Ethics In Social Sciences Case Study Assessment Answer

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Question :

Case Studies Assignment Ethics in the Social Sciences Spring 2020



Choose a case study from the list below.

You will be expected to consider what dilemmas are presented by the case study, and how these issues and the solution might be informed by the theories examined this semester.
This assessment is designed to help you explore the conversations around ethics in your academic discipline and/or professional pathway.
The extra readings and resources will be useful for this task. You are also encouraged to do independent research and use applicable scholarly literature in addition to those provided to you.
For this assessment, you will need to choose two of the following theories to apply to the case study:
• Universal Ethical Egoism • Act Utilitarianism • Rule Utilitarianism • Care Ethics • Intuitionism • Divine Command Theory • Kant's Duty Ethics • Ross's Prima Facie Duties • Nicomacean Virtue Ethics • Confucian Role Ethics
The following is a guide for completing the written paper:
1. The introduction should identify the case study that you have chosen and the two theories you are going to apply to the case.
2. The first section of the body of the paper should detail the dilemmas presented by the case study. This is where you should provide some 'facts' around the case which may include academic material from the additional readings, legislation, policy, scientific/medical evidence, statistics, government and NGO reports, etc. This is also where any relevant codes of ethics/conduct should be identified. These should be relevant to Australian professional conduct — that is, Australian focused codes of ethics/conducts.
3. Section two of the paper should analyse how your two theories apply to the case. This will include applying all components of each theory to the case study, the strengths and  weaknesses of applying each theory to the case study and providing consideration of the result of using each theory for all stakeholders impacted by the case study.
You can conduct this analysis separately or juxtapose both theories throughout the structure of the paper; you have creative license in expressing the analysis.
4. The final section of the paper should attempt to provide a feasible, workable, and ethical solution to the dilemma by synthesising the main arguments that have been made throughout the paper and should particularly draw upon the strengths discussed.
1. Sustainable Lifestyle
According to research conducted by Ted Trainer (2010) at the UNSW, one fifth of the world's people (comprised of 'first world' countries like Australia) are living a lifestyle that depends on using four-fifths of the world's non-renewable resources.
Trainer's research goes on to say that the prospect of the rest of the world's people ever catching up is not possible, as it would require vast amounts of resources such as oil that just aren't there. Even if such resources were available, there are serious problems with the idea that many more people could live as we do. Rapid species extinction, severe droughts, water and air pollution and climate change are just some of the many indicators that this lifestyle is unsustainable for the fraction living it now, let alone everyone.
Given this context, is our 'first world' lifestyle, that depends on using such a high level of non-renewable resources, an ethical way to live? 

2. Community Treatment Orders
In all jurisdictions in Australia, Community Treatment Orders (CTOs) are used to require a person with a mental illness to undergo mental health treatment on a non-voluntary basis, usually under mental health legislation. In NSW, CTOs are usually made by the NSW Mental Health Tribunal (or occasionally by a Magistrate) to order a person to accept mental health treatment. CTOs are intended to allow people who would otherwise be required to stay in inpatient units to instead live in the community and get mental health care in the least restrictive setting possible. The Tribunal must be satisfied that the person would benefit from being in a less restrictive setting and has a history of refusing to accept appropriate treatment. If the person refuses to comply with the treatment plan or experiences a deterioration in their mental health, they may be in breach of the CTO and potentially be returned to inpatient care as an involuntary patient.
Evidence into their use and usefulness is varied and there are two key ethical arguments that are invoked to support or reject their use. On the negative side, it is argued that they are coercive and breach people's human rights. Proponents of this position argue that their use should either be abandoned or significantly reduced due to its incompatibility with choice and evidence that suggests their use can harm long-term recovery for the patients they are supposed to help. On the positive side, some research suggests that CTOs provide appropriate resources for continuity of care, facilitating engagement with the wider health care system due to enforcing the legal requirement on services to provide care. Often, the orders are viewed is a useful vehicle on the rough dirt road and frequent 40-degree heat. You frequently pass community members in groups walking to and from the town. You usually stop and give people a lift, but when you mention this to your manager she says: "I don't want to hear that, it's against public sector regulations." The rationale seems to be about occupational health and safety issues.
A large part of your work is based on developing trust and respect within the community. You feel that driving past people in an empty car is at odds with what they would consider common courtesy of each other, and feel that it is important to promote community standards by assisting wherever you can. Is it ethical to break the rules to build relationships with community members?
4. Sex tourism
Sex work is becoming increasingly more accessible following its decriminalisation in many countries, increasing globalisation, and the ease of international travel. Some sex tourism is incidental, however there are entire websites dedicated to facilitating sex tourism, particularly in economically underprivileged parts of South East Asia and the Caribbean. Some argue that it is a legitimate form of economy which enables financial independence of the worker, especially if it is for necessity or for survival. Another argument is that it boosts opportunities for spending within the host nation. However, there are many ethical dilemmas presented within this field, particularly due to its controversial nature and potential for exploitation of workers in less regulated settings. Beyond its criminalisation in many countries, there is

