Using data from the MRC National Survey of Health and Development (the British 1946 birth cohort), we take a life course approach with a sociology of mental health framework to examine the relationship between adolescent affect and adult social integration. The results suggest that being observed as anxious or sad in adolescence has long-term effect on adult social integration. These associations are not explained by adult mental health or socioeconomic status, for the most part. The results demonstrate support for social selection processes between adolescent mental health and adult social outcomes and suggest a disparate effect of type of adolescent affect on adult social outcomes.
Recently, there has been a proliferation of studies investigating the relationship between diversity and outcomes such as social cohesion and civic mindedness. This article addresses several common problems in this field and, using data for British neighbourhoods, elaborates on the experiences of both white British and ethnic minority respondents. We conclude that, if anything, diversity should be encouraged to cement the integration progress of migrants and foster stronger identification with Britain in the second generation. Deprivation at the neighbourhood level along with individual factors such as fear of crime is a much stronger predictor of deterioration of the civic spirit than diversity. Bridging contacts have the expected strong positive association with cohesion outcomes; and contrary to policy concerns no strong negative impact is observed for associational bonding among minority ingroupers.
This article introduces some early data from the Leverhulme Trust-funded research programme, 'The Impact of the Diasporas on the Making of Britain: evidence, memories, inventions'. One of the interdisciplinary foci of the programme, which incorporates insights from genetics, history, archaeology, linguistics and social psychology, is to investigate how genetic evidence of ancestry is incorporated into identity narratives. In particular, we investigate how 'applied genetic history' shapes individual and familial narratives, which are then situated within macro-narratives of the nation and collective memories of immigration and indigenism. It is argued that the construction of genetic evidence as a 'gold standard' about 'where you really come from' involves a remediation of cultural and archival memory, in the construction of a 'usable past'. This article is based on initial questionnaire data from a preliminary study of those attending DNA collection sessions in northern England. It presents some early indicators of the perceived importance of being of Viking descent among participants, notes some emerging patterns and considers the implications for contemporary debates on migration, belonging and local and national identity.
This paper's purpose is to highlight key sociological issues, that come to light when 'the body' becomes a theoretical site in reproductive genetics. By positioning the body as a central feature in this analysis, the paper: (1) describes how a mechanistic view of the body continues to be privileged in this discourse and the effects of this view; (2) examines how reproductive limits are practised on the gendered body through a feminised regime of reproductive asceticism and the discourse on shame; and (3) explores the social effects and limitations of reproductive genetics in relation to disability as a cultural representation of impaired bodies. The central assumption concerning reproductive genetics are that it appears within surveillance medicine as a part of a disciplinary process in society's creation of a genetic moral order, that it is mobilised by experts for the management of reproductive bodies and that it constructs a limited view of the body. Thus, the way reproductive genetics operatives tends to hide the fact that what may appear as 'defective genes' is a result of a body's interaction not only with the environment but also gendered social practices valorised by difference as well as rigid definitions of health and illness. The research is from a 1995-96 European study of experts interviewed in four countries.
Analysis of the scientific evaluation of medicine safety has been neglected in sociology. This article examines the influence of interests and values on scientists' safety evaluation of the medical drug Opren in industrial and government contexts. By systematically identifying inconsistencies in the technical justifications of industrial and government scientists it is argued that the concept of interest-based bias is crucial for explaining the development of medical knowledge. Specifically, evidence is adduced to suggest that industrial interests biased scientists' production and interpretation of medical knowledge about Opren with potentially adverse consequences for patients' interests in safe medication. The Mertonian `ethos' of science is seen to have very little application to the work of scientists in the context of drug regulation, giving way to institutional instrumentalism. The paper concludes by proposing an alternative system for the clinical testing and regulation of drugs which could discourage such industrial bias and provide greater patient protection.
