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Sociological Research Online 2 (2) 9
Keywords: Comparative Research; Daily Life; Informal Exchange; Post-Soviet Russia; Social Networks; Soviet Union
Abstract: This article takes the form of a case study of a master's course for health and development professionals working in the field of primary health care. It argues the need for health professionals to critically examine research paradigms and the assumptions that inform them, considering their appropriateness to primary health care, a health strategy based on a recognition of the relationship between inequalities and health status. Conventional training of health professionals does not encourage health workers to reflect critically on their research practice. This can be facilitated through an educational strategy that emphasises issues of inequality as central to health and addresses issues of power and purpose in research activity.
Sociological Research Online 4 (2) repetti
Keywords: Informal Economy; Senegal; Social Networks; Urban Work; Weak Ties; Work Relations
Abstract: In Dakar, faced with crisis and uncertainty, social answers begin to appear. Only those having a supportive social network could find a place in the labour's market. The observation of the daily routine of any of Dakar's micro-businesses and its social aspects, reveals the wide area of interference that exists between waged worker and the relation networks with family and relatives, ethnic groups and Muslim brotherhoods. The urban economy is supported by a network of family, alliance, and client relations. The overlap existing between waged and unwaged work can be understood only by looking closely at the network of social ties present outside the production site. Switching from the analysis of urban work relationships in Africa to the analysis of social networks is almost spontaneous, because a system of relational actions and strategies grows around the figure of the worker. The importance of the "strength of weak ties" in procuring employment is as a whole confirmed, but African sociability creates an intense inter-network relational interchange. Dakar's urban space feeds a "popular economy" where social networks and the gift-giving logic co-exist with market economy. This economy utilise different wage embryos or tokens salaries for each of the social players.
Kirsty L. Blackstock
Sociological Research Online 7 (2) sherlock
Keywords: Australia.; Community; Exclusion; Lifestyles; Social Capital; Tourism
Abstract: This article asserts that community matters, not least because of the continued importance of community demonstrated by residents of a post-fordist resort town in North Australia. Far from being an outdated concept, confined to stable rural villages, (as often argued in the literature), even this extremely transient population profess a strong desire to find and maintain 'community'. A sense of community is constructed through narratives of place and lifestyle to create an inclusive collective identity. However, my fieldwork demonstrated that the ideal remains elusive. Access to social networks is unequal and the norms of community fall short of reciprocity or duty, making it a 'community without obligation'.
Sociological Research Online 7 (3) blokland
Keywords: Collective Action; Community; Ethnography; Gentrification; Middle Class; Neighbourhood; Poverty Poverty; Race; Social Capital
Abstract: In European and American cities alike, politicians and policymakers have developed a strong believe in 'mixture'. They believe that mixed neighbourhoods have the critical mass of an urban middle class whose economic, human and social capital benefits the whole neighbourhood. If middle classes have the social network contacts to access politicians and policymakers in ways that residents without such contact cannot, is it enough for the poor simply to rub shoulders in the same neighbourhood with the better-off? Does such social capital as individual asset become available to all? Or do the social networks within the neighbourhood, across the lines of class and race, need certain characteristics as meant by Putnam and Coleman for Portes' and Bourdieu's social capital to become transferable? This paper discusses these questions through a case study in a mixed neighbourhood in a New England college town. The case study suggests that the help of an urban gentry in collective action might depend on how inclusively and fluidly such a gentry defines 'shared interests', how power relations determine what 'collective' in collective action means, and how difficulties to speak with those the gentry might want to speak for can be overcome. For residents with limited resources, the case suggests that whether or not they can use an urban elite in their neighbourhood to access new resources depends on the quality and nature of informal rather than institutional relationships, and on specific characteristics of reciprocity and mutuality of neighbourhood networks across race and class.
Sociological Research Online 7 (3) butler
Keywords: Gentrification. Middle Classes. London. Metropolitan Habitus. Bourdieu. Social Capital. Globalization.
