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Disaster Diplomacy, Tsunami Diplomacy, Indonesia, India, Disaster Risk Reduction, Politics

Some Methodological and Epistemological Implications of Doing Feminist Research on Non-Feminist Women

Dianne Millen
Sociological Research Online 2 (3) 3

Keywords: Epistemology; Feminist Methodology; Feminist Research; Politics of Research; Postmodernist Epistemologies; Standpoint Theory
Abstract: Feminism is a powerful conceptual tool for critiquing traditional sociological research, but notions of conducting 'feminist research' may contain some unchallenged assumptions about who should be researched and which methodologies are used. Two key concepts within feminist research - empowerment of women and the equality of the research relationship - are interrogated in the light of research conducted on a population of women unsympathetic to feminism and constructions of gender. This research suggests that whilst there is a need to conduct gender-sensitive work, too orthodox a definition of feminist research may inhibit rather than facilitate research which could lead to helpful insights for women. A better strategy might be to site the conflict in epistemology, rather than methodology, and to define feminist research in terms of values which it might uphold rather than techniques it might use. Doing feminist research on unsympathetic populations can lead to conflicts between the researcher and participant's construction of the meaning of gendered experience. Researchers can justify their accounts with reference to feminist 'successor sciences' which have been postulated as an alternative to traditional positivistic rationalism. In the context of this study both feminist standpoint theory and feminist postmodernism are considered as useful justifications for the decisions taken in the research.

Some Methodological and Epistemological Issues Raised by Doing Feminist Research on Non-Feminist Women

Dianne Millen
Sociological Research Online 2 (3) 3

Keywords: Epistemology; Feminist Methodology; Feminist Research; Politics of Research; Postmodernist Epistemologies; Standpoint Theory
Abstract: Feminism is a powerful conceptual tool for critiquing traditional sociological research, but notions of conducting 'feminist research' may contain some unchallenged assumptions about who should be researched and which methodologies are used. Two key concepts within feminist research - empowerment of women and the equality of the research relationship - are interrogated in the light of research conducted on a population of women unsympathetic to feminism and constructions of gender. This research suggests that whilst there is a need to conduct gender-sensitive work, too orthodox a definition of feminist research may inhibit rather than facilitate research which could lead to helpful insights for women. A better strategy might be to site the conflict in epistemology, rather than methodology, and to define feminist research in terms of values which it might uphold rather than techniques it might use. Doing feminist research on unsympathetic populations can lead to conflicts between the researcher and participant's construction of the meaning of gendered experience. Researchers can justify their accounts with reference to feminist 'successor sciences' which have been postulated as an alternative to traditional positivistic rationalism. In the context of this study both feminist standpoint theory and feminist postmodernism are considered as useful justifications for the decisions taken in the research.

Dialectics and Modernity, Autonomy and Solidarity

JosÈ Mauricio Domingues
Sociological Research Online 2 (4) 1

Keywords: Brazil; Citizenship; Dialectics; Generative Politics; Modernity; Social Policy; Social Transformation; Solidarity
Abstract: This article connects the contemporary crisis of modernity to the crisis of the Welfare State in the West and to its so far incomplete establishment in 'Latin'-America, with special reference to Brazil. The reflexivisation of modernity is thus linked to a discussion of citizenship and social police which harks back to the definition of the principles of social policy, focusing on the possible alternative of 'generative politics' as a means of creating new forms of collective solidarity. The crisis of dialectical thought and the problem of social change are thereby tackled and a different way of understanding them is put forward, in accordance with new sorts of contemporary sociability.

