Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Art as Reflection of Culture
Art has been produced by human beings throughout his existence. Even before recorded history one can find examples of art. In learning about the people who created them, art has been a very important factor, because art is not only about creating a thing of beauty. Oftentimes, art serves a dual purpose, which is to be beautiful and useful at the same time. As such, the idea of context can be quite useful in art. Context is the circumstances by which a work of art is created, which helps in fully understanding it. In essence, to fully understand why a work of art is the way it is one must understand the culture of the people who created it. Likewise, the work of art also informs us of the culture of the people who created it.
One of the oldest works of art that is still in existence is the Hall of Bulls in Lascaux, France. It is a depiction of not only bulls or aurochs but of wooly mammoths, reindeers, rhinos, and horses (Lazzari and Schleiser, 2011). An observer of the cave painting in the present would have a hard time understanding why these animals are the topic, but for the people who created them, the animals have a very strong significance. They were most likely hunter-gatherers who saw these animals not for their beauty, grace, or strength but a source of nourishment. So they are afforded with respect and adoration because they provide nourishment but are not readily available. There is somewhat a struggle to hunt and kill them so they afford them with respect. It is not so much man was capturing a prey but of the animal letting itself be captured so it becomes a way for man to be nourished. This is represented by the cave paintings that depict animals as noble even serene creatures.
The difference now is that when animals like these are depicted in art, they are not often depicted as food, or one viewing it would not have food as the first thing in mind. Even in the concept of food as animals, modern man does not really think that meat comes from a whole animal, only in small packages from the grocery store. So in order to get the context we must understand that these animals are revered and immortalized in the cave painting because they were a means for survival.
Another example of context showing being an essential part of a work of art is in the Palm Wine Calabash from Cameroon. The calabash or gourd is shown as highly decorated and stylized with beads, cloth, and cowry shells (Lazzari and Schleiser, 2011). In order to understand the work of art, one must again look into the context of the culture of the people who created it. Palm wine is a very important beverage for the people of this area, and is used for socialization. As such it is symbolizes unity, which is a very important factor considering the circumstances that they have to endure in Africa where nature does not provide abundant food. So working and living as a community is important, this is enhanced by the drinking of palm wine as a group.
The cowry shells that were used are very important because at one time or another it was a form of currency in Africa. The use of it in decorating the palm wine calabash is to signify that the owner of that object might have been a very important person. Or that the palm wine is worth is worth as much as the shells that it is adorned with. Another factor is that the palm wine that might have been stored there is of high quality, which means it adds importance to the gourd itself. Another way of looking at it would be to make the connection that palm wine is associated with high importance. Much like expensive wines and alcoholic drinks of our time that are sold in highly decorated bottles and boxes.
On the side of the sacred and religious importance of food, one of the best examples is the Silver Representation of a Maize Plant. The piece is rendered in silver and highly accurate with very fine details (Lazzari and Schleiser, 2011). Maize is a very important food crop for Incan Civilization that made this work of art. It is their staple food as well as being a key ingredient in making chicha a form of beer that is drunk in their many religious festivals. Silver on the other hand is a metal that the Incas prize also because of its religious significance. It is known as the tears of the moon and represents it. Gold by the way represents the Sun. The Incas were known as Sun and Moon worshippers. So rendering maize in silver clues us in on how important the foodstuff is the Inca people. It is a way of immortalizing an important object by rendering it in an equally important metal.
Friday, September 6, 2013
Essay on Careers in Public Health
Public Health is the most thriving and developing field all over the world. As a discipline, it deals with the academic research, teaching and professional practice of preventing disease and promoting general public health. It focused on the organized efforts of the society for the betterment of the health conditions of people. These efforts include organizations, communities and networks of individuals working together to assure a good public health system. These groups of people which often includes the medical care institution, the private industry, the community based non-profit organization and the academy works together and takes the responsibility of assuring the health of the public and the functioning of the whole public health system. Any society, community or country would acknowledge the public health as a top priority. As a top priority, public health system needs different careers to address the different health issues and aspects. It is a very expansive and varied field that requires many different occupations working together to achieve its goals.
