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Sociological Research Online 1 (2) 1
Keywords: Multi-Cultural Societies; National Identity; Nationalism; Migrant Minorities
Abstract: It has been suggested that there is a crisis of national identity in the advanced welfare states of Western Europe following post-war immigration. The aim of this paper is, first of all, to clarify the concept of national identity in its application to these states prior to this immigration, secondly to analyze the concept of ethnic identity amongst immigrant ethnic groups, and, finally, to look at the kinds of institutions which have evolved to determine the relation of immigrant groups to the established national societies of settlement. The modern nation state is often thought of as part of a modernizing project in industrial societies. In this project the nation state is not thought of as being based upon a national identity, but is seen as having more universal aims. These include a modern economy, universal and uniform education and the compromise institutions of the welfare state negotiated between different classes and status groups. In some cases, on the other hand, the nation state may be established by a dominant ethnic group with its own values and institutions. In both cases the nation state will develop its own national ideology but will be corrosive of subordinate ethnicities and ethnic identities. New immigrant ethnic minorities have their own separate sense of identity. This should not however be thought of in essentialist terms as unchanging and clearly bounded. A more complex model of ethnic mobilization under conditions of migration is suggested. The response of established societies to the presence of these minorities might take one of three forms. It may involve attempts to assimilate the minorities on equal terms as citizens; it may seek to subordinate them to a dominant ethnic group as second class citizens or denizens; or, it may recognize cultural diversity in the private communal sphere while maintaining a shared public political culture. The new national identity of the host society will depend upon the outcome of processes which follow from the adoption of these different policies.
Sociological Research Online 1 (3) 1
Keywords: Nationalism, National Identity, Multiculturalism, Welfare State, Citizenship
Abstract: The crisis of national identity in Western Europe is related to the rise of a new nationalism which operates at many different levels, ranging from extreme xenophobic forms to the more moderate forms of cultural nationalism. Underlying the new nationalism in general is more a hostility against immigrants than against other nations; it is motivated less by notions of cultural superiority than by the implications multiculturalism has for the welfare state, which is being attacked by neo-liberal agendas. As a cultural discourse, the new nationalism is a product of social fragmentation. Therefore the most important challenge facing the democratic multi-cultural state in the context of European integration is to find ways of preserving the link between social citizenship and multiculturalism. Without a firm basis in social citizenship, multiculturalism will suffer continued attacks from nationalism, feeding off social insecurity.
Calloni and Mikrakis Triandafyllidou
Sociological Research Online 2 (1) 7
Keywords: Culture; Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM); Greece; Macedonia; Nationalism; Symbols
Abstract: The creation of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia after the dismantling of the Yugoslav federation has led to a revival of Greek nationalism. Greece has refused to recognize the new state as the 'Republic of Macedonia', sustaining that its name and national symbols form part of Greek culture and identity and are, therefore, unacceptable. The aim of this study is to highlight the Greek claims of 'property' over certain cultural traditions and, more specifically, the relationship between these claims and the ethno-cultural character of Greek national identity. Moreover, the paper examines the strategic manipulation of nationalist feelings by Greek politicians. The role of political and cultural myths in (re)defining national identity and in drawing the boundaries, symbolic and territorial, between 'us' and the 'others' is investigated. The problems that may arise from such an ethnic conception of the nation-state are discussed and a 'constitutional model of patriotism' is proposed as an alternative solution.
Sociological Research Online 2 (1) 8
Keywords: Culture; Globalism; Identity; Innovation; Multiculturalism; Nation State; Nationalism; Structuralism
Abstract: The article reviews briefly the theory of nationalism, and introduces (yet another) definition of nations and nationalism. Starting from this definition of nationalism as a world order with specific characteristics, oppositions such as core and periphery, globalism/nationalism, and realism/idealism are formally rejected. Nationalism is considered as a purely global structure. Within this, it is suggested, the number of states tends to fall to an equilibrium number which is itself falling, this number of states being the current best approximation to a single world state. Within nationalism variants are associated with different equilibrium numbers: these variants compete. Together, as the nationalist structure, they formally exclude other world orders. Such a structure appears to have the function of blocking change, and it is tentatively suggested that it derives directly from an innate human conservatism. The article attempts to show how characteristics of classic nationalism, and more recent identity politics, are part of nationalist structures. They involve either the exclusion of other forms of state, or of other orders of states, or the intensification of identity as it exists.
Peter Brannen and Lamb
Sociological Research Online 2 (1) brannen_lamb
Keywords: Culture; Globalism; Identity; Innovation; Multiculturalism; Nation State; Nationalism; Structuralism
Abstract: Research Resource: Using Metadata for Cross-National Comparisons
Sociological Research Online 2 (1) cspp
Keywords: Culture; Globalism; Identity; Innovation; Multiculturalism; Nation State; Nationalism; Structuralism
Abstract: Research Resource: The CSPP specializes in comparative public policy research. Since 1991 it has developed a unique programme of cross-national cross-time surveys to monitor the transformation of post-Communist societies. In collaboration with the Paul Lazarsfeld Society, Vienna, more than 80 surveys have been completed and more are being planned.
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.
Sociological Research Online 2 (4) 5
Keywords: Computer-Mediated-Communication; Information and Communication Technologies; Sociology of Technology; Virtual Reality
Abstract: This paper examines two aspects of multi-user virtual reality (VR) systems; the socio-technical shaping of these systems and the social relations inside multi-user virtual worlds. The paper begins with an overview of the history of networked interactive computer graphics and examines the main factors which are currently shaping networked VR systems. The second part explores the social relations between users inside virtual worlds and makes comparisons with other forms of computer-mediated-communication. In the conclusion, these two parts are linked: how is the development of multi-user virtual reality technology influencing how users interact within virtual worlds - and vice versa?
