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Eric Klinenberg's Ethnographic Analysis Of Meals On Wheels

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Eric Klinenberg conducted an ethnographic study on the factors facilitating the alarming excess death event occurring in Chicago in July 1995. He discusses four factors accounting for the massive death toll. first is an increase in both the number and proportion of people living alone, which was especially concerning in the subgroup of seniors who no longer had social networks. Second was the fear of crime as an anxiety that is only eased through isolation. Third is the degradation and fortification of urban space, causing a lower amount of attractions that would typically influence people to leave their homes to visit. Fourth is the decrease of social programs available as a form of assistance and outreach for elders, The official reports…show more content…
With alleged news of government cuts of funding on Meals on Wheels can garner lots of concern when looking at potential consequences to this. Programs like Meals on Wheels not only provide meal assistance, but they also act as a form of healthy social interaction that can strengthen an elder's social networks. For some seniors, this may be the one of the only sources of social interaction they receive consistently, and depleting these resources will only hurt these already vulnerable populations. Something else to note could be the potential for more heat waves in metropolitan areas like Chicago in the upcoming years. Climate change is occurring and this can result in worse living conditions for those who are poor and live in isolation, as they may not be able to afford proper cooling systems, similarly to many of the victims Klinenberg described. Another thing to consider is how these disparities can be lessened realistically since, as Marmot had talked about in The Status Syndrome, equality of opportunity does not necessarily equate to equality of outcome; having people who start their lives off at a fair point doesn’t guarantee that none of the individuals will end up dying alone in isolation because of the absence of equality of
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