Contemporary ideas and strategies of both ‘risk’ and ‘power’ are significant and dynamic influences in social theory and social action, and they can therefore be expected to have a substantial impact on the ways in which social work is constituted, practiced and evaluated. In this article, I shall articulate distinct conceptualisations and debates about each of these, before considering their inter-relationships and the implications of these for our thinking about what social work is, and what it should be.
Firstly, I will consider social work's contested and problematic place within the broader welfare domain. It is recognised as being a form of activity which inhabits an ambiguous and uncertain position at the interface between the individual and the social, and between the marginalised and the mainstream. Building on this, ‘power’ will be shown to infuse social work ideas and practices in a number of distinct dimensions, linking and bridging ‘personal’, ‘positional’ and ‘relational’ domains.
This discussion will be juxtaposed with a discussion of ‘risk’ and the part it has come to play in shaping and infusing social work practices, especially but not exclusively with children. The deconstruction of contemporary understandings and uses of risk as a central and ‘authoritative’ feature of assessment and decision-making will inform the argument that it can be viewed as a vehicle for the maintenance and legitimation of power relations which disenfranchise and oppress those who are most vulnerable.
In conclusion, I will summarise the ways in which conventional understandings and inter-related material realities of power and risk are often hierarchical, uni-directional and oppressive; and on this basis, how they can be laid open to challenge. The reconceptualisation and remaking of power relations will be shown to have direct consequences for the ways in which risk is defined and addressed as a social work ‘problem’.
This article suggests that, in the wake of the events of September 11th, it would be an error for sociologists and political analysts to concentrate on revisions of economic and political theory while not paying equal attention to the moral tensions between Islamic and Western cultures. It proposes that economic and geopolitical research be expanded to include bilateral studies of Western and Islamic conceptions of morality and standards of right and wrong. The argument is based on the proposition that certain Western liberal attitudes threaten Islamic peoples' commitment to the traditional family, thereby delaying conflict resolution and providing terrorists with additional venues for "justifying" their acts.
The aftermath of terrorist attacks on September 11 2001 includes widespread tightening of surveillance. The responses are a prism that puts several things in perspective. One, it is premature to see decentralised and commercial surveillance simply supplanting nation-state power. Rather, the nation-state now draws upon an augmented surveillant assemblage for its own purposes. Two, reliance on high tech surveillance methods is undaunted by the low-tech attacks or the failure of high tech security systems already in place. While they may not work to curb terrorism they are likely to impede civil rights for citizens who will be even more profiled and screened. Three, the struggle to make mushrooming surveillance systems more democratically accountable and amenable to ethical scrutiny is being set back by panic regimes following September 11.
This paper takes forward the view put forward by Diana Gittins that the visual representation of childhood appeared simple but could have deceived Victorian audiences. It does this by analyzing those images - few in number - which linked childhood with death and describes them in relation to the majority of childhood imagery between 1870 and 1900. The paper also suggests that there are pitfalls in regarding the visual part of the historical record solely as an illustrative resource. The author argues that death did not belong in the Victorian cultural delineation of the child's world. Rather, mortality is best understood as one part of the adult domain in which the child was a relative stranger. When childhood was brought into close visual alignment with death, notions of remorse, reproof, sin and safety could emerge alongside grief as preoccupations which concealed as much as they revealed. The known reality of death's impact on children's lives was kept visually hidden from Victorian audiences, even if was acknowledged in many associated commentaries. The vast majority of images addressing childhood themes from the period set out a benign, if instructional, view of relationships between adults and children. Those few images which did link childhood with death were part of a social and cultural context which preferred to blot out their implications. Children were far more likely to be depicted as the embodiment of life. A preference existed for visual material which endorsed, rather than undermined, adult care and control of the child's world. Pictures linking mortality to childhood were few in number because they were unbearable to audiences for unacknowledged reasons. As well as grief, such scenes of mortality made graphic reference to occasions when adults were powerless to protect every child.
Tilly extols the power and compass of \'superior stories\' compared with \'standard stories\'; however, in life things are not always so clear cut. A 1906 1914 research investigation headed by P. L. A. Goldman, initially concerned with the enumeration and commemoration of the deaths of Boer combatants during the South African War (1899-1902), later with the deaths of people in the concentration camps established in the commando phase of this war, is explored in detail using its archived documents. Now largely forgotten, the investigation was part of a commemorative project which sought to replace competing stories about wartime events with one superior version, as seen from a proto-nationalist viewpoint and harnessed to the wider purpose of nation-building. Goldman, the official in charge, responded to a range of methodological and practical difficulties in dealing with a huge amount of data received from a wide variety of sources, and made ad hoc as well as in principle decisions regarding how to handle these, and eventually producing \'the number\' as politically and organisationally required. However, another number of the South African War concentration camp dead - one which was both different and also added up incorrectly - concurrently appeared on a national women\'s memorial, the Vrouemonument, and it is this which has resounded subsequently. The reasons are traced to the character of stories and their power, and the visibility of stories about the concentration camp deaths in question the face of the Vrouemonument and their anonymity in Goldman\'s production of \'the number\'. Tilly\'s idea of an \'in-between\' approach to stories is drawn on in exploring this.
