emerge and evolve in different nations linked by political, economic, social, and media ties
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