The public debate following the Warnock Report has furnished the interpretative context in which embryo research and the technology of assisted reproduction have begun to be institutionalised in Britain. Social scientists have been quick to examine this debate and to assess how far it has fostered changes in the established patterns of, and ideals of, kinship and family relationships. In the present study documentary evidence is used to argue that the central theme of the public debate was not so much the new forms of social parenthood made possible by assisted reproduction, on which analysts have tended to concentrate, as the supposed threat to the continuation of ordinary family life posed by what many people saw as the creation of real, living persons outside the kinship system. Widespread controversy over this issue was generated by the existence of long-standing and contrasting definitions of family membership. Nevertheless, all the major groupings involved in the controversy justified their views and their practical proposals by linking them to the maintenance of the conventional, small scale, heterosexual family unit. Thus the overall effect of the public debate has not been to promote widespread consideration of new kinship patterns, but to ensure that the research and technology of assisted reproduction have been accepted and bureaucratically organised as social practices consonant with a conservative ideal of normal family life.
This study examines the intergenerational social mobility of different ethnic groups in Britain between 1971 and 1991.The small body of previous research on intergenerational mobility and ethnicity in Britain has not distinguished between premigration and post-migration social class, and thus has been unable to relate findings directly to studies of intergenerational social mobility or to accounts of the changing class composition of different ethnic groups within Britain. This study, instead, focuses on social mobility between generations as it is experienced by different groups in the same country, over the same time period and over the same age range. Using data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Longitudinal Study, this study describes the different patterns of class mobility experienced by a single cohort of children aged 8-15 in 1971 from each of three ethnic groups: white non-migrants, Indians and Caribbeans. It finds that the impact of class origin varies with ethnicity. However, the impact of ethnicity is less salient in determining outcomes for women than it is for men.
This paper reports on the development of social network analysis, tracing its origins in classical sociology and its more recent formulation in social scientific and mathematical work. It is argued that the concept of social network provides a powerful model for social structure, and that a number of important formal methods of social network analysis can be discerned. Social network analysis has been used in studies of kinship structure, social mobility, science citations, contacts among members of deviant groups, corporate power, international trade exploitation, class structure, and many other areas. A review of the formal models proposed in graph theory, multidimensional scaling, and algebraic topology is followed by extended illustrations of social network analysis in the study of community structure and interlocking directorships.
This article looks at the ways in which young people reflexively construct their self within a rapidly changing society. Drawing on texts written by young people aged 14–17 years, it explores the existence of patterns identified by theorists of late modernity as regards relationships, fateful moments, a search for authenticity, life plans and life styles and looks at gender-differentiated trends in these areas drawing on a ‘weak cultural feminist tradition’ (Evans, 1995: 91).These texts are part of a sub-sample of approximately 34,000 texts written by young people in a school context in response to an invitation to ‘tell their life stories’ by writing a page ‘describing themselves and the Ireland they inhabit’.The article suggests that gender is a repressed but crucially important framework in the construction of young people's sense of self, while also identifying areas where consumer society is eroding gender difference.
Little attention has been given to the impact as opposed to the causes of revolution. After considering the social background of students in Tsarist Russia, we examine the effects of the Bolshevik Revolution on the recruitment of students by analysing their social origin, sex and Party affiliation in various institutions of higher education in the first eleven years after 1917. Four main points are made. (i) While radical changes in the class composition of the student body occurred, it is shown that a social gradation of institutions and differential chances of selection persisted, though in more subtle forms; (ii) The placement of workers and peasants in higher educational institutions through special workers' courses was more successful in institutions related to production than in others; (iii) The pre-revolutionary social background considerably influenced aspirations and expectations and helps to explain the post-revolutionary amelioration of the educational opportunities available for women; (iv) Allegiance to the Party was correlated to social background and to type of educational institution. It is concluded that the institutionalization of the values which are held by revolutionaries when in power meets with resistance, particularly from traditional cultural orientations. The definition of revolutionary transformation, therefore, must include in Kornhauser's terms not only wide scope, rapid, developmental and purposive change but must also take into account the persistence of some pre-revolutionary aspirations and tendencies in a period of transition from one social order to the next.
Little is known about the changing techniques and technologies for the recording of unstructured interviews. This article traces the evolution of devices for recording what is said in unstructured interviews, and looks at the impact of technological change on the interview process.