The Ambiguities of Football, Politics, Culture, and Social Transformation in Latin America

Sociological Research Online 2 (4) 2

Keywords: Class Warfare; Culture; Europe; Football (Soccer); Latin America; 'Ludic'; Nationalism; Pagan Religion; Politics; Social Transformation; Sport and Games
Abstract: In this article, I attempt to highlight the relationships between football (soccer), politics, culture, and social change in Latin American societies. The essential argument of the paper is that football in Latin America has tended to reinforce nationalistic, authoritarian, class-based, and gender-specific notions of identity and culture. The few efforts of Latin American professional football clubs, individual players, and fans to resist these oppressive tendencies and 'positively' influence the wider society with public positions on pressing social and political concerns have been issue-oriented, short-term, and generally unsystematic in their assessment of the larger societal ills. In Europe, however, there has been a stronger politicization of football directed towards social change by both professional football clubs and supporters. This European tendency, like its Latin American counterparts, has also failed to tackle wider systemic and structural issues in capitalist European societies. On both continents, the 'ludic' notion of games has been undermined by the era of football professionalism, its excessive materialism, and a corresponding 'win-at-all-costs' philosophy. In the future, the world's most popular game will continue to be utilized as a political tool of mass manipulation and social control: a kind of mass secular pagan religion. As a footnote not mentioned in the essay, the 1998 World Cup in France, a worldwide event with 32 countries and an estimated 2.5 billion fans watching the matches in the stadiums and on television, will be used by the international French Evangelical Alliance called 'Sport et Foi Mondial 98' ('Sport and Faith World Cup 98') to bring the Gospel to the greatest number of people in the world: Chaplaincy work among the athletes, a Bible-Expo at a strategic location, evangelical street concerts, evangelical messages and banners in the stadiums, etc. In this instance, the new pagan and secular religion of football clashes with the traditional Christian Church - itself crippled by a loss of mass supporters and the rise of alternative secular lords. In both cases, football unwittingly acts as an agent of mass indoctrination rather than challenging established dogmas, or serving as a vehicle for deeper, systemic social change.

Genetics and the Future of Nature Politics

Phil Sutton
Sociological Research Online 4 (3) sutton

Keywords: 9 Genetic Engineering; Biotechnology; Environmentalism; Life Politics; Nature Politics; New Social Movements; Risk Society; Symbolic Protest.
Abstract: This article is concerned with the extent to which recent environmental campaigns against GM food trials are likely to be successful, and whether the symbolic protests that have typically characterised environmental activism will remain effective in the future. Although the recent direct actions have highlighted the continuing salience of 'nature' as a major source and symbol of political protest, the paper also considers whether the development of genetic technologies is creating new opportunities for collaborative collective actions across diverse new social movements. Following Beck's theory of the emergence of a 'risk society', sociologists have begun to see environmentalism and issues of 'life' politics (including genetic research and its commercialisation) as increasingly important in shaping the future direction of modern development, and the paper concludes with some thoughts on the convergence of the new 'life politics' with the nature politics of environmentalism.

Theorising Empowerment Thought: Illuminating the Relationship between Ideology and Politics in the Contemporary Era

Dod Forrest
Sociological Research Online 4 (4) forrest

Keywords: Contradiction; Decentralisation; Empowerment; Ideology; Paradox; Politics
Abstract: One response to the on-going crisis of profitability, East and West, has been to alter the form and content of supervisory relationships at work and in the community. The 1990s have been described as the empowerment era. A paradox exists however in that the idea of empowerment appeals to the rich and powerful and the poor and powerless. It is both liberatory and regulative. In this article the ideological polarity of empowerment is investigated in the context of the management of change in the workplaces of large private sector organisations and public sector welfare in Britain. It is argued that the growth of the idea of empowerment is central to politics in the contemporary era.

Financing the Market-Based Redistribution of Land to Disadvantaged Farmers and Farm Workers in South Africa: Recent Performance of the Land Reform Credit Facility

Michael Lyne, Paul Zille and Douglas Graham
Sociological Research Online 5 (2) lyne

Keywords: Land Reform Credit Facility; Politics; South Africa
Abstract: This paper compares the results of public and private land redistribution in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. It identifies problems that constrain access to the land market, and describes recent efforts to address the liquidity problem associated with mortgage finance. The Land Reform Credit Facility (LRCF) was launched by government in May 1999 to help alleviate cash flow problems on farms purchased by disadvantaged buyers and financed with mortgage loans from commercial banks. The LRCF does not offer subsidies. Rather it offers loans with deferred or graduated repayment schedules to reputable banks and venture capital investors who finance, on similar terms, equity-share projects and land purchased by aspiring farmers. The paper outlines the LRCF experience and considers reasons for its promising start. The loan target of R15 million (US$2.15 million) set for the first year was reached after only eight months.