Understanding discursive shifts over the twentieth century in relation to family roles, paid work and care is essential to any critical review of contemporary family theory and policies. This paper charts aspects of these shifts. An analysis of case records of the Royal Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (RSSPCC), 1945 to 1960 is presented. Based upon these data we reflect upon the construction of the working-class family in the West of Scotland and draw upon one case study to illustrate issues further. This post-war period was one of rapid social and technological change. It is commonly perceived as a period of segregated gender roles, and in the UK a predominant male-breadwinner family model. The RSSPCC case records suggest that family lives and forms, particularly for those on low incomes, were diverse throughout this period. Although prosecutions for cruelty and neglect are dominant in perceptions of the society, most of its work was in material assistance, advice and surveillance. This latter aspect is considered in this paper.
This paper reports on an analysis of hitherto unexamined documentary data on food held within the UK Mass Observation Archive (MOA). In particular it discusses responses to the 1982 Winter Directive which asked MOA correspondents about their experiences of food and eating, and the food diaries submitted by MOA panel members in 1945. What is striking about these data is the extent to which memories of food and eating are interwoven with recollections of the lifecourse; in particular social relations, family life, and work. It seems asking people about food generates insight into aspects of everyday life. In essence, memories of food provide a crucial and potentially overlooked medium for developing an appreciation of social change. We propose the concept \'food narratives\' to capture the essence of these reflections because they reveal something more than personal stories; they are both individual and collective experiences in that personal food narratives draw upon shared cultural repertoires, generational memories, and tensions between age cohorts. Food narratives are embodied and embedded in social networks, socio-cultural contexts and socio-economic epochs. Thus the daily menus recorded in 1945 and memories scribed in 1982 do not simply communicate what people ate, liked and disliked but throw light on two contrasting moments of British history; the end of the second world war and an era of transition, reform, individualization, diversity which was taking place in the early 1980s.
Women have been a much lower proportion of university teachers of sociology than of students in sociology in Britain, and have also been under-represented in the higher ranks of academia. This has often been treated as the effect of discrimination. However, a review of available data suggests that women's choices - however formed - have also played a role, and that changing historical circumstances have affected the demography of the discipline in ways which have had significant consequences for women (and men) independent of either choice or discrimination. The current pattern cannot be understood without its history, which reveals that much of the snapshot picture of the situation now follows from strata of recruitment laid down at earlier periods.
In this paper we aim to use the interviewer notes from a lost sociological project to answer two broad, interrelated, questions: i) how was family life documented and represented by the researchers in their interviewer notes and ii) what does analysing interviewer notes in this way add to our understanding of families and households? The answers to these questions are considered in the context of a further question – why did the young worker research contain so much data on families and households when the research was concerned with young workers\' early workplace experiences? In answering these questions we offer some insight into family life in the 1960s as documented by the researchers and locate Elias\'s young worker research within the context of the other large sociology research projects being undertaken at the time.
J\'ai essayé de restituer ici quelques informations historiographiques, à partir de mes notes d\'enseignement, de documents de recherche des années 60 et, le plus souvent, de simples souvenirs de discussions avec d\'autres chercheurs ; souvenirs aussi de lectures d\'ouvrages et de compte-rendus de cette époque ou de confrontations avec des auditoires (universitaires ou non) dans des débats publics. Je me suis donc placé dans le cadre des questions posée par J.-L. Robert dans son introduction à la Journée d\'études sur \' les concepts élaborés dans la période 1945-1975 ,\' ainsi que des démarche qui se voulaient scientifiques avec leurs méthodes, leurs questions, leurs objets, leurs sources et conclusions \' ; mais aussi dans le cadre du suivi, sur deux décennies, de \' la diffusion et de l\'appropriation des concepts \' qui concernaient au premier chef la sociologie de l\'éducation et de la culture . Je réponds ainsi à plusieurs questions de fait que posait J.-M. Chapoulie dans son introduction ou sur lesquelles il a sollicité ma mémoire. Mais je n\'entre pas dans le rappel de ce qu\'ont été mes rapports personnels avec Bourdieu durant la douzaine d\'années de collaboration étroite où s\'est élaborée une sociologie de l\'éducation qui nous était en gros commune et qui l\'est restée, en dépit de notre divergence épistémologique après 1972, puisque je viens d\'en donner un aperçu dans un article récent
This article addresses the relationship between the New Right and the politics of homosexuality in the United Kingdom. It begins by outlining recent political conflicts surrounding attempts to equalise the 'gay age of consent' and to repeal Section 28 of the Local Government Act (1988). The article then examines the New Right's relationship to homosexuality in the 1980s, and the history of socio-political analyses of this relationship. It is argued that pro-gay left theorists have tended to homogenize the New Right of the 1980s, with negative consequences for the analysis of more recent right-wing transformations. The article suggests that contemporary right-wing campaigns against equalisation of the age of consent and abolition of Section 28 need to be understood as the product of a complex right-wing alliance between old-style Conservatism and new right-wing generations. The sexual values of William Hague and Michael Portillo are very different from those of Margaret Thatcher or Norman Tebbit. More mediated forms of homophobia have surfaced in recent campaigns, particularly in the defence of Section 28. New analytical tools are needed to map 'new delineations of homophobia' emerging in the political language of the right, operating within a new terrain of sexual politics. The conclusion suggests ways in which such a perspective could inform future sociological and political research agendas.