Sociological Research Online 2 (4) 6
Keywords: Computer-Mediated-Communication; Information and Communication Technologies; Sociology of Technology; Virtual Reality
Abstract: A reply to Humphries, B. (1997) 'From Critical Thought to Emancipatory Action: Contradictory Research Goals?' Sociological Research Online, vol. 2, no. 1, http://www.socresonline.org.uk/socresonline/2/1/3.html
Martyn Hammersley and Roger Gomm
Sociological Research Online 2 (4) 7
Keywords: Computer-Mediated-Communication; Information and Communication Technologies; Sociology of Technology; Virtual Reality
Abstract: A reply to Romm, N. (1997) 'Becoming More Accountable: A Comment on Hammersley and Gomm', Sociological Research Online, vol. 2, no. 3, http://www.socresonline.org.uk/socresonline/2/3/2.html
Sociological Research Online 3 (2) 7
Keywords: Identity; Nationalism; Nationalist Sentiment; Norway; Social Transformation; Sweden; Xenophobia
Abstract: This article sets out to compare nationalism or nationalist sentiment in the two neighboring countries of Norway and Sweden, since it has been claimed that nationalism differs both with respect to the degree of nationalism and the connotations it has in these two countries. In spite of the claimed differences between the two countries, this article shows that Norwegians and Swedes have to a similar extent nationalist sentiments and that xenophobia and protectionism follow in the footsteps of such attitudes in both the examined countries, indicating the negative sides of nationalism. Moreover, the two countries also show similar patterns regarding which groups in society that are most inclined to show nationalist sentiments.
Bella Dicks and Bruce Mason
Sociological Research Online 3 (3) 3
Keywords: CAQDAS; Computers; Ethnography; Hypermedia; Methodology; New Media; Qualitative Research; Visual Ethnography
Abstract: Current interest in ethnography within social research has focused on its potential to offer insights into the complexity of the social world. There have increasingly been calls for ethnography to reflect this complexity more adequately. Two aspects of ethnographic enquiry have been particularly singled out as areas in need of redefinition: the delineation of ethnography's object of study and its mode of presentation. Both of these areas are implicated in the recent attention to the possibilities of hypermedia authoring for ethnography. The paper offers a discussion of this potential in the light of an ongoing research project with which the authors are engaged. The project is designed to enable this potential to be assessed, and to provide for the construction of what the authors call an ethnographic hypermedia environment (EHE). We believe that the promise of hypermedia lies not only in its facility for non-sequential data organisation, but also in its ability to integrate data in different media. The synthesis of the visual, aural, verbal and pictorial planes of meaning holds considerable promise for the expansion and deepening of ethnographic knowledge. Consequently, we suggest that hypermedia has implications for all stages of the research process, and argue against the current tendency to see it as merely a tool either for analysis or for presentation. These arguments are illustrated by means of a commentary on some work in progress.
John David Goodwin and Katherine Hills
Sociological Research Online 4 (2) goodwin_hills
Keywords: American Imperialism; China; Hong Kong; Kosovo Crisis.; Media; NATO; Par Identity; Sino-West Relations
Abstract: In this article we reflect on our experiences in Hong Kong after the bombing by NATO forces of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade in May 1999. We focus on the responses to this action contained within Hong Kong's English language press and reflect on the emergent themes. The themes are, Business as Usual in a Global Marketplace and Civilised versus Barbaric: Representations of Good and Evil. On a broad level these themes encapsulate the perceptions that China and Western nations have about each other's society and culture. On a deeper level, through these themes, we reveal the inherent contradictions between the ongoing economic interdependence of China and the West on the one hand, and China's quest for political independence through its reaffirmation of what it is to be Chinese on the other.
Katie MacMillan and Shelley McLachlan
Sociological Research Online 4 (2) macmillan_mclachlan
Keywords: Content Analysis; Discourse Analysis; Education; Framing; Media; Metanarratives; Nudist; Theory-building
Abstract: We examine Nud.ist software in terms of its 'theory-building' properties in order to access the extent to which Nud.ist can be used, not only to develop content categories, but also to develop a research method using two potentially incompatible approaches. The methods, content analysis and discourse analysis, were used in a single case study on education news in the press. Our case study, on how news about education issues gets constructed and framed by the national press into generalized themes and narratives, was initially informed by an extensive content analysis of the news over a twelve month period. Having identified variations in press coverage, we then collected large quantities of media text on education issues, using Nud.ist to organize and to recode the subsequent data. Having categorized the news extracts our aim was to then explore whether Nud.ist could assist a discourse analysis of the text.
Sociological Research Online 4 (2) ray
Keywords: Ethnic Violence; Kosovo; Memory; Nationalism; Ritual
Abstract: Nationalism poses several analytical problems for sociology, since it stands at the intersection of familiar binary conceptual contrasts. It further has the capacity to appear alternatively democratic and violent. This paper examines the conditions for violent nationalism, with particular reference to the Kosovo conflict. It argues that the conditions for potentially genocidal nationalism lie in the apparently routine rituals through which 'nations' are remembered and constructed. Violent nationalism may appear where the transmission of collective identities is infused with mourning and traumatic memory. However, the presence of such forms of memory is not sufficient in themselves to provoke violent nationalism. These are unleashed in the context of state crisis where former loyalties are replaced with highly affective commitment to rectification of imagined historical wrongs.
Sociological Research Online 4 (2) scott_alan
Keywords: Cosmopolitanism and Anti-cosmopolitanism; Intellectuals and The Media; Kosovo
Abstract: NATO's intervention in Kosovo dramatically highlighted the differences and disagreements between cosmopolitans and their critics. This article offers a critically summary of the arguments of both camps (and various positions within them) as they unfolded in the German media, and particularly in the broadsheet press, during the NATO bombing campaign. An attempt is made to fill in the broader context by pointing out some differences between the debates in Britain and those in Germany. While the implications and possible weaknesses of the cosmopolitan position is the main focus, the role of public intellectuals the media is also discussed.
