Portfolio – Argument Essay

Appendix F:ESSAY QUESTIONS AND SOURCE TEXTS for

Assessment Item 1: Portfolio – Argument Essay

 

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QUESTION 1: Open Borders in the EU and the UK

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Question 1

 

In 2019, more than 120,000 economic migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers entered the European Union (EU)without visas or other legal documents. Over 80% of these irregular migrants arrived in the EU by sea with many landing in Greece, Bulgaria, or Croatia. Crossing by sea can be extremely dangerous; according to the International Organization for Migration, 1,246 irregular migrants are thought to have died while trying to reach Europe in this way in 2019.

In view of this situation, the sociologist and socialist writer Luke Martell has argued that a policy of open borders allowing the free movement of people from one country to another is a policy that is based on “treating all people equally morally” as well as offering “economic equality” since “it gives people the chance to move from places where they have less economic chances, or even poverty, to those  where they have more” (Martell, 2014, p. 42).

EU member states and the United Kingdom must agree to an open borders policy. Discuss.

 

Notes and advice on answering Q1

The instruction word is ​Discuss​. Therefore you must consider the arguments and evidence for two alternative positions on this question.

However, note that the background to this question only presents ​one​ position on this issue. To answer this question successfully, you will therefore have to identify an alternative position. Think carefully about which sources for this question support an alternative point of view.

You should also notice how Luke Martell is described in the background to the question: ​the sociologist and socialist writer Luke Martell​. ​Consider how this information might influence his position on the issue.

This question is also specifically about the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK). Therefore, if you choose to refer to other countries (e.g. the United States of America, China, Japan), you must show very clearly how this is relevant to the situation in the EU and the UK.

Sources for Q1

There are ​four sources​ for this question. The total number of words in all these sources is ​1,939​. You will be expected to provide APA 7th referencing for each source in your References at the end of the essay.

 

Source 1A [Edited and adapted from Martell, 2014]

 

Name(s) of author/

editor

 

Luke ​Martell
Information about author/

editor

 

Martell​ is the author.

Use ​he/his/him​ pronouns.

Title

 

Why the UK should have open borders
Volume and issue number (for academic journals only)

 

Volume 96

 

(No issue number)

 

Type of publication

 

Academic Journal
Title of publication

 

Hard Times
Date of publication

 

2014
Page number(s)

 

42-45
Text (659 words)
 

Page 42

 

Opposing views on migration

 

Being able to move is a freedom, and humans have always migrated. People travel to escape war, repression, environmental disaster and economic hardship. They move to reunite with family, find betterlife chances, study, and for tourism and life experience. But

 

in recent decades, more and more states have been taking steps to slow down or even block the ability to move across national borders. The dominant arguments in favour of this restriction on the freedom of movement are that international migration is a mass phenomenon and, therefore, a threat.

 

Many are split on the issue both within the political left and within the political right. On the one hand, social democrats have traditionally used nation states as instruments to achieve their goals, and they see the working classes of those nations as their main supporters. As a consequence, workers migrating from other countries are viewed as a threat. Marxists, on the other hand, see class as more important than national identity, and believe that workers of all countries are united globally by common class interests. Marxists therefore argue for all restrictions on the freedom of movement across national borders to be lifted.

 

Similar rifts can also be seen on the right, between conservative nationalists, for whom immigration is a threat to national community and identity, and liberals who see free movement as an issue of liberty and/or necessary for successful business. This therefore sees a split between those who see rights as depending on national states and others who regard rights as global and applying to individuals regardless of nation.

 

Page 43

 

Migration myths

 

Migration numbers have risen, but not because of population growth. The proportion of international migrants globally has in fact fallen since the 19th century, from a high of about 10% to the current level of just 3.2% (OECD, 2013). The reason for the lower rate in modern times is simply the global trend of tightening controls on immigration.

 

However, despite this, most people think theproportion is several times higher. In a 2011 survey, British respondents estimated a foreign-born UK population of, on average, 31.8% when in fact data show that just 11.3% of the population was actually foreign-born (Transatlantic Trends, 2011). Furthemore, while many believe that migration across borders is a case of poor people fleeing to the rich world, data show that up to 22% of all migrants globally are in fact moving from one developed country to another such as from Australia to the UK, or from the UK to Germany, or from Germany to Singapore (IOM, 2013).

 

Another argument for closing borders concerns overcrowding. Yet there is plenty of space in developed nations. In the UK, for instance, just 6% of the land is urban and 50% is used for agriculture. This leaves 44% of unused wood and grassland some of which could be developed into more urban areas to accommodate a larger population. In the USA, the current global population could fit into the state of Texas alone if it had the same population density as that of New York City (Sharro, 2011).

 

Page 44

 

Open borders in principle

 

Free movement is an issue of humanism and moralequality. Movement isa kind of self determination, but border restrictions constrain this. The concept of open borders is based on treating all people equally morally, so we do not draw the line at national boundaries in terms of obligations to others, and so that we see ourselves as part of a global as much as a national community. Rights and obligations should belong to a wider group of people than just the members of one nation. Free movement is also about economic equality as it gives people the chance to move from places where they have fewer economic chances, or even where they live below the poverty line, to those where they have more, or where they can finally escape poverty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source 1B [Edited and adapted from Migration Watch UK, 2019]

 

Name(s) of author/

editor

 

Migration Watch UK
Information about author/

editor

 

Author and website name

Use ​it/its/it​ pronouns.