Two of the careers in Public Health that I find very interesting is that of the State Epidemiologist and the health educator. State Epidemiologist sounds very appealing to me because I am very interested in science, microbiology and human health. Being a state epidemiologist can allow me to deal with all these fields that I am interested in. I guess I would really find it very the investigative work of tracking diseases in human population very interesting. Being a state epidemiologist can also allow me to interact with a lot of people in various public health professions. On the other hand, being a Health Educator interests me because designing, facilitating and implementing educational programs is somehow an appealing job for me. Aside from my interest in natural sciences, I am equally interested with social sciences. The social science made me understand enabled me to understand the ethnic and cultural issues of different communities. Possessing this kind of understanding can help me a lot in being an effective health educator.
There are different routes in being in the career of epidemiology. The quickest way in having a career as an epidemiologist is to take an undergraduate degree in order to get a master’s degree in public health with a concentration epidemiology. Physicians, nurses and others already in the medical profession can be an epidemiologist if they would earn their masters in public health before or after their graduation. Another way into entering epidemiology is to go through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) an be in the program called the Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS). This 2-year program teach physicians and other health professionals the important epidemiological skills needed for the prevention of diseases and outbreaks. State epidemiologist basically investigates, track and report the information regarding the outbreaks or diseases in a population that is why they are also called disease detectives. They investigate the disease clusters or the investigates the incidence of a disease in a community. They can also examine and cure problems and diseases related to the general physical environment. State epidemiologist usually on the surveillance, investigation, data analysis and evaluation of pandemic diseases and outbreaks. Because of this investigative nature of their job, they are also usually interacting with program managers, medical providers, statisticians and public health policy makers.
On the other hand, being a health educator would require a bachelor degree in health education, health management, sociology, education, community development or other related degrees. After earning these one of these degrees, aspiring health educator can opt to take the (Certified Health Education Specialist) offered by the National Commission of Health Education Credentialing Inc. The main responsibility of a public health educator is to change policies and environments as well as the behaviors and attitudes that affect health. They design workshop and forums, plan and direct programs and work with the community groups to address the wider public health agenda. They also conduct studies related in public health education , evaluate the methods of the program, determine the effectiveness of the program and improve the general health of the communities. They can improve general health by addressing issues such as drug-abuse, pollution, stress management and safety.
If I could talk to any epidemiologist and health educator, I would like to ask them about what make them inspired in their respective careers? Why have they chosen careers in public health and what would it takes to be a great epidemiologist or health educator.
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Essay on Poverty and Crime
Every social problem is related to one another. A particular social problem like those categorized as economic problems can aggravate other problems such as drug abuse, unemployment, dissolution of family structures and crimes. Poverty, an economic problem is seen as a factor that trigger the occurrence of other social problem such as crimes. Poverty has long been considered to be as an important factor in predicting the variation in city crime rates. Communities with greater poverty rates are seen to lack resources for supervision of youth and community organization. Thus these communities are conceived to be more prone to have high crime incidents (Dweyer, 2001). History has proven that crime and poverty have a direct link and that they go hand in hand. We cannot deal with crime without dealing with its root causes like poverty.
The correlation between crime and poverty had been explored in a lot of studies. Most of these studies had shown that poverty is indeed greatly linked with the existence of crime. Areas of high socio-economic disadvantage tend to be more crime prone and a large number of crime offenders are coming from these disadvantaged backgrounds (Serr, 2010). The effects of poverty on crime can be explained in numerous reasons and can be further understood through the various reasons of people living in poverty behind committing crime. One of the main reasons for the criminal behavior of poor people is the way of survival. People living in poverty do not have enough and can barely sustain their basic needs and most of the times they commit crimes such as burglary or robbery as ways wherein they can gain money in order to sustain these needs. Since they have fewer options in life, sometimes committing crime is their only option to survive. It also offers a way wherein they can attain other material goods that they cannot obtain in legitimate ways.
Poverty also means having less resources towards achieving better education which in return can cause the poor youth to have less access towards quality schools, decent jobs and good role models. These out of school youths can have a higher probability of associating with gangs and committing various crimes later on (Ludwig, Duncan & Hirschfield, 1999).
Another reason why people living in poverty commit crime is that it has become a norm in their community or neighborhood to take the law in their own hands. Usually these high poverty stricken areas have less access towards local law enforcements. These people then began to view law enforcement as not being helpful. They believe that as the local authorities failed to help and protect them, they themselves have to take the law in their own hands and commit retaliatory crimes. The responses of the law enforcers are also slower in these kind of neighborhoods so most of the time, one of the poor people’s responses is to commit crime thinking of it as a form of self-help.