Responding to the Racialisation of Irishness: Disavowed Multiculturalism and its Discontents

Ronit Lentin
Sociological Research Online 5 (4) lentin

Keywords: Emigration; Ethnic Minorities; Immigration; Irishness; Multiculturalism; Politics Of Interrogation; Politics Of Recognition; Racialisation; Racism
Abstract: This article begins by discussing the specificities of racism in the Republic of Ireland. Critiquing multiculturalist and top-down antiracism policies, it argues that Irish multiculturalist initiatives are anchored in a liberal politics of recognition of difference, which do not depart from western cultural imperialism and are therefore inadequate for deconstructing inter-ethnic power relations. Multiculturalist approaches to antiracism result in the top-down ethnicisation of Irish society, and are failing to intervene in the uneasy interface of minority and majority relations in Ireland. Instead of a 'politics of recognition' guiding multiculturalist initiatives, I conclude the article by developing Hesse's (1999) idea of a 'politics of interrogation' of the Irish 'we' and propose disavowed multiculturalism as a way of theorising Irish responses to ethnic diversity. Interrogating the Irish 'we' cannot evade interrogating the painful past of emigration, a wound still festering because it was never tended, and which, I would suggest, is returning to haunt Irish people through the presence of the immigrant 'other'.

Taking Account of The Macro in The Micro-Politics of Family Viewing - Generational Strategies

Carol MacKeogh
Sociological Research Online 6 (1) mackeogh

Keywords: Adolescents; Age; Audience; Bourdieu; Discourse; Family; Micro-Politics; Participant Observation; Television
Abstract: This article uses Bourdieu's concept of habitus, to explore how external discourses relating to young people and television, enter into the micro-politics of family viewing. It is based, primarily, on observation data collected by informants in the homes of young people. These data reveal the tactics and strategies that are used both by the young people and by their 'parents' to control the viewing process. It is possible to tentatively identify the projection of discourses of vulnerability onto young people who, in turn, attempt to position themselves as competent viewers evoking public discourses around youth and media savvy. Within the family setting these viewers develop a 'sense for the game' of viewing which informs the strategies they use to increase their control of the viewing experience.

Something Borrowed, Something Blue: Learning from Women's Groups in Indonesia

Marilyn Porter
Sociological Research Online 6 (2) porter

Keywords: Development; Human Rights; Indonesia; United; Women's Movements
Abstract: This paper focuses on the way in which Jakarta women's groups responded to the crisis that preceded and succeeded the end of Suharto's regime in Indonesia. In particular it looks at the way in which the gang rapes of women of Chinese descent focused and united the feminist response to the turmoil of 1998. Women's groups developed a number of strategies and actions during this period, but this paper focuses on the way in which women's groups accessed and used international instruments, especially Human Rights instruments to challenge their own government and to develop a specifically feminist position on violence against women. This activity is described as a form of creative 'borrowing'. Seen in this context is can provide a new perspective on approaches to development that are genuinely indigenous and participatory.

The Return of Assimilationism: Race, Multiculturalism and New Labour

Les Back, Michael J Keith, Azra Khan, Kalbir Shukra and John Solomos
Sociological Research Online 7 (2) back

Keywords: Immigration And Racial Equality; Multiculturalism; New Labour; Politics; Racism
Abstract: This paper develops a critique of the politics of race and multiculturalism under New Labour. It argues that as a political formation New Labour is fraught with incommensurable impulses and commitment with regard to issues of multiculturalism, nationalism, racial justice and racism. While there have been palpable shifts and important new legislative initiatives, one of the consequences is that the project of assimilation has been reinvigorated under New Labour. This in turn leaves the normative whiteness that colonises British institutions and political life intact.

