The analysis of social problems is a key area of sociological and criminological investigation. However, not all problems experienced by individuals are recognised as social problems by society and not all publicly recognised social problems are also discussed by policy-makers. Why do some issues come to be regarded as social problems ? Is this always because there is clear evidence the issues are socially harmful? What else affects this process? And why are only some of these issues taken up by policy makers? Are the public policy responses to the identified problems always appropriate? This course seeks to address these questions by exploring both theoretical and empirical perspectives. Empirically, it will focus on poverty, migration and youth crime (?). How have these issues been understood as problems and in what ways has this understanding affected the public policy response?