Abstract: The paper advances the notion that there is 'metropolitan habitus' in large global cities such as London which distinguishes it from other conurbations in the United Kingdom. At the same time, it is argued that whilst London is becoming an increasingly middle-class city, this group is increasingly stratified along socio-spatial lines. Richard Sennett's work The Corrosion of Character is drawn upon to suggest that, to some extent, different gentrification strategies enable the metropolitan middle classes to compensate for the lack of a long term in contemporary middle-class life.Drawing on fieldwork, recently conducted in five gentrified areas of inner London north and south of the Thames, it is suggested that an important aspect of the socio spatial differentiation within the metropolitan middle class is whether it seeks to embrace or escape the contemporary globalization of consumer culture. Although this process is highly nuanced by individual strategies for negotiating the boundaries between the global and the local, which are exemplified by the distinction between residential areas and the centre of London, it is nevertheless suggested that these socio-spatial divisions account for variations within the metropolitan habitus to a greater extent than socio- demographic and occupational divisions which are only weakly associated with the global/non-global dichotomisation. The paper uses both quantitative and qualitative data to look at the different ways in which cultural, economic and social capital are drawn on in the gentrification of each area and how these reflect not only the capabilities but also the proclivities of the different groups concerned. It is suggested that metropolitan habitus is a concept that needs further analysis and research but which has considerable potential explanatory value in accounting for differences between the middle classes in London and other provincial cities and non urban areas.
Gaynor R Bagnall, Brian John Longhurst and Mike Savage
Sociological Research Online 8 (4) bagnall
Keywords: Belonging; Children; Class; Cultural Capital; Identity.; Narratives; Parenthood; PTA; Social Capital; Social Involvement
Abstract: This paper uses data gathered from an ESRC funded research project on social networks, social capital and lifestyle to provide an account of narratives of belonging and social involvement. Drawing on data from 88 in-depth interviews carried out in the North-West of England between 1997 and 1999, we identify how parental involvement in voluntary organizations connected to their children, such as Parent Teachers Associations (PTA), figures in middle class narratives as a vehicle through which to perform belonging and social involvement. We argue that social involvement through children is presented as a dimension of feeling located in place socially. By using data from two contrasting areas, Wilmslow and Cheadle, we show how this concern to perform locally based parenthood nonetheless leads to very different patterns of engagement. The mobile, middle class in Wilmslow seek to build social capital through the generation of loose social networks based around children and children's education. We suggest that this serves the dual purpose of connecting them to 'like-minded' people and to the educational establishments they value as a means of getting ahead. In Cheadle, the generally less mobile respondents use their more local habitus to generate bonding forms of social capital with tighter social networks based around, kin, residence and leisure that enable them to 'get by'. We argue that the narratives of participation articulated relate to the respondents' degree of embeddedness in the locale, the different place-based habitus of each area and the gendering of family practices. At the heart of many of these narratives, particularly but not exclusively in Wilmslow, are tales about being a 'good' parent and more particularly of being a 'good' mother.
Yaojun Li, Mike Savage and Andrew Pickles
Sociological Research Online 8 (4) li
Keywords: Civic Participation; Class Formation; Class Polarization; Friendship; Social Capital
Abstract: This paper studies the changing distribution of social capital and its impact on class formation in England and Wales from a ‘class structural’ perspective. It compares data from the Social Mobility Inquiry (1972) and the British Household Panel Survey (1992 and 1998) to show a distinct change in the class profiling of membership in civic organisations, with traditionally working-class dominated associations losing their working-class character, and middle-class dominated associations becoming even more middle-class dominated. Similar changes are evident for class-differentiated patterns of friendship. Our study indicates the class polarization of social capital in England and Wales.