Recent political and social developments in Austria have been widely portrayed in simplistically metonymic terms, with controversial figures such as Waldheim and Haider being perceived to epitomise Austrian society as a whole. In this paper, I analyse the discursive/lyrical content of some of the songs by STS and Austria 3, two of the most successful bands within the genre of Austrian popular music. Approaching these two case studies from the theoretical perspectives of discourse analysis and cognitive anthropology, I will show that 'Austro-Pop' has - at important junctures in recent Austrian history - served as a tool of ideological resistance and created sites of social critique and cultural introspection. This paper thus illustrates that popular music analysed as discourse can draw attention to social heterogeneity and competing ideologies. The resulting sociological account challenges widespread portrayals - both journalistic and academic - of Austrian society as ideologically monolithic. Popular music will therefore be shown to offer valuable empirical data concerning some important sociological and social psychological issues such as the spread and contestation of ideas, the 'nature' of public opinion and the individual's agency in relation to it.
Data drawn from Population Census of Great Britain suggest that both the images of proletarianisation and upward shift of the class structure are over-generalised. Shift-share analysis is used for the period 1981-1991 to explore the complex interactions between changes in class composition within industrial sectors, change in the relative size of sectors and sex composition shifts (within classes, within sectors and within class/sector categories). For example, sector shifts explain change in numbers of self-employed professionals and semi- skilled manual workers but changes in class composition within sectors account for changes in numbers of managers, non-manual ancillary workers and artists, unskilled workers and own account workers other than professionals. Change in class composition does not account for the change in the sex ratios within classes. Although sector shifts contribute to a decline of the male/female ratio in most classes, this process is uneven, with both declining male dominated and growing female dominated sectors, whose effect is partly counterbalanced by growing male dominated and declining female dominated sectors.
In recent years there has been much political debate in the popular media about the fate of the nuclear family in the UK. Very little work has been done, using population data, to actually demonstrate the decline, or indeed continuance of this type of household formation. In this paper we use Office for National Statistics (ONS) longitudinal census data, from England and Wales, to explore the formation, dissolution and continuance of the nuclear family household over a twenty year period (1981- 2001). Our findings indicate a continuing importance of this household arrangement, however routes into and trajectories from nuclear family households take different forms for men and women across the life course.
This paper focuses on the role of ethnicity and class in generating earnings inequality in Israel. Unlike previous studies on inequality of opportunities in Israel, in this paper I compare the earnings of five ethnic groups: European Jews (Ashkenazi), Asian-African Jews (Sephardi), Muslim Palestinians, Christian Palestinians and Druze Palestinians. In addition, both men and women are taken into account. The analysis, which is based on data obtained from the 1983 and 1995 Israeli population censuses, has revealed that in Israel, class variations resulting from the differentiation of employment contracts in the labour market, appear to have played a much more important role over time in producing earnings inequality. However, at the same time, it was found that class in this context is highly related to ethnicity, thereby suggesting that class and ethnicity are interwoven. While it seemed that to some extent, class plays a similar role among men and women, the role of ethnicity among men was much more central than it was among women, in the allocation of people into class positions.
This paper is based on recent primary research interviews with women who were active in the 1984-1985 miners\' strike. The paper claims that one depiction of women\'s engagement in the strike has been privileged above others: activist women were miners\' wives who embarked on a linear passage from domesticity and political passivity into politicisation and then retreated from political engagement following the defeat. This depiction is based on a masculinist view which sees political action as organisationally based and which fails to recognise the importance of small scale and emotional political work which women did and continue to undertake within their communities. In reality many women were politically active and aware prior to the dispute though not necessarily in a traditional sense. Women\'s activism is characterised by continuity: those women who have maintained activism were likely to have been socially and/or politically active prior to the dispute.