Sociological Research Online 4 (2) stubbs
Keywords: Computer Mediated Communication; Croatia; Diaspora; Netnography; Soc/Culture/Croatia
Abstract: This article, concentrating on contemporary Croatia, explores the role of computer-mediated communication in new relationships between the homeland at war and diaspora. Computer mediated diasporic public spheres are discussed as forms of creative imaginings of a national space from diverse global sites. The text is critical of any suggestion that diasporic identifications are able to be read off, simplistically, from dominant forms of homeland nationalism. Through an exploration of the socio-historical bases of Croatian diaspora communities, and the complexities of callings from the homeland in the 1990s, a more nuanced picture of contestation emerges. A 'netnography' of the Soc/Culture/Croatia newsgroup reveals a dominant habitus of processes, forms and content, in particular, the construction of Croatian identity in relation to a, more or less, monolithic 'Other' but, also, emerging innovative currents. More work on diasporic affinities as complex, contingent, and fluid is clearly needed, with political as well as theoretical importance.
Manussos Marangudakis and William Kelly
Sociological Research Online 4 (4) marangudakis
Keywords: Colonialism; Economic Development; Ethnic Conflict; Geopolitics; Hegemony; Nationalism
Abstract: Review of: Maddock, Su (1999) Challenging Women: Gender, Culture and Organisation. Sage Publications: London.
Sociological Research Online 5 (1) weber
Keywords: Austria; Auto/biography; Home/Abroad; Identity; National Socialism; Nationalism; Self; Sport
Abstract: This article looks at the possible links between auto/biography and right wing nationalism. It is based on extensive archival and oral history research carried out during the 1990s. The recent shift to the right of Austrian governmental politics is examined by looking at biographical aspects of a key player of that process, the leader of the Austrian Freedom Party Joerg Haider. His current political views should be read as being embedded within the wider historical and political biography of Austria as a nation state. A life story is constructed in exchange with ones own and other people's actions. This construct is constantly in flux. This is true for authors of academic research as much as for their objects of investigation. Consequently, the authors' experiences as an Austrian national, both at home and abroad, form a part of this study. The paper concludes by debating how auto/biographical experiences from the past become a constituting element of a person's present and future.
Sociological Research Online 6 (1) rex
Keywords: Empire; Ethnic Mobilisation; Ethnic Nations; Ethnies; Migration; Minorityintegration.; Modernising Nations; Post-imperial Nationalism; Primidrialism; Transnational Communities
Abstract: The theory of ethnic relations has developed ad hoc on an interdisciplinary basis. It has dealt with ethnicity in small communities, larger ethnic groups or "ethnies", ethnic nations, modernising nation states, subordinate nationalisms, the establishment of empires, post-imperial situations, transnational migrant communities and the political problems facing modernising nation states in dealing both with subordinate nationalisms and with migrant ethnic minorities.This paper seeks to deal with these various elements in an interconnected and systematic way setting out the nature of communities, small- scale self contained communities, the enlargement of these communities to form ethnic nations and the relationship between these and the institutions of the modernising nation state. It also seeks however to deal with what I call "The second project of ethnicity" which is migration and finally goes on to look at the complex problems of multi-nationality and multiculturalism in modern nation states
Sociological Research Online 6 (2) illingworth
Keywords: Computer Mediated Communication CMC); E-mail Interviewing; Ethics; Feminist Methodology; Internet Methodology; Methodological Dangers
Abstract: The arrival of the virtual realm and computer mediated communication (CMC) continues to attract considerable interest from a wide range of disciplines. Hine (2000) has suggested that previously negative understandings of CMC have been transcended. The virtual realm is now welcomed as a site for richer and more sustained interaction than previously envisaged. For the research community, the rapid development of the World Wide Web has opened new horizons and provided access to a new frontier and tool for data collection. The researcher can now engage in research on a world-wide, low cost, almost instantaneous scale - and in ways which potentially overcome some of the barriers imposed by more conventional research approaches. However, this somewhat idealistic view obscures both methodological and ethical difficulties that have become apparent throughout this research. If these difficulties are left unchecked, they may serve to undermine the use of the Internet as a tool for social research. The primary aim of this paper is to expose these difficulties and thus broaden the scope of discourse surrounding the Internet. A secondary aim is to explore the implications of the use of the Internet for the feminist methodological and research project. My aim here is to problematise the transference of existing methodological frameworks to an online setting. In this respect, I have presented this paper in the form of a research trajectory, outlining the course of my research from its conception to latter stages. The intention here is to suggest an avoidance of the use of the Internet as an 'easy option' and encourage a more developed focus on the justification, applicability and benefits of Internet research to the particular project. What has become apparent is that the effectiveness of CMC is much dependent on who is being researched, what is being researched and why.
Sociological Research Online 6 (3) aldridge
Keywords: Careers; Journalism; News Media; Newspapers; Women And Employment
Abstract: Current commentary on non-manual employment suggests that we are moving into an era of 'contingent careers' where current performance is the only valid criterion for reward and advancement. New-style jobs may be intensive and insecure, it is argued, but they are also less freighted with gender- based assumptions. Newspaper journalism, with its lack of bureaucratic organization, varied tasks, tradition of high employee mobility, and deep-seated belief in meritocracy would seem to fit well within this model. Interviews with women working in the UK regional press indicate, however, that the occupation is less egalitarian that many in the industry believe. Newspaper organisations and status hierarchies continue to be built around 'hard news', despite the commercial importance of other elements of content. Consequently management experience in newsgathering is a key stage in promotion, but this work as currently structured is incompatible with primary domestic responsibility for dependants. Even those without such concerns, or with limited ambitions, find the intensified work rÈgime in today's regional press hard to sustain. Considering why these working practices have remain largely unchallenged, the paper identifies five contributing factors. The epistemological individualism characteristic of women and well as men in journalism, a culture of vocation, the construction of editorial power as charismatic rather than bureaucratic, the commonsense populist style of most regional papers and, not least, journalists' own entrenched belief in the contingent nature of their employment combine to make the profession particularly resistant to acknowledging structural barriers to advancement.
Sociological Research Online 6 (3) innes
Keywords: Control Creep; Crime; Media; Social Control; Terrorism
Abstract: Reacting to the attacks on September 11th and subsequently, governments in both the USA and UK have identified a need to enhance the social control apparatus in order to protect citizens from forms of 'asymmetric warfare' conducted by terrorist groups. These attempts to reform the provision of security and control cannot be understood in isolation. They are connected to a deeply entrenched process of 'control creep', whereby the social control apparatus progressively expands and penetrates (or 'creeps') into different social arenas, in response to a set of inchoate fears about a sense of security in late-modernity.