Sociological Research Online 9 (2) bloch
Keywords: Dispersal.; Employment; Job Seeking; Migration; Minority Ethnic Groups; Refugees; Self-employment; Social Networks; Terms And Conditions Of Employment
Abstract: This paper draws on data from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) and from a survey of 400 refugees in Britain in order to present an up to data comparison of the labour market experiences of minority ethnic groups and refugees. It will show that refugees experience lower rates of employment than their ethnic minority counterparts and that those refugees in employment are more likely to be in temporary and part-time work with poorer terms and conditions of employment and with lower wages. The reasons why refugees experience greater disadvantage in the labour market than others include structural barriers due to policies such as dispersal that can leave refugees isolated from social and community networks that provide information and advice and informal routes into employment but also leave refugees in areas with higher levels of unemployment. Migration patterns are also influential with refugees for the most part arriving more recently in Britain than people from minority ethnic groups. Refugees are also increasingly reliant on agents and smugglers to plan their route and destination and so asylum seekers can find themselves in countries where they have no social networks. Social networks and community organisations play an important role in the early stages of settlement. Finally, the circumstances of exile, attitudes to the country of origin and the insecurity of having temporary status in Britain all prevent economic activity.
Sociological Research Online 10 (3) head
Keywords: Lone Mothers, Home, Social Networks, Isolation
Abstract: Feminist writers have drawn attention to the way in which the home can be a source of oppression for women, by the experience of domestic violence and the unending burdens of domestic labour. In this literature little attention has been paid to the experiences of lone mothers specifically. This paper presents findings from empirical work with self-defined lone mothers living in social housing and in receipt of income support in south-west England. The tensions between the home being experienced in positive terms as a place of refuge or as symbolic of a new stage of life are contrasted with the experiences of home as a place of isolation and generating a sense of captivity. The way lone mothers experience the home can be understood with reference to a number of factors. These include whether the lone mother has insider or outside status in the area, the perception and experience of crime, racism, social networks and the experience of mothering.
Sociological Research Online 11 (3) boyce
Keywords: Neighbourliness; Low Income Estate; Social Capital; Conflict
Abstract: This paper critically examines theories which suggest relationships between neighbours have diminished in importance in people's day-to-day lives because of macroscopic and microscopic forces such as: greater social mobility, the growth of individualism and an ever increasing number of women entering into paid employment (see Young, 1999 and Putnam, 2000). In this paper I provide new empirical evidence that challenges theories of neighbourly disassociation. By drawing on fieldwork data collected on a low income housing estate in the South of England, I am able to illustrate that: 1) intimate and strong relationships existed between neighbours that were moulded out of, and strengthened by, the need for shared solidarities in the face of financial, emotional and social hardship brought about by personal circumstances; 2) residents understood and accepted there was a 'trade-off' between neighbourly assistance and the issue of privacy; 3) contrary to current British and American literature (see Putnam, 2000; Garland, 2001) women were still actively undertaking the role of social facilitators on the estate; 4) community and neighbourly bonds were reinforced through trivial and traumatic events such as children's parties to the death of a loved one; 5) and residents' interest in one another engendered a sense of security for women in the public environment.
Christina Prell Not available for reviewing until Oct 2010
Sociological Research Online 11 (4) prell
Keywords: Social Capital, Social Networks, Measuring Social Capital, Network Capital, Not-For-Profit Relations
Abstract: Social capital's rise in popularity is a phenomenon many have noted (Kadushin, 2006; Warde and Tampubolon, 2002; Portes, 1998). Although the concept is a relatively old one, it is the works of Bourdieu (1986), Coleman (1988; 1990), and Putnam (1993, 2000) that often get credited for popularizing the concept. These three, while sharing a view that social networks are important for social groups and society, they place differing levels of emphasis on the role of networks in building trust or the exchange of various types of resources. In this paper, I briefly revisit these three theorists, and the criticisms each have received, to provide background for discussing recent research on social capital from a social networks approach. The social network approach is then applied to my own case study looking at the relations among not-for-profits, and special attention is given to the unique context of not-for-profits, and how this context might elaborate or challenge current thoughts on social, aka 'network' capital. A final discussion is also given to some measurement problems with the network approach to social capital.