 

Title

 

What is the problem?
Type of publication

 

Website
Title of publication

 

Migration Watch UK: The voice of 30 million
Date of publication

 

11 July 2019
URL (for online sources only)

 

https://www.migrationwatchuk.org/what-is-the-problem
Text (454 words)
What is the problem?

Immigration is a natural part of an open economy and society. The problem for the UK is that the current level of immigration is much too high. There needs to be a significant reduction in the level of international net migration (net migration is the number of immigrants entering the UK minus the number emigrants leaving).

 

Opponents of tighter immigration control often try to present the debate as being either ‘for’ or ‘against’ migration. That is quite wrong. The issue is with its scale – immigration to the UK over the past 20 years has been unprecedented in British history. In 1997, net migration was just 47,000 per year. In the years that followed it rose to well over 200,000 and reached 320,000 in 2005. Between 1997 and 2010, total net migration an extra 3.6 million foreign migrants arrived, while one million British citizens emigrated abroad.

 

According to the most recent estimates, net migration stood at just over 250,000 in the year 2018. Although EU net migration has fallen substantially in recent years, non-EU net migration remains at historically high levels (over 230,000 per year).

 

The UK (and especially England) is already densely populated by international standards. At 430 people per square kilometre, England is nearly twice as crowded as Germany (227 people per sq/km) and more than three times as crowded as France (117 people per sq/km). In 2016, nearly three-quarters of people agreed that Britain was already crowded

(YouGov, May 2016). In 2018, 64% of the public said the level of projected population growth was too high (YouGov, July 2018).

 

To cope with this population increase, huge amounts will have to be spent on the expansion of school places, roads, rail, health and other infrastructure (read more about the impact of immigration on public services and infrastructure). Well over half of the public (58%) think immigration already places a large amount of pressure on public services (Ipsos MORI, 2017).

 

Many people are also concerned about the way in which immigration is leading to rapid cultural change. Indeed, some communities have been transformed forever and the local way of life has now been largely displaced.

 

Many also believe that the ongoing process of mass immigration is having a harmful impact on fundamental British values such as freedom of expression and freedom of religion, and equality of opportunity for women and those in the LGBT community.

 

The key question is therefore not should we be for or against migration, but who and how many people are good for our economy and society. Immigration policy, like any other policy, needs to be managed in the best interests of the UK and all its citizens.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source 1C [Edited and adapted from Dancygier, 2010]

 

Name(s) of author/

editor

 

Rafaela M. ​Dancygier
Information about author/

editor

 

Dancygier​ is the author.

Use s​he/her/her​ pronouns.

Type of publication

 

Book
Title of publication

 

Immigration and Conflict in Europe
Date of publication

 

2010
Publisher

 

Cambridge University Press
Text (451 words)
 

Page 7

 

The Argument in Brief 

 

This book develops a theory to explain why, where, and when conflicts occur between immigrants and natives (immigrant–native conflict) and between immigrants and the state (immigrant–state conflict). I argue that the interaction of two variables – economic scarcity and immigrant electoral power – accounts for the incidence of both immigrant–native and immigrant–state conflict. Both kinds of conflict only occur in the context of local economic scarcity, when immigrants and natives compete for goods whose supply is relatively fixed in the short term. Differences in immigrants’ electoral power in turn lead to variation in the type of conflict we observe. When immigrants can support their claims for scarce economic goods with votes, local politicians will allocate these resources to this new group of voters. Natives are in turn likely to protest such allocation of resources by turning against immigrants, producing immigrant– native conflict.

 

Conversely, in the absence of political influence, immigrants are left with few resources during times of economic shortage. This state of affairs may leave natives content, reducing the likelihood of immigrant– native conflict. However, at the same time it is also more likely to cause immigrants to engage in conflict with the state or state actors (e.g. the police), producing immigrant– state conflict. Immigrants who do not possess local political

power and are therefore not able to support their claims for scarce economic goods with votes may turn to protests and violence against the state in the form of property damage and injury in order to gain influence and, hopefully, access to scarce resources.

 

Finally, I maintain that both types of conflict are more likely to occur when the state (rather than the market) is in charge of allocating scarce goods; state actors are more sensitive than market actors to the costs that result from anti-immigrant (and obviously antistate) protests

and violence.

Page 8

 

The immigration policies of local and national governments and other organisations such as the European Union may affect the degree of economic scarcity in the locations in which immigrants tend to move. While migrants generally tend to navigate toward areas where employment is high, states may vary, for example, in the extent to which they match the recruitment of foreign labor with the supply of local infrastructure, such as housing or schools. This may lead to significant variation in local economic scarcity across countries. When governments encourage (or tolerate) immigration but do not take steps to help communities to manage the inflow of migrants, differences in economic conditions across cities and towns within countries will play a crucial role in the appearance of immigrant–native or immigrant–state conflict. This situation characterizes postwar migration from Britain’s former colonies to the mother country.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source 1D [Edited and adapted from Aitken & Manzoni, 2020]

 

Name(s) of author/

editor

 

Andrew ​Aitken

 

Chiara ​Manzoni

 

Information about author/

editor

 

Aitken and Mazoni are the authors.