The colonial status of black students and workers resident in England in the early 1950s has been seen as contributing to their disadvantaged position. This view is challenged by reference to field studies of the behaviour of colonial students and black workers in the early 1950s, and by drawing upon the findings of a government survey of white attitudes conducted in 1951 which has hitherto been confidential. The English regarded all coloured people, not just colonials, as inferior culturally and socially, but they also believed that the possession of colonies benefited their country and that they should therefore be helpful towards colonial visitors; their helpfulness often took the form of conditional philanthropy. In 1951 only 38 per cent opposed free entry for coloured colonial workers and in 1956 71 per cent said they should have preference over European foreigners. Changes in the class composition of the New Commonwealth minority probably increased the negative social significance of a dark complexion. Up to the late 1950s, colonial workers were only rarely perceived as competing for jobs that white workers wanted. Then the pace of decolonization increased. Britain applied to join the EEC, and immigration was restricted (at first by administrative measures). The ending of colonial status made it possible for the English to view the immigrants as a labour force whose status should be determined by considerations of domestic rather than Commonwealth policy. Since skin colour is no longer a sign of a constitutional difference the English are having to ask what defines their own ethnicity.
This article uses material from a large sample of 11-year-old children’s essays about their imagined lives at age 25 to explore the ways in which these children constructed a gendered identity and gendered future. These essays were written in 1969 as part of the National Child Development Study. The article provides a preliminary quantitative analysis of the themes within the children’s essays and how these were patterned by gender and social class. It then goes on to consider the ways in which the children used gender as a resource to establish and maintain their own narrated identities. This article, therefore, aims to go beyond a simple description of the differences in the style and content of essays written by boys and girls from different social class backgrounds to conduct analysis which adopts the spirit of recent work on the performance of gender and class.
Completion of the European Community's single internal market by 31 December 1992 is intended to secure the free movement of goods, services, capital and labour within the Community. This article examines the 1992 project with special reference to harmonisation and variation among the twelve members of the EC, `Social Europe' and the Social Charter, `Citizens' Europe', and the wider European context following the collapse of state socialism in Eastern Europe. It is argued that the interaction between the neo-liberalism of the single market, other EC policies, and the various historic practices of the twelve will generate highly complex outcomes for the Community as a whole and for individual members. Novel social and political forms - some of them hard even to conceptualise - may be expected. The same may be said of Eastern Europe. Throughout the continent sociologists will have an indispensible part to play in making the provenance and character of the various outcomes understandable to all concerned.
Drawing on archival materials and personal testimonies, I reconstruct the conditions under which Bourdieu came to receive the Gold Medal of the National Center for Scientific Research, France’s highest science prize, in 1993 as a signal case study of the existential predicament and institutional trappings of scholarly consecration. Bourdieu’s award speech and the ceremony at which he read it present a triple interest for the history and sociology of sociology. They illustrate how a shaping figure in the discipline personally experienced, reflexively viewed, and practically navigated the nexus of science, authority, and power. They mark 1993 as a pivot-year in Bourdieu’s intellectual evolution, leading to a new agenda foregrounding the state as paramount symbolic power, the alchemy of group formation, and the unfinished promise of democratic politics; and they help explain why he ventured more forthrightly into civic debate in the 1990s. Bourdieu’s ambivalent acceptance of the prize also illustrates his conception of the ‘Realpolitik of reason’ and put an emphatic end to the eclipse of Durkheim by restoring sociology to its rightful place at the scientific zenith in the country of its birth.
This article examines South Korean media coverage of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games and concerns the discourse around the unification of North and South Korea, with the emergence of a unitary nationalism as the main theme during this period. Unitary Korean nationalism was becoming a dominant form of discourse on inter-Korean relations and was evident in the South Korean media coverage of the Olympics. Despite this, there exists a gap between sporting nationalism and political nationalism. The mood of reconciliation between the two Koreas is less evident in politics than in sport due to the ongoing political tensions and conflicts in the Korean peninsula. Wider tensions evident in the period leading up to the London 2012 Olympic Games reinforce this conclusion.
This article is based on a cross-national qualitative study of homeless and street-involved youth living within Olympic host cities. Synthesizing a Lefebvrian spatial analysis with Debord’s concept of ‘the spectacle’, the article analyses the spatial experiences of homeless young people in Vancouver (host to the 2010 Winter Olympics) and draws some comparisons to London (host to the 2012 Summer Olympics). Tracing encounters with police, gentrification and Olympic infrastructure, the article assesses the experiences of homeless youth in light of claims made by Olympic proponents that the Games will ‘benefit the young’. By contrast, the authors argue that positive Olympic legacies for homeless and street-involved young people living within host cities are questionable.