Extended review of: Cohen, P. (1997) Rethinking the Youth Question: Education, Labour and Cultural Studies. London: Macmillan. Furlong, A. and F. Cartmel (1997) Young People and Social Change: Individualisation and Late Modernity. Buckingham and Philadelphia: Open University Press. Roche, J. and S. Tucker (1996) Youth in Society: Contemporary Theory, Policy and Practice. London: Sage, in association with The Open University. Wyn, J. and J. White (1996) Rethinking Youth. London: Sage.
This paper contributes to the ongoing debate on social mobility in contemporary Britain among economists and sociologists. Using the 1991 British Household Panel Survey and the 2005 General Household Survey, we focus on the mobility trajectories of male and female respondents aged 25-59. In terms of absolute mobility, we find somewhat unfavourable trends in upward mobility for men although long-term mobility from the working class into salariat positions is still in evidence. An increase in downward mobility is clearly evident. In relation to women, we find favourable trends in upward mobility and unchanging downward mobility over the fourteen-year time period. With regard to relative mobility, we find signs of greater fluidity in the overall pattern and declining advantages of the higher salariat origin for both men and women. We consider these findings in relation to the public debate on social mobility and the academic response and we note the different preoccupations of participants in the debate. We conclude by suggesting that the interdisciplinary debate between economists and sociologists has been fruitful although a recognition of similarities, and not simply differences in position, pushes knowledge and understanding forward.
Previous findings of large absolute mobility to service I class (the "upper" part of the "salariat") can be seen as a sign of the implausibility of class cultures. However, it is argued that these findings might be due to inappropriate divisions of class. Using Swedish data, and following a Weberian definition of class, a social class schema is derived empirically from marriage tendencies. Social homogeneity (immobility and in-marriage) is found to be relatively large in the working classes and in certain subgroups of service I. One interpretation of this, and the fact that there are few inter-marriages and a low level of mobility between the working class and these subgroups of service I, is that class structure might be bipolar such that the extremes are upholders of certain norms and cultures. The possible upper classes of service I need to be better operationalised in future research. Thus, since class cultures are plausible, and since individualistic rational action theory appears to be insufficient for explaining all possible class differentials (as earlier research has indicated), future class analysis might better rely on both rational action theory and class cultural explanations.
The paper highlights the importance of the representativeness of survey samples, using the 1992 British Crime Survey as an example. The success with which different demographic characteristics are represented in the survey sample is addressed by comparison to the 1991 Census Small Area Statistics for England and Wales. In addition, biases associated with different response rates in different areas are addressed, and given the nature of the survey, the impact of an area's crime rate on its response rate is also analysed. Finally, regression modelling is used to identify whether the same variables have explanatory power in explaining differences in crime rate and response rate.
It is well-documented for most industrial-capitalist societies that despite educational expansion, class differentials in educational attainment persist. This paper seeks to understand mechanisms maintaining the class differentials by examining how two groups of middle-class parents – teachers and managers – help their children obtain an advantaged qualification. Qualitative data were collected in Hong Kong between 1996 and 1997. Given a changing employment structure, teachers and managers anticipated that their children would need at least a bachelor\'s degree in order not to become disadvantaged in the future labour market and therefore used economic, cultural, and social resources to enable their children to obtain such a qualification. However, despite their strategies, whether respondents will succeed in achieving that remains uncertain. In addition, the evidence also indicated that their strategies could be counter-productive. This points to a need for researching into possible negative impacts of strategies of middle-class parents on their children\'s academic performance and emotion. As Hong Kong is then under the Chinese rule after the 1997 handover, this study documenting strategies of middle-class parents for their children\'s education under the British rule could serve as a reference for future comparisons.
This paper outlines an analysis of the Kosovan war of 1998-99 in the light of historical-sociological perspectives on the contemporary state and on war and genocide. It argues that Kosova poses new challenges which threaten to relegitimate war as a means of politics, after the earlier implication of total war with genocide, unless alternative forms of international intervention are developed.
This paper introduces the idea of Web 2.0 to a sociological audience as a key example of a process of cultural digitization that is moving faster than our ability to analyse it. It offers a definition, a schematic overview and a typology of the notion as part of a commitment to a renewal of description in sociology. It provides examples of wikis, folksonomies, mashups and social networking sites and, where possible and by way of illustration, examines instances where sociology and sociologists are featured. The paper then identifies three possible agendas for the development of a viable sociology of Web 2.0: the changing relations between the production and consumption of internet content; the mainstreaming of private information posted to the public domain; and, the emergence of a new rhetoric of \'democratisation\'. The paper concludes by discussing some of the ways in which we can engage with these new web applications and go about developing sociological understandings of the new online cultures as they become increasingly significant in the mundane routines of everyday life.