Ross A. Klein
Sociological Research Online 12 (2) klein
Keywords: Community Action, Environment, Social Movements, Political Sociology, Social Change, Social Capital, Cruise Industry, Cruise Ship, Social Activism
Abstract: Based on a case study of environmental organizations' confrontation of the cruise industry over environmental practices, this article critically assesses several campaigns and actions by the environmental movement as represented by several key organizations that focus specifically on the cruise industry, and at the social and political processes used by the cruise industry to deal with these organizations. Five environmental groups are included in the case study; the cruise industry is represented by the three major cruise corporations (comprising more than 90% of the North American and European market), their marketing agents and lobbyists. Strategies used by environmental organizations and by the cruise industry are identified and analysis seeks to explain factors associated with the effectiveness or non-effectiveness of these strategies.
Sara Ferlander and Duncan Timms
Sociological Research Online 12 (5) 8
Keywords: Disadvantaged Area, IT-Café, Local Community, Local Identity, Local Net, Social Capital, Social Networks, Sweden, the Internet, Trust
Abstract: The rapid diffusion of the Internet has considerable potential for enhancing the way people connect with each other, the root of social capital. However, the more the Internet is used for building social capital the greater will the impact be on those whose access and/or usage is curtailed. It is therefore important to investigate the impacts of Internet on groups at risk of digital and social exclusion. The aim of this article is to examine how the use of the Internet influences social capital and community building in a disadvantaged area. Quantitative and qualitative data from a case study in a suburban area of Stockholm are used to evaluate the social impacts of two community-based Internet projects: a Local Net and an IT-Café. Each of the projects was aimed at enhancing digital inclusion and social capital in a disadvantaged local community. The paper examines the extent to which use of the Internet is associated with an enhancement of social participation, social trust and local identity in the area. The Local Net appears to have had limited success in meeting its goals; the IT-Café was more successful. Visitors to the IT-Café had more local friends, expressed less social distrust, perceived less tension between different groups in the area and felt a much stronger sense of local identity than non-visitors. Visitors praised the IT-Café as providing a meeting-place both online and offline. The Internet was used for networking, exchange of support and information seeking. Although it is difficult to establish causal priorities, the evidence suggests that an IT-Café, supporting both virtual and physical meetings, may be especially well suited to build social capital and a sense of local community in a disadvantaged area. The importance of social, rather than solely technological, factors in determining the impact of the Internet on social capital in disadvantaged local communities is stressed.
Victoria K. Gosling
Sociological Research Online 13 (1) 1
Keywords: Coping Strategies, Poverty, Social Capital, Social Exclusion, Women
Abstract: It is evident that the concept of 'social capital' has recently come to the forefront of many governmental strategies aimed at combating social exclusion. In particular the interpretation of social capital used by many authors and agencies is one that emphasises the importance of not only social networks and contacts, but also a social responsibility to one's local community and wider society. Most notably it is poor people and poorer neighbourhoods that are seen to be lacking in these forms of social capital, and therefore emphasis is placed upon individual and community responsibility for tackling their own (and other's) exclusion. Drawing on in-depth interviews with women living on a deprived inner-city housing estate in the north of England, this research considers existing practices, forms and gendered nature of social capital for these women. The paper concludes that contrary to popular beliefs, many of these women already possessed forms of social capital, and specifically, that this was beneficial in helping them cope and 'get by' within their everyday experiences of social exclusion. This research highlights the potential exclusionary nature of social capital for certain individuals and the limitations of social capital in helping excluded women to escape their poverty.
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.
Sociological Research Online 14 (1) 4
Keywords: Environmental Movement, Political Opportunity Structures, Social Movements, Social Networks
Abstract: Political opportunity structures are often used to explain differences in the characteristics of movements in different countries on the basis of the national polity in which they exist. However, the approach has a number of weaknesses that are outlined in this article. The article especially stresses the fact that such broad-brush approaches to political opportunity structures fail to account for the different characteristics of movement organisations within the same polity. The article therefore recommends using a more fine-tuned approach to political opportunities, taking into account that the strategies and status of organisations affect the real political opportunities they face. This fine-tuned approach is used to predict how the status and strategy of environmental organisations might influence the extent to which different types of environmental organisations in the UK network with one-another. We find that organisations that face an open polity - those with a moderate action repertoire and a constructive relationship with government institutions - tend not to cooperate with those with a radical action repertoire and negative relations with government institutions. On the other hand, those that vary their action repertoires, and which have variable status according to the issues involved or campaign targets, have a much broader range of network links with other types of organisations. Thus, there is much more diversity in types of environmental organisation in the UK than the broad-brush to political opportunity structures would account for. Nonetheless, it does seem that environmental organisations are aware of how their own behaviours might influence (non-structural) political opportunities, and that they mould their strategies and networking patterns around this awareness.
