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SOPA 1047 Analysing Case Study Using Social Constructionism Assessment Answer

Public Health Theory and Policy SOPA 1047

Assessment Criteria: Essay on a Case study applying a theoretical perspective (1,500 words- weighting = 60%) 

• Demonstrate ability to clearly identify and define a comprehensive case study and how and why it is important in global public health; 

• Demonstrate skill and ability to justify and apply a theoretical framework to the case study/research; (social constructionism, post modernism, critical public health theory, Feminism and Foucault’s theory of biopower)

 • Demonstrate the capacity to articulate in detail how the theoretical framework and case study/research link and the wider implications for global public health policy and strategies; 

• Demonstrate ability to communicate the analyses and results clearly at Level Seven and which clearly articulates ability to link case studies and research to theories in global public health.


Case study applying theoretical perspective


           The approach of case study is articulated in multiple sources with various expressions, including case-work, research-method, strategy process and integration of theoretical approach.  By employing the approach of the case study; it is maintained that in the form of cause and effect relationships the issues faced in real life on a certain issue are discussed and addressed (Harrison et al., 2017). This assessment aims at analysing the case study analyses using social constructionism. The chosen case study is undertaken by Marx et al. (2018) on the issue of gender invisibility and lacks knowledge of gendered power relations among non-governmental agencies which result in gender inequalities and impacts the advocacy of rights. Further, this assessment explains that social constructionism helps to study interpretations produced by categorising and describing reality, people's associations, and cultural experiences (Miller & Holstein, 2017). Gender is based on social and historical practises rather than biological processes, comparable to other characteristics. This article, discussed through the lenses of the writers, demonstrates that society building plays an important role in understanding gender and public health.

Case study

           The health inequalities caused by powerlessness due to gender disparities indeed causes varied public health issues. World health organization states that gender is a socially constructed role that shapes further activities, attitudes and behaviours (WHO, 2020). The case study by Marx et al. (2018) contends that women have poor health outcomes attributable to the socially construed unequal roles and rights for women in health sectors and by non-governmental organizations. Marx et al. (2018) state that gender and power are the two prominent variables of health and health rights and there is need for understating the relation between power and health rights to attain equality for women.  

           Marx et al. (2018) have used a “theory generated qualitative methodology” integrating semi-structured interviews. The complex issue is of gender and power. The study focused on individuals identified through the LN records included with informed consent. 10 in-depth interviews were carried out with purposively selected individuals considering the roles in leadership positions, socioeconomic status, employment and educational status.  The outcomes have been generated through a thematic analysis.   

          Social construction has resulted in a male-dominated world that does not gives equal health rights to women (Oganwu & Onoyona, 2018). This causes varied disparities in health outcomes and poor reproductive health for women. Also, domestic violence and dominant behaviour towards lead to adverse health outcomes. Signorelli et al. (2018) state that domestic abuse is a public health issue to a considerable extent. Physical and mental illness are considerably more prominent in persons who have become victims of extreme abuse (Magruder et al., 2017). In South Africa itself, women are under poor health conditions due to lack of leadership roles in non-governmental organizations and lack of power among women to attain health rights (Marx et al., 2018). Also, this is giving rise to the number of public health issues including domestic violence, an increase of HIV prevalence among females and low reproductive health outcomes.   

Theoretical framework

            Social constructionism, by definition, is a philosophy of understanding the theory of learning and sociology that examines the development of the universe's mutually created values, which form the basis for mutual presumptions about reality (Ibarra & Adorjan, 2018). The definition centres on the notion that by creating models of the social environment and reifying and communicating the structures by language, humans affirm their perceptions. Moreover, a psychological term that suggests that a considerable amount of human life happens as it does regardless of social and interpersonal forces could be perceived by social constructionism (Miller, 2017). All in all, social constructionism means questioning the common-sense conception of self and life by individuals. As such, based on the place and activities preceding the time frame in which they exist, social structures may be divergent. 