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Answer :


Ethics and Social Science sometimes are considered as complementary to each other, as both perceive the common goal of solving the concrete problems that involve moral values. When ethics are applied in social science, it provides a better approach to learn about the issues that have taken place or may take place. (Birnbacher, 1999) The case study that I have chosen for the essay is ‘Out of Home Care’ in which I am the carer of three young people, one girl aged 13 years, a boy aged 15 years and another girl aged 16 years. I will be applying the Care Ethics & Kant’s Duty Ethics theories in this essay. In the case study, it is revealed by the 13-year-old girl in a general conversation that the girl of 16 years and the boy of 15 years are involved sexually. However, as per the most of legislations of the Australian States, the age of consent is 16 years. It means that the boy is not mature enough to understand the implications of sexual contact with the girl. Even in the case of a girl, some states recognise 17 years as the age of consent. ("Age of consent laws", 2020)

In the case study, both girl and boy are not mature enough to learn about the consequences of being sexually involved with each other. This situation has put me in a dilemma. One part of me says that I should send one young person to some other care home so that such acts can be eliminated. Another part of me is concerned about their mental health as they might face the issue of settling and adapting to a new environment. I, being a carer of the three children, will have to keep a few legislations in consideration before making a decision. The Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1988 (NSW) which details how a carer should act in different situations. The Code of Conduct for Authorized Foster, Relative and Kinship Carers details numerous practice standards that I need to abide. It covers instructions regarding general circumstances, family, emotional and social development, wellbeing, health and development education and many relatable arenas that result in the overall development of the young people. As Australia has ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, I will keep that in consideration as well. (United Nations, 1989)

The first theory that I will use in the case study is, Kantian Duty-Based Ethics, or also called as Deontological Ethics. This theory has certain principles such as; do the right thing and do it because it is the right thing to do. However, this theory lays immense focus on 'don't do anything wrong'. It strongly pitches that one cannot justify a wrong action by saying that it brought good results. The prime intention is to make the person aware of his duty, the duty that should be done knowing the rights and wrongs, and there shall be no compromise done in that regard. (Slote, 2007) The theory emphasises that one must not worry about the consequences when they are rightfully performing their duty. Even if the results are not fruitful, it is alright because the theory always advocates right actions, and the focus on results is comparatively lesser. (Baron, 2018) This theory is relevant to the case study because the sexual involvement of two young children, the boy of 15 years and the girl of 16 years is wrong by all means. The fact that the girl of 13 years knows about the act again makes the situation critical as the act might have wrong impressions on her mind and mislead her. The theory emphasises on the values of human beings and provides them with the fundamental rights, which they are entitled. Here, the human rights of all three children are getting hampered, either way. The sexual act between two young children, one out of whom who has not even attained the age to give the consent to such actions, is not justified at all. As the theory provides certainty that wrong is wrong, the decision-making process becomes clear and cannot be questioned. If I adopt this theory to get rid of the dilemma I am facing, it would not be wrong as it is certain and holds significance. I can send the boy to some other care home where more number of boys live. It would help him disconnect with any such activity and divert his mind to good things that would allow him grow as a responsible individual. On the other hand, the girl aged 15 years, who was involved in sexual activity with the boy, would also get a chance to divert her mind to good things. This would also have a good impression on the mind of the young 13-year-old girl who revealed the act to me, as she would not witness any such action now. The theory has its own set of strengths and weaknesses. There is no doubt that it helps in reaching to a widely-accepted consensus which would not be questioned; it lacks moral concepts and understanding. It doesn't focus on the understanding of issues in-depth, as in this case study, I need to know the possible reasons behind the act that took place between the boy and the girl. Secondly, the theory says that the deontological duties can be either good or bad; there is no in-between. ("Deontological Ethics (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)", 2007) However, we need to understand that sometimes, the people commit acts without knowing the repercussions. As per the case study, until we connect with the stakeholders, i.e. the three children, it would be wrong to take stringent decisions. 