Sociological Research Online 8 (4) anderson
Keywords: Bias; Embedded Journalists; Impartiality; Journalism Of Attachment; Media Effects; News Media; Objectivity
Abstract: The recent war in Iraq has generated much discussion about the role of the news media in representing war. This piece calls for greater sociological intervention into this debate. In particular, it cautions against exaggerating the ideological effects of media propaganda on public attitudes to war. The decision to go to war generated unusually high levels of public opposition. In times of war it is commonplace for policymakers and military personnel to attack the media for bias and credit them with a determining influence on public opinion. However, this piece suggests that there is a need for greater critical engagement with developments in audience research. Also, current debates also exhibit considerable confusion over concepts of ‘objectivity’, ‘impartiality’ and ‘bias’. Recent sociological work reveals both the complexities arising from the ambiguity of concepts of ‘objectivity’ and ‘bias’, and the need for a more fine-grained approach towards media effects.
Sociological Research Online 9 (3) hollands
Keywords: Canada; Culture; Hybridity; Identity; Leisure; Media; Mohawk; Native; Youth
Abstract: This study of Canadian Mohawk youth examines the complex construction of hybrid identities, by looking at the interaction between their consumption of western media/ culture and local Native traditions and customs. The article poses the question, to what extent does western youth culture as expressed in TV, film, music and sport get taken up and moulded around a more contemporary Native youth identity? Utilising theoretical notions of hybridity and hegemony, and a mixed methodology of questionnaire data and focus group interviews, the study argues that young Mohawks actively consume global youth and popular media cultures strategically in ways that both reinforce and extend their Native and youthful identities. Particularly popular is the appropriation of a range of black cultural forms drawn from the Afro-American experience, such as the adoption of rap music for instance. At the same time, issues of power reflected through gender relations, inequality and racism, and the domination of American over Canadian culture, also impact on the formation of Mohawk youth identities and pose challenges to building bridges between traditional customs and the modern world.
Sociological Research Online 9 (3) vertigans
Keywords: Discursive Consciousness, Islam, Nationalism, Radicalisation, Socialisation
Abstract: Contemporary analysis of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians tends to focus upon Islamic terrorism and Israeli state aggression. Representations and analysis are dominated by media images of terrorist/freedom fighters atrocities and military incursions. Explanations have concentrated upon 'tit-for-tat' killings and, in the case of Islamic terrorists/freedom fighters, their actions are seen as acts of desperation against a backdrop of materialist exclusion. These accounts often inform about current events but do not develop broad levels of understanding and explanation that are required if the reasons for the contemporary nature of radicalism within the conflict are to be established. This paper aims to address why violence is increasing today when many of the issues facing Palestinians have been experienced for generations. It is argued that while material problems are central to understanding the long-term conflict, social experiences and interactions are also crucial to understanding the contemporary situation. Consequently attention within this paper is placed upon changes in socialisation processes and discursive consciousness that have become instrumental in the radicalisation of many Palestinians and as such are barriers to peace.
Keith Soothill and Teela Sanders
Sociological Research Online 10 (1) soothill
Keywords: Internet Methodology, Computer Mediated Communication, Prostitution, Clients, Punters, Sex Work
Abstract: Clients of prostitutes have been traditionally neglected in the study of prostitution. This demonstration study suggests that the Internet, particularly one prominent website for patrons of commercial sex in Britain, can assist in learning more about the activities of prostitutes' clients, their patterns of behaviour and the organisation of commercial sex in contemporary society. The specific focus here is on the geographical locations of the paid sexual encounters of the ten most prolific authors who contribute to a popular website. It reveals 105 different locations identified in the reports with some punters travelling extensively for their pleasures. The study then focuses on a comparison of the activities of two of these punters showing how they both largely inhabit different worlds of the sex industry but also share some experiences. This paper contributes additional knowledge about prostitution at several levels: first, a microanalysis of a small sample of clients' purchasing patterns highlights the habits of some prolific patrons; second, alongside these patterns, the website offers a window onto the hidden world of prostitution in late modernity which in turn reveals some organisational features of prostitution; and third, the use of the Internet as a qualitative data source is explored.
Hugo Gorringe and Michael Rosie
Sociological Research Online 11 (1) gorringe
Keywords: Make Poverty History, Protest, Media, Policing, Social Movements
Abstract: July 2005 saw 225,000 people march through Edinburgh in the city's largest ever demonstration. Their cause was the idealistic injunction to 'Make Poverty History' (MPH). This paper presents an analysis of the MPH march, focusing particularly on the interplay between protestors, the police and the media. Drawing on ongoing research, it interrogates the disjunction between projected and actual outcomes, paying particular scrutiny to media speculation about possible violence. It also asks how MPH differed from previous G8 protests and what occurred on the day itself. The paper considers three key aspects: the composition and objectives of the marchers (who was on the march, why they were there and what they did?), the constituency that the protestors were trying to reach, and the media coverage accorded to the campaign. The intent underlying this threefold focus is an attempt to understand the protestors and what motivated them, but also to raise the question of how 'successful' they were in communicating their message.
Sociological Research Online 11 (1) illingworth
Keywords: Qualitative Methodology; Computer-Mediated Communication; Biographical Methods; Reflexivity
Abstract: The arrival of the virtual realm and computer-mediated communication (CMC) has attracted considerable interest within the discipline. However, the full potential of computer-mediated conversation as both a research resource and medium of communication within the qualitative research encounter awaits further exploration. In this paper, I discuss the dimensions of the qualitative 'tradition', the recent burgeoning interest in biographical methods shaping the research agenda and the significance of the virtual realm as a locus of communication. In so doing, I draw from my recent research exploring 15 women's accounts of their experiences of infertility and assisted reproductive procedures. Often, the qualitative encounter becomes a shared medium of trust, reciprocity and revelation. This research highlights the importance of not just making 'space' for participants voices and words but of acknowledging the significance of the context of communication itself – paying attention to 'where' and 'how' we speak is as critical as paying attention to what might be said. Participants within this study used and translated virtual text and virtual participation into a sense-making vehicle. In this respect, the virtual space offers a new dimension to the qualitative research encounter and we need to remain aware of the opportunities this affords.