Use ​they/their/them​ pronouns.

 

Title

 

Why Covid-19 should change the conversation on migrant workers

 

Type of publication

 

Magazine (online version)
Title of publication

 

New Statesman
Date of publication

 

18 May 2020
URL (for online sources only)

 

https://www.newstatesman.com/spotlight/coronavirus/20 20/05/why-covid-19-should-change-conversation-migrantworkers

 

Text (375 words)
Why Covid-19 should change the conversation on migrant workers

Millions of migrants, often in low-paid and insecure work, are keeping the UK fed during the pandemic.

 

In light of the coronavirus lockdown, the idea of “key workers” – all those who provide a vital, essential service – has gained traction among both the public and politicians. Crucial tasks are performed by workers who are both typically defined as “high skilled” as well as so-called “low skilled” workers. Millions are migrants: 42% of workers in food processing are foreign-born (of whom 64% are from EU countries), as are 30% of the food and beverage service sector (of whom 42% are from the EU), according to figures from the 2019 Labour Force Survey.

 

As the crisis has shown, the skills of these workers are critically important. And yet, as recently as February the government has announced post-Brexit immigration plans aimed at preventing “low-skilled” workers from coming to the UK.

 

Data from the Labour Force Survey shows that in 2019 about 9% of workers in agriculture were long-term immigrants, a relatively low proportion compared to many other sectors. About four-fifths of those migrants were from the EU. The statistics, however, miss the considerable increase in the number of temporary workers who come to the UK to pick fruit, usually in the summer and autumn months.

 

The Covid-19 emergency will pass but the government should look for ways that will lead to improved labour and health conditions and better wages for workers if they are to attract people to agricultural jobs. The labour shortages caused by the pandemic are a reminder to the UK government that agriculture and food processing are highly dependent on migrant workers.

 

Arguments that define migrants as either “good” or “bad” need to be challenged. Simply widening the category of “good migrants” by focusing on those working for the National Health Service (NHS) and offering them a visa extension is not enough. What about those who feed us or build our homes? Covid-19 is a challenge for government and society to rethink the value of low-paid work, and an opportunity to create a post-Brexit immigration system that recognises the social value of migrants working in essential parts of society, often in low-paid and insecure work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

QUESTION 2: Defund the police in the UK

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Question 2

 

On 25 May 2020, George Floyd was killed by police officer Derek Chauvin during an arrest in

Minneapolis, USA. Since Floyd was black and Chauvin was white, it was widely believed that Floyd’s death supported claims that both the police and society are racist and especially prejudiced against black Americans.

This belief led to protests, demonstrations and even riots, not only in the United States but also in Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom (UK) and also in a number of European Union countries.

A growing number of activists have argued that the UK government should defund the police.

According to sociologist Adam Elliott-Cooper, this:

 

does not mean an immediate end to policing, but instead investing in social policies that prevent people from experiencing violence and harm in the first place [ … ] The best way to tackle racism in our criminal justice system and create safer communities for everyone is through reducing police power and resources, while bolstering the capacity of our health, social and educational systems

(Elliott-Cooper, 2020)

Discuss to what extent decreasing investment in the police force in order to increase funding for programmes in health, education, and local communities would be an effective way to reduce crime in the UK.

Notes and advice on answering Q2

 

The instruction word is ​Discuss​ ​to what extent​. This means that the alternative positions you must consider are:

 

  • It is true or mostly true that defunding the police would be an effective way to reduce crime.

 

  • It is only partly true or even not true that defunding the police would be an effective way to reduce crime

 

Therefore for this essay you need to compare the effectiveness of policing with the effectiveness of social programmes in reducing crime in the UK.

 

Notice that there is a ‘hidden’ question here about the causes of crime. The first position (the police should be defunded) is based on the belief that crime is mostly caused by poverty and other social problems. The second position (the police should not be defunded) is based on the belief that crime is unlikely to be caused by poverty or other social problems.

 

Note that the information about George Floyd only gives background to the issue and why the issue has become popular. You should therefore not discuss George Floyd in detail, but focus on the situation in the UK. You may, however, refer to the US in your essay.

Sources for Q2

There are ​four sources ​for this question. The total number of words in all these sources is ​2,057​. You will be expected to provide APA 7th referencing for each source in your References at the end of the essay.

 

Source 2A [Edited and adapted from Elliott-Cooper, 2020]

 

Name(s) of author/ editor Adam ​Elliott-Cooper
Information about author/

editor

 

Elliott-Cooper is the author Use ​he/his/him​ pronouns.

 

Title

 

‘Defund the police’ is not nonsense. Here’s what it really means
Type of publication

 

Newspaper (online version)
Title of publication

 

The Guardian
Date of publication

 

2 July 2020
URL (for online sources only)

 

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jul/0 2/britain-defund-the-police-black-lives-matter

 

Text (513 words)
‘Defund the police’ is not nonsense. Here’s what it really means

 

 

The call from the Black Lives Matter movement is a recognition that expanding the UK’s police and prisons has done little for public safety

 

It seems likely that some critics have misunderstood what the proposal to defund the police really means. Campaigns to defund the police and prison system do not argue that every prison should close tomorrow and every police officer be fired – they argue that social problems are better addressed through social responses. It may be hard to understand, but despite the expansion of policing and prisons in the last 30 years, there has been no improvement in public safety.