Tsunami Diplomacy: Will the 26 December, 2004 Bring Peace to the Affected Countries?

Ilan Kelman
Sociological Research Online 10 (1) kelman

Keywords: Disaster Diplomacy, Tsunami Diplomacy, Indonesia, India, Disaster Risk Reduction, Politics
Abstract: 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.

From 'Goods' to 'Bads'? Revisiting the Political Economy of Risk

Gabe Mythen
Sociological Research Online 10 (3) mythen

Keywords: Risk Distribution, Social Reproduction, Politics of Risk
Abstract: German social theorist Ulrich Beck has consistently maintained that the logic of social distribution in western cultures has been reconfigured over the last three decades. Beck believes that, in the first industrial modernity, political and economic energies were directed toward the dissemination of 'social goods', such as healthcare, employment and wealth. By contrast, in the second modernity - or risk society - the positive logic of goods distribution is displaced by a negative logic of 'social bads', exemplified by environmental despoliation, terrorism and nuclear accidents. Critically, whilst the logic of goods is sectoral - some win and some lose, some are protected, some exposed - social bads follow a universalising logic which threatens rich and poor alike. This article interrogates and challenges these core claims by fusing together and developing empirical and theoretical criticisms of the theory of distributional logic. Empirically, it is demonstrated that Beck draws upon a narrow range of examples, is insensitive to continuities in social reproduction and glosses over the intensification of traditional inequalities. Theoretically, the paper asserts that the risk society perspective constructs an unsustainable divide between interconnected modes of distribution, neglects the way in which political discourses can be used to reinforce hegemonic interests and overlooks uneven patterns of risk distribution.

'Is It Real Food?' Who Benefits from Globalisation in Tanzania and India?

Pat Caplan
Sociological Research Online 11 (4) caplan

Keywords: Food, Globalization, Modernities, Tanzania, India, Order and Disorder
Abstract: Almost twenty years ago, the French anthropologist Claude Fischler wrote: 'To identify a food, one has to "think" it, to understand its place in the world and therefore understand the world.' For several decades I have been carrying out research among peasant cultivators on the East African coast (since 1965) and among the middle classes in Chennai (formerly Madras), South India (since 1974). During those periods, there have been marked changes in food consumption patterns in both areas. Recent research on local views of modernities in Tanzania suggests that food is an important way for people to conceptualise some of the dis-orders which have arisen as a result of current neo-liberal policies. In Chennai, on the other hand, my most recent research suggests that the consumption of 'modern' food is welcomed by the middle classes, especially by younger people, as being associated with global cosmopolitanism. In both areas, however, as might be expected, much depends on context and positionality and thus multiple and sometimes competing voices can be heard. In this paper, I examine local responses to changing food consumption patterns in order to understand local knowledge of food and the world.

Network Dynamics in the Transition to Democracy: Mapping Global Networks of Contemporary Indonesian Civil Society

Yanuar Nugroho and Gindo Tampubolon
Sociological Research Online 13 (5) 3

Keywords: Global Civil Society, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), Network Society, Social Networks, Democracy, Reform, Social Movement, Chequebook Activism, Indonesia
Abstract: This paper seeks to make transparent the mutually reinforcing relationships between global civil society, democracy and network society, which are often implicit in extant theories. The concept of a 'global civil society' cannot be separated from the promotion of democracy. Global civil society itself is one of the most explicit instances of the emergence of network society in the modern age and democracy lies at the very heart of what constitutes a network society. However, very little has been said about how these apparent mutually reinforcing relationships arise. Focusing on the case of Indonesia during the fraught regime change from authoritarianism to democracy, we investigate the role of transnational and national civil society organisation during the periods of pre-reform, reform and post-reform. Using multi-methods, including social network analysis and interviews with civil society activists and networkers, we discover a less encouraging picture of these relationships and conclude that the forging of this virtuous circle has some obvious gaps. We attempt to account for these apparent gaps in this mutually reinforcing relationship in terms of different modes of political participation. We suggest that some forms of 'chequebook activism' characterised the global civil society role during an abrupt and bloody regime change.