Sociological Research Online 11 (3) beer
Keywords: Music, Digital, Digitalisation, Internet, Capitalism, Social Networking, Rhetoric, Second Media Age, Authenticity, Culture
Abstract: The BBC has recently announced that Top of the Pops, the long-running weekly popular music programme, will broadcast its final episode in the summer of 2006. This brief 'rapid response' article considers how the conclusion of Top of the Pops' 42 year history may be understood as representative or indicative of broader transformation in musical appropriation. As such it considers the fall of Top of the Pops in relation to the rise of what Mark Poster has described as a 'second media age' (Poster, 1996). This second media age is defined by the emergence of decentralised and multidimensional media structures that usurp the broadcast models of the first media age. This article argues that the decommissioning of Top of the Pops, and the ongoing expansion of 'social networking' sites such as MySpace and Bebo, illustrates the movement from a first to a second media age. In light of these transformations I suggest here that there is a pressing need to develop new research initiatives and strategies that critically examine these new digitalised forms of musical appropriation.
Sociological Research Online 12 (1) reynolds
Keywords: Same-Sex Partnership, Marriage, Media, Irish Times, GLBT, Ireland
Abstract: This article explores some aspects of the emergence of local debates same-sex marriage in the Republic of Ireland. Taking up this issue through an analysis of mediatized reactions to the introduction of German gay marriage in 2001, I point to how we can see evidence of a shift away from Irish traditional relationships between the social, politics and religion, which served to police and silence much public discussion about sexuality. While prudery about sexual issues still remains, my data points to the emergence of prudent-yet-tolerant sharing of stories about the social exclusion of same-sex couples. In spite of recent setbacks for a legal case seeking the recognition of a foreign same-sex marriage in Ireland, we may point to a growing political and legal consciousness for the extension of rights for lesbian and gay couples but it is still unclear as to what model will be adopted in the Irish context. While in the Irish case, there is only intermittent media interest in 'gay marriage', we can locate this struggle within the framework of the sociology of intimate citizenship. Not only do claims for same-sex marriage illustrate pointed inequalities experienced by lesbians and gay men, the stories also problematize the naturalness of heterosexuality. The Irish case may, of course, be explored within the context of a global challenge to gender identity where the imagined same-sex couple enjoy some element of certainty in an uncertain world.
Brigitte Nerlich and Nelya Koteyko
Sociological Research Online 13 (3) 1
Keywords: Food Risks, Food Benefits, Probiotics, Media, Risk Society, Medicalisation
Abstract: The 1980s and 1990s were marked by a series of food crisis, environmental disasters and the emergence of so-called 'superbugs'. At the same time, social scientists, such as Ulrich Beck, began to study the rise of a modern 'risk society'. The late 1990s and early years of this new millennium have been marked by increasing consumer interest in organic and natural foods but also in novel food products, such as probiotics or friendly bacteria which, as supplements or added to yoghurts, promise to help fight various effects of 'modernity', from stress to superbugs. Using thematic analysis and corpus linguistic tools, this article charts the rise of probiotics from 1985 to 2006 and asks: How did this rise in popularity come about? How did science and the media contribute to it? And: How were these bacteria enlisted as agents of attitudinal change? Analysing the construction of certain food benefits in the context of a heightened state of anxiety about food risk might shed light on aspects of 'risk society' that have so far been overlooked.
Sociological Research Online 14 (1) 2
Keywords: Boy Racers; Car Cultures; Ethnography; Media; Moral Panics; Subcultures; Youth
Abstract: This article addresses the failure of studies concerning moral panics to take into account the reaction of those individuals who are the subject of social anxiety. It responds to the suggestion by McRobbie and Thornton (1995) that studies of moral panic need to account for the role played by the 'folk devils' themselves, for a moral panic is a collective process (Young, 2007). The paper presents findings from ethnographic fieldwork with the 'boy racer' culture in Aberdeen, qualitative interviews with members of 'outside' groups, and content analysis of media articles. The societal reaction to the 'boy racer' subculture in Aberdeen is evidence of a contemporary moral panic. The media's representation of the subculture contributed to the stigmatization of young drivers and the labelling of the subculture's activities as deviant and antisocial. The drivers were aware of their negative portrayal in the media; however their attempts to change the myth of the 'boy racer' were unsuccessful. Although subcultural media can provide an outlet of self-expression for youths, these forms of media can also become caught-up in the moral panic. Ironically the youths' own niche and micro media reified the (ir)rationality for the moral panic.
John D. Horne
Sociological Research Online 14 (2) 7
Keywords: Sport, Physical Activity, Credit Crunch, Capitalism, Consumer Culture
Abstract: This brief rapid response article suggests a few ways in which modern competitive sport and large-scale sport events have developed in line with the logic of (late) capitalist modernity. It considers the impact of the credit crunch for recent trends in sport and suggests that the sociological study of sport faces the same concerns as other sociological domains of interest during the current economic conditions whilst having its own specific public issues and private troubles to consider.
Sociological Research Online 14 (5) 1
Keywords: Baroque, Body, Cancer, Celebrity, Death, Dying, Media, Reality Television, Sequestration, Social Class
Abstract: The article analyses the scale of, and reactions to, print media coverage of the dying from cancer in 2009 of young British media celebrity Jade Goody. Some sociologists have argued that death is sequestrated, with the dying body particularly hidden and problematic; hence the sociological significance of the intense and high profile coverage of Jade's final weeks. In particular, the baroque emotionality of press photos, especially those which glamorised her baldness (the result of failed chemotherapy), challenges the sequestration thesis. Reactions were complex, with criticism of her public dying mixed with criticism of reality television in general, together with class prejudice. New media's blurring of public and private creates new arenas for publicising the bodily, personal and emotional experience of dying, while at the same time affirming the public/private boundary so that the ordinary dying of ordinary people remains substantially hidden.