Peer reviewed: This paper explores the reality of patriarchal privileging and resistance within a society which has undergone dramatic change over the past twenty-five years. Using Foucault's ideas of power and resistance (1980; 1988; 1989) and Connell's ideas of the patriarchal dividend (1995 a and b) it first explores these key concepts. It then draws together a wide range of empirical evidence to document the ongoing reality of patriarchal privileging in the world of paid work and the family in Ireland. It then however identifies and illustrates fourteen analytically different types of resistance including the creation of an alternative power base in the family; facilitating the emergence of new child rearing structures; naming the 'enemy within'; naming aspects of culture which are not 'woman friendly'; whistle blowing; targeting key structures; negative power etc. It concludes by suggesting (drawing on Acker, 1998) that although the institutional structures reflect the needs and wishes of powerful men, choices can still be made by individual men and women.
Following the Civil Rights legislation enacted in the 1960s in the United States, the notion of \'colorblind\' racism has emerged within sociological literature. It has been used as a theoretical tool to explain the continuing presence of racism and racialised inequalities within a society where its significance in determining social location is increasingly disavowed. The use of the term has been restricted to those describing the politics of racism in America. However, this paper will consider the applicability of \'colorblind racism\' to the UK context. The 2001 riots marked an important watershed in \'race relations\' in Britain. They have been widely cited as marking the point at which New Labour retreated from the celebration of diversity in pursuit of a more monocultural, more \'cohesive\' society. Through an analysis of the governmental response to the events of summer 2001 it will be suggested that notions of \'colorblind\' racism can offer interesting insights into the development of the politics of \'race\' in Britain. Drawing on Bonilla-Silva\'s (2006) elucidation of the key features of this dominant form of racism in the US, the extent to which these same factors guided New Labour\'s response will be considered. It will be argued that while it is important to recognize the different patterns of racial formation in the US and the UK, the government reaction to the 2001 riots demonstrates a broad adherence to the key tenets of colorblind racism. This is evident in Labour\'s failure to effectively engage with racism or the persistence of racial inequality.
This paper examines the popular reaction to the implementation of licensing reforms in England and Wales in 2005. It characterises these events as an episode of moral panic and seeks an ideological explanation for this alarmist response. Utilising historical perspectives, the paper draws particular attention to the formative importance of the Nineteenth Century in terms of constructing contemporary public attitudes towards alcohol. This paper draws on existing sociology and social history to highlight an international and chronological pattern which suggests a connection between Victorian temperance movements and ascetic brands of Protestantism. Through a consideration of Max Weber, E.P. Thompson and a variety of primary sources, an interpretive explanation for this pattern is provided. Legal evidence, showing the growth of alcohol regulation and the partial enforcement of temperance codes of behaviour, is then used to illustrate the survival and secularisation of temperance views from the Nineteenth Century onwards. An interpretive analysis of public discourse surrounding licensing reform in 2005 provides empirical support for this argument. Attitudes to alcohol exhibited during this episode were found to bear qualitative similarities to Calvinist-inspired temperance beliefs. The paper argues that ascetic Protestant attitudes to alcohol have achieved a wide currency and now occupy a hegemonic position within secular British society. The public reaction to the implementation of the Licensing Act 2003 is thus reinterpreted as a moral panic largely constructed by ascetic Protestant beliefs.
Sometimes an unexpected event or crisis can occur that is of sociological interest where for a period of time a particular society is faced with a number of challenges. This sociological impression will explore one such event, the New York blackout of 2003, by developing a 'street level snapshot' of the experiences of New Yorkers during the power outage. The majority of material for this impression was gathered by acting as sociological flâneur, guided by the ideas of Benjamin, Simmel, Parks, and Jacobs into understanding the experience of modernity and city life by taking to the streets and directly observing what transpires. Further material from the internet and the media is used to augment the personal observation. Finally, drawing on the sociology of emotions a speculative discussion attempts to make sense of what was observed particularly the strong upsurge in emotion and the passionate way in which New Yorkers kept their neighbourhoods and city functioning. Throughout the essay reflexive and reflective comments will be made concerning the sociologist carrying out 'spontaneous' research into temporary but significant events.