Sociological Research Online 14 (5) 2
Keywords: Part-Time Work, Political Groups, Social Capital, Trade Unions, Voluntary Associations
Abstract: This paper evaluates both the economic, or rational choice, and sociological theories to examine the effects of part-time working on employees' activity in voluntary associations. Using longitudinal data analysis of the British Household Panel Survey from 1993 to 2005, this study demonstrates that, in Britain, part-time work increases the likelihood of individual level involvement in expressive voluntary associations (i.e. associations orientated to relatively immediate benefits for their members) but it is negatively related to their involvement in instrumental-expressive (such as trade unions and professionals' associations) and instrumental (political, environmental, and voluntary service) associations. The main conclusion is that time is an important resource for activity in expressive voluntary associations; however, for activity in instrumental and instrumental-expressive associations other factors are more important.
Sociological Research Online 16 (1) 5
Keywords: Trust, Resilience, Social Capital, Transnational Families, Friendship, Asylum Seeking Families, Asylum Seeking Children
Abstract: Research has suggested that social networks are important resources for children as well as for adults to resist health problems. For asylum seeking children social networking might be hard to accomplish due to constraints linked to social and legal contexts in the host country. Constraints can also be linked to the family situation and the circumstances they have to cope with in every day life. The situation of parents, in particular mothers, are important for the coping of children. In the paper I draw on results from an ongoing study on the experiences of asylum seeking children and their families in Sweden. The over arching research objective is to identify factors that are important for well being of children seeking asylum and to study how they cope with their experiences as asylum seekers. The tension between excluding experiences and expectations regarding how the situation of the child and it's family should improve or deteriorate after the flight is for a child a constitutive reference for how coping strategies are developed. In the analysis I draw on theoretical concepts of resilience, social capital, trust and social recognition. This paper draws on results from an interdisciplinary research project Asylum-seeking children's welfare, health and well-being. Gothenburg Research on Asylum seeking Children in Europe (GRACE), Goteborg University and Nordic School of Public Health, Gothenburg. The study was financed by the European Refugee Fund. The empirical data are based on qualitative interviews with parents and children who have waited for decisions regarding permanent residence for several months and sometimes more than a year.
Dave Griffiths and Paul Lambert
Sociological Research Online 17 (2) 5
Keywords: Social Interaction; Social Distance; Social Networks; Occupations
Abstract: This paper analyses social interactions between detailed occupational positions as a means of exploring social and occupational inequalities. Two methods are employed: descriptive techniques of social network analysis, and a well-established modelling approach (the 'CAMSIS' method of 'Social Interaction Distance' analysis). New results on occupational connections are presented for four countries - the United States, Romania, the Philippines and Venezuela – illustrative of a range of socio-economic regimes. Our analyses use detailed occupational measures based upon census data from 2000 to 2002, and we also use data on educational attainment, cross-classified by occupational positions. A broad, singular dimension of social stratification is shown to be the principal element of the structure of social interactions between occupations, but the methods also reveal the social role of various boundaries in occupational interaction patterns (defined by work location, education, and gender). We argue that such distinctions imply that occupational data at a disaggregated level can provide a more thorough understanding of social structure than is observable using amalgamated occupational schemes.
