This article explores the role of national institutional factors--more specifically, the level of skill transparency of the education system and labour market coordination--in accounting for cross-national differences in the relationship between education and occupational status. Consistent with previous research, our findings suggest that skill transparency is the primary moderator. Countries with a highly transparent educational system (i.e., extensive tracking, strong vocational orientation, limited tertiary enrolment) tend to be characterized by a strong relationship between education and occupational status. These findings hold even after controlling for the level of labour market coordination. Nevertheless, we also find that labour market coordination plays an independent role by dampening the effect of education on occupational status. Taken together, these results suggest two quite different policy implications: (1) strengthening the skill transparency of the education system by increasing secondary and tertiary-level differentiation may strengthen the relationship between education and occupation, regardless of the level of coordination, and (2) increasing labour market coordination could lead to improved social inclusion and a reduction in inequalities related to educational attainment.
Treatments of sources of Adam Smith's sociological theory of the self and associated ideas in The Theory of Moral Sentiments typically refer to classical antecedents or the work of his teacher Francis Hutcheson or his contemporary David Hume. During the seventeenth century, however, many books on the passions were published in London that arguably constitute an important but neglected source of Smith's treatment of moral sentiments. These works are largely forgotten today but at the time were widely read. They are not philosophical, partly devotional and predominantly psychological. Although Smith does not refer to these works his argument resembles theirs in many places. The importance of the seventeenth-century books on the passions, apart from their role in the history of psychology, is their bearing on contemporary economic practices. In this paper the connections between Smith and one of these books, Thomas Wright's The Passions of the Minde in Generall, are indicated.
This paper examines the contributions made by early modern statistical literature to the formation of the sociological imagination. Starting in the mid-seventeenth century, the fields of 'political arithmetic' and vital and moral statistics provided a discursive framework within which it became possible to identify and study aggregate dynamics and structures underlying seemingly random and episodic aspects of life (birth, death, divorce, health). Focusing primarily on developments in England, the paper identifies three significant watershed moments in the emergence of the sociological imagination: the discovery of the political and economic dimensions of life; the articulation of socio-statistical patterns underlying various life events and episodes; and the establishment of causal connections between social variables and individual choices. These developments did not amount to or directly result in the creation of the discipline of sociology, yet, they made it possible to make conceptual connections between the personal and the social.
This study examines the determination of the Italian Fascists' extra-parliamentary, para-military, violent strategy. What were the effects of the socialists' political strategy, relying on electoral democracy, on the creation and strategy of the Fascist Action Squads? A comparison among Italy's 69 provinces, based on quantitative and qualitative historical evidence reveals a distinct pattern in the Fascists' violence. They attacked mainly provinces where the Socialists enjoyed the greatest electoral support. This pattern was a product of two historical processes: (a) the threat of the Socialist party to the landlords' economic and political hegemony, and (b) the landlords' tradition of militant anti-worker organization which culminated in their alliance with the Fascists. The Fascists' struggle for, and takeover of, political power was not an immanent historical necessity. It was first and foremost an anti-socialist reaction. It was shaped both 'from below', by the political power and radicalism of the PSI and the para-military capacity of the Fascist Squads; and 'from above', by the active support the Fascists received from the landlords and the state. Supported by organized landlords and blessed with the authorities' benevolence, the Squads were able to destroy - physically and politically - the legitimately constituted provincial governments of the Socialists. The alliance with the landlords determined the Squads' almost exclusive attacks on Socialist provincial strongholds that constituted the greatest threat to the landlords' interests, while provinces dominated by the ruling Liberal party were excluded from the Squads' path of 'punitive expeditions'.
This is a response to Runciman's reply to my critique of his 1993 article. I argue that although the First World War brought about many changes in British society, it did not initiate a new stage in its development, for these changes were largely an acceleration of existing tendencies. Runciman's argument that the similarities between the 1930s and the 1980s show that British capitalism was essentially the same in both periods does not allow for the different directions in which British society was moving in the 1930s and in the 1980s. His treatment of the 1980s changes as another phase in the political cycle fails to grasp what was new about the 1980s or locate these changes in their wider economic and global context.