White Memories, White Belonging: Competing Colonial Anniversaries in 'Postcolonial' East London

Georgie Wemyss
Sociological Research Online 13 (5) 8

Keywords: Bengal, Bangladeshi, Bengali, East End, British Empire, Postcolonial, Whiteness, Belonging, Jamestown, East India Company
Abstract: This paper explores how processes of remembering past events contribute to the construction of highly racialised local and national politics of belonging in the UK. Ethnographic research and contextualised discourse analysis are used to examine two colonial anniversaries remembered in 2006: the 1606 departure of English 'settlers' who built the first permanent English colony in North America at Jamestown, Virginia, and the 1806 opening of the East India Docks, half a century after the East India Company took control of Bengal following the battle of Polashi. Both events were associated with the Thames waterfront location of Blackwall in the east London borough of Tower Hamlets, an area with the highest Bengali population in Britain and significant links with North America through banks and businesses based at the regenerated Canary Wharf office complex. It investigates how discourses and events associated with these two specific anniversaries and with the recent 'regeneration' of Blackwall, contribute to the consolidation of the dominant 'mercantile discourse' about the British Empire, Britishness and belonging. Challenges to the dominant discourse of the 'celebration' of colonial settlement in North America by competing discourses of North American Indian and African American groups are contrasted with the lack of contest to discourses that 'celebrate' Empire stories in contemporary Britain. The paper argues that the 'mercantile discourse' in Britain works to construct a sense of mutual white belonging that links white Englishness with white Americaness through emphasising links between Blackwall and Jamestown and associating the values of 'freedom and democracy' with colonialism. At the same time British Bengali belonging is marginalised as links between Blackwall and Bengal and the violence and oppression of British colonialism are silenced. The paper concludes with an analysis of the contemporary mobilisation of the 'mercantile discourse' in influential social policy and 'regeneration' discourse about 'The East End'.

The Social Constructionist Challenge to Primacy Identity and the Emancipation of Oppressed Groups: Human Primacy Identity Politics and the Human/'Animal' Dualism

Kay Peggs
Sociological Research Online 14 (1) 3

Keywords: Human, Identity Politics, Nonhuman, Oppressed, Performative, Primacy, Radical, Social Construction
Abstract: In a recent issue of this journal Mike Homfray asserted that social constructionism challenges emancipatory politics based in essential conceptualisations of identity. Thus for Homfray the concept of identity as associated with the pre-deconstructed subject is central for the emancipatory goal of oppressed groups like the lesbian and gay movements. In this paper I offer a distinction between radical identity politics that seeks to liberate oppressed groups, and what I have called primacy identity politics in which primacy identity is used to preserve the subjugation of those who are oppressed. In so doing I put forward a challenge to Homfray's somewhat wholesale rejection of the capacity for a critique of identity to work for emancipatory politics by focussing on primacy identity politics rather than on radical identity politics. In making an argument for the deconstruction of identities for emancipatory purposes I refer to my work on the human oppression of nonhuman animals. In this work I turn my attention away from those who are oppressed to the oppressors because this transfer of attention shows how useful the deconstruction of identity could be for the emancipation of oppressed groups. My examination of discourses used by the pro nonhuman animal experimentation lobby group Pro-Test shows how primacy identity politics can effectively be challenged by a social constructionist critique of essential identities and thus, contra Homfrey, I conclude that the deconstruction of identities can strengthen emancipatory causes.

