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Economic toll of deaths of despair.
Social isolation and economic uncertainties arising from COVID-19 lockdowns could prompt many more deaths of despair
This chapter uses quarterly county-level data from 2006 to 2014 to examine the direction of causality in the relationship between per capita opioid prescription rates and…
This chapter uses quarterly county-level data from 2006 to 2014 to examine the direction of causality in the relationship between per capita opioid prescription rates and employment-to-population ratios. We first estimate models of the effect of per capita opioid prescription rates on employment-to-population ratios, instrumenting opioid prescriptions for younger ages using opioid prescriptions to the elderly. We find that the estimated effect of opioids on employment-to-population ratios is positive but small for women, while there is no relationship for men. We then estimate models of the effect of employment-to-population ratios on opioid prescription rates using a shift-share instrument and find ambiguous results. Overall, our findings suggest that there is no simple causal relationship between economic conditions and the abuse of opioids. Therefore, while improving economic conditions in depressed areas is desirable for many reasons, it is unlikely on its own to curb the opioid epidemic.
The purpose of this paper is to examine the Golden Gate Bridge (GGB) as a work of art and the role of the bridge in shaping community identity and discourse. Particular…
The purpose of this paper is to examine the Golden Gate Bridge (GGB) as a work of art and the role of the bridge in shaping community identity and discourse. Particular attention is focussed on the discourse surrounding mental illness and suicide, which perpetuate the problem of suicides involving the bridge as a means and mechanism of death. An analysis of the person who attempts or completes suicide is also performed.
Multiple research articles, writings, and a cinematic production are drawn on to frame the argument in terms of Michel Foucault's adaption of Pantopticism Theory and Jacques Lacan's Mirror Theory, which includes the concepts of the Real, the Imaginary, and the Symbolic.
The GGB is a major factor in shaping the discourse on mental illness and suicide in the San Francisco community. The influences the GGB exerts combines with and exacerbates a culture of stigma, which perpetuates negative discourse and increases the risk of suicides in those already vulnerable.
The research for this paper was performed at a distance and was conducted, with the exception of one personal communication, by literature search and application to theory. Ethnographic research would be a logical next step to study the phenomenon further.
Theory developed from this paper could be used in determining a relevant course of action for adding to existing suicide prevention efforts in the San Francisco Area and any other community with a prominent icon, such as the GGB, that may be exerting a negative influence on the suicide rates of that area.
An awareness of how art, culture, and psychology interact would increase awareness of the creation of a stigmatized environment and perhaps precipitate a change in the underlying negative discourse.
This paper takes a fresh look at the phenomenon of violent death by suicide where a physical object/icon (the GGB) is used as a means to die. The particular theories and approach used to explain the interactions that intensify the suicide death rate have never been combined and interwoven in such an interdisciplinary way to seek an explanation.
COVID-19 has affected all 50 states unevenly, so the starting points for recovery vary. Twenty-one states have this month recorded their highest 7-day average of new…
Rates of disability fell from 2010 to early 2020 and rates of drug overdoses began to stabilise as the persistently unemployed were drawn back into employment…
As the social scientists of modern society, sociologists find themselves in a peculiar situation. Human civilization appears on the brink of collapse; the ravages of…
As the social scientists of modern society, sociologists find themselves in a peculiar situation. Human civilization appears on the brink of collapse; the ravages of global capitalism are turning natural and social orders upside down. Some theorists are declaring the “end of history,” while others wonder if humans will soon become extinct. People find themselves increasingly shouldering burdens on their own, strangers to themselves and others. Struggles for recognition and identity are forged in harsh landscapes of social dislocation and inequality. The relationship of the individual to the state atrophies as governmental power becomes at once more remote and absolutely terrifying. How are we as sociologists expected to theorize under such circumstances? What implications result for the mission of sociology as a discipline and area of study? What political initiatives, if any, can counter these trends?
This chapter provides an immanent critique of sociology as a profession, vocation, and critical practice. Sociology today (in the US and around the globe) faces fierce social, economic, and political headwinds. The discipline continues to be a perilous choice as a vocation for independent researchers as much as the shrinking professoriate. Yet while the traditional functions of sociology are thrown into doubt, there has been an increase in critical practices on the part of some sociologists. As institutional norms, values, and traditions continue to be challenged, there will be passionate debates about the production of social worlds and the validity claims involved in such creation. Sociologists must play an active role in such discourse. Sociology is needed today as a mode of intervention as much as occupational status system or method of inquiry.
Discussion of the 2016 electorate has centered on two poles: results of public opinion and voter surveys that attempt to tease out whether racial, cultural, or economic…
Discussion of the 2016 electorate has centered on two poles: results of public opinion and voter surveys that attempt to tease out whether racial, cultural, or economic grievances were the prime drivers behind the Trump vote and analyses that tie major shifts in the political economy to consequential shifts in the voting behavior of certain demographic and geographic groups. Both approaches render invisible a major development since the 1970s that has been transforming the political, social, and economic landscape of wide swaths of people who do not reside in major urban areas or their prosperous suburban rings: the emergence and consolidation of the carceral state. This chapter sketches out some key contours of the carceral state that have been transforming the polity and economy for poor and working-class people, with a particular focus on rural areas and the declining Rust Belt. It is meant as a correction to the stilted portrait of these groups that congealed in the aftermath of the 2016 election, thanks to their pivotal contribution to Trump's victory. This chapter is not an alternative causal explanation that identifies the carceral state as the key factor in the 2016 election. Rather, it is a call to aggressively widen the analytical lens of studies of the carceral state, which have tended to focus on communities of color in urban areas.
Karl Marx could only pen the memorable line, “the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles” because he was heir to the sanitary and…
Karl Marx could only pen the memorable line, “the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles” because he was heir to the sanitary and public health reforms of the nineteenth century (Marx  1972, p. 335). The Black Death, which had wiped out much of fourteenth-century Florence and which had regularly decimated sixteenth- and seventeenth-century London, was now but a faint memory. Yet had a historian of some earlier period of European history thought to pen a line as presumptuous as Marx's, it might have read: “the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of struggle with plague or pestilence.” Epidemics and pandemics have haunted human societies from their beginnings. The congregation of large masses of humans in urban settings, in fact, made the evolution of human infectious disease microorganisms biologically possible (McNeill, 1976; Porter, 1997, pp. 22–25). Epidemics have been as determinative of the course of economic, social, military and political history as any other single factor – emptying cities, decimating armies, wiping out generations and destroying civilizations.