The last six weeks have challenged my preconceived ideas about sociology and the role that it plays in society in the popular and social media, my values, behaviours and belief system. What I hope to highlight throughout this reflective essay is what I have learnt and how that has shaped my new thought process and reinforced old thought patterns.
Week one I learnt about the Sociological imagination where to quote C Wright “The sociological imagination enables us to grasp the connection between history and biography.” (Henslin et al., 2011). Upon further reflection of the reading material in Sociology a down to earth approach there was one particular story that really resonated with me. It was the illustration about expecting parents being given the opportunity to test their unborn baby for certain genetic abnormalities and how the uptake on this opportunity increased from 17% in 1999 to 44% in 2004.
In the book “Sociology the Basics” we see that one of the guidelines for creating a sociological Imagination is to be biographical. Between 1999 and 2004 my wife and I tried tirelessly to have a baby trying all sorts of methods from natural, herbal, spiritual to medical. Eventually in 2004 through prayer and IVF we conceived a baby girl. We were asked at the half way mark of the pregnancy if we wanted to take the above mentioned test, but for us it was a no brainer, a combination of our faith, my wife’s history being adopted and the fact that we so desperately wanted to have that child meant that regardless of the result of the test we would be keeping the baby and so based on history and biography decided not to take the test. We now have two healthy, beautiful and somewhat cheeky IVF daughters.
In week two we looked at Social Structures (Macrosociological perspective) and Social Interaction (Microsociological perspective) (Henslin et al., 2011), scrolling through Facebook this wee. I was very surprised by how much commentary I found around the subject matter of suicide. A subject close to my heart, I attempted suicide in August and have been dealing with the after effects of a failed attempt with friends and family. I began to ask questions, why do people attempt and commit suicide? Why do different cultures have higher rates than others for example Polynesians in Australia and New Zealand? Could it be that the Polynesians feel isolated by their loss of their roots or “family based culture” as they are submerged into a more European lifestyle culture? Why are physicians and certain other professions more successful in their suicide attempts than other professions? Was it their accessibility and knowledge of means and ability that aided in the success of their attempt? I have my faith and I have a loving family so from a social structure point of view I was out side of the norm of someone who attempts suicide. From a social point of view I was the class clown the funny man and the encourager on Facebook, in person and in large group settings so that was also outside of the norm as well. But what most people didn’t know was that I am “Bipolar” and as such required mood stabilising medication for my chemical imbalance. Combine the effects of not taking that medication with a great deal of circumstantial issues like losing a 19 year job and heavy debt thinking and that by activating my life insurance would be the best way to provide for the family that I love and you have my logic and sociological reasoning why I attempted to take my life. In Emile Durkeim’s book “Suicide” he refers to 3 types of suicide Anomic (feeling of isolation), Altruistic (spurred on by a greater caused – religious) and thirdly and what was most likely my scenario Egoistic where someone becomes detached from society. (Crossman, A) A man with an experience is never at the mercy of a man with an argument and the more I research around the subject matter of suicide the more I want to help those who may be going through what I have been through and...
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