 

It is worth emphasising just how extensive the existing funding has become. Britain has the second largest policing budget in Europe and has some of the highest levels of public surveillance in the world. Less than a week ago, the government announced it was spending £2.5 billion on four new prisons with capacity for 10,000 people. In 2018-19, the total bill for the police, the law courts, and prisons was £28.8 billion. That figure is more than we spend on primary education, more than we spend on social care, and far more than we spend on the environment. But it is precisely these areas of public life which hold the solutions to the problems that the police and prison system are failing to improve. Defunding the police does not mean an end to policing. Rather, it means investing money in social policies that prevent people crime in the first place.

 

No one should be surprised at Labour Party leader Keir Starmer MP’s response to defunding:  “I worked with police forces across England and Wales bringing thousands of people to court,” Starmer told the BBC, “so my support for the police is very, very strong.” Starmer’s previous role as director of public prosecutions (DPP) took place during one of the most rapid increases in police powers Britain had ever seen.

 

Between 1993 and 2016, the prison population in England and Wales almost doubled. We have the largest prison population in western Europe. Despite reforms, training and inquiries into police racism, black Britons make up 12% of adult prisoners and more than 20% of children in custody – compared to just 3% of the general population. It has also reported that anti-gang policing targets black young people with little or no connection to violent crime. But Black Lives Matter protesters do not demand police defunding because of racism alone: it is a demand that seeks effective improvements in public safety for all, beginning with those who need it most.

 

There are innumerable investments in our communities that should be made before we continue to throw good money after bad. The best way to tackle racism in our criminal justice system and create safer communities for everyone is through reducing police power and resources, while developing and improving our health, social and educational systems.

Keir Starmer’s approach will only add more harm to our society, rather than resolving it.

 

 

Source 2B [Edited and adapted from Awan et al., 2019]

 

Name(s) of author/

editor

 

Imran ​Awan

Michael ​Brookes

Monique ​Powell

Sarah ​Stanwell

 

Information about author/

editor

 

Awan et al.  are the authors

Use ​they/their/them​ pronouns.

Title

 

Understanding the public perception and satisfaction of a UK police constabulary
Volume and issue number (for academic journals only)

 

Volume 20

Issue 2

Type of publication

 

Journal
Title of publication

 

Police, Practice and Research
Date of publication

 

2019
Page number(s)

 

172-184
DOI

 

10.1080/15614263.2018.1428098
Text (549 words)
 

Page 172

 

Introduction

 

There are 43 local police forces in England and Wales and 129,584 full-time equivalent police officers (Home Office, 2013). This paper is based on a research study undertaken between June and August 2015 within an area in the UK that draws upon interviews with members of the Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) and non-BME communities.

 

 

The study investigated the levels of satisfaction among BME and non-BME groups based on their experiences with one police force in England. This study was commissioned by a specific police force which had previously discovered levels of dissatisfaction among the community that it serves.

 

The research project involved a mixed methodology, using 112 questionnaires to both BME and non-BME community residents and 31 in-depth interviews with 17 BME and 14 non-BME participants.

Page 173

 

Background

 

Research has shown the over-representation of BME groups in all stages of the criminal justice system (Edgar & Martin, 2004; Fletcher, Providence, Mulixidwa, & Asafo-Agyei, 2002). It has also indicated that race is one of the most consistent factors when predicting participants’ attitudes towards the local police regardless of other factors (Awan, 2012; Beare, 2016; Weitzer & Tuch, 2005).

 

Findings suggest that members of minority groups have lower confidence in the police than whites (Dowler & Sparks, 2008; Gabbidon & Higgins, 2009) and that BME respondents also are more critical of the police than non-BME respondents (Crowl, 2017; Jefferson & Walker, 1993).

 

In particular, the perceived use of ‘Stop and Search’ has had a profound impact on police relationships with BME communities (Renauer & Covelli, 2011). In some areas of the UK, 8478 stop and searches were conducted between January 2015 and June 2015, 2,989 (35.3%) involved BME populations (10.82 per 1000, in comparison to 2.42 per 1000 for non-BME populations).

 

 

************************************* Page 180

 

 

 

                                                                       Discussion               

 

The main objective of this research was to examine the perception and satisfaction of a police force in a part of the UK. Given the small sample size, care needs to be taken when interpreting the findings.

 

There were significant differences in the level of trust ethnic minorities have of the police and there was a significant difference in how helpful ethnic minorities perceived the police to be. Consequently, these findings illustrate that BME communities perceived themselves to be treated less fairly than others. Victimisation experiences such as stop and search tended to reduce the confidence in the police.

 

The nature of the interactions between ethnic minorities and the police highlight some concerns. Individuals reported incidents where the police service in question, displayed aggression, disrespectful, stereotypical attitudes and in one account racism. These interactions often encouraged individuals to avoid contact with the police.