Transforming Masculinist Political Cultures? Doing Politics in New Political Institutions

Stephanie Jones, Nickie Charles and Charlotte Aull Davies
Sociological Research Online 14 (2) 1

Keywords: Gender, Political Culture, New Political Institutions, Consensus Politics, Political Style, National Assembly for Wales
Abstract: In the devolved legislative assemblies of Scotland and Wales the proportion of women representatives is approaching parity. This is in marked contrast to Westminster where one in five MPs are women. In this paper we explore the extent to which the masculinist political cultures characterising established political institutions are being reproduced in the National Assembly for Wales or whether its different gendering, both in the numbers of women representatives and in terms of its institutional framework, is associated with a more feminised political and organisational culture. Drawing on interviews with half the Assembly Members, women and men, we show that the political style of the Assembly differs from that of Westminster and that Assembly Members perceive it as being more consensual and as embodying a less aggressive and macho way of doing politics. AMs relate this difference to the gender parity amongst Assembly Members, to the institutional arrangements which have an 'absolute duty' to promote equality embedded in them, and to the desire to develop a different way of doing politics. We suggest that the ability to do politics in a more feminised and consensual way relates not only to the presence of a significant proportion of women representatives, but also to the nature of the institution and the way in which differently gendered processes and practices are embedded within it. Differently gendered political institutions can develop a more feminised political culture which provides an alternative to the masculinist political culture characterising the political domain.

Charles Tilly: Connecting Large Scale Social Change and Personal Narrative

Ernesto Castaneda
Sociological Research Online 14 (5) 24

Keywords: Charles Tilly, Contentious Politics, Social Change, Stories, Narratives
Abstract: Charles Tilly's work as a historical sociologist and on states, social change and other topics has had powerful influence across the social sciences and social history, also having a large popular audience. Themes and issues in his work over time are explored, in particular his developing thinking about national states, macro and micro processes, stories and social change.

Tensions in Young People's Conceptualisation and Practice of Politics

Nathan Manning
Sociological Research Online 15 (4) 11

Keywords: Activism, Feminism, Politics, Young People
Abstract: Young people have been characterised as apathetic and disengaged from mainstream politics. This discourse draws upon a narrow, regulatory and hegemonic model of politics that centres on parliamentary politics. This paper reports findings from a qualitative study of young people drawn from across the political spectrum that also found most participants to adhere to this dominant model of politics. However, this conceptualisation of politics did not match their forms of socio-political engagement, instead it generated a series of tensions and worked to discount their actions as not 'genuine' or 'real' politics. It is argued that this narrow, regulatory model of politics does not reflect contemporary social conditions and actually militates against young people understanding themselves as political actors and beings.

From Function to Competence: Engaging with the New Politics of Family

Val Gillies
Sociological Research Online 16 (4) 11

Keywords: Family, Politics, Intimacy and Personal Lives, Policy
Abstract: This paper argues for a critical reclaiming of family and highlights the risks associated with decentring such a powerful and pervasive concept. Influential critiques of family as an organising category are considered in the context of a contemporary trend towards reorienting it within broader studies foregrounding personal and intimate realms of human connectedness. It is suggested that while concepts of personal lives and intimacy have much to offer they can not capture the full range and nature of relations raised through the lens of family. In particular the political consequences of subsuming family within wider approaches are set out through reference to a new public politics of family in which emphasis is placed less on structure and function, and more on knowledge and competence. Through an exploration of the key changes characterising this shift a case is made for retaining family (alongside intimacy and personal life) as a flexible, enduring and necessary sociological framework.

Underlying the Riots: The Invisible Politics of Class

Graham Scambler and Annette Scambler
Sociological Research Online 16 (4) 25

Keywords: August Riots, Folk Devils and Moral Panics, Financial Capitalism, Class/command Dynamic, Class Politics, Movements for Change, Recommendations for a Purposive Research Programme
Abstract: Rioters from what has been contemptuously dismissed as a 'feral underclass' have become instant 'folk devils', a judgement evoking wider 'moral panic'. In this brief contribution to an already lively project to make sociological and explanatory sense of four days of unpredicted mahem, together with its political/media packaging, we provide some pointers from sociology's classic tradition. It is argued that the post-1970s era of financial capitalism has witnessed a shift in the dynamic between class and state. The class politics of the advantaged, engineered by core members of Britain's capital executive and their allies in the state's power elite, has effectively restricted the potential for a class politics of the disadvantaged. The riots cannot be reduced to class action, far from it: they seem to have been more opportunistic and consumerist than political. Nevertheless, they cannot be explained without reference to the class politics of the advantaged. Issues of oppositional mobilization are addressed and three proposals for a research programme commended.