I have used Ethics of Care as the second theory to relate to the case study. Ethics of Care theory is based on philosophical perspectives considering moral values that circle while taking decisions, keeping the context-bound approach. The main idea behind the theory is caring for someone is imperative in morality. Considering the case study, I am facing the dilemma of either making the children understand the consequences or taking a bold decision to move one child out of the care home and send her/him to another care home. The Care Ethics is also known to be related to women, as they are more likely to make decisions that keep moral aspects in the first place while taking decisions. (Reamer, 2016) In such a case, where I know that the children have already faced a lot of disturbances in their past life, and sending them again to a new environment, might disturb the inner state of children. The theory includes 'care-giver', and 'care-taker' where I would be the care-giver and the three children would be the care-takers. The theory also focuses that there might be some point when it shares a reciprocal relationship. However, the main idea stands that 'care-giver' must learn about the expectations of the 'care-taker'. Thus, the Care Ethics theory firmly states though caring is surrounded by sentiment, it might not always be emotionally driven. (Dunn, n.d.) The chosen theory has the strengths that may allow me to come out of the dilemma.  I can share mutual ties with the three children and help them transform their actions and thoughts also. I will be able to gain the trust of the children, and they would not be hesitant while sharing their thoughts and actions with me. Several studies show that acts of teenagers are based on the memories of their past. The lack of sex education and non-awareness of implications and consequences are major reasons why they got involved in such an act. Being a carer, I have a responsibility to provide a caring environment under which I must respect the personal privacy of young persons. (Code of Conduct) By learning that 'care-taker' might expect me to understand her/him, I will be able to see their side of the story and learn about their problems and issues, instead of taking the strict decision of sending one or two children to some other care home. As, if they are not counselled well, there are chances that they might resort to doing such acts in new care homes as well. Though the theory has numerous strengths and can help me well understand the care-taker and their problems in depth, however, it lacks justice standards and how the care shall be done. It is more inclined towards therapeutical connection. In the case study, I need to understand that the sexual activity that took place between the boy of 15 years and the girl the 16 years is not legal and can have serious consequences. Also, there might be different angels to the story, which the young girl aged 13 years might not have been able to reveal. Using the Care Ethics theory, I might not be able to take actions that are needed in such conduct.

Both theories have their own sets of strengths and weaknesses. However, none of them can be used entirely to resolve the dilemma that I am facing. I have decided to use the synthesis of both Care of Ethics & Kant's Duty-Based Theory. I would use the Care of Ethics theory to connect with the three children who are the key stakeholders in the case study and learn about the possible reasons behind the act. I would then counsel all of them and make them understand the consequences and will try to impart sex education to them. Eliminating such acts is inevitable, and I will have to decide to send the boy to some other care home, but I will ensure them that their friendship will not get affected as I will try to make them meet once or twice in three months. The synthesis of both these theories allowed me to end my dilemma and developed a concrete approach towards handling of the issue mentioned in the case study.