Mikolaj Stanek and Alberto Veira Ramos
Sociological Research Online 18 (4) 16
Keywords: Migration Occupational Mobility, Spain, Labour Market Segmentation, Human Capital, Social Capital,, Gender Gap
Abstract: This article provides insight into the determinants of occupational mobility recorded for immigrants between their last job in the region of origin and their first job in Spain. Multinomial and bivariate logistic regression models are applied to identify the strongest predictors of upward and downward mobility when immigrants move from one country's labour market to another. This study's empirical analysis was carried out using data from the Spanish National Immigrant Survey of 2007. Our results show that ethnic segmentation in the Spanish labour market negatively affects the occupational mobility of immigrants. Secondly, we observe that non EU15 immigrants are at higher risk of downward mobility. Thirdly, higher levels of education offer protection against downward mobility and increase the chance for upgrading. Finally, contrary to our predictions, social capital embedded in support received from friends and relatives who reside in the destination country increases the risk of occupational downgrading and reduces the possibility of upward mobility.
Sociological Research Online 19 (1) 26
Keywords: Civic; Social Capital; Academic; Vocational; Longitudinal; Survey
Abstract: A stable finding of research on civic participation is the correlation between overall educational attainment and various attributes that are relevant to democracy, such as propensity to be active, to vote, and to hold views on important public issues. But research since the 1990s has suggested that we should be cautious about this inference. The most important question is that raised by the findings of Nie et al. (1996) on the USA, showing that rising overall levels of education, while probably making populations more liberal, did not make them more likely to vote. Even that conclusion may be too general, because research by, for example, Campbell (2004) and Nie and Hillygus (2001) shows that the content and style of an educational course are relevant. More problematic still are questions about the nature of the citizens which education might help to create: is education democratically desirable because it makes people think, or because it makes people socially liberal (which is the general tenor of most of the writing on this topic)? The paper therefore asks, using British data, what kind of education matters for social attitudes and civic participation by adults? Several British data sources are used, mainly the 1958 and 1970 British birth cohorts, the British Social Attitudes Survey and the British Household Panel Study.
Keming Yang and Ahmad Banamah
Sociological Research Online 19 (1) 29
Keywords: Probability Sampling, Quota Sampling, Representativeness, Response Rate, Social Capital
Abstract: In spite of the establishment of probability sampling methods since the 1930s, non-probability sampling methods have remained popular among many commercial and polling agents, and they have also survived the embarrassment from a few incorrect predictions in American presidential elections. The increase of costs and the decline of response rates for administering probability samples have led some survey researchers to search for a non-probability sampling method as an alternative to probability sampling. In this study we aim to test whether results from a quota sample, believed to be the non-probability sampling method that is the closest in representativeness to probability sampling, are statistically equivalent to those from a probability sample. Further, we pay special attention to the effects of the following two factors for understanding the difference between the two sampling methods: the survey’s topic and the response rate. An experimental survey on social capital was conducted in a student society in Northeast England. The results suggest that the survey topic influences who responded and that the response rate was associated with the sample means as well. For these reasons, we do not think quota sampling should be taken as an acceptable alternative to probability sampling.
Sociological Research Online 19 (2) 1
Keywords: Happiness, Homo Sociologicus, Role-Identity Theory, Social Capital, Subjective Well-Being
Abstract: This article examines what can be the contribution of Sociology to the 'new science of happiness', and what can such happiness studies contribute to Sociology? It does so by presenting the example of a quantitative analysis of European Social Survey data for the UK on social capital and life satisfaction by age. It reveals heterogeneity in the relationship between social capital and SWB by age with, for instance, socialising being more strongly associated with SWB among younger and older people compared to a mid-age group. Using this analysis as a case study, the first aim is to illustrate how sociological theory can crucially enrich research on SWB by relating the under-theorised field to broader narratives. While a range of empirical findings on the correlates of subjectively reported happiness have been dutifully collected over decades, solid theory building has often been neglected. It is crucial, however, to draw the various pieces of evidence together in order to formulate viable theoretical frameworks. Sociology is a science rich in useful approaches for the study of well-being. Role-identity theory as well as socialisation theory allow us in this paper to develop testable hypotheses for well-being data and give the research field a much-needed grounding. At the same time, it is demonstrated in this article how analysing data on life satisfaction can deliver much needed empirical tests of and new perspectives on long-standing sociological theories. For instance, the unresolved debate about homo sociologicus and homo economicus as competing conceptions of man can gain new perspectives from data on SWB.