Olympic analyses typically depend heavily on perspectives built from macro processes characteristically rooted in political economy. Using survey data of city residents gathered at six different points in time during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, this article proposes a focus on what happens within the host city during the Games. While the Olympics were the centre of much debate and controversy before the Games, the data show that attitudes towards the Games became much more favorable thereby providing hard evidence that the Olympics had an experiential urban impact. Regression models revealed that attending free unticketed events and supporting the Liberal party in the last provincial election were the best predictors of positive attitudes towards the Games. It is concluded that the Olympics represent a form of public policy which generates responses related to socio-political factors while also being an interactional event transforming local attitudes towards the Games.
A sophisticated understanding of human rights must look at ways in which conflicts between competing rights are negotiated. This article undertakes a case study of the interrelationship of rights related to religion and sexuality in societies, in the context of inequality between heterosexual and homosexual persons. It analyses recent Church of England guidance on appointing bishops in relation to the Equality Act 2010 and its religious exemptions to non-discrimination provisions. I investigate whether formal Church teaching and the guidance owe more to heteronormativity than the purely scriptural mandate that is claimed. I argue that the Equality Act’s preference for religion rights over sexuality rights in the discrimination exemptions for organised religions, and the Act’s understanding of what counts as a religious conviction, are better understood as a de-prioritisation of sexuality rights that reflects the prevailing structural inequalities of heteronormative secular and religious social worlds.
Within this article, I focus on a number of productive scholarly avenues to which sociological analysis of London 2012 might want to attend. Understanding major sporting events – and thus the Olympic Games – as inextricably entangled with the media-industrial complex, I suggest London 2012 as a commodity spectacle that will emphasize gleaming aesthetics, a (sporting) city and nation collapsed into (simple) tourist images, and the presentation of a particular expression of self within the logics of the global market. In so doing, and by peeking behind the seductive, corporate-inspired veil of material and symbolic regeneration, image, strategy and legacy, we, as a field, can ask crucial questions about whose histories, whose representations and which peoples matter to, and for, the sporting spectacle.
Considerations of Olympic Games’ legacies have focused on economic benefits, with little consideration given to the potential legacy from the substantial number of volunteers involved. This article examines the experiences of volunteers in a programme established as a legacy of the 2002 Commonwealth Games. Its results challenge the dominant social inclusion discourse in showing that volunteering provides social inclusion benefits beyond employability by enriching volunteers’ lives and empowering them to make new choices. Recognizing and valuing this would enable ‘social inclusion’ programmes promoting volunteering at major events, such as the 2012 Olympics, to broaden their objectives.
There is a disconnection between the top-down, elite, nature of sports mega-events and the ostensible redistributive and participatory sustainable development agendas staked out by BINGOs (Business-based International Non-Governmental Organizations) such as the contemporary International Olympic Committee (IOC). Focusing specifically on the London 2012 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games, we argue that, for all the environmental technology advances offered by sports mega-events, their dominant model remains one of a hollowed-out form of sustainable development. Despite significant technical and methodological innovations in environmental stewardship, the development model of the London Olympics remains predicated on the satisfaction of transnational investment flows. We discuss what this means for claims about the staging of a ‘green’ Olympic Games.
The article presents a retrospective qualitative longitudinal analysis of experiences of education and class amongst three cohorts of Irish people who started out in difficult financial circumstances. It shows how the intersection of education and class-formation in modern Ireland was ‘realized’ in different historical periods during the 20th century. Some groups accumulated economic and cultural resources allowing them to convert education to upward social mobility during key periods, whereas others were ‘shut out’ from the project of the state. We argue that the concept of ‘experience’, understood as the realization of historically situated macro-sociological processes, provides a useful way of linking agency to structural change, bringing the strengths of macro-sociological quantitative analysis together with those of micro-sociological qualitative analysis within a longer temporal frame.