 

Page 181

 

However, Interestingly, our findings also suggest that positive levels of public satisfaction can be achieved when policing is more visible and when local police actively engage with the communities they serve. Consequently, it is important for the police not only to have a presence in the community but to be seen positively interacting with community members. One interviewee highlighted the importance of knowing specific officers that worked in the neighbourhood. For this person, seeing a familiar face would allow a relationship to be built as they would be more inclined to say hello as opposed to walking past. Stanko (2009) argues that direct communication can improve confidence and influence opinion.

Stanko’s suggestions appears to have been true here.

 

 

 

 

 

Source 2C [Edited and adapted from Smith, 2020]

 

Name(s) of author/

editor

 

Michael Denzel ​Smith
Information about author/

editor

 

Smith is the author.

Use ​he/his/him​ pronouns.

 

Title

 

Police Reform is Not Enough: The moral failure of incremental change.

 

Type of publication

 

Magazine (online version)
Title of publication

 

The Atlantic
Date of publication

 

September 2020
Page number(s)

 

14-17
URL (for online sources only)

 

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/09/ police-reform-is-not-enough/614176/
Text (546 words)
 

Page 15

 

Policing is a costly public service. There are undercover officers busting drug dealers. There are uniformed officers in patrol cars sitting on corners all day, all night. Sometimes they are standing next to huge, overpowering floodlights, warning the criminals off the street. Sometimes there are raids, using as many as 10 or 15 squad cars, in which only one or two people are arrested. The police are always on duty.

 

A casual observer may tell you that this is because there is so much crime in this neighborhood. That the people here are lawless, violent. And it is true that there is violence here, just as there is violence in any place where the people lack the means to build a good life.

 

Academics, media professionals, policy makers, presidents—excuse the presence of the police here, and in other neighborhoods like this one, because their position is that in order to stop the violence of the neighborhood you must impose the violence of the state. The police are meant, in this view, to protect the people from themselves, to enforce the dis- cipline their culture lacks.

 

In reality, the police patrol and harass. They enforce traffic laws at their discretion, or to find contributions to city budgets through the imposition of fines. They arrest people who have disobeyed them and then make up the charges later. They dismiss the stories of rape victims; they side with domestic abusers. They break into homes without warrants.

They introduce the potential for violence by responding to calls about loud music – or fake $20 bills. They shoot and kill without fear of punishment. Regardless of the other responsibilities police have assumed, they have consistently inflicted violence on the most marginalized people in society – the poor, the homeless, the disabled.

 

Page 16

 

The police cannot solve poverty, joblessness, mental illness, addiction, or the housing crisis – the actual ‘criminals’ in the lives of the poor. But once it has been decided that it is poor people, not poverty, that is the problem, then what the police can do is make them disappear. The major tools the police carry are handcuffs and guns; they can arrest or kill.

The police can go forth and round up people without a home, then place them in cages. And to grant them this authority, local governments can criminalize sleeping outside, or criminalize begging for money from passers-by.

 

Lawmakers, and those who wish to become them, will continue to send the police to arrest the poor, because they respond to two groups, funders and voters, and the poor are neither of those two things.

 

When asked “What would you do with the police?,” I make a point of saying, “Abolish them,” because that is what I mean. I seek a world without police. When I explain that achieving such a world would require us to enact a number of policies and educational programs aimed at providing for everyone’s basic needs and reducing violence, both interpersonal and state-sanctioned, I’m asked why I do not say that with rather than the much more direct “Abolish the police.” And my answer is that I believe in stating, in clear language, what you want. I want a world in which the police do not exist, and there is no clearer way to say that.

 

 

Source 2D [Edited and adapted from O’Flynn, 2020]

 

Name(s) of author/

editor

 

Patrick ​O’Flynn
Information about author/

editor

 

O’Flynn is the author.

Use ​he/his/him​ pronouns.

Title

 

I admit, I got Cressida Dick wrong
Type of publication

 

Magazine (online)
Title of publication

 

The Spectator
Date of publication

 

20 July 2020
URL (for online sources only)

 

https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/i-admit-it-i-got-cressid a-dick-wrong
Text (449 words)
 

Until very recently, I had been one of those calling for Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Dame Cressida Dick, to be replaced by a more robust police leader. Until, that is, I found myself reading the full transcript of her appearance before a government committee at the House of Commons earlier this month.

 

Now I have come to appreciate that, in reality, she is a capable and intelligent leader seeking to uphold law and order in almost impossible circumstances.

 

If you saw any news reports of Ms Dick’s appearance at the committee, it will probably have been about her apologising to the black British sprinter Bianca Williams for being stopped and searched. This fitted with the media narrative of a police force that routinely targets people because of the colour of their skin.

 

This was certainly the general argument of several committee members when questioning Ms Dick about the apparently disproportionate use of stop and search against black people in the capital.

 

But the Commissioner refused to be intimidated or embarrassed by these accusations.

Instead, she told the committee of ‘horrible disproportionality’ in the crime figures:

 

“Nationally – you probably know the figures – you are four times more likely to be a victim of homicide if you are black and eight time more likely to be a perpetrator …

Knife injuries for under 25s, which we have been reducing for the last two years and into this year, shows enormous disproportionality in the way if affects our young black men as victims and, I am sorry to say, as perpetrators.”

