Social issue  

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This page Social issue is part of the politics series.Illustration:Liberty Leading the People (1831, detail) by Eugène Delacroix.
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This page Social issue is part of the politics series.
Illustration:Liberty Leading the People (1831, detail) by Eugène Delacroix.

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

A social cause is a problem that influences a considerable number of individuals within a society. It is often the consequence of factors extending beyond an individual's control, and is the source of a conflicting opinion on the grounds of what is perceived as a morally just personal life or societal order. Social issues are distinguished from economic issues; however, some issues (such as immigration) have both social and economic aspects. There are also issues that don't fall into either category, such as warfare.

There can be disagreements about what social issues are worth solving, or which should take precedence. Different individuals and different societies have different perceptions.

In Rights of Man and Common Sense, Thomas Paine addresses individual's duty to "allow the same rights to others as we allow ourselves". The failure to do so caused the birth of a social issue.

There are a variety of methods people use to combat social issues. Some people vote for leaders in a democracy to advance their ideals. Outside the political process, people donate or share their time, money, energy, or other resources. This often takes the form of volunteering. Nonprofit organizations are often formed for the sole purpose of solving a social issue. Community organizing involves gathering people together for a common purpose.

A distinct but related meaning of the term "social issue" (used particularly in the United States) refers to topics of national political interest, over which the public is deeply divided and which are the subject of intense partisan advocacy, debate, and voting. Examples include same-sex marriage and abortion. In this case "social issue" does not necessarily refer to an ill to be solved, but rather to a topic to be discussed.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Social issue" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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