Convergence of policies and institutions across countries has been a recurrent theme within social sciences. 'Old' and 'new' convergence hypotheses have been associated with changing concepts and catchwords, such as modernization, logic of industrialism, post-industrialism, post-Fordism and globalization, but share some underlying theoretical perspectives. The purpose of this paper is to analyse tendencies towards convergence of social insurance systems in 18 OECD countries between 1930 and 1990, a period which has seen our sample of countries develop from predominantly agricultural societies to industrial or post-industrial market democracies. Data from the Social Citizenship Indicator Program (SCIP) are used to examine the development of institutional variables within the various national social insurance systems. Sub-samples of larger and smaller countries are examined separately, in order to test the open-economy hypothesis that smaller countries, being more exposed to international pressures than larger ones, could be expected to show higher degrees of social protection and also more convergence. Hypotheses on differentiated institutional barriers against pressures from the processes of transnationalization of the economy, as well as possible convergence effects of the supra-national policy making within the European Union, are discussed in the last section.
The relationship between class and voting choices has been the subject of controversy in recent years, especially in connection with the apparent decline of the traditional left. This paper examines class voting in Australia, focusing on three major issues: (1) changes in the overall strength of class voting (2) realignment, or changes in the relative political positions of the classes (3) the connection between the strength of class voting and support for Labor. It finds that (1) there is a decline in 'general' class voting (2) much of this decline involves a realignment of certain middle class groups, but there is no support for the popular idea that class alignments have become more complex (3) there is no connection between the strength of class voting and Labor performance. Our results cast doubt on accounts that regard the electoral difficulties of left parties as a symptom of the decline of class.
This paper draws on world systems and resource dependency theories to show how the changing recruitment practices of English League clubs have deepened the brawn drain from Irish football, thereby compounding its underdevelopment. An analysis of the origins, method of recruitment and destinations of Irish players (North and South) who appeared in the English League between 1946 and 1995 shows that English clubs imported large numbers of Irish players throughout the second half of the twentieth century. However, it was the inclusion of Irish teenagers within the youth policies of the largest clubs in the period after the 1970s that marked a break from the traditional pattern of buyer-supplier relations. Instead of continuing to purchase players who had established reputations within the Irish leagues, English clubs began to hire the most promising schoolboys before they joined Irish sides. As this practice spread, it eventually eliminated a valuable source of income: the selling of players to English clubs. Despite this development it would, however, be inappropriate to view the relationship between the Irish and English football industries as a simple zero sum game as Irish clubs benefit from employing highly trained young players who return home after failing to establish careers in England.
This article seeks to understand environmental effects on associational interdependencies, be they competitive or collaborative, in a polarized organizational population. To do so, it builds on the density-dependent model and the ecology of ideologies. Especially interested in the effect of context on density-dependent processes, I compare different Turkish ideological movements in Amsterdam and Berlin. Amsterdam represents an open and supportive environment for such movements, whereas Berlin constitutes a more closed and hostile one. By analysing the founding and disbanding rates of Turkish immigrant organizations in Amsterdam and Berlin during the period 1965-2000, the article demonstrates how the increasing density of Turkish ideologies has affected interdependencies in two main ways: by heightening competition, particularly between ideologically similar organizations, and by increasing counter activities between opposing movements. It also shows that the influence of context is limited. An open environment does not significantly influence the vitality rates of ideologies or further collaboration among or between them. On the contrary, it seemingly increases competition and fragmentation because more resources and opportunities are available. More signs of collaboration and mutualism are found in Berlin's closed environment.
According to Boudon, social background affects educational transitions as a result of differences in children's academic performance (primary effects) and differences in transition probabilities given children's level of academic performance (secondary effects). This study addresses historical changes in both primary and secondary effects on the educational transition from primary school to higher secondary education in The Netherlands. In addition, it considers changes over time in the relative importance of these effects. The study compares five cohorts of Dutch pupils, specifically those enrolling in secondary education in 1965, 1977, 1989, 1993 and 1999, and it employs counterfactual analyses. The main findings are that secondary effects have been stable and primary effects have fluctuated to some extent. As a result, the proportion of the total effect of social background accounted for by primary effects has increased somewhat, from 53 per cent to 58 per cent.