          In addition, social constructionism argues that traits generally viewed as only biological and eternal, including gender and race, are the by-products of social and historical contexts formed by human perception and interpretation. In this regard, social constructionism stresses the forms in which cultural elements, like "men," "women," "black," "white," are constructs that are replicated, developed, and altered by cultural and structural historical advances (Miller, 2017). Gender, such as race and social status, may be used to categorise persons culturally and even contribute to bias and discrimination. Bias is a set of attitudes against members of a group who are more likely to be unfavourable. Discrimination is apparent derogatory conduct against a person depending on his or her gender. The word sexism describes this activity where there is unequal treatment of persons depending on their gender (Taylor et al., 2018).

The link between the case study and social construction of gender (social constructionism)

            The theory indicates that the roles based on gender are created by the historical and cultural contexts (Wandschneider et al., 2020). So as the case study shows that due to the social construct of male-dominant roles females are facing prevalent health issues. Main aspects of the LN are a community - based participatory work, capacity development on health rights, and improving the Civil Society Organization on Health Rights by networking. Although the LN is seeking to create a collective approach to the conceptualization of health rights using the various mechanisms adopted by member groups, its initiatives, training or activism have not yet been explicitly centred on gender or gender relations of influence (Marx et al., 2018). 

          The male members offer a different view of gendered power relations than the female members, reflecting on gender as it applies to the responsibilities and participation in the community of males and females (Wandschneider et al., 2020). As the source of gendered ties of power, they identified inconsistent recognition and" female oppression.  The theory depicts the same construct of stereotype towards gender (women) and understating them as oppressed (Khan, 2019). As per the theory, another way of describing discrimination is gender inequality, and this is synonymous with oppression and stereotyped attitudes against women in particular. Stereotypes are assumptions made about members of certain groups' traits, qualities, and attitudes, and most of them are sociocultural based (Khan, 2019). Stereotypical views and attitudes about women are still apparent in South Africa and other western societies, although they have been altered and strengthened (Bates et al., 2019).

            The theory of the social construct of gender formation sees culture as the basis for gender identity, not biological distinctions. There are several different mechanisms by which culture passes down the ideals associated with becoming a boy or a girl. For example, this may be seen from the time an infant arrives into the universe and from the way that a "blue" or "pink" reality needs to be faced (Yalcinkaya & Adams, 2020). Similarly, the results of the case study show that men believe that females are not well represented in the national government or non-governmental agencies; thus, according to a male delegate, men have the "power" to rule for women and establish policies that fit their purposes better. Male participants agreed that women should be motivated by social structures; nevertheless, their perception of women's empowerment was usually correlated with the women's work prospects in male-dominated industries (Marx et al., 2018).

           These issues of the social construct of gender create public health issues.  Among this domestic violence are the major issues faced by women. Further, women who suffer domestic violence have poor reproductive health also due to negligence. Social conditions influence their understanding of health issues and how to prevent and address them, such as the extent to which women are excluded from education or participation in society (Kira et al., 2020). Lack of education prevents them from understanding the meaning of prevention of diseases and lack of governmental powers or women in health rights agencies leads to insufficiency of policies that might be favourable for them thus resulting in higher number health issues for women (Malik et al., 2020)

           "Gorman's Gender Norms, Same-Gender Biases, and Corporate Variability in the Recruiting of Women: Research from law firms addresses the influence of gender stereotypes on managing and recruiting staff; it is reported that gender stereotypes change the impressions of job applicants by decision-makers and that" individuals are more likely to recognise and recognize facts supporting an apparent stereotype (Clarke, 2020). This places women at a major disadvantage who are seeking high-level leadership roles because these positions are synonymous with stereotypically masculine characteristics. Another concern that structurally oppresses women and contributes to worse performance within the workplace is the provision of child care (Clarke, 2020).


           From the above assessment, it can be concluded that the theory of social construct and the selected case study have major links in common. The notion of lack of gendered power in health rights is creating public health issues. This is mainly attributable to stereotypes for women, discrimination, social constructs of roles of men and women, the social construct of the role of masculinity in power roles and constructs of culturally and historically shaped behaviours towards women. These all factors are evident in the case study as well as s per the selected theory.  

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