Louise Ryan, Jon Mulholland and Agnes Agoston
Sociological Research Online 19 (2) 16
Keywords: Qualitative Research, Social Networks, Visualisation Tools, Highly Skilled Migrants, Interview Dynamics, Social Ties
Abstract: This paper uses a reflexive approach to consider the opportunities and challenges of using a visualisation tool in qualitative research on social networks. Although widely used to map social networks over many decades, particularly in health studies and psychology, network visualisation tools are less common in qualitative sociological research. While recent trends in Social Network Analysis (SNA) have tended to concentrate within the quantitative domain, our paper is influenced by the ‘cultural turn’ in network research, and aims to respond to calls for more exploration of how social ties are constructed and represented in qualitative research. Having used a target sociogram to visualise the networks of highly skilled migrants, we reflect critically on how this tool, far from being a neutral data collective device, influences how networks were described, explained, and perceived by participants. Focusing on the dynamics within the interview encounter, especially in the context of ‘researching up’, we explore participant reactions, what we learned and might do differently, next time. We conclude that, despite certain limitations, the sociogram helped mitigate the abstract nature of some topics by connecting them to specific groups of people drawn on the diagram. The tool not only enhanced participants’ reflection process but allowed certain topics to emerge which might have not otherwise surfaced, hence greatly contributing to the collection of rich data. Nonetheless, as we discuss, there are also ethical issues associated with its use.
Paola Tubaro, Louise Ryan and Alessio D'Angelo
Sociological Research Online 21 (2) 1
Keywords: Social Networks, Mixed Methods, Qualitative Research, Data Visualization, Sociograms, Relational Data
Abstract: The paper investigates the place of visual tools in mixed-methods research on social networks, arguing that they can not only improve the communicability of results, but also support research at the data gathering and analysis stages. Three examples from the authors’ own research experience illustrate how sociograms can be integrated in multiple ways with other analytical tools, both quantitative and qualitative, positioning visualization at the intersection of varied methods and channelling substantive ideas as well as network insight in a coherent way. Visualization also facilitates the participation of a broad range of stakeholders, including among others, study participants and non-specialist researchers. It can support the capacity of qualitative and mixed-methods research to reach out to areas of the social that are difficult to circumscribe, such as hidden populations and informal organisations. On this basis, visualization appears as a unique opportunity for mixing methods in the study of social networks, emphasizing both structure and process at the same time.
Nick Crossley and Gemma Edwards
Sociological Research Online 21 (2) 13
Keywords: SNA, Mixed Methods, Social Networks
Abstract: In this paper we make a methodological case for mixed method social network analysis (MMSNA). We begin by both challenging the idea, prevalent in some quarters, that mixing methods means combining incompatible epistemological or theoretical assumptions and by positing an ontological argument in favour of mixed methods. We then suggest a methodological framework for MMSNA and argue for the importance of ‘mechanisms’ in relational-sociological research. Finally, we discuss two examples of MMSNA from our own research, using them to illustrate arguments from the paper.
Julia Häuberer and Alexander Tatarko
Sociological Research Online 22 (2) 10
Keywords: Individual Social Capital, Social Networks, Culture, Modernization, Tradition, Resource Generator
Abstract: This article addresses the influence of cultural background on the access to social capital in family and friendship networks. We will analyze four different culture groups: Czechs and Russians (Muscovites) both representing post-modernized cultures and Dagestans and Chechens both representing traditional cultures. The data will be analyzed using univariate comparisons and fixed effects regressions. Our results indicate that cultural background does not play such a crucial role for social network composition and social capital access through the family or friends. In both cases, Dagestans, Chechens and Czechs access significantly less social capital than do the Russians (Muscovites), however only if Russians (Muscovites) are in frequent contact with their families or have large friendship networks. In other words, network embeddedness seems to play a more important role than cultural background for social capital access.
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.