Gender Relations Among Indian Couples in the UK and India: Ideals of Equality and Realities of Inequality

Katherine Twamley
Sociological Research Online 17 (4) 5

Keywords: Intimacy; Gender Relations; India; South Asians; Second Generation; Equality; Love
Abstract: This paper explores young heterosexual Indian Gujaratis' ideals and experiences of intimate relationships in the UK and India, focusing particularly on gender relations. Men and women in both contexts had similar aspirations of intimacy, but women were likely to be more in favour of egalitarian values. What this meant was interpreted differently in India and the UK. In neither setting, however, was gender equality fully realised in the lives of the participants due to both structural and normative constraints. Despite this gap between ideals and experiences, participants portrayed their relationships as broadly equal and conjugal. It appears that the heavy emphasis on love and intimacy is making it difficult for women to negotiate a more egalitarian relationship with their partner, since any 'flaw' in the relationship potentially brings into question its loving foundations. In this way, women tend to ignore or justify the gendered roles and inequalities apparent in their relationships and paint a picture of blissful marital equality despite evidence to the contrary.

Occupy as a Free Space - Mobilization Processes and Outcomes

Silke Roth, Clare Saunders and Cristiana Olcese
Sociological Research Online 19 (1) 1

Keywords: Free Spaces, Online Activism, Prefigurative Politics, Occupy, Recruitment, Social Movements
Abstract: Although Occupy has received extensive media and scholarly attention, there has not yet been systematic research on its activists’ recruitment pathways and modes of participation. In this article, we focus on the mobilization success (Staggenborg 1995) of Occupy and adopt the concepts of ‘free space’ and ‘modes of association’ (Polletta 1999) to understand how individuals came to participate in Occupy. We consider biographical and structural availability and make distinctions between those more or less involved. By drawing on qualitative and quantitative data gathered in November and December 2011 in London we find that Occupy activists take a range of pathways into differential forms of involvement (more or less visible or time-consuming, offline and on-line). Some participants had previously been involved in social movement and ’indigenous’ organisations, like the church. Yet at the same time Occupy attracted novices lacking prior engagement in indigenous or social movement organisations. But what Occupy activists shared was an interest in creating inclusive prefigurative structures where the ‘path was the destination’. In contrast to the mass media’s scepticism of the success of Occupy, our focus on mobilization processes and outcomes shows Occupy to be successful in this regard.

Welfare Commonsense, Poverty Porn and Doxosophy

Tracey Jensen
Sociological Research Online 19 (3) 3

Keywords: Classificatory Politics, Welfare Reform, Worklessness, Poverty Porn, Doxosophy, Media Culture
Abstract: This article critically examine how Benefits Street – and the broader genre of poverty porn television – functions to embed new forms of ‘commonsense’ about welfare and worklessness. It argues that such television content and commentary crowds out critical perspectives with what Pierre Bourdieu (1999) called ‘doxa', making the social world appear self-evident and requiring no interpretation, and creating new forms of neoliberal commonsense around welfare and social security. The article consider how consent for this commonsense is animated through poverty porn television and the apparently ‘spontaneous’ (in fact highly editorialized) media debate it generates: particularly via ‘the skiver’, a figure of social disgust who has re-animated ideas of welfare dependency and deception.