Sociological Research Online 14 (5) 12
Keywords: Origins of Nationalism, Interaction Spheres, Social Change, Charles Tilly, Revolutions, Empires, Atlantic History
Abstract: This article challenges the standard narrative (e.g. Gellner) regarding the origins of modern nationalism in Europe, and Benedict Anderson's contrary suggestion that it first took shape in creole America, arguing instead that the formation of modern nationalism needs to be understood as a transatlantic process, in keeping with recent research on Atlantic history. More specifically, the North Atlantic dynamic of imperial competition between Britain and France, that led to the American and French Revolutions, is seen as the crucible of modern state formation, and it is argued that the North Atlantic needs to be understood not simply as a geographic space, but as a distinctive sphere of social and ideological interaction, given the centrality of sea-going during this period. It was this complex social environment, centred on a long18th century, that most provoked new imaginings of national community. Toward this end the article articulates the analytic concept of the 'interaction sphere'. With this it picks up on Charles Tilly's key concerns with how best to analyse large historical processes, and his emphasis on political competition and social interaction in explaining social change.
Liz Stanley and Helen Dampier
Sociological Research Online 14 (5) 13
Keywords: Concentration Camps, South African War, Proto-Nationalism, Research Methodology, Stories, Historical Sociology, Archival Research, Charles Tilly
Abstract: Tilly extols the power and compass of 'superior stories' compared with 'standard stories'; however, in life things are not always so clear cut. A 1906 1914 research investigation headed by P. L. A. Goldman, initially concerned with the enumeration and commemoration of the deaths of Boer combatants during the South African War (1899-1902), later with the deaths of people in the concentration camps established in the commando phase of this war, is explored in detail using its archived documents. Now largely forgotten, the investigation was part of a commemorative project which sought to replace competing stories about wartime events with one superior version, as seen from a proto-nationalist viewpoint and harnessed to the wider purpose of nation-building. Goldman, the official in charge, responded to a range of methodological and practical difficulties in dealing with a huge amount of data received from a wide variety of sources, and made ad hoc as well as in principle decisions regarding how to handle these, and eventually producing 'the number' as politically and organisationally required. However, another number of the South African War concentration camp dead - one which was both different and also added up incorrectly - concurrently appeared on a national women's memorial, the Vrouemonument, and it is this which has resounded subsequently. The reasons are traced to the character of stories and their power, and the visibility of stories about the concentration camp deaths in question the face of the Vrouemonument and their anonymity in Goldman's production of 'the number'. Tilly's idea of an 'in-between' approach to stories is drawn on in exploring this.
Michael Rosie and Hugo Gorringe
Sociological Research Online 14 (5) 4
Keywords: G20, Policing, Protest, Media
Abstract: The casual observer of the controversy over policing at April 2009's G20 summit in London might have been forgiven for imagining that Britain's media serves as a bulwark against the abuse of power, fearlessly illuminating and condemning injustice. The publication of video footage and eye-witness accounts to heavy-handed protest policing has certainly raised the profile of this issue and led, concretely, to formal investigation of both individual police officers and to policing strategies more broadly. In this paper we examine the policing of protest, and in particular 'anti-systemic' protest, but also examine the role of the newspaper media in the interplay between police and protest. We argue that the media has often fomented and ignored the very 'abuses' they are now so eager to condemn. The key difference between coverage of the 2009 G20 summit and past such events, we contend, is the tragic death of an innocent bystander which has shifted the way in which the media has framed events.
Pam Lowe, Ellie Lee and Liz Yardley
Sociological Research Online 15 (4) 2
Keywords: Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, Parenting Cultures, Media, UK
Abstract: Today, alongside many other proscriptions, women are expected to abstain or at least limit their alcohol consumption during pregnancy. This advice is reinforced through warning labels on bottles and cans of alcoholic drinks. In most (but not all) official policies, this is linked to a risk of Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) or one of its associated conditions. However, given that there is little medical evidence that low levels of alcohol consumption have an adverse impact on the foetus, we need to examine broader societal ideas to explain why this has now become a policy concern. This paper presents a quantitative and qualitative assessment of analysis of the media in this context. By analysing the frames over time, this paper will trace the emergence of concerns about alcohol consumption during pregnancy. It will argue that contemporary concerns about FAS are framed around a number of pre-existing discourses including alcohol consumption as a social problem, heightened concerns about children at risk and shifts in ideas about the responsibility of motherhood including during the pre-conception and pregnancy periods. Whilst the newspapers regularly carried critiques of the abstinence position now advocated, these challenges focused did little to refute current parenting cultures.
Sociological Research Online 16 (3) 6
Keywords: Sociology of Web 2.0, Citizen Journalism, Social Media, Digital Culture, User Generated Content, Digital Technology, Active Audience
Abstract: The rise of the citizen journalist and increased attention to this phenomenon requires a sociological assessment that seeks to develop an understanding of how citizen journalism has emerged in contemporary society. This article makes a distinction between two different subcategories of citizen journalism, that is independent and dependent citizen journalism. The purpose of this article is to present four preconditions for citizen journalism to emerge in contemporary society: advanced technology, an "active audience", a "lived" experience within digital culture, and an organisational change within the news media.
Stephanie Alice Baker
Sociological Research Online 16 (4) 21
Keywords: Emotions; English Riots (2011); Mark Duggan; 'mediated Crowd'; New Social Media; Social Networking
Abstract: Commentary on the recent riots largely reflects ideological differences with political discourse reviving traditional debates of social inequality and moral decline. While the 2011 riots resemble former incidents of rioting in twentieth-century Britain, it is argued that the recent unrest was significantly enhanced by the development of new social media, requiring new understandings of mediated crowd membership in the twenty-first century. I introduce and outline a model of the 'mediated crowd' commencing with the impact of new social media, and develop this paradigm in conjunction with emotions research, to account for the emotional dimensions of collective action, and the social and political effects of public communication in the virtual arena. Here, it is argued that attempts to understand the causes of the recent riots must recognise that while social media contributed to the speed and scope of the unrest, emotions play a crucial role in motivating and sustaining collective action. This innovative approach provides insight into the particular conditions in which the English riots emerged, while demonstrating how social media contributes more broadly to new forms of collectivity in the media age.