People living in poverty do not also want to stay in poor so in order to obtain a higher level of socio-economic status, they opt to committing crime. Crimes such as drug selling can lead to obtaining a fairly large amount of money. People dealing with this kind of crime sees that the money that they can obtain through these illegal acts can help them establish their economic status. Some would use the money that they obtain through drug selling into building a legal business. Once they have established heir legal business, they no longer need to commit crime as they now achieved a higher social position and economic status.
The basic assumption through the correlation of crime and poverty lies on the fact that impoverished people oftentimes commit crime because it is a way wherein their basic needs such as food, housing and employment can be met. Crime is seen as the only option of the impoverished people to sustain their life and to fulfil their other aspirations.
Dweyer, D. (2001). Angles on Criminal Psychology. United Kingdom: Nelson Thornes
Ludwig, J., Duncan G. & Hirschfield,P. (1999). Urban Poverty and Juvenile Crime: Evidence From a Randomized Housing-Mobility Experiment. Retrieved on August 31, 2013 from https://www.earlyadolescence.org/files/IOM/LUDWIGediforweb2-7-2000.pdf
Serr, C. (2006). Thinking About Poverty. Australia:The Federation Press
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“Adoption, all in all, has served women, children and society well” – Jean Garton, 1999
Adoption is defined as a process wherein the children are brought together with the adults who are not their biological parents in order to form a family. Adoption has long been practiced in the history usually through informal processes. Today, adoptions in the United States have transformed into a legal process in order to assure the protection of the welfare of the children once their birth parents are gone or are unable to care for them . Adoption has been an important art of United States’ social sphere. According to the survey conducted by Donaldson Institute in 1997, six out of ten Americans have a personal experience with adoption, meaning that they, a close friend, a family member placed a child for adoption or adopted a child (Dudley, 2004). As adoption is now embedded in American life, it also raises a lot of issues and concerns that are now matters of public debates. Different viewpoints on the nature of adoption and its effects, whether they are beneficial or disadvantageous are continuously being debated upon.
Essay on Hate Crimes
The society is composed of diverse people who interact with each other every day. People belongs to different culture, religious affiliation, political affiliation, race, ethnic groups and other group memberships. People are also differentiated though age, sex, gender, socio- economic backgrounds, languages, opinions, etc. As we roam around the street, observe different commuters in a bus or a train and walk around the neighborhood, we would definitely notice that people are very different in many ways. Diversity in the society is integral since it integrates different ideas and beliefs which can inspire people to learn from different viewpoints and develop accepting attitudes toward differentiation. Despite these advantages, the growing diversity in our population also increases the violence and the crime committed because of the prejudices and discrimination toward members of a particular social group. Crimes committed because of discrimination and prejudices through minorities or a particular social group are called Hate Crimes.
Hate crimes have various definitions in literature. Just as much as the concept of crime in general, it is very difficult to construct an exhaustive definition of hate crime. According to the American Psychological Association, hate crime is any felony or crime that manifests based on “race, color, religion, or national origin. Hate crimes can be understood as a crime fueled by the negative attitudes and opinions toward a particular group of persons. It can involve a specific aspect of a victim’s identity like his ethnicity, race, religion and gender. Hate crimes are more than just biases or prejudices because they involve dangerous actions such as physical assault, shooting, cross burnings etc. Wolfe and Copeland (1994) on the other hand defined the phenomenon of hate crime as violence directed towards group people who are seen by the majority society as not valuable, who suffer discrimination in other areas and who do not have full access to political, economic and social justice. Based on this definition given by Wolfe and Copeland, Perry (2001) suggested that hate crimes include violence and intimidation which are directed towards stigmatized and marginalized groups. It is a mechanism of power and oppression that reaffirms the existing hierarchies in a particular social order.
Hate crimes have two important elements that are widely accepted: first, it includes actions that are already defined as illegal in the state or federal statutes. Second, it requires that a religious, ethnic racial or some other identified difference between the victim and the perpetrator play a big part in the criminal act (Levin & McDevitt, 2008). Hate crimes are often caused by confusion, ignorance and fear of the differences. The feeling of superiority of the majority over the minorities are also a reason behind the perpetration of hate crimes. Perpetrators of hate crimes who are members of organized hate groups believe that society should be pure and the majorities should rule that is why they should get rid of the minorities.
