Finissons-en avec les fiches de civilisation ! – partie 2

Below we’re going to work through a dossier de documentation on the subject of obesity, as it’s a fairly easy subject to start with, while at the same time touching on some of the key debates in British and American society around the role of the government in people’s life, and the extent to which healthcare should be provided by the government.

Make sure you have read Part 1 of this blog before continuing; it explains the difference between our dossiers de documentation and the traditional fiches de civilisation.

What we have provided here is not a ready-made “lesson” on the problem of obesity that you can simply ”insert wholesale” (plaquer) into your next colle commentary. That would not be pedagogically honest, and, more importantly, it wouldn’t teach you how to prepare your own dossiers de documentation. What we have provided below is intended to serve as a template (modèle) for your research: we don’t give you everything written out and fully researched for you; instead, we give you the outlines of the debate, and direct you to articles from the press that you will need to read in order to complete your understanding of the debate. The intention is that, once in possession of a synthesis of the current debate on the subject and what is at stake, it will be much easier for you to make the transition from your notes to sophisticated, intelligent comment in an essay or commentary – something that a fiche full of names and facts can never do.

Section 1

As we have said, when you are reading for the concours, facts are secondary to a knowledge of a debate and what is at stake in it. But one place where you will perhaps need facts more than in other part of an essay or commentary is at the beginning: ultimately, any essay or commentary should provide an opinion on or an analysis of the problem, and in order to get to that point, you need to show the scale of the problem, as that will be the background against which any solutions are judged. So you can see that already, right from the start of your research,

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