Karim Murji and Sarah Neal
Sociological Research Online 16 (4) 24
Keywords: Racialization, Media, Haunting, Policies, Politicians, Police
Abstract: The 2011 riots have already been the most commented upon riots of recent decades. Casting some doubt about generalised and holistic explanations and responses, we seek to locate the events in a matrix of race, policing and politics. This approach enables us to identify shifts in political discourse around the riots from the simple to the complex, as well as significant changes between how the events of 2011 and earlier riots have been 'read'. We seek to unravel some of these strands, to show how race, place and political discourse have been located in the reaction to the riots. In drawing attention to important unevenness, we argue that sociologists need to focus on both continuities and changes since the 1980s.
Stewart Muir and Jennifer Mason
Sociological Research Online 17 (1) 5
Keywords: Visual Methods, Audio-Visual Media, Digital Video, Family, Tradition, Christmas
Abstract: In this paper, we discuss our use of participant-produced digital footage of family Christmases, collected as part of a larger project exploring family backgrounds and family traditions. The audio-visual recording (and subsequent dissemination) of these otherwise difficult-to-access domestic celebrations provides important insights into the multi-dimensional, multisensory, physical and situational nature of such family traditions. With their blend of genre styles - from narrated documentary to home-movie style wobbly camera work - the 'Christmas videos' show both conscious 'displays' of family life and practice (performed for the camera, for the participants and for posterity) and largely unscripted, and sometimes noisily chaotic, interactions. Although videos cannot provide unmediated access into what such traditions are 'really like', in combination with our other data sources the footage has helped to push our thinking about family traditions as being at once intellectualised productions and a series of bodily engagements with a host of practices, understandings, knowledges, family histories, things and people. This form of 'backstage' analytical usage of the video data has been very productive for us. However, we argue that there are ethical issues in publicly presenting such data alongside other forms of data, eg interview data, in a deep sociological analysis of people's personal lives. There is the potential not only for the production of incisive knowledge and insight, but also for a prying and distinctively sociological intrusiveness, and sociologists need to think carefully about how to proceed.
Sociological Research Online 17 (1) 6
Keywords: Visual Methods, the Sociological Imagination, Dialectical Images, Environmental Racism, Traumascapes, Narrative Mediation, Walking Ethnography, Popular Representation, Discursive Structures
Abstract: This paper explores the historical sources, personal narratives and representations of Africville, an area beside the Bedford Basin near Halifax in Nova Scotia which has been the site of a struggle for social justice and reparation since it was destroyed by the city of Halifax authorities over 40 years ago. The article examines the complex construction of the place as a source of identity and protest, the persistence of the community in memories and stories retrieved in walking the site with a former resident. Through careful consideration of video and still images, artworks and archive maps, the study traces the intersection of different discourses and shows how visual representations and their interpretation produce a complex understanding of place. Images, it is argued, have a different ontology to writing and produce a gradually unfolding, parallel argument. Africville is considered through a combination of traditional written texts, visual ethnographic sources and popular cultural signs, producing a complementary and intersubjective appreciation of a place and its lines of possibility.
Sociological Research Online 17 (2) 12
Keywords: Bourdieu, Sport, Culture, Class, Gender, Education
Abstract: Correlations between social class and specific types of sport participation have frequently been observed (Crook 1997; Ceron-Anaya 2010; Dollman and Lewis 2010; Stalsberg and Pedersen 2010). However, discrete associations between occupational class positions and specific sporting activities overlook the complex interrelationships amongst these sports. Until recently, understanding the relationality of sport has been constrained by a lack of available and appropriate data. Work by Bourdieu (1984), and more recently Bennett et al. (2009), have explored the general field of cultural consumption and sport has been one dimension of these treatments. Using multiple correspondence analysis (Le Roux and Rouanet 2004), this research focuses upon the social space of sport participation in Britain in order to provide a more detailed account of how these activities are organised. From data in the Taking-Part Survey (n = 10,349), which was conducted between July 2005-October 2006, 19 sporting practices are situated along four key dimensions. The first dimension separates gender and corresponds to a division between an embodied or social focus. Dimension two captures the impact of age. Internal and external orientations divide dimension three, where men tend to be internally oriented. Class, education and Social status are significant along this dimension. Dimension four differentiates between various self-employed and various forms of manual workers; reinforcing occupational and educational differences. Consequently, the social space of sports participation cannot be neatly contained within the logic of class; other explanations drawing on friendship, education and embodiment are also needed.
Sociological Research Online 17 (3) 10
Keywords: The Future of the Social Sciences, By-Product Data, Digital Data, Social Media, Data Aggregators
Abstract: This article asks if it is possible to use commercial data analysis software and digital by-product data to do critical social science. In response this article introduces social media data aggregator software to a social science audience. The article explores how this particular software can be used to do social research. It uses some specific examples in order to elaborate upon the potential of the software and the type of insights it can be used to generate. The aim of the article is to show how digital by-product data can be used to see the social in alternative ways, it explores how this commercial software might enable us to find patterns amongst 'monumentally detailed data'. As such is responds to Andrew Abbott's as yet unresolved eleven year old reflections on the crucial challenges that face the social sciences in a data rich era.
Sociological Research Online 18 (2) 16
Keywords: Nationalism, Sport, Media, Patriotism, Olympic Movement, Olympic Heroes
Abstract: The Olympic Games aim to promote the unity and friendship of humankind. By examining a number of stakeholders of the Games, this paper however demonstrates that the Olympics instigate nationalistic sentiments, provide an opportunity for a global audience to experience and express such feelings, and enable nation states and commercial sponsors to harness this. It argues that ironically, it is nationalistic sentiments rather than internationalism that serve the interests of stakeholders and underpin the Games’ popularity, commercial success and state investment.
