Obesity as a Social Issue
Individual problems such as addictions, illnesses and mental depression stalk us throughout our lives, but there is more to addictions, illnesses and mental depression than meets the eye. A good example of this theory is obesity. Obesity in Australia is turning into a problem and as the rates of obesity increase each year, the larger the problem expands. According to sociologist, C. Mills, problems can be divided into either troubles or issues and more often than not, a problem which is seen as a person trouble, when looked at globally, is in fact a social issue. This idea is referred to by C.Mills as the sociological imagination.
The sociological imagination according to C. Wright Mills is an idea which gives an individual the ability to understand the connection between a problem and the history of that problem (Mills, 2000).He states that the sociological imagination is “A quality of mind that will help use information and to develop reason in order to achieve lucid summations of what is going on in the world and of what may be happening within themselves” Mills (2000:5). The distinct different between the two terms lies upon the ideology that troubles are problems which are personal and directly affect an individual and their milieu (Mills, 2000)rather than issues which are “to do with matters that transcend these local environments of the individual and the range of his inner life “. Furthermore, the sociological imagination in a nutshell is a way of thinking which links the events that occur in people’s everyday lives to more than their individual surroundings and individual effects.
Mills also further explains to say that all morals and codes of ethics practiced in a society exist as according to the time and place, or (the context). The problem arises and transforms into an issue when there is a threat to the morals of a society (Mills 2000). In the example of Obesity, an individual’s obesity can be wrongly viewed as their own personal trouble but when viewed at a broader spectrum, it is noted that there is a variety of social issues involved which transforms it from a personal trouble to a social phenomenon. In addition to Mills’ ideas, there has been a significant amount of research which suggests obesity is a social phenomenon.
Louise Townend in her research concerning the moralizing of obesity addresses the issue across a wide spectrum of categories such as economic, health and social policy. She enumerates the different social contexts of the obesity debate and begins by stating that obesity is no longer a trouble but an epidemic which is now a “significant issue for health and social policy, with major ramifications for general economic productivity across the globe”. (Townend) 2009: 3. She points out obesity is often associated with stigma such as laziness, dirtiness, illness and poverty (Townend, 2009). This connects the problem of obesity with the history of poverty and creates the question of...