This article illustrates how Scottish health professionals involved in contemporary abortion provision construct stratified expectations about women’s reproductive decision-making. Drawing on 42 semi-structured interviews I reveal the contingent discourses through which health professionals constitute the ‘rationality’ of the female subject who requests abortion. Specifically, I illustrate how youth, age, parity and class are mobilised as criteria through which to distinguish ‘types’ of patient whose requests for abortion are deemed particularly understandable or particularly problematic. I conceptualise this process of differentiation as a form of ‘stratified reproduction’ (Colen, 1995; Ginsburg and Rapp, 1995) and argue that it is significant for two reasons. Firstly, it illustrates the operation of dominant discourses concerning abortion and motherhood in 21st-century Britain. Secondly, it extends the forms of critique which feminist scholarship has developed, to date, of the regulation of abortion provision in the UK.
For at least the past three decades, the sociology of football and its supporter cultures has been responsive to the social issues which have emerged within it. Today, the fact that fans rejoice and protest at overseas purchases of their club means that the time has come for research to reflect on elite-level English football’s position in a transnational space. In this context, this article focuses on the football supporters’ protests connected to Liverpool FC, centring on the Spirit of Shankly mobilization, and uses Manuel Castells’ theories to understand them. The argument that emerges is important for sociologists understanding the contemporary world because it illustrates the connections between local sites around the world, the internet as a tool through which collective action takes place, and discusses what ‘power’ means in these contexts.
This research note draws attention to the play of a researcher’s identity during a summer’s worth of research conducted in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. Focus is particularly directed at the position of ‘academic homecomers’, and the various ways in which different forms of their identity and ‘insiderness’ can structure research.
Calls for interdisciplinary research practice are an increasingly ubiquitous feature of contemporary academic life. However, whilst the claims made for its benefits, or limitations, are diverse in character and provenance, it is possible to identify one significant source as being related to modes of academic governance. This relation has significant effects, but is also obscured by the heterogeneity of wider claims. A critical analysis of the relation is therefore needed in order to assess its significance for sociology: however, the mode of governance in question itself poses challenges to the idea or project of sociological critique. This article therefore attempts firstly to clarify the specificity of interdisciplinarity as a feature of academic governance, and secondly, drawing on Boltanski’s recent reformulation of sociological critique, to begin a critical analysis of its significance for sociology within this particular governmental context.
Recently, Savage and Burrows argued that there is an ‘empirical crisis’ in sociology. They concluded that sociologists should abandon a focus on causality for descriptions that ‘link narrative, numbers, and images’. This article takes up their challenge by using Wordle to depict the changing focus in academic articles on food and eating since 1950. Using this illustrative example, it is argued that their call to abandon causality is problematic for three reasons. First, interpreting description necessarily depends on a causal framework. Second, since description becomes part of a mode of production in which context and meaning are inscribed, the question is not whether to reject causality in favour of description, but rather what kinds of description help to explore causality. Third, going beyond description is ethically advantageous for a critical sociological programme. The article concludes that, contrary to Savage and Burrows, description and causality go hand in hand.
This article outlines three connected trends over the past fifteen years in British social research: the establishment of a national data archive; the development of continuous and regular multi-purpose social surveys in government; and the emergence of secondary analysis as a distinctive new trend in social research. The combination of these three trends has led to an increase in academic research based on the secondary analysis of government surveys, most of it complementary to the uses made of these data inside government. Most recently collaborative research involving both research sectors has begun to emerge. These developments have helped to break down the boundaries between sociology and other social science disciplines, and also provide an avenue for a fruitful dialogue between professional social scientists in government and academic social scientists.
This research note discusses being self-conscious methodologically. It illustrates my pains to be deeply reflexive about research and academic writing. It does so with reference to a personal experience that raised, as feminist research often does, emotional as well as intellectual issues. It specifically explores the use of the first person in academic writing. Writing as ‘I’ forced comparisons between the personal and impersonal which in turn have caused me to reflect more deeply on emotive, individual and subjective analyses of personal experiences. With reference to a case study of ‘me’, this note is a reminder of the materiality and sociality of writing. It shows how social scientists have emotions about the subjects they study. Furthermore, it demonstrates implications for parental experience studies research and policy and practice in child and family social work.
Attitudes towards the power and status of the professorship are analysed among a national sample of university teachers in Britain. Discontent with both power ('professorial oligarchy') and status (the career expectation of a chair) are widespread and closely correlated. But political attitudes are more closely aligned to attitudes towards professorial power than towards professorial status. Cosmopolitanism as opposed to localism is correlated with critical attitudes towards professorial power and status. Together these attitudes suggest distinct social-academic philosophies which are linked to the social and political structure of society as well as to the changing structure of higher education.