 

Four times more likely to be the victims of homicide, eight times more likely to be a perpetrator and also over-represented in perpetrating other forms of serious crime? That’s clearly a pretty good reason to be also over-represented in stop and search statistics then. As someone who did not know those figures, this all came as a shock to me. It hardly fits with the dominant – indeed apparently the only – narrative of a community unfairly victimised by a racist police force that we see reported by the BBC and other news sources.

 

But Ms Dick was not finished. In her testimony she variously revealed that many affected communities support more stop and search (paraphrasing black mothers, she said: ‘I do not care if my son gets stopped and searched ten times because I want him not to be carrying a knife. I want him not to be at risk.’).

 

She also gave a passionate defence of the determination of her officers to save young lives being lost to gun and knife crime: ‘They want to save lives and, among everybody else, they really want to save black lives

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

QUESTION 3: Social Media use as a health risk

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Question 3

 

In 2017, a report by The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) found that “young people who are  heavy users of social media – spending more than two hours per day on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram – are more likely” to experience “anxiety and depression”  as a result of “[s]eeing friends constantly on holiday or enjoying nights out” because this leads young people to believe that “they are missing out while others enjoy life” (RSPH, 2017, p. 8).

 

Social media presents a serious health risk to young people (ages 15-24) and therefore more  should be done to warn people in this age group of the dangers. Discuss.

Notes and advice on answering Q3

The instruction word is ​Discuss​. Therefore you must consider the arguments and evidence for two alternative positions on this question.

However, note that the background to this question only presents ​one​ position on this issue. To answer this question successfully, you will therefore have to identify an alternative position. Think carefully about which sources for this question support an alternative point of view.

For this question, your essay should first decide whether or not social media is a health risk for young people aged between 15 and 24. You should then also decide whether or not people in this age group should be warned (and also possibly mention how effective that warning may be).

Sources for Q3

There are ​four​ sources for this question. The total number of words in all these sources is ​2,280​. You will be expected to provide APA 7th referencing for each source in your References at the end of the essay.

 

 

 

 

 

Source 3A [Edited and adapted from RSPH, 2017)

 

Name(s) of author/

editor

 

Royal Society for Public Health (​RSPH​)
Information about author/

editor

 

RSPH is the author

Use i​t/its/it​ pronouns.

Type of publication

 

Report
Title of publication

 

Status of Mind: Social media and young people’s mental health

 

Date of publication

 

2017
URL (for online sources only)

 

https://www.rsph.org.uk/our-work/campaigns/status-of-m ind.html

 

Text (565 words)
 

Page 6

 

Background                     

 

Research suggests that young people who are heavy users of social media – spending more than two hours per day on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram – are more likely to report poor mental health, including psychological distress (symptoms of anxiety and depression). Seeing friends constantly on holiday or enjoying nights out can make young people feel like they are missing out while others enjoy life. These feelings can promote a ‘compare and despair’ attitude in young people. Individuals may view heavily photoshopped, edited or staged photographs and videos and compare them to their seemingly mundane lives.

 

The unrealistic expectations set by social media may leave young people with feelings of self-consciousness, low self-esteem and the pursuit of perfectionism which can manifest as anxiety disorders. Use of social media has also been shown to be linked with symptoms of social anxiety.

 

Page 7

 

As well as anxiety disorders, nearly 80,000 children and young people in the UK suffer with severe

depression. Using social media for more than two hours per day has also been independently associated with poor self-rating of mental health, increased levels of psychological distress and suicidal ideation.

 

 

One piece of research has even gone as far as attempting to predict depression in individuals based solely on their social media postings. They were able to predict depression with up to 70% accuracy merely by studying an individual’s posts on Twitter.

 

*************************************

Page 24

 

What policies are we calling for?

 

1. The introduction of a pop-up heavy usage warning on social media

 

The social media platform would track usage and provide the user with a pop-up warning when they go past a set level of usage considered potentially harmful. It is then up to the user to decide if they carry on using the platform or stop, although the warning may provide links to information and advice on social media addiction.

 

The evidence is clear that increased use of social media can be detrimental to some aspects of the health and wellbeing of young people. As with other potentially harmful practices, users should be informed of the potential consequences before making their own decision on their actions. A pop-up warning would give young people access to this information.

 

2. Social media platforms to highlight when photos of people have been digitally manipulated

 

This may be in the form of a small icon at the bottom of someone’s photo that indicates an airbrush or filter has been used that may have significantly altered their appearance.

 

Young people, and in particular young women, are showered with images that attempt to pass off edited photos as the norm. This practice is contributing to a generation of young people with poor body image and body confidence. Fashion brands, celebrities and other advertising organisations may sign up to a voluntary code of practice where the small icon is displayed on their photos to indicate an image may have been digitally enhanced or altered to significantly alter the appearance of people in it.

 

Page 25

 

3. Safe social media use to be taught during PSHE education in school

 

RSPH has long called for the introduction of Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) in schools. A component of this education should feature the safe use of social media including: cyber bullying and where to seek help; social media addiction; body image and social media, and other potential effects of social media on mental health.              