Disaster diplomacy examines whether or not disasters induce international cooperation amongst enemy countries. The 26 December, 2004 tsunami around the Indian Ocean impacted more than a dozen countries, many with internal or external conflicts, thereby providing an opportunity to explore how the same event affects different countries in different disaster diplomacy contexts. Two groups of case studies are presented: those from which few disaster diplomacy outcomes are likely and those which warrant monitoring and investigation. Indonesian tsunami diplomacy is used as a case study for further discussion, in terms of both American-Indonesian relations and the conflict in Aceh. Further work is suggested in the tsunami's aftermath in order to understand better the disaster diplomacy outcomes which are feasible and why they rarely yield positive, lasting results.
July 2005 saw 225,000 people march through Edinburgh in the city's largest ever demonstration. Their cause was the idealistic injunction to \'Make Poverty History\' (MPH). This paper presents an analysis of the MPH march, focusing particularly on the interplay between protestors, the police and the media. Drawing on ongoing research, it interrogates the disjunction between projected and actual outcomes, paying particular scrutiny to media speculation about possible violence. It also asks how MPH differed from previous G8 protests and what occurred on the day itself. The paper considers three key aspects: the composition and objectives of the marchers (who was on the march, why they were there and what they did?), the constituency that the protestors were trying to reach, and the media coverage accorded to the campaign. The intent underlying this threefold focus is an attempt to understand the protestors and what motivated them, but also to raise the question of how \'successful\' they were in communicating their message.
The ESRC\'s (2010) Framework for Research Ethics extends the remit of its 2005 research ethics framework in three significant ways: the system is to be fully mandatory and it will no longer possible to make the case that no out of the ordinary ethical issues arise; the Research Ethics Committees (RECs) set up under the ESRC\'s 2005 document have extended remit, including reviewing all research proposals accepted by the ESRC and other funding bodies; and funding will depend on the REC review, with its purview extending through a project\'s life. The 2010 document is reviewed in detail and the conclusion is drawn that it is not fit for purpose. Six wider issues raised by the FRE document are discussed: the consultation process by the ESRC was insufficient and the informed consent of the social science community was not obtained; the ethics creep involved will involve unnecessary bureaucratisation; the RECs will operate without expert discipline-specific knowledge using unethical generalist criteria; the overall effects long-term will be deleterious to the research base; the FRE document unacceptably ignores the professional associations and their research ethics guidelines; and the ESRC\'s system of the expert peer review of funding applications will be undermined.
The wave of social protest that swept across England in August 2011 has predominantly been explained by political elites through appeals to various approaches that have in common individualistic frameworks of reference. Issues related to the material condition of society are either little analysed or, among the political elite, ruled out as an explanation of it. However, it is clear from both the historical literature on social protest and the contemporary literature on relationships between crime and inequality that explanations ignoring inequalities, particularly economic inequalities, are problematic.
The 2011 riots have already been the most commented upon riots of recent decades. Casting some doubt about generalised and holistic explanations and responses, we seek to locate the events in a matrix of race, policing and politics. This approach enables us to identify shifts in political discourse around the riots from the simple to the complex, as well as significant changes between how the events of 2011 and earlier riots have been 'read'. We seek to unravel some of these strands, to show how race, place and political discourse have been located in the reaction to the riots. In drawing attention to important unevenness, we argue that sociologists need to focus on both continuities and changes since the 1980s.
This paper argues that in order to be properly comprehended, the 'riots' of August 2011 must be located in the context of an increasingly consumerist society. The suggestion is that the riots represented conformity to the underlying values of a consumerist society, if, momentarily, not its norms. To make this case, the riots are divided into three constituent 'moments'; the initial, the acquisitive and the nihilistic. Themes and ideas from the literature on consumer culture and crime are applied to the latter two.
The recent war in Iraq has generated much discussion about the role of the news media in representing war. This piece calls for greater sociological intervention into this debate. In particular, it cautions against exaggerating the ideological effects of media propaganda on public attitudes to war. The decision to go to war generated unusually high levels of public opposition. In times of war it is commonplace for policymakers and military personnel to attack the media for bias and credit them with a determining influence on public opinion. However, this piece suggests that there is a need for greater critical engagement with developments in audience research. Also, current debates also exhibit considerable confusion over concepts of ‘objectivity’, ‘impartiality’ and ‘bias’. Recent sociological work reveals both the complexities arising from the ambiguity of concepts of ‘objectivity’ and ‘bias’, and the need for a more fine-grained approach towards media effects.