This ethnographic research interrogates the relationship between sexuality, gender and homophobia and how they impact on 16- to 18-year-old boys in a coeducational sixth form in the south of England. Framing our research with inclusive masculinity theory, we find that, unlike the elevated rates of homophobia typically described in academic literature, the boys at ‘Standard High’ espouse pro-gay attitudes and eliminate homophobic language. This inclusivity simultaneously permits an expansion of heteromasculine boundaries, so that boys are able to express physical tactility and emotional intimacy without being homosexualized by their behaviours. However, we add to inclusive masculinity theory by showing the ways in which boys continue to privilege and regulate heterosexuality in the absence of homophobia: we find that heterosexual boundary maintenance continues, heterosexual identities are further consolidated, and the presumption of heterosexuality remains. Accordingly, we argue that even in inclusive cultures, it is necessary to examine for the processes of heteronormativity.
The assumption that immigrant workers incur a disproportionately large number of industrial accidents does not seem to have been based on specific research evidence. Accordingly, a study was carried out of the accident and personnel records of five firms in the West Midlands over a one year period. Overall figures initially appeared to confirm that male immigrant workers had higher accident rates than other workers. However, total factory rates are meaningless because of the lack of control of risk. Thus, the next stage was to compare different ethnic groups doing the same work and with the same degree of risk. But here, immigrants were consistently found to be concentrated in different jobs to indigenous workers, so that in most cases a satisfactory comparison of accident rates was impossible. In the rare instance where there were comparable numbers of different ethnic groups in the same job exhibiting different accident rates, further investigation revealed differences in risk in either the task or the environment. Thus little evidence was found to suggest that cultural background related to industrial accidents. On the contrary, an apparent confirmation of the `accident-prone immigrant' at total factory level is attributable to immigrant workers' over-representation in the more dangerous jobs.
Academics studying the British temperance movement tend to regard it as having had little effect. This article reframes the question of impact by drawing on the separation, inherent in moral regulation theory, of the law’s simple legal functions from its broader moral functions. This concentration on the discursive and persuasive faculties of the law allows an investigation of the subtler effects of different parts of the social movement. The methodology entails a longitudinal examination of developments in statutory law as well as an analysis of public discourse on alcohol in the Victorian and contemporary eras. The article concludes that particular strands of the British temperance movement had a significant, lasting impact on the legal, heuristic and moral frameworks which continue to surround drink.
This article seeks to extend work in the growing sociology of adulthood. It considers the debate that young people in the UK and other advanced industrial societies now face challenges to their adulthood; in particular, that they experience problems of social recognition. Using membership categorisation analysis (MCA) the article then illustrates how members of a sample of 23 young people who had taken a gap year, a break in their educational careers taken between leaving school/college and university, use talk about changes in their relationships with their parents during this period of their lives to accomplish an adult identity in their current context. The article considers the ramifications of these findings and the consequences for studying adulthood more generally.
Biomedical science is dependent on standardised rodents. These lab-rats and lab-mice are different from their wild cousins. Interest in the genetic basis of a variety of phenotypes has meant that lab-rodents have been bred over many decades as resources for experimental science. We focus on the use of lab-rodents as animal models in the study of single-gene human medical conditions. The animals’ status as models is not a given. Scientists calibrate animals against the medical phenomena which they are intended to represent. In turn, human medical conditions and the patients who manifest them have to be calibrated against the rodent models. The creation of animal models and their interpretation is, therefore, part of the practical work of biomedical scientists and their adjustment is a key aspect in determining when the model is good-enough.
In a 2007 article in Sociology, Gezelius offers an account of information exchange between Norwegian fishermen using game theoretic analysis of ethnographic data. In this article, I consider what his analysis reveals about using game theory in sociology. To be effective, this must combine systematic use of ethnography with effective application of game theory. In addition, the methods of simulation and evolutionary game theory are important tools to explain rich sets of norms and practices observable ethnographically.
