Instructions: This assignment requires you to identify an article that covers issues (e.g., health, illness, psychological well-being, stress, health behavior, health care institution, and health insurance) discussed in this class. The article must be selected from mass media (print or online) that are located in the US or from those published in other nations. The article could come from any types of mass media: Newspaper (e.g., the Washington Post), magazine (e.g., Time Magazine), the Internet (e.g., Vox), television (e.g., CNN), and radio (e.g., NPR).
You will then utilize medical sociological ideas to critically evaluate the content of the article. Your review paper should contain the following components:
1. Briefly summarize the article (4-5 sentences). Your paper should summarize what the article is trying to convey. That is, you should describe the arguments (e.g., “bad eating habits” causes obesity) advanced by the author(s). [Points= 6]
2. How do the issues discussed in the news article relate to issues, ideas, theories, and research evidence discussed in class? Draw the connection between the issues covered in the article (e.g., obesity, smoking) and ideas (e.g., ideology of victim blaming, health disparities, medicalization) covered in this class. Make explicit reference (i.e., cite) to sources (e.g., book chapters) you are drawing your ideas from. [Points= 10]
3. Why do you think the article is (or is not) sociologically informed? If you believe that the author(s) of the article have already used sociological lens, you should offer an explanation to support your claim. If the article is not sociologically informed, you should utilize medical sociological ideas to critically evaluate the author(s) arguments. You should describe the facts or arguments that you found problematic or stereotypical or victim blaming? In other words, you should discuss why the article is not sociological and how it can be made sociological? For instance, the author(s) maybe missing a sociological perspective if they are attributing obesity to fast food consumption, without discussing the broader social and economic context (i.e., exposure to fast food commercials during childhood, inadequate economic resources to purchase fresh food, lack of grocery stores that carry fresh food) that shape people’s eating habits. [Points=12]
4. Your goal, as a sociologist, is to attempt to identify the root causes of our social problems (e.g., identify public policies, institutional racism, economic exploitation, and residential segregation that contribute to racial and economic inequalities in health). When broader social, economic, cultural, and political context is lacking, your paper should offer such context along with any theoretical framework (e.g., Fundamental cause of disease theory) that guides your reasoning or arguments. For instance, you may find a news article about poor physical and mental health among older workers. It is possible that the article is “blaming the victim” by arguing that those workers engage in risky health behaviors such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and fast food consumption. Your job is to offer broader context. You should ask why those workers engage in those behaviors? Is it because they work long hours without adequate wages and benefits? Do they use risky behaviors to cope with their precarious work and economic conditions? Are they in such situation due to our economic policies that do not offer workers fair or living wages? Does our political context responsible for such economic policies? Is underlying institutional racism responsible for even more precarious work conditions for low wage workers from minority groups? Does sexism unfairly disadvantages women workers? You could use the course materials (including recommended readings) that I have provided or look for additional resources to offer adequate contextualization of a given issue (e.g., eating habits and obesity). [Points= 10]
5. Include the title of the article and Web-link in your reference. If the article was published in print media, you should also submit a PDF copy. Â [Points= 2]