The lesbian and gay movement in the UK has been the least successful of the major 'new social movements' (NSMs) in achieving social policy and legislative change, and Section 28 of the Local Government Act (1988) remains in force as a major symbol both of Conservative opposition to such changes and also of wider and institutionalised discrimination. Around 'New Labour' proposals to repeal Section 28, a 'moral panic' has taken place, and sections of the popular press have been 'players within' the amplification processes involved. Reporting of 'what has been happening' has suggested apparently close ongoing links exist between disparate groups opposed to repeal and largely homogenous views about the moral wrongness of homosexuality as such tantamount to a 'New Right' hegemonic phenomenon. However, a closer look suggests there is actually important differences between the groupings involved and the 'close links' are actually artefacts of 'creative reporting'; and that these events are better characterised in terms of a 'backlash' to the specificities involved rather than a 'New Right' blanket response.
We investigate the reasons why some people, and some countries, place greater or lesser emphasis on the idea that membership of a nation is tied to ancestry. We test the influence of two key factors - economic development and ethnic division. Economic development is strongly associated with support for the ancestry criterion of national membership. Those who are more economically secure, who grew up in wealthier nations, or live in a wealthier nation currently, are less likely to emphasise ancestry as an important factor in national identity. Those who have grown up since mass immigration to a country begun are also less likely to emphasise ancestry. However, we find no evidence that historical conditions are correlated with current national identity beliefs.
Using data from a 1998 SHRM survey, this study examines the prevalence and nature of diversity initiatives in Fortune 500 companies. The rhetoric of diversity in industry suggests that a diverse workforce is good for business. Diversity is typically defined in terms of such demographic factors as race, age, gender, ethnic background, and, to a lessor extent, sexual orientation. Our analysis shows that most Fortune 500 companies have some diversity initiatives, but that these initiatives are disproportionately aimed at certain minority groups. Thus, there appears to be a political economy of diversity in which some categories of diversity are valued over others. We place this analysis within the larger context of a changing economic, occupational and political factors affecting the diversity movement.
Transnational corporations (TNCs) have a central role to play in globalization. At the same time, globalization carries risks for the corporation, and not all of those associated with TNCs may support globalization. While much of the globalization literature suggests that corporations are globalizing their production systems, or contributing to a global culture, there is little exploration of how globalization is framed and mediated within the corporate community itself. This article employs a semiotic analysis of images and texts from annual reports of Fortune Global 500 corporations. It argues that globalizing TNCs generate several narratives geared to persuading employees, shareholders, business partners and members of the financial community of the merits of globalization. They can be divided into at least three types geared to brand, industry leadership or organization. The narratives all have common themes to the extent that they are rooted in a customer focus, but they also demonstrate multiple and sometimes ambiguous global aspirations and expectations.
The article explores processes of identity construction. It specifically looks into respondents' images of the visiting researcher. Using my own experience as a Colombian researcher in the shanty towns of northern Mexico, the paper looks into respondents' responses to non-white, non-western researchers while doing fieldwork. My own fieldwork experiences revealed that local images of Colombians as 'southerners' conflicted with local expectations about researchers. This situation forced me to adopt the identity respondents felt best suited me locally. Besides stating that not all researchers in the developing world are white, western and in a powerful position, the paper highlights that the construction of identities takes place 'through' and not outside difference. This process allowed me to understand the contradictory processes that lead to successful feminist alliances being formed with the 'other' in a research context.
This is an exploratory paper that aims to stimulate a dialogue between those interested in two particular spaces in society: the museum and the cemetery. Using empirical evidence from two research projects, the paper considers similarities and differences between the two sites, which are further explored through theoretical ideas about the social life of things and the agency of absence. Examining the materiality of these spaces, the paper addresses the role of objects in these two spaces and their respective associations with death, either through the dead themselves or the representation of those who have once lived. In particular, it explores the \'presence of absence\' through three key points: its spatiality, its materiality, and its agency. Museums and cemeteries are, in this sense, directly comparable, as both spaces are shaped by and built upon the practice of making the absent present. Called \'heterotopic\' by Foucault (1986) in that they are layered with multiple meanings, this paper will also argue for an understanding of museums and cemeteries as being able to transcend absence. Underpinning this is the belief that there remains much scope for future connections to be made between these two sites, theoretically, politically and practically.
We use the British Household Panel Study to analyse change over birth cohorts in patterns of social mobility in England, Scotland and Wales. In several respects, our conclusions are similar to those reached by other authors on the basis of wider comparisons. There has been a large growth in non-manual employment since the middle of the twentieth century. This led first to a rise in upward mobility, but, as parents of younger people have now themselves benefited from that, has more recently forced people downward from their middle-class origins. These changes have largely not been a growth in relative social mobility: it is change induced by the occupational structure. The conclusions apply both to current class and to the class which people entered when they first entered the labour market. The patterns of relative mobility could not be explained statistically by measures of the respondents\' educational attainment. The conclusions were broadly the same for the three countries, but there was some evidence that in the youngest cohort (people born between 1967 and 1976) experience of people from Wales was diverging from that of people from England and Scotland, with rather greater amounts of downward mobility. There were two methodological conclusions. Out-migration from country of birth within the UK did not seem to make any important difference to our results. That is encouraging for analysis of surveys confined to one of the three countries, because it suggests that losing track of out-migrants would not distort the results. The second methodological conclusion is that the comparative study of social mobility can find interesting topics to investigate at social levels lower than that of the state, here the comparison of the three countries which make up Britain.
