Soc 138 Week 2 notes
Soc 138 Week 2 notes Sociology M138
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Freddie816 on Monday April 4, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Sociology M138 at University of California - Los Angeles taught by Timmermans in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 218 views. For similar materials see Death, suicide and trauma in Sociology at University of California - Los Angeles.
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Date Created: 04/04/16
4/416 ● The social autopsy (three types) ○ Pathological ■ Medical care: surgeon determines the method of death ■ Forensic setting: autopsy is used to distinguish bw suicide, natural death, homicide etc ○ Psychological ■ Association with mental illness ○ Social autopsy ■ Embedded social factors→ ● Autopsy in forensics ○ Forensics deal with hundreds of violent and suspicious deaths but about 75% of those deaths are attributed to be caused by welfare conditions, particularly artery disease ■ Other examples ● Cancer ● Heart disease ○ Triaging death ■ Forensics have a legal duty to determine the cause of death that they are assigned to ■ No probable causes of violent death→ forensics attempt to convince physicians to sign death certificates ○ Scene investigation ■ Investigator is trained in a certain way to look for probable causes of death (violence) and thus, ignores all other evidence (biased) ■ Ex ● Looks for signs of foul play such as, were doors closed or were they open? ● Looks for signs of trauma on the body ● Looks at medicine cabinet (provides clues of medical history) ● Looks at the position of the body ● Look for drug paraphernalia ● Look for signs of alcohol ● Looks for writings (suicide notes) ○ Case discussion ■ Investigator has limited sources of information bc of his bias ● Police investigation ● Quick interviews ● Medical record ● Next of kin ○ Actual autopsy ■ Use structural evidence to pin down a functional process ■ Distinguish from life saving evidence 4/416 ● During the autopsy, the medical examiner opens the body up and removes all the organs in search for the most factual cause of deathclogged arteries. He then determines that clogged arteries were indeed the cause of death even when it is obvious that the dead died from a violent death such as a gunshot wound ○ Take home message ■ Causes of death are affected by one’s biases, such as in how one is trained to perform his job. For example, if this job were given to a psychologist, the psychologist would most likely look for signs of mental illness, because that is how the psychologist is trained, therefore, the psychologist would ignore all other evidence that clues in into the most probable method of death. In the same way, due to the forensics method of training, he is biased and looks for certain clues (for signs of a violent death) and ignores everything else. ● Basically saying that forensics are biased when they search for signs of causes of death because of the way that they are trained ○ Ex: Heat wave in Chicago ■ Drastic heat wave in which 700 people die ■ What did people die of? ● The argument is that the deaths of these people were due to natural events caused by the heat and was inevitable/random ■ Kleinberg finds that several social and political factors were involved within this event ■ Findings ● Kleinberg makes a map and finds that the South and West areas of Chicago had the highest rates of death. This was not a random event, the South and West were very poor areas with high rates of homicide ● Who was most likely to die? ○ Impoverished neighborhoods ○ More men than woman ○ More blacks than whites and latinos ○ More elderly than the young ● The neighborhood ○ Certain neighborhoods suffered from huge cutbacks and most city services had been privatized. ■ No emergency plan for high death rates (no attempt made by police department, fire department was not trained for this, dept of human services had no way of contacting people, dept of public health did not know how to connect each agency ○ However, such as in awndale , even with inadequate resources, Kleinberg finds that the Latinos in this 4/416 neighborhood were actually less susceptible to dying. Why? Latinos in Lawndale were part of extended families in which each member is more likely to help the other ○ Death is attributed to social isolation ■ Latinos in Lawndale are less susceptible to death ■ Single occupancy housing is more susceptible to dying ○ Official framing (explanation) ■ Government ● Denies that people die ● Blames victims for not reaching out or refusing help ● Blamed electric power companies for power surges ● Blames water company ● “Natural disaster” ○ Reinforced in the media ○ Take home message of the social autopsy ■ Socialpolitical determinants of mortality ■ Looks for patterns and explains variations ■ All forms of autopsy are political projects. In this case, the government looked at the most probable cause of death and ignored all other social factors such as the huge governmental cutbacks to help the poor. So it wasnt because certain communities were poor that they died but it was because these particular areas were ignored by the government. However, even with inadequate resources, Lawndale was less susceptible to dying because members were integrated within a community in which members looked out for one another. The main idea is that certain professionals are biased in their conclusions for the causes of death.
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