Positivism has been declared dead in sociological theory circles, yet questions remain as to its viability among researchers. The authors present diagnostic evidence about positivism in sociological practice through a content analysis of journal articles published in the late 1960s and the late 1980s in the sociological journals of the USA and Britain. Using an index based on seven elements of positivism that were characteristic of the 'theory construction' movement of the late 1960s, the authors find evidence of the effects of time and nation on the use of positivism. Disaggregation of the index reveals that most of the observed change is associated with the elements of 'instrumental' positivism, particularly statistics. The results raise questions about the relationship between theory and research and about sociologists' philosophies of science.
Recent research on social capital has explored trends in membership in voluntary organizations. However, there is currently little robust evidence on such trends in the UK since the 1970s, nor is there any analysis of whether participation bridges social divisions or accentuates them. This paper explores trends in participation in England and Wales since 1972 using data from the Social Mobility Inquiry of 1972 and the British Household Panel Survey of 1992 and 1999. We are concerned with social exclusion mechanisms in social capital generation in Britain over the three decades. Using binomial and multinomial models to 'unpack' the effects of socio-cultural factors on civic participation and on different types of associational membership, we test the thesis of across-the-board decline in social capital by Putnam (2000) and that of rising levels of middle-class social capital versus consistent low levels of working-class social capital by Hall (1999). The results show significant socio-cultural-gender differences, a relative stability of middle-class participation, and a rapid decline in the working-class access to social capital. We challenge the established accounts of both theses.
Despite the fact that in many societies ethnicity plays an important role in stratification processes, a common view held by students of stratification argues that the role of ascriptive criteria in stratification processes is diminishing, and that the main axis of the modern stratification system is rooted in the division of labour in the marketplace. Despite this, most Israeli sociologists have taken the ethnic and national cleavages to be the main axes of stratification in Israel. This paper utilizes the 1974 and 1991 mobility surveys in Israel to examine changes over time in the association between ethnicity/nationality (i.e., Ashkenazi-Jews, Sephardi-Jews and Israeli-Arabs) and class position in the Israeli stratification structure. It also examines the extent to which inequality of opportunity within the Israeli class structure is affected by ethnicity/nationality. Here it is found that the ethnic/national cleavage in Israel appears to have played a less important role over time in the allocation of Israeli men to class positions. It is shown that class crystallization processes that result from the differentiation of employment contracts in the marketplace produce a relatively common level of inequality of opportunity in Israel, across sub-populations and over time. Any difference in the level of inequality of opportunity between the various sub-populations would appear to result, in part, from different historical process of, and government policy towards, the three sub-populations.
The relative standings of four ethnic groups - Muslim Palestinians, Christian Palestinians, Asian-African Jews, European Jews -were compared, using mobility data from 1974 and 1991. The findings show that despite the lack of government support and the prevalence of inexorable discrimination against Israeli Palestinians, they have narrowed the gap with Asian-African Jews in both education and occupational prestige. This finding demonstrates that ideological and political hegemony is not always effective in improving the socio-economic standing of preferred minorities (Asian-African Jews), and that social and economic structures may counterbalance the anti-Palestinian nationalist ideology. The analysis suggests that residential and educational segregation of Palestinians protects them from direct competition with European Jews, whereas Asian-African Jews have to compete with this dominant group in schools, as well as in the labour market.