 

Source 3B [Edited and adapted from Roeder, 2020]

 

Name(s) of author/

editor

 

Amy ​Roeder
Information about author/

editor

 

Roeder is the interviewer and author of the article

Use ​she/her/her​ pronouns

 

Roeder interviews Mesfin Awoke ​Bekalu​.

Use ​he/his/him​ pronouns for Bekalu

 

Title of website

 

  Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health  
 
Title of webpage

 

News
Subtitle of webpage

 

  Social media use can be positive for mental health and  
well-being

 

Type of publication

 

Webpage
Date of publication

 

6 January 2020
URL (for online sources only)

 

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/features/social-medi a-positive-mental-health/

 

Text (568 words)
  Social media use can be positive for mental health and  

 

well-being

Mesfin Awoke Bekalu​, research scientist in the Lee Kum Sheung Center for Health and Happiness at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, discusses a new study he co-authored on social media use, mental health and well-being with ​Amy Roeder​. Amy Roeder (AR): ​What is healthy vs. potentially problematic social media use?

Mesfin Awoke Bekalu (MAB):​ ​Our study has brought preliminary evidence to answer this question. Using a nationally representative sample, we assessed the

association of social media with three health-related outcomes: social  

 

  well-being, positive mental health, and self-rated health using two different  
measures: (1) how much it’s routinely used; and (2) how emotionally connected users are to the platforms.

On the one hand, we found that ​routine social media use​—for example, using social media as part of everyday routine and responding to content that others share—is positively associated with all three health outcomes. However, on the other hand, we also found that ​emotional connection to social media​—for example, checking apps out of ‘Fear Of Missing Out’ (FOMO), or feeling disconnected from friends when not logged into social media—is negatively associated with all three outcomes.

In more general terms, these findings suggest that as long as we are careful, routine use may not in itself be a problem. Indeed, it could even be beneficial.

For those with unhealthy social media use, behavioral interventions may help. For example, programs that develop “effortful control” skills—the ability to self-regulate behavior—have been widely shown to be useful in dealing with problematic Internet and social media use.

AR: ​We’re used to hearing that social media use is harmful to mental health and well-being, particularly for young people. Did it surprise you to find that it can have positive effects?

MAB:​ The findings go against what some might expect, which is interesting. We know that having a strong social network is associated with positive mental health and well-being. Routine social media use may be helpful when there are fewer face-to-face social interactions when people’s lives become busier. Social media may provide individuals with a platform that overcomes distance and time, allowing them to connect and reconnect with others and thereby expand and strengthen their social networks and interactions. Indeed, there is some evidence supporting this.

On the other hand, a growing body of research has demonstrated that social

media use is negatively associated with mental health and well-being,
  particularly among young people—for example, it may contribute to increased  
risk of depression and anxiety symptoms.

Our findings suggest that the ways that people are using social media may have more of an impact on their mental health and well-being than just the frequency and duration of their use.

My co-authors and I found that the benefits and harms associated with social media use varied across demographic, socioeconomic, and racial population sub-groups. Specifically, while the benefits were generally associated with younger age, better education, and being white, the harms were associated with older age, less education, and being a racial minority. Indeed, these findings are consistent with the body of work on communication inequalities and health disparities that our lab has documented over the past 15 or so years.

We know that education, income, race, and ethnicity influence people’s access to, and ability to act on, health information from media, including the Internet so the concern is that social media may perpetuate those differences.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source 3C [Edited and adapted from Kaler et al., 2020]

 

Name(s) of author/

editor

 

Lisa S. ​Kaler

Michael J. ​Stebleton

Charlie ​Potts

 

Information about author/

editor

 

Kaler et al. are the authors.

Use ​they/their/them​ pronouns

Title

 

“It Makes Me Feel Even Worse”: Empowering First-Year

Women to Reconsider Social Media’s Impact on Mental Health

Volume and issue number (for academic journals only)

 

Volume 24

Issue 6

Type of publication

 

Journal
Title of publication

 

About Campus
Date of publication

 

2020
Page number(s)

 

10-17
DOI

 

  https://doi.org/10.1177/1086482219899650  
 
Text (540 words)
 

Page 13

 

We highlight excerpts from individual interviews with three students. These excerpts capture the complex, ambivalent, and often stressful feelings that students experience about social media and the role of technology in their lives, as well as the perceived social norms that dictate their social media use. The responses largely result from the question, “How does social media influence your mental health?”

 

Maria:​​ “I Hate Myself for It”. 

 

Maria talked at length about the ways that social media interferes with her health. Maria discussed the use of a “fake Instagram” or Finsta account. She explained,

 

I feel like everyone just posts their best parts of themselves on their real Instagram and I do the same thing. That’s like me feeding into it. When people make a Finsta and post the bad parts of their life; I made a Finsta, I’m feeding into that as well. I’m feeding into these unwritten rules about social media that aren’t in the description when you sign up ….I hate myself for it.

 

 

When asked about how this impacts her mental health, she continued,

 

I definitely think it makes a really negative impact on my mental health. It affects me completely. If anyone would say that it doesn’t, they’re lying  . . . I definitely think it does more harm than it does good.

 

Amina: “I Use It Because Other People Use It”. 