Hate crimes are reported to be most motivated by the racial bias. Minorities like the American- African, Hispanics, Asians are often the targets of hate crime. Hate crimes also target religious minorities like the Arab and the Muslim Americans. Homosexuals and Transgenders are also being victimized by various hate crime groups. Violent hate crime victimization often causes great risks of psychological distress stress, depression, anger) than the victims of other violent crimes. Victims of hate crimes are also at risk of developing mental health problems that involve anxiety, depression and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
In order to stop hate crimes, lawmakers, law enforcement officials, leaders, researchers, educators and policy makers should work together. Federal discrimination laws, regulation and statutes that are full legal protection from biased motivated and discrimination crimes like the The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 (H.R. 1913, 111th Congress) and The Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act (S. 909, 111th Congress) should be supported. Researches that asses the incidence, prevalences, predictors and outcomes of hate crimes and also the effects of hate crimes on the victims should be encouraged and supported.
Levin, J., & McDevitt, J. (2002). Hate crimes revisited: America’s war against those who are
different. Boulder, CO: Westview.
Perry, B. (2001) In the name of hate: Understanding hate crimes. New York: Routledge
Wolfe, L. & Copeland, L. (1994) Violence against women as bias-motivated hate crime:
defining the issues in the USA’, in M. Davies (ed.). Women and Violence. London: Zed
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Essay on Administrator Challenges in the Field of Criminal Justice
The criminal justice system of the United States is an institution that is directed upon acting and enforcing the criminal laws, thus it is a system that ensure social control, mitigate the crime and sanction the violators of the law. One of the important components of the criminal justice system is the Criminal Justice Administration. Criminal Justice administration focuses on the enforcement of policies and procedure, managing administrative decision making and directing the overall day- to- day operations of the system. Aside from setting the work flow policies, enforcing procedures and polices and directing everyday operations, the Criminal Justice Administrator also oversees the budget of the agency and the policies requires in the different programs of the system. He is also in charge of supervising the agency staff including the investigators, secretaries, lawyers, judicial clerks ad enforcing officer. He is also in charge with the reviewing and approving the reports made by the staff and making sure that all the information they submit are accurate and follow the standard procedures (Peak, 2010). With all these responsibilities at hand, the criminal justice administrators equally face a lot of challenges everyday just to ensure that the whole system is functioning.
One of the issues that the Criminal Justice Administrators need to address is the challenge of implementing a human service model of employee supervision. One of the vital roles of the criminal justice administrators is to supervise the agency staff. Due to the conflicting goals, competing interests and fiscal /organizational constraints, it is often difficult for the criminal justice administrators supervise all the staff efficiency (Goldstein, 2010). The components of the criminal justice system are composed of various goals and functions that sometimes conflict with each other. It is then the criminal justice administrators challenge to reorganize the components of the criminal justice system in order to reduce the conflicts. Also, as an organization, the criminal justice is composed of diverse people. The organizational diversity especially among the employees is often seen as a contributing factor in the overall conflict within the system. These organizational diversity also forces the administrators to think of and develop innovative ways in evaluating and supervising the employees.
Another pressing challenge that the criminal justice administration is continuously facing is that of the large volumes of caseloads. Due to the increasing cases filed every day and with little number of staff to act on them, the caseloads continue to pile up. There are a lot of delayed hearings in the court due to the piling up cases (Stojkovic,Kalinich & Kolfas, 2011). Every day there are more than hundreds of new cases making it difficult for the system especially the court to accommodate all. It is the justice administrators challenge to enforce more efficient procedures in the operation for quicker responses on filed cases. Also, it is a challenge for the administrators to design a new training for the employees and staff that will gear towards greater efficiency. With more efficient procedures and trained employees, the piling up of caseloads can be lessened significantly.
Lastly, just like any other organization and system the law enforcement faces issues regarding the limited budget for their operations. Chief justice administrators administer and manage the budget allocated or the whole system. Making the ends meet or assuring that the budget allocated for the system are used in ways that the programs of the system are still carried out are everyday challenges for the chief justice administrators. Often, they face budget cuts that would then trigger to reduction on staff, programs, etc. With such a tight budget, the administrators need to make sure that everything especially in the operations is still being carried out without compromising the quality of services that they produce.Administrators need to develop budget policies and allocation that can still sustain everyday operations.
Goldstein, A. (2010). Selected Problems in the Administration of Criminal Justice. Retrieved September 3, 2013, from http://digitalcommons.law.ggu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1068&context=callaw
Peak, K. (2010). Justice Administration: Police, Courts, and Corrections Management. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
Stojkovic, S., Kalinich, D., & Klofas, J. (2011). Criminal Justice Organizations: Administration and Management. United Kingdom: Cengage Learning.
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