This paper examines some central themes about change in consumption behaviour through an empirical investigation of the practice of eating. It analyses patterns of food consumption in the UK using time diary data from 1975 and 2000. The practice of eating is decomposed into four component activities which are used to explore systematically the inter-relationships between social processes - such as commodification and temporal fragmentation - and ways of providing and consuming food. It charts the expansion of eating out, the degree to which it substitutes for other eating activities, and the implications of its development for social relations and the temporal organization of daily life. Analysis reveals that food consumption continues to be differentiated along established lines of social division, although the content of those divisions has changed and varies across components of the practice. Increasing commodification of the food chain is documented, but without appearing to have a corrosive impact on household organization or social relationships. While tendencies indicative of temporal fragmentation are revealed, counter-tendencies exist which suggest that the practice of eating is resilient to many forms of external pressure. Finally, the application of a practice-based analytical approach permits critical evaluation of theories of social transformation.
The present paper offers a replication of an analysis by Sørensen and McLanahan (1987) of 1940-1980 USA data on trends in married women's economic dependency, this time using Dutch income data for 1979-1991. The results show that in the Netherlands, as opposed to the USA, a vast majority of the wives are still completely or strongly dependent on their husband's income. Yet, also Dutch wives' economic dependency is decreasing at a significant rate. Despite clear life course differences that yet seem to persist, we observe declining levels of dependency within each age group. This declining trend seems to reflect mostly changes in married women's employment status over time. An implication of the reported trend, however, is that it becomes increasingly important to study the influence of the social position of both partners.
Contemporary expectations of good parenting hold that focused, intensive parental attention is essential to children's development. Parental input is viewed as a key determinant in children's social, psychological and educational outcomes, with the early years particularly crucial. However, increased rates of maternal employment mean that more parents are juggling work and family commitments and have less non-work time available to devote to children. Yet studies find that parental childcare time has increased over recent decades. In this paper, we explore the detail of this trend using data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Time Use Survey (TUS), 1992 and 2006. To investigate whether discourses on intensive parenting are reflected in behaviour, we examine a greater range of parent-child activities than has been undertaken to date, looking at trends in active childcare time (disaggregated into talk-based, physical and accompanying care activities); time in childcare as a secondary activity; time spent in the company of children in leisure activities; and time spent in the company of children in total. We also investigate whether the influence of factors known to predict parental time with children (gender, education, employment status and the age of children) have changed over time. We contextualize our analyses within social and economic trends in Australia and find a compositional change in parental time, with more active childcare occurring within less overall time, which suggests more intensive, child-centred parenting. Fathers' parent-child time, particularly in physical care, increased more than mothers' (from a much lower base), and tertiary education no longer predicts significantly higher childcare time.
The policing of protest at international events conflicts with the political and policing culture of the host nation. Previous research shows a trend toward softer, more tolerant styles of policing protest within various Western democracies. We present a case study of an exception: the repression of protest at an international event in which one Western democracy hosted rulers of less democratic regimes in a ritual celebration of economic globalization. We explore reasons why, in the face of protests about undemocratic regimes elsewhere, the Canadian government and police were willing to use blatantly undemocratic tactics popularly believed to be more characteristic of those other regimes. Implications are discussed concerning protest policing, economic globalization, the nation-state and social movements.
Protest actions are an important indicator of public concern, raising awareness and highlighting perceived failings in administrative practices. With increasing prominence of environmental challenges there has been a move for states to incorporate stakeholders, potentially reducing the need for such confrontational actions. This article uses protest event analysis and case comparison to examine the scale and character of environmental protest actions in New Zealand from 1997-2010. This period was one of relative socio-economic stability, coupled with growing awareness of environmental challenges. The article considers the relative level of action of grassroots groups and more formalized NGOs, asking which issues generated protest actions and which factors contributed to environmental campaign outcomes. The findings suggest that, although protest actions can strengthen campaigns, the outcomes ultimately remain heavily dependent on the priorities of the state.
The assertion about the unique 'complexity' or the peculiarly intricate character of social phenomena has, at least within sociology, a long, venerable and virtually uncontested tradition. At the turn of the last century, classical social theorists, for example, Georg Simmel and Emile Durkheim, made prominent and repeated reference to this attribute of the subject matter of sociology and the degree to which it complicates, even inhibits the develop and application of social scientific knowledge. Our paper explores the origins, the basis and the consequences of this assertion and asks in particular whether the classic complexity assertion still deserves to be invoked in analyses that ask about the production and the utilization of social scientific knowledge in modern society. We present John Maynard Keynes' economic theory and its practical applications as an illustration. We conclude that the practical value of social scientific knowledge is not dependent on a faithful, in the sense of complete, representation of social reality. Instead, social scientific knowledge that wants to optimize its practicality has to attend and attach itself to elements of social situations that can be altered or are actionable.