The Hindu Rights Action Force and the Definition of the €Indian Community’ in Malaysia

Flavia Cangià
Sociological Research Online 19 (4) 3

Keywords: HINDRAF, Malaysian Indians, Ethnicity, Boundaries, Hindu, Minority Rights
Abstract: The Hindu Rights Action Force (HINDRAF) started in 2006 as a coalition of non-governmental organizations and various individuals struggling for the preservation and protection of Hindus’ rights in Malaysia. Although the coalition began as a religious movement, it ended up widening the scope of its mandate so as to include various demands for social and economic rights. The present paper describes some representations of the ‘Indian community’ as these are expressed in HINDRAF’s discourses and in some supporters’ views on the condition of Malaysian Indians. In particular, the paper examines processes of ethnic boundary making and unmaking, more specifically how ethnic boundaries are both expanded and contracted on the basis of various socio-cultural and economic factors.

For a Sociological Reconstruction: W.E.B. Du Bois, Stuart Hall and Segregated Sociology

Les Back and Maggie Tate
Sociological Research Online 20 (3) 15

Keywords: Race and Racism, W.E.b Du Bois, Stuart Hall, Writing, Politics, Academic Segregation
Abstract: Racism and intellectual segregation limit and divide the sociological tradition. The white sociological mainstream historically ignored the contribution of black sociologists and today it confers the discussion of racism to a specialist sub-field. Black sociologists by contrast have long been attentive to white sociology. Through a detailed discussion of the writings of W.E.B Du Bois and Stuart Hall and their respective dialogues with figures like Max Weber and C Wright Mills, an argument is made for a profound reconstruction of sociology at both the level of analysis and of form that changes the way sociology tells about racism and society as a whole.

Charlie Hebdo, Free Speech and Counter-Speech

Simon Dawes
Sociological Research Online 20 (3) 3

Keywords: Charlie Hebdo, Counter-Speech, Free Press, Free Speech, France, Post-Politics
Abstract: This brief rapid response article considers the French media framing of the Charlie Hebdo attack in terms of ‘Republican values’ such as free speech, and critiques the post-political and moralistic reduction of debate to ‘right and wrong’ arguments, as well as the fetishisation of the right to offend and the depoliticisation of the right to be offended.

Technological Citizenship: Perspectives in the Recent Work of Manuel Castells and Paul Virilio

Nick Stevenson
Sociological Research Online () stevenson

Keywords: Citizenship, Technology, Network, Politics, Exclusion, Cosmopolitanism.
Abstract: This article draws out the different models of technological citizenship that are available in the writing of Castells and Virilio. Particular attention is paid to the importance of local ecological struggles against the imperatives of technological capitalism. However both Castells and Virilio contain strengths and weaknesses in this respect. Whereas Castells emphasises the contested nature of modernity, Virilio emphasis the dominance of technological reason over the life-world. Further both agree that the defence of local space has a key role to play in the construction of alternative citizenships. In contrast I argue that there can be no local solutions to global problems. Here I look at a number of cosmopolitan perspectives and argue that the claims of justice, sustainability and democracy requires new global institutions. However the blind spot in the cosmopolitan argument remains a top down approach to politics and imperviousness as to how to link radical politics to the contours of everyday life.

Young Indonesian Musicians, Strategic Social Capital, Reflexivity and Timing

Oki Rahadianto Sutopo, Steven Threadgold and Pam Nilan
Sociological Research Online ()

Keywords: Social Capital, Reflexivity, Bourdieu, Indonesia, Temporality, Youth
Abstract: The concept of social capital has received wide attention and stimulates productive academic debates. In this paper we draw on a study of the transition experiences of young Indonesian musicians to argue that the social capital of creative youth may be productively understood in relation to reflexivity and temporality. This is particularly important if they move to other locations to further their careers. In brief, we offer three key contributions to social capital debates. Firstly, social capital – as defined by Bourdieu - is most important as a valuable form of capital to deal with both actual and anticipated Beckian risk. Secondly, in fields of creative struggle the development of social capital is closely related to possession of strategy and reflexivity as a form of cultural capital. Thirdly, social capital cannot be operationalized effectively by youth without the element of timing, the temporal capacity to reflexively recognize and seize opportunities as they arise at critical moments of a creative career.