Sociologist Amy C. Finnegan provides a critical analysis of the movement behind the Kony 2012 campaign and how this unique form of activism coalesces with the biographies of the activists, who are notably white, privileged, Christian, adolescent females.
For years I have been arguing that social factors contribute to ADHD diagnoses in part, by reasoning from the work of Peter Conrad, who is mentioned in the article. It is great to see that research offers some vindication for this view.
It’s great to see such decent reporting about sociological findings.
Today many sociologists and neuroscientists believe that regardless of A.D.H.D.’s biological basis, the explosion in rates of diagnosis is caused by sociological factors — especially ones related to education and the changing expectations we have for kids. During the same 30 years when A.D.H.D. diagnoses increased, American childhood drastically changed. Even at the grade-school level, kids now have more homework, less recess and a lot less unstructured free time to relax and play. It’s easy to look at that situation and speculate how “A.D.H.D.” might have become a convenient societal catchall for what happens when kids are expected to be miniature adults. High-stakes standardized testing, increased competition for slots in top colleges, a less-and-less accommodating economy for those who don’t get into colleges but can no longer depend on the existence of blue-collar jobs — all of these are expressed through policy changes and cultural expectations, but they may also manifest themselves in more troubling ways — in the rising number of kids whose behavior has become pathologized.
I would take exception to some of the reasoning of the reporter. For instance, she states.…The correlations between the implementation of these laws and the rates of A.D.H.D. diagnosis matched on a regional scale as well. When Hinshaw compared the rollout of these school policies with incidences of A.D.H.D., he found that when a state passed laws punishing or rewarding schools for their standardized-test scores, A.D.H.D. diagnoses in that state would increase not long afterward. Nationwide, the rates of A.D.H.D. diagnosis increased by 22 percent in the first four years after No Child Left Behind was implemented.To be clear: Those are correlations, not causal links. [emphasis added]
To be clear: causation can be inferred from correlation if the rates of ADHD diagnoses follow, in time, the implementation of high stakes testing. In other words, time is sufficient to claim that high stakes testing is a factor contributing to the epidemic of ADHD diagnoses.
It’s been a day I’ve worn many hats! It’s funny that in sociology class today, I talked about role strain and role conflict.
Erudite comment on “their most popular post ever" over at Sociological Images.
I took this last year, but in retrospect, I think it’s my strongest piece from high school.
Working on this project really made me examine my own opinions, preconceptions and prejudices about “slutty” women and women who choose to cover all of their skin alike. I used to assume that all women who wore Hijabs were being oppressed, slut-shame, and look down on and judge any woman who didn’t express her sexuality in a way that I found appropriate.
I’d like to think I’m more open now.
I have friends who live in or have roots in Newtown, CT. My thoughts and prayers go out to all those who suffer from violence. This includes the slow trickle of inner city violence as well as these very dramatic incidents.
It’s time to reduce the incidence of such tragedies by following policy recommendations which flow from good sociology that’s already been done. Good social policy would include, but not be limited to more strict gun control. It would also include spending on mental health services.
Questions, comments concerns?
For an in-depth but not wholly dispassionate view, listen.
This week we talk with Amy Finnegan about Uganda and Invisible Children’s Kony 2012 campaign. For the past dozen years, Finnegan has been teaching and doing research in Uganda. In particular, Finnegan has studied the relationship between outside groups like Invisible Children and local Ugandan activists. How are campaigns like Kony 2012 received in Uganda? And do they help or hurt the cause of indigenous Ugandan activists? Listen up to find out.