Responding to the growing gap between the sociological ethos and the world we study, the challenge of public sociology is to engage multiple publics in multiple ways. These public sociologies should not be left out in the cold, but brought into the framework of our discipline. In this way we make public sociology a visible and legitimate enterprise, and, thereby, invigorate the discipline as a whole. Accordingly, if we map out the division of sociological labor, we discover antagonistic interdependence among four types of knowledge: professional, critical, policy, and public. In the best of all worlds the flourishing of each type of sociology is a condition for the flourishing of all, but they can just as easily assume pathological forms or become victims of exclusion and subordination. This field of power beckons us to explore the relations among the four types of sociology as they vary historically and nationally, and as they provide the template for divergent individual careers. Finally, comparing disciplines points to the umbilical chord that connects sociology to the world of publics, underlining sociology's particular investment in the defense of civil society, itself beleaguered by the encroachment of markets and states.
South Africa's hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup saw a large number of public demonstrations, strikes and other forms of civic campaigning. World Cup activism was both preceded and followed by extensive and intensifying public unrest and industrial action that in the period before the tournament, threatened to derail the event. This paper assesses the motivations, forms and implications of the activism during South Africa's staging of the FIFA finals and interprets them against the larger context of shifting state-society relations in the country. There are two purposes to the analysis. First, to explore the underlying internal social forces that gave shape to the protests at the time, and the possible influence of the exogenous politics of mega-event social mobilization. Second, the implications and outcomes of these dynamics for longer term socio-political processes in the country are considered. The activism displayed many of the features of the politics of contestation of sport mega-events today. Importantly, however, the activism stemmed from a particular systemic dynamic and reflected changing relations in the post-apartheid political community. Therefore, while the World Cup was used as a strategic opportunity by many advocacy groups, it was one that rather fleetingly and ambivalently presented an additional platform to such groups in an otherwise on-going set of political battles. Rather than a strong case study of sport's transformative capacity, the civic campaigning during South Africa's World Cup demonstrates the way a sport mega-event can be used as a strategic entry point by civil society groups in their engagement with the state, although this can occur with greater or lesser success.
This paper uses Gallup poll data to assess two narratives that have crystallized around the 2011 Egyptian uprising: (1) New electronic communications media constituted an important and independent cause of the protests in so far as they enhanced the capacity of demonstrators to extend protest networks, express outrage, organize events, and warn comrades of real-time threats. (2) Net of other factors, new electronic communications media played a relatively minor role in the uprising because they are low-cost, low-risk means of involvement that attract many sympathetic onlookers who are not prepared to engage in high-risk activism. Examining the independent effects of a host of factors associated with high-risk movement activism, the paper concludes that using some new electronic communications media was associated with being a demonstrator. However, grievances, structural availability, and network connections were more important than was the use of new electronic communications media in distinguishing demonstrators from sympathetic onlookers. Thus, although both narratives have some validity, they must both be qualified.
What explains the re-emergence of social movements after abeyance? Based on interviews with activists who belonged to the Italian neo-fascist movement of the late 1960s to early 1980s, this article documents the preservation of a neo-fascist mobilization potential after 1945 through the parent-child transmission of frames. This process involved learning through talk, action and text. Both the nature of family frames and their congruence with movement frames depended on whether parents were right-wing or non-partisan. Research on abeyance should include the family among institutions that uphold continuity between waves of contention in pluralist regimes.