Recent writers on autobiography and biography have questioned the extent to which the text represents a set of `facts' about `a life'. The following arguments question the extent to which the research account can be seen to represent a set of facts about the research process, in a simple and straightforward manner. Concepts problematized by writers on autobiography and biography, including authorship, self, time and memory, are used here to re-embody what will be argued is the textually disembodied knowledge contained in most research account writing. How simplistic invocations of these concepts can be seen as hinging on actually very complex textual constructions will be explored. The arguments have their source in two pieces of research writing; the first is a survey research account of some research undertaken for a master's thesis; the second was produced as a re-appraisal of that thesis, the purpose of which was to explore the more personal, autobiographical aspects of that same research process.
This article draws on the case of a UK bank to consider why branch employees tolerated conditions that impoverished their working lives. The article explores how we are defined as particular types of subject and how we turn ourselves into subjects. The particular focus is on how we simultaneously understand ourselves as economic, cultural and autonomous subjects and how this contributes to the production of consent. It is argued that our propensity to adopt complex and shifting identities, in relation to a variety of discourses, engages and constitutes us as consenting subjects.
The most familiar sociological image of the probation officer sees him firmly committed to some variant of a psycho-pathological view of deviancy in which both society and volition are disregarded. It was from this assumption that the research sprang, the purpose being to examine the treatment ideologies held by probation officers. But from focussed interviews, it was clear that explanations of deviancy offered by the probation officers were wider than anticipated, encompassing both determinist and voluntarist accounts of behaviour. It is suggested that the structural context of probation work - utilitarian justice and casework treatment notions - creates more `space' for offering a greater variety of explanations than has often been appreciated. And, in offering these explanations probation officers do not necessarily reinterpret their clients' accounts which were sometimes accepted and at other times rejected.
How the cases were explained appears to depend on the circumstances of the case. The more serious the offender's criminal history or his personal or social problems, the more likely it was that the probation officer thought in determinist terms offering an `action' account. But equally, the respondents recognised the sometimes voluntary nature .4 delinquency, though this was generally in less serious cases.
This article examines individual military identities as articulated by serving and former British military personnel. Following a review of approaches to military identities in both traditional military sociology and more contemporary sociologies of military personnel informed by post-structuralist theories, the article introduces a methodological approach to identities driven by respondents’ perspectives generated during photo-elicitation interviews. These constructions of military identities rest on: the assertions and demonstrations of professional skill, competence and expertise of the trained military operative; the significance of fictive kinship and camaraderie amongst soldiers; and the place in identity work of personal participation in events of national or global significance. Military identity, we argue, is a locally emergent phenomenon, constituted by members’ concepts of their own identity. These findings complement and develop existing sociological conceptualizations of military identities.
British Chinese identities remain under-theorized within sociology and the sociology of education – and yet they offer a potentially interesting angle to debates around the (re)production of privileges/inequalities given the growing phenomenon of Chinese educational ‘success’. British Chinese pupils’ educational success is especially interesting given the ‘working-class’ positionings of many Chinese families in Britain. In this article we explore the utility of Bourdieuian-influenced theories of social class as a lens through which to examine the identities, educational experiences and achievement of British Chinese pupils. In so doing, we aim to extend existing class theories through a more detailed consideration of the racialized context of class. We suggest that British Chinese families can be read as employing particular forms of family capital (cultural, social and economic), together with a diasporic discourse of ‘Chinese valuing of education’, to promote educational achievement. However, structural inequalities/injustices remain key concerns.
This article offers an explanation for recent trends that indicate higher numbers of young British Pakistani men and women pursue higher education compared to their white peers. Our qualitative research provides evidence for shared norms and values amongst British Pakistani families, what we term ‘ethnic capital’. However, our findings also highlight differences between families. The Bourdieuian notion of ‘cultural capital’ explains educational success among middle-class British Pakistani families. We argue, however, that insufficient attention has been given to the relation between education and ethnicity, and particularly the role of ‘ethnic capital’ in ameliorating social class disadvantage. Our research also recognizes the limitations of ‘ethnic capital’ and traces the interplay of ethnicity with gender and religion that produces differences between, and within, working-class British Pakistani families. We also emphasize how structural constraints, selective school systems and racialized labour markets, influence the effectiveness of ‘ethnic capital’ in promoting educational achievement and social mobility.
