Individual Autonomy And Social Structure By Dorothy Lee Summary

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The Key Social Problem with Individual Autonomy in Western Society
There are many problems that exist in the world today and these problems can include those that affect the social aspect of life. In the article, Individual Autonomy and Social Structure, the author, Dorothy Lee, addresses a key social problem that is experienced in Western society. The problem that Lee addresses is that we, which would be us today, do not respect individual autonomy enough. We imagine that limits placed by social structures make it difficult to do so, but as Lee states, “…law and limits and personal autonomy can coexist effectively” (30). A cultural example that is looked at in order to find a resolution to this conflict is the culture of the Navaho Indians and the practice of child rearing. The scenario used in this article is of a child who has made a mistake and must set it right rather than have the situation be intervened with by his parents. This example is used in Lee’s article so that it can show that in order to resolve this key social
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Child rearing is one of the themes that are used in this article to demonstrate a resolution to the key social problem. The key social problem is related to this theme through how child rearing can affect the child’s ability to be themselves. In the Navaho culture, the meaning of personal autonomy to a mother is that she gives her child freedom to make their own mistakes and to learn from those experiences. It is through this that the child is able to grow and become themselves rather than become someone who has been intervened with. Therefore, the relation between the key social problem and this theme is that if we want to be able to respect individualism more, we must learn that it involves giving the individual freedom to be themselves from the beginning, rather than coercing them to do something that they do not want to

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