Gusfield (1963) claims that moral crusades constitute a form of status politics. Participants in moral reform campaigns are considered to be engaged in a symbolic crusade to preserve or defend a particular style of life against declines in prestige and influence. Social movement mobilization is interpreted as a direct consequence of status deprivation. More recent research has cast doubt on such status oriented explanations by emphasizing the importance of culture and socialization processes (Wallis 1977; Wood and Hughes 1984). According to this view moral reformers are depicted as being motivated by a desire to protect and promote a particular cultural position, as opposed to being primarily concerned with defending or enhancing their social status. This paper considers these two alternative explanations within the context of the anti-abortion campaign in this country, particularly during the latter part of the last decade. Through a study of the campaign literature and analysis of data obtained from a small sample of anti-abortion activists it is concluded that collective action against abortion represents a display of, and concern for, cultural values, rather than an expression of status discontent.
We argue that the abortion controversy has one major source--religion--and two less important ones--attitudes towards sexual permissiveness and women's employment. Traditional Christianity promotes opposition to abortion using three distinct modes of moral reasoning: through deductive moral reasoning, by the Christian world view's implication that abortion violates the sanctity of life and is a rebellion against God's design; through authoritative moral reasoning by appeal to Catholic dogma; and through consequentialist moral reasoning, as a means of control over sexuality and as a means of confining women's activities to the home. Even aside from Christian belief, adherence to traditional morality promotes opposition to abortion on these consequentialist grounds. We posit a model in which religious belief, anti-feminism, sexual permissiveness, and attitudes towards abortion are distinct concepts (a four-factor model) rather than all simply aspects of a single conservatism factor. We develop reliable, multiple item attitude scales; show that our four-factor model fits the data much better than the one-factor alternative; and test our hypotheses on new data from a large, representative national sample of Australia (N = 4540). Using maximum likelihood structural equation methods, we find that deductive reasoning from Christian belief is the most important source of opposition to abortion, with strong effects both direct and indirect. Exposure to the authority of the Catholic hierarchy is a real but weaker source of opposition. Consequentialist reasoning from traditional moral views on sex--partly buttressed by religion, partly independent of it--is also influential. But views on women's employment matter only a little, contrary to received wisdom.
There is a new orthodoxy in the field that was once understood as the sociology of the family, and is increasingly understood as the sociology of 'personal life', 'intimacy', 'relationships' and 'families'. The orthodoxy highlights the open-endedness of intimate relations at the expense of the family as an institution; that is, reflexivity over and above convention. This article argues that the new orthodoxy not only overstates reflexivity at the expense of convention, but abdicates understanding to frameworks grounded in biologistic and economistic understandings of human behaviour. The article makes its point through attention to three areas of research at odds with the new orthodoxy: paternity uncertainty, inheritance and family business. It then proposes that conceptualization of the family as an institutional regime gives due weight to the reflexive reconfiguration of family relationships and practices on the one hand, and their institutional embeddedness on the other.
This note is a response to a critical review of some of my own work published recently in the British Journal of Sociology but it does not reply to the specific criticisms made in that article. Rather it addresses the question of what constitutes appropriate critique in sociology by developing a distinction between abstract and engaged criticism.
Drawing on responses to a small-scale sensitizing sociological probe of 'technological stratification' in academic sociology, this article considers the role of academic staff delegated to oversee the distribution of information and communications technology resources within their departments between the years 1987-1996. From their recollections as local 'gatekeepers' of the new knowledge technologies, these 'subalterns of Technopoly' perceived themselves as relatively powerless 'techno-power brokers' unable to make a significant difference to the 'technological stratification' they encountered in their working environments in that period.
The production and reception of scientific papers in the academic-industrial complex have been neglected in sociology. In this article the social processes which influence the nature of the scientific paper in that complex are explored in depth by taking a number of controversial medical papers as case studies. The empirical evidence is collected and discussed in the light of sociological theories of normative ethos, paradigm development, reward-induced conformity and social interests in science. It is concluded that within the medical-industrial complex conformity to industrial interests can be a major criterion in defining the kind of reception given to a scientific paper and the professional autonomy of the authors in the paper's production, rather than an ethos of scientific scepticism or commitment to paradigmatic conventions. This is seen to have implications for the production of scientific knowledge - implications that might be in conflict with the public interest. Consequently, the desirability of current British Government proposals to intensify its policy of making science more responsive to the needs of industry may have significant drawbacks, hitherto unacknowledged in official circles, and in need of more extensive sociological investigation.
