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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: September 6, 2005
Latest Update: September 6, 2005
Sociology of the Helping Professions:
Problems with getting help to New Orleans from perspective of leadership, what was missing
- transparency - making decisions in the open so that all levels of the bureaucratic structure know what's going on - NOT making decisions for which there is little or no adequate explanation and then failing to clarify both the decisions and their logical justification to subordinates
President Broussard said that FEMA officials cut or ordered cut the communications lines in Jefferson Parish. We can't ascertain the accuracy or the intention of that, but Pres. Broussard said the Sheriff re-established the communications lines and put armed guards to prevent their being cut again. President Broussard also reported that Wal Mart trucks with water were turned away from Jefferson Parish by the National Guard. (from jeanne's recollection of several newscasts on CNN and on KPFK.) Interpretation: there were serious conflicts in control of relief materiel. Serious investigation needed. This is a leadership and management problem, and the federal government should have taken responsibility, since it was the highest authority present. But that authority should have included answerability for the local peoples they were trying to help. One doesn't do things TO people in distress; one does things FOR them in cooperation with them.
- sociopathic behavior when we deny answerability -When one simply ignores the attempts of local groups to have input and decision-making power, the local groups are likely to recognize, especially if the one ignoring them has the power to do so, that they are being dismissed. When someone is unaffected by our attempts to correct them and to bring their behavior into line with what we think it ought to be, we call them sociopathic, meaning that they do not respond to our traditional correctional methods. Leadership in any agency needs to bear that in mind. Don't treat your staff as though they don't count. That means be willing to listen to their gossip and spend some time with what interests them, for without that, you are denying their need for their voices to be heard (denying answerability because of superior power, or just because you can.)
Special Topics: Love 1A
- Primary drive, according to Lear's interpretation of Freud: sexuality, which produces love in the interest of reproduction and survival. The love drive leads us to invest in the context we exist in. To the extent that we invest love, our personal world, which encompasses the world with which we interact and which contributes to the development of both the self and the external world of its context.
Thus, by assuming a loving orientation, we are not altering the "bad" or the "evil" that we find in the world, but we are strengthening our own investment of love in both self and the context within which we exist. That is the sense in which unity is important. We can bring a loving orientation to more of us, and together we may be able to make our collective world more "lovable" in Lear's sense.
- measurement - often self report as in the case of pain and often in the case of criminal activity
- What could we have measured in the spinal cement article? We did measure pain by self report. But we could have measured the pain at different intervals and averaged the pain level. That might have given us a better sense of the extent to which regression to the mean was involved in the apparent pain relief.
We could also have measured the patient's self report of pain before the injection of cement, directly after the injection, a day later, a week later, two weeks later, six weeks later. That would have given us a much better indication of how long, if at all, the relief lasted. At the same time we could have checked the patient for the side effects we feared, such as the deterioration of other spinal disks as a result of the increased weight of the disc caused by the cement, and its effect on nearby disks.
What research has been funded to study the effect of the injection of cement as a pain reliever? An experimental study of patients in which there are two groups, one of which receives the cement injection and the other of which receives a placebo injection.
Why are the patients refusing to join the study? Consider the AIDS patients as we began to find drugs and procedures that helped. Intense pain prompts the same demand for whatever may help?
How did the prestige of the doctors affect the patients in the article? If you think of the doctor as prestigious and omniscient, and science as being able to do anything, then the doctor's willingness to use the drug gives the patient greater expectations of relief than if the drug were offered at a local store-front free clinic.
- Personal experience as data. Personal experience is valid data. That's the data on which we make most of our decisions. But you can't extrapolate from personal data to draw conclusions about everybody. Example I used: For me, poverty and parents who loved me was a good experience. I saw a middle class family that did not experience poverty but also had lots less love. In the specific case, I preferred poverty and love to middle class with less love. That is a valid conclusion for those two cases. But I cannot extrapolate that to say that poverty is better than middle class experience.
- Measurement of the variable education as interval - finishing the 8th grade is qualitatively different from finishing the first year of high school. Graduating from high school is qualitatively different from starting college. Some community college is qualitatively different from some four-year college. So sociologically, one year of education may not be an interval measure because the units of measure, one year, are not really comparable.