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Volume :17 Issue : 1 1989      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

The Role of Perception in Identifying Societal Problems

Auther : Bassem Serhan

The aim of this empirical study is firstly to test the validity of Merton’s assumption that perception is an integral part of the definition of a societal problem. The second aim is to measure the perception of Kuwait unversity students toward societal problems facing their society during the first half of the eighties. In addition, some correlates of perception are measured. The study was carried out over a period of five years (1981 – 86), and involved written responses to questions from more than 1000 male and female students. The results revealed that the subjective aspects of the definition or situation as a societal problem were strongly affirmed. Factors mentioned by Merton as determining perception, such as closeness to a situation, the intensity of the problem, and the extent to which it affected personal interests, were supported by the findings. The study concluded that Kuwait University students focus more on family and ethic-behavioral problems than on macro-socioeconomic conditions.

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