The lottery of birth
The lottery of birth

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The lottery of birth

4.3 Looking into the future

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Figure 14

Throughout the course you have been considering the issues around the lottery of birth in a variety of ways, drawing on a range of disciplines.

When sociologists talk to demographers, and both talk with economists and political scientists, they can begin to join the dots. Different questions and different answers can emerge.

Activity 4.3

Find media coverage of a particular political, socio-cultural change or scientific change or breakthrough that is directly related to the lottery of birth in the country in which you currently live.

Consider the three questions below and write between 300 and 600 words explaining your answers.

  1. Describe the issue (include link to the news story) and explain why have you chosen that example.
  2. Why is this important to the lottery of birth?
  3. What might this mean for the lottery of birth in your country?

Remember that we are using this phrase to mean that how, when and where you are born, grow up and live is profoundly and widely unequal and that these inequalities will shape your whole life. The important thing here is that it is new and/or significant in some way.

The issues that you could discuss include:

  • an underlying demographic transition and the issues this will give rise to
  • the economic forces that will alter inequalities, for better or worse
  • social cultural changes that will address inequalities
  • the (lack of) political will to tackle inequalities both within and across nations.

One such example from the UK is the campaign against female genital mutilation that you found out about in Week 3. You may wish to draw upon sociology, anthropology, history, family studies, political science, cultural studies, media studies or something similar.

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The aim of this activity is to help you to put into action some of what you’ve learned throughout the course. Looking for new developments and assessing their ability the affect change in a country or in the world is important in learning about the lottery of birth. You’ll have used critical analysis, a skill which will help you in any further study.


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