This article looks at the political and conceptual process of trust drawing on a research project exploring the experiences of people who speak little English and thus need interpreters in order to access services. We examine posited solidarity/diversity tensions in the politicisation of notions of general social trust, and debates about the process of trust, including distinctions between abstract and personal trust, the role of familiarity, and the concept of 'active trust', as well as challenges to the functional link between interpretation and expectation in trust. We address the increasing professionalisation of interpreting service provision based on abstract trust, and use case studies to illustrate the complexity of the articulation of trust in interpreters, often involving personal trust, as well as strategies for managing distrust. We conclude that, while trust may be a personal praxis, it takes place in a particular socio-political context that involves asymmetrical relations that focus on particular, minority ethnic, groups.
The prevalence of animals in society, and recognition of the multiplicity of roles they play in human social life, has invoked significant interest from certain subsections of the social sciences. However, research in this area, to date, tends to be at an empirical and inherently psychological level. It is the contention of the current article that we need to redress this imbalance if we are to create a legitimate space wherein sociology can be used to investigate human-animal relations/interactions. In order to achieve this, an examination of the foundations of sociological thought is needed. This is explored in the current article through the use of one substantive, highly topical, subject in human-animal studies: the human-animal abuse 'link.'
This paper will explore ways in which self identified survivors of childhood sexual abuse and false memory syndrome appropriate therapeutic discourses which both encourage women to hold themselves responsible for their own unhappiness and provide a way to alleviate that responsibility. Although I look critically at women\'s engagement with abuse narratives the intention is not to enter the \'recovered memory wars\' but rather to explore the consequences of locating adult victims of childhood sexual abuse within a therapeutic rather than a political framework. Within this therapeutic culture priority is given to self-actualisation and personal fulfilment and the self is increasingly seen as a project to be worked on. A pervasive theme within the therapeutic literature is a particular linkage between women\'s \'inferiority\' and their oppression. Women are not only shown an array of problems from which they suffer together with self-improving solutions but are encouraged to seek the \'hidden\' causes of these problems in the past and to probe further and further back rather than look to the material conditions of their adult lives for explanations. Drawing on interview material I will look at how women invest in discourses which provide an explanation for hidden knowledge of abuse and may offer a way to alleviate responsibility but which also encourage them to (re)construct themselves as sick, damaged and ultimately responsible for their own unhappiness.
Abused women are a very sensitive group with whom to conduct research. As such, researchers need to be aware of this inherent sensitivity and should design their research accordingly. The ethics of social research, the implications of conducting research on sensitive topics, the possible exposition of the participants to stressful moments for the sake of the interview are important issues to be taken under serious consideration by the researcher prior to undertaking the fieldwork. However, during the fieldwork the researcher might face issues which she had paid less attention to while designing the inquiry, namely issues of dealing with the anxiety that the interviews would expose on herself too.It is well recognised in the literature that the rights and safety of the participants must be of paramount importance to the researchers in every research project. Still, the researcher's 'safety' should not be underestimated or be given little attention. This paper, based on the experience of conducting research with abused women documents the issue of researcher's anxiety which was a salient issue throughout the study. Documenting the research process, from the research design through to issues which arose after the fieldwork, the paper draws attention on the issue of anxiety experienced by the researcher in various stages of the research, including prior, during and after leaving the field, and provides ways that these were dealt with.
The paper addresses racism, discrimination, equal opportunities policies, institutional cultures, and the pressures of markets in influencing the position of minority ethnic groups in academia. The representation and position of minority ethnic groups among academic staff in UK higher education has previously been little studied. Data from the Higher Education Statistical Agency records and from new surveys are presented and analysed. Representation is low especially among some groups, but is growing among younger sections of academic staff, and is much higher in some academic subject areas than others. Analysis of terms of contract and of seniority by ethnic groups suggests that minorities are significantly less well placed within the profession. An important distinction is between British and non- British nationality in assessing ethnicity and academic posts; non- British staff may be seen as part of a global labour market, especially in fixed term contract research work. The evidence is evaluated alongside a re-exploration of principal models for explaining ethnic disadvantage in labour markets: closure, discrimination, equal opportunities, institutional racism and markets. The authors conclude that a combination of the last two models offers the best prospect of a full explanation.