The acquisition of a sociological identity during the process of PhD supervision is reported, drawing on detailed analysis of selected observations of the supervision sessions, written communications and other aspects of interaction over the period of a single case study supervision which involved the authors as participants. The transition from an `applied' identity (in nursing) to a `pure' or `professional' identity in sociology is documented, identifying the precise interactional mechanisms for encouraging and achieving this transition. These include `bracketing' out of common-sense interpretations of behaviour that draw on the old identity and `distancing' from the normative judgements of professionals inhabiting a dispreferred, non-sociological position. Taking place in a context of enthusiastic, directive and insistent exhortation and presenting a particular and somewhat locally determined version of adequate sociological work, the study shows both supervisor and student collaborating in the social construction of a sociologist.
The narrative about the squandering lottery winner ending up alone and in debt has been shown to affect other lottery winners’ thinking about how to manage their money. Based on a narrative analysis of interviews with 14 Swedish lottery winners, this article considers the ways in which lottery winners present themselves and their post-winning life in counter-position to this story about the squandering winner. By spending their prize money responsibly in order to project moderate, non-luxury consumption, the winners are ‘rewarded’ by feelings of fortune, security, and happiness. Finally, the article discusses how this narrative about ‘the prospering winner’ might be understood in relation to norms about consumption and identity.
This paper takes issue with the thesis of embourgeoisement in all its various manifestations; from its initial presumption of manual workers having become normatively as well as materially enhanced, to its most recent version depicting the working class as beset by predatory acquisitiveness and crass hedonism to an extent where their previous social betters have found themselves compelled to adopt their `cash on the table' mentality in sheer self-defence. Yet, a comprehensive range of empirical data fails to offer objective warrant for such sets of assumption. The question of the ideological background underlying the myth of The New Acquisitiveness is then examined under three separate headings; namely those of positional exigencies; intensified contradictions; and, new corporatism. The stucture of Corporatism, with its emphasis upon functional hierarchy, social homogeneity, and organic cohesion suggests itself as the most likely explanatory framework.
Scholars have interpreted changes in sexual discourses from behaviouralist and structuralist perspectives, in the context of social movements, as expressions of power relations, among other approaches. This ar ticle advocates the study of shifting discourses of sexualities from the viewpoint of transformations in individuals’ moral orientations over time. To this end, thematically, the article recovers Foucault’s view of sexuality as a field of moral self-formation; conceptually, it follows Taylor and examines selfhood through the person’s moral sources. The article uses this framework to observe reformulations in sexual narratives across three generations of Chilean women. From grandmothers’ stories to granddaughters’ accounts, this analysis identifies a deactivation of the equation between being a ‘good woman’ and sexual disengagement. This movement reveals a change in the moral principle regulating Chilean women’s sexualities (from a morality of decency to one of authenticity) and a displacement of moral authority from the community to the person.
Human rights entered the language and practice of humanitarian aid in the mid-1990s, and since then they have worked in parallel, complemented or competed with traditional frameworks ordering humanitarianism, including humanitarian principles, refugee law, and inter-agency standards. This article positions the study of rights within a sociology of praxis. It starts from a premise that interpretation and realisation of international norms depends on actors’ social negotiation. We seek to contribute to the sociology of rights with insights from legal pluralism and to analyse human rights as a semi-autonomous field in a multiplicity of normative frameworks. Based on cumulative research into humanitarian aid in disaster response, refugee care and protracted crises, the article explores how humanitarian agencies evoke different normative frameworks to legitimate their presence and programmes. How aid is shaped through the ‘rights speak’ of aid workers and recipients alike is illuminated by cases of programmes promoting women’s rights against sexual abuse from Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
An important and mounting issue for the contemporary Olympic Movement is how to remain relevant to younger generations. Cognizant of the diminishing numbers of youth viewers, and the growing success of the X Games – the ‘Olympics’ of action sport – the International Olympic Committee (IOC) set about adding a selection of youth-oriented action sports into the Olympic programme. In this article we offer the first in-depth discussion of the cultural politics of action sports Olympic incorporation via case studies of windsurfing, snowboarding, and bicycle motocross (BMX). Adopting a post-subcultural theoretical approach, our analysis reveals that the incorporation process, and forms of (sub)cultural contestation, is in each case unique, based on a complex and shifting set of intra- and inter-politics between key agents, namely the IOC and associated sporting bodies, media conglomerates, and the action sport cultures and industries. In so doing, our article illustrates some of the complex power struggles involved in modernizing the Olympic Games in the 21st century.