Major Research Essay on Mental Illness
Students will write an essay on one of the Social Problems and Solutions addressed in Weeks 3-10 (excluding week 7) of this course or choose their own topic in consultation with the course co-ordinator (approval from the coordinator must be sought by Week 9). The essay will apply the frameworks of the course (Mills, 1959 and Bacchi, 2009) to outline the ways in which this social problem is commonly represented in mass media and/ or politics and policy. The essay should also consider the ways in which this representation of the problem both shapes particular solutions to the problem and produces various social effects. In responding to this question, it is important for you to analyse:
• Who/ what is being used to represent the problem and why;
• The assumptions that are taken for granted in the way in which the problem is represented;
• What is left out (or left unproblematic) in these representations of the problem;
• How the application of the ‘sociological imagination’ might impact on how this problem is represented;
• How ‘solutions’ to this problem would differ if it were represented differently.
Students will need to draw on sociology-appropriate scholarship to analyse and critique these representations. Examples from the media and/ or policy may also be used to illustrate your arguments. However, media (online or other) and policy documents should be used as examples illustrating how the problem is represented rather than as tools for analysis or substantiation of your arguments. In addition, while these examples should be cited, they do not constitute one of the required scholarly sources. This will be discussed further in classes. Please also note the following:
• You may not choose the same topic that you wrote about for your media analysis.
• You must cite at least six scholarly sources in your essay to support your arguments, including at least three journal articles.
ATTN writer, I have chosen Mental Illness (week 4 topic) to write the major essay on. 7 sources are required but I have attached 3 sources below.
Bacchi, C. (2009). Introducing a ‘what’s the problem represented to be?’ approach to policy analysis. In her Analysing
policy: What’s the problem represented to be? (pp. 1-24). Frenchs Forest, Sydney: Pearson Australia.
Mills, C. W. (1959). The promise. In The sociological imagination. New York, NY: Oxford University Press
Holland, K. (2012). The unintended consequences of campaigns designed to challenge stigmatising
representations of mental illness in the media. Social Semiotics, 22(3), 217-236.