In recent years, there has been a great deal of collective rumination about social scientists' role in society. In the post-1997 UK context, public policy commitments to 'evidence-based policy' and 'knowledge transfer' have further stimulated such reflections. More recently, Michael Burawoy's 2004 address to the American Sociological Association, which called for greater engagement with 'public sociology' has reverberated throughout the discipline, motivating a series of debates about the purpose of sociological research. To date, most such contributions have been based on personal experience and anecdotal evidence. In contrast, this paper responds directly to Burawoy's suggestion that we should 'apply sociology to ourselves,' in order that we 'become more conscious of the global forces' driving our research (Burawoy 2005: 285). Drawing on an empirical research project designed to explore of the relationship between health inequalities research and policy in Scotland and England, in the period from 1997 until 2007, this paper discusses data from interviews with academic researchers. The findings suggest that the growing pressure to produce 'policy relevant' research is diminishing the capacity of academia to provide a space in which innovative and transformative ideas can be developed, and is instead promoting the construction of institutionalized and vehicular (chameleon-like) ideas. Such a claim supports Edward Said's (1994) insistence that creative, intellectual spaces within the social sciences are increasingly being squeezed. More specifically, the paper argues we ought to pay far greater attention to how the process of seeking research funding shapes academic research and mediates the interplay between research and policy.
This essay is a response to Judy Wajcman's essay 'Life in the fast lane? Towards a sociology of technology and time' (2008: 59-77). In that article Wajcman argued that recent developments in the sociology of temporal change had been marked by a tendency in social theory towards a form of 'science fiction'--a sociological theorizing, she maintains, that bears no real relation to actual, empirically provable developments in the field and should therefore be viewed as not contributing to 'a richer analysis of the relationship between technology and time' (2008: 61). This reply argues that as Wajcman suggests in her essay, there is indeed an 'urgent need for increased dialogue to connect social theory with detailed empirical studies' (2008: 59) but that the most fruitful way to proceed would not be through a constraining of 'science fiction' social theorizing but, rather, through its expansion--and more, that 'science fiction' should take the lead in the process. This essay suggests that the connection between social theory and empirical studies would be strengthened by a wider understanding of the function of knowledge and research in the context of what is termed 'true originality' and 'routine originality'. The former is the domain of social theory and the latter resides within traditional sociological disciplines. It is argued that both need each other to advance our understanding of society, especially in the context of the fast-changing processes of technological development. The example of 'technological determinism' is discussed as illustrative of how 'routine originality' can harden into dogma without the application of 'true originality' to continually question (sometimes through ideas that may appear to border on 'science fiction') comfortable assumptions that may have become 'routine' and shorn of their initial 'originality'.
Now that most UK universities have increased their tuition fees to £9,000 a year and are implementing new Access Agreements as required by the Office for Fair Access, it has never been more important to examine the extent of fair access to UK higher education and to more prestigious UK universities in particular. This paper uses Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) data for the period 1996 to 2006 to explore the extent of fair access to prestigious Russell Group universities, where 'fair' is taken to mean equal rates of making applications to and receiving offers of admission from these universities on the part of those who are equally qualified to enter them. The empirical findings show that access to Russell Group universities is far from fair in this sense and that little changed following the introduction of tuition fees in 1998 and their initial increase to £3,000 a year in 2006. Throughout this period, UCAS applicants from lower class backgrounds and from state schools remained much less likely to apply to Russell Group universities than their comparably qualified counterparts from higher class backgrounds and private schools, while Russell Group applicants from state schools and from Black and Asian ethnic backgrounds remained much less likely to receive offers of admission from Russell Group universities in comparison with their equivalently qualified peers from private schools and the White ethnic group.