 

Amina discussed using social media because she was afraid of missing out (i.e., FOMO[1]). She explained,

 

If the whole world didn’t use it, I wouldn’t use it. I use it because other people use it, and I don’t want to get out of the loop….If I don’t have it, I’m going to miss out on those things [ … ] I wish it was like how 20 years ago, people didn’t have [the] Internet.

Page 14

 

Michelle: “Who’s Doing the Best in College?”.

 

Michelle shared that social media use affected her mental health, including her anxiety:

 

When I was struggling with my anxiety, looking at social media and seeing everyone else being fine made me feel even worse about myself. Being like, “Well, they can go out to this concert or they can go and do this and I’m just sitting here so upset I don’t even want to leave my house.”

 

Since coming to college, Michelle managed to monitor her use and perceptions of social media messages:

 

Since getting better, I don’t have those feelings about social media. I don’t see a post and be like, “They’re so much better off than I am right now,” which is nice.

Not comparing myself to them in that way. Now it’s a little bit more of, who’s doing

the best in college? [ … ] Seeing that [other students] struggled with those issues [of depression and anxiety] was really eye opening to me.

 

All three students, Maria, Amina, and Michelle, shared similar experiences with social media use and the influence on mental health. There remained constant pressure to use in order to stay connected— even though they each had concerns about its use.

Additionally, each student admitted that their own excessive social media use contributed to negative outcomes for their mental health, but they felt somewhat powerless to change their behaviors in the face of social norms around social media use.

 

Source 3D [Edited and adapted from O’Reilly, 2020]

 

Name(s) of author/ editor Michelle ​O’Reilly
Information about author/

editor

 

O’Reilly is the author.

Use ​she/her/her​ pronouns.

Title

 

Social media and adolescent mental health: the good, the bad and the ugly

 

Volume and issue number (for academic journals only)

 

Volume 29

Issue 2

Type of publication

 

Journal
Title of publication

 

Journal of Mental Health
Date of publication

 

2020
Page number(s)

 

200-206
DOI

 

10.1080/09638237.2020.1714007
Text (607 words)
 

Background

 

In the UK, 83% of adolescents have a smartphone and 99% go online for at least

21-hours-per-week (Ofcom, 2017). Of concern for society is the possible negative impact of social media on adolescent mental health. However, the relationship between social media and mental health is both complex and multidimensional. The evidence for both positive and negative impacts of social media is mixed, resulting in widespread disagreement in the field. The possible benefits and risks facing adolescents have created controversy, not least amongst mental health practitioners

 

whose task it is to understand any possible relationship between social media use and a young

person with problems.

 

Data collection and analysis

 

In this study, six focus groups were conducted with a total of 54 adolescent participants. From the data collected from these discussions, three themes were identified in terms of how participants

understood the relationship between social media use and mental health:

 

1)  the good (perceived positive impacts on well-being);​

 

2)  the bad (possible risks faced and overuse of social media);​

 

3)  the ugly (the perceived more severe negative impacts on mental health); each are​

considered in turn.

 

The Good

 

The negative view of social media is common in parliamentary debates and in media reports. It is, however, important not to overlook the possible benefits to adolescent well-being and opportunities for mental health promotion that social media may have (O’Reilly, Dogra, Hughes et al., 2018).

 

It is well-established in developmental psychology that strong peer relationships, social skills and support networks are important for preventing the onset of mental health conditions and for

supporting overall psychological well-being (Keenan, Evans, & Crowley, 2016).

 

Participants in the focus groups emphasised that social media provides a way of maintaining friendships when physical distance is a potential obstacle.

 

The Bad

 

It is common to relate social media use with negative mental health outcomes such as over use or inappropriate use with low self-esteem, disturbed sleep patterns, fear-of-missing-out, or FOMO

(Betton & Woollard, 2019).

 

While recognising some potential negative effects, the adolescents in our focus groups were clear that their access to social media was important to them as without this connection they would miss out and stand out in school as different. Indeed, the participants felt that the adults around them did not understand their social world, the pressure within it and the value of the smartphone as part of their lives. As one participant articulated, there is a need to be part of a social community and without the necessary device to connect to that social world there is a feeling of missing out.

 

The Ugly

 

In the data, this danger was constructed in terms of bullying and trolling. Externalised issues like bullying were also considered alongside internalised issues such as self-harm and suicidal ideation,

which are argued to be directly connected to social media.

 

Globally we are amid a child mental health crisis, with increasing prevalence of common mental health conditions and serious concerns about the rising rates of self-harm and suicidal ideation, especially in adolescents (NHS Digital, 2018), as well as a rise in cyber-aggression.

 

There has been a tendency to blame social media for these issues. The UK Health Secretary has therefore proposed that guidelines are needed to encourage parents to restrict social media use by adolescents (The Guardian, 2018), reflecting a “moral panic” (Cohen, 1972).

 

Discussion

 

However, as noted, while there is evidence that illustrates some possible negative impacts on mental health, there are also benefits that can protect well-being. A restriction on social media use by adolescents may be in conflict with their rights. It would also underestimate their digital literacy

and ability to monitor and manage their own use.

 

 

[1] FOMO stands for Fear Of Missing Out​