It has been well documented that owing to the vulnerability inherent in their situation and status, the homeless experience high rates of harassment and criminal victimization. And yet, the question of whether CCTV surveillance of public and private spaces - so frequently viewed by the middle classes as a positive source of potential security - might also be viewed by the homeless in similar ways. Within the present paper, I address this issue by considering the possibility that CCTV might be seen by some homeless men and women as offering: a) a measure of enhanced security for those living in the streets and in shelters, and; b) to the extent that security is conceived of as a social good, the receipt of which marks one as a citizen of the state, a means by which they can be reconstituted as something more than 'lesser citizens'. To test these ideas, I rely on data from interviews conducted with homeless service users, service providers for the homeless, and police personnel in three cities. What is revealed is a mixed set of beliefs as to the relative security and meaning of CCTV.
IN rRODUC rION This paper revisits a classic study in the development of British industrial sociology which was conducted by the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations in the early postwar period and which still remains a common source for the idea that there is a relationship between industrial accidents and absenteeism. It is argued that the lack of any sustained appraisal of this study over the span of several decades has allowed the specific conclusions that the Tavistock researchers advanced about a relationship between industrial accidents and absenteeism to take on an apparent validity which was not always warranted on the basis of their own original evidence. In addition, and with specific reference to the social scientific explanation of industrial accidents, it is shown how far the explanations advanced by the researchers sometimes took the form of little more than convoluted forms of what today would be called 'blaming the victim'. More generally, and with reference to the sociology of sociological knowledge, the fact is recovered that this classic work of early postwar British industrial sociology was replete with assumptions about worker psychology that most certainly rivalled the gratuitous excesses about 'irrationality' that today are much more commonly believed to have been a feature of the earlier Hawthorne Experiments in the USA. In Britain the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations made a significant contribution to the postwar development of industrial sociology. One important set of empirical enquiries conducted by the Tavistock concerned industrial accidents, as is clearly acknowledged in a seminal review of its contribution by Brown (Brown 1967). This aspect of the Tavistock's work is not gone into in much detail by Brown however. The same brevity characterizes the treatment of the Tavistock's contribution in a more recent specialist review of the
The debate within the Church of England on opening the priesthood to women is analysed from the perspective of grid/group theory as a struggle between two competing models of the Church: the accommodationist and the exclusivist. The ascendancy of the accommodationist Church reflects the decline of status professionalism and rise of the formally rational modern profession, in which the criteria of occupational closure are themselves rationalized.
Auctions provide an institutional solution to a social problem; they enable the legitimate pricing and exchange of goods where those goods are of uncertain value. In turn, auctions raise a number of social and organizational issues that are resolved within the interaction that arise in sales by auction. In this paper, we examine sales of fine art, antiques and objets d'art and explore the ways in which auctioneers mediate competition between buyers and establish a value for goods. In particular, we explore how bids are elicited, co-ordinated and revealed so as to rapidly escalate the price of goods in a transparent manner that enables the legitimate valuation and exchange of goods. In directing attention towards the significance of the social interaction, including talk, visual and material conduct, the paper contributes to the growing corpus of ethnographic studies of markets. It suggests that to understand the operation of markets and their outcomes, and to unpack issues of agency, trust and practice, we need to place the 'interaction order' at the heart of analytic agenda.
An ethnographic exploration of the social reality of a counselling and training institute points to the profound impact of the therapeutic paradigm on the 'patterned regularities', the general principles, rules and daily practices, in other words, the organizational morality. The limited house-rules or practices emerged mainly as 'enabling conditions' to let professional autonomy prevail and to maintain the game rather than to prescribe behaviour. Organizational rules, structures, mechanics served as a platform for negotiations among different groups of 'provinces of meaning'. These negotiations do not necessarily show any sense of organizational logic or administrative rationality. Perhaps the opposite is true. Loosely coupled interactions and consensual validation rather than goal-oriented thinking appeared to be the predominant organizational occupation. The irrational, at times even ironic dynamics operative in organizational morality are nevertheless meaningful. They function as 'mapping' and sense-making devices and can be seen as vehicles for reflecting and ordering underlying meanings.