Thomas Fletcher and Katherine Dashper
Sociological Research Online 18 (2) 17
Keywords: Dressage, Equestrian, Media, Olympic, Social Class
Abstract: Due to historical relationships with the military, royalty, landed gentry and upper-class society, equestrian sport faces regular accusations of being elitist and exclusionary. Through qualitative textual analysis of British press reporting of dressage events at the London 2012 Olympic Games we argue that despite British dominance of the sport, these historical associations with the upper classes, privilege and elitism were foregrounded in many media reports; trivialising and at times mocking dressage. We identify three key themes related to the ways in which media reports framed dressage and its participants in heavily class-laden terms. Faced with their ignorance of the sport, the majority of articles analysed resorted to class-based stereotypes that trivialised, satirised and devalued this seemingly elitist and incomprehensible sport. The success of Team GB in dressage meant that media reports were never wholly critical and elements of the hysteria and pride surrounding the Games led to a highly ambivalent response to dressage that reflects the “vague, confused, contradictory [and] ignorant” (Cannadine, 1998: x) attitudes to social class that characterise British society at the current time.
Sociological Research Online 18 (2) 18
Keywords: Race and Racism, Multiculturalism, Integration, British Nationalism, Olympics, Fascism
Abstract: This paper will examine the ways in which race, multiculturalism and nation have been constructed, used and evoked in the London 2012 Olympics bid, branding and promotion. The paper will focus on the two-pronged strategy promoting modern, diverse, multicultural Britain and the more conservative traditional, historic Britain, and the tensions and contradictions between these. These are tensions and contradictions which have been exposed and exacerbated by 7/7, recession and riots, as well as the shift in government from New Labour to the Tory-led coalition. The paper will examine the ways in which race and nation have played a role historically and politically in the Olympics, and then examine the place and use of race in three aspects of the 2012 Games: the bid and branding, the opening ceremony and the representation of the athletes themselves. I will argue that far from being progressive and inclusive as has been promoted and claimed, what has occurred around London 2012 has been a conservative hegemonic re-articulation of a 'Britishness' that is 'progressive' and includes immigrants and black and minority ethnic individuals based on a logic of integration and performance that does not threaten, criticize or make demands of more traditional visions of Britishness. Moreover, athletes such as Mo Farah have been positioned in such a way as to challenge racism and xenophobia and re-brand Britain as inclusive in narrow terms and at the same time serve as aspirational individual role models through which to set expectations for and make demands of immigrant, black and minority ethnic youth and wider communities.
Sociological Research Online 18 (2) 3
Keywords: Alcohol, Drunkenness, Embodiment, Masculinity, Media Representations, Real Ale
Abstract: The cultural linkages between the drinking of alcohol and the assertion of masculinity have been well explored. In particular, drinking alcohol is still assumed to be a site where masculinity can be tested and proved. However, equally, drinking can be seen to undermine and discredit the male body. Further, older men's drinking practices are commonly overlooked. Through exploring two examples of cultural stereotypes relating to male drinking bodies, the lager lout and the real ale enthusiast, the article argues that persistent cultural assumptions about the appropriate way to embody masculinity. Both the lager lout and the bearded ale snob represent two alternative discourse of how alcohol undermines the bounded male body. Both cases exhibit a lack of control and restraint which is assumed to be desired of masculine bodies and, therefore, both become problematic and subject to significant social sanctions and cultural policing in the form negative caricatured depictions. Finally, it is suggested that such stereotypes offer vivid examples of problematic male drinking bodies from which other embodiments can be normalised.
Allison Cavanagh and Alex Dennis
Sociological Research Online 18 (2) 4
Keywords: Opinion, Media, Technology, Internet, News Commentary, Debate, Interaction, Online Forums
Abstract: This paper describes an analysis of poster and recommender activities in an online news forum. Quantitative analyses of patterns of posting and recommending suggest that claims about ‘horizontality’ and ‘online community’ are oversimplifications, as there is strong evidence to suggest that the actual workings of networked discussion communities incorporate a wide range of competing and mutually-contradictory orientations, activities and strategies. A qualitative analysis of particular posters’ rhetorical strategies provides evidence for the argument that an orientation to conventions (in particular using a dialogical mode of address) is more important than actual opinion or semantic content in gaining popularity. The implications of these findings, and some suggestions for how this work might be developed, are discussed.
Lyndsay M.C. Hayhurst
Sociological Research Online 18 (2) 8
Keywords: Agency, Resistance, Empowerment, Sport for Development, Girl Effect, Gender and Development
Abstract: Increasingly, SGD interventions are funded and implemented by transnational corporations as part of the mounting portfolio of girl-focused global corporate social engagement initiatives in development. The purpose of this study was to explore how girls in Eastern Uganda experience a corporate-funded SGD martial arts program. This study used 19 semi-structured in-depth interviews, participant observation and document analysis. Results revealed that while the martial arts program increased girls' confidence, challenged gender norms, augmented their social networks, improved physical fitness and was useful for providing girls with social entrepreneurial and employment opportunities, the program also attempted to 'govern' their sexuality and sexual relations with boys and men by promoting individual avoidance and encouraging the use of self-defense strategies against potential abusers. Though the program arguably promoted girls as agents of social change, it ignored gender relations by excluding boys, and failed to address the broader structural inequalities that marginalize young Ugandan women the first place.
Gerald Griggs and Gavin Ward
Sociological Research Online 18 (3) 13
Keywords: Physical Education, Primary Education, Curriculum, Olympic Legacy, Competitive Sport
Abstract: Legacy rhetoric claiming to inspire a generation of young people has pervaded the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics from the initial bidding processes, through to post events discourses. On the eve of the closing ceremony David Cameron, published a statement on the Number 10 webpage stating a desire to put competitive sport at the heart of a new curriculum for primary Physical Education. This intention will impact upon a congested policy space within which it is the dominant discourse, rather than the most appropriate, which will prevail and will result in the formation of policy by the way. This paper examines the potential impact of the statement from Number 10 on pedagogical practice within Primary Physical Education.
Gareth M. Thomas and Tim Banks
Sociological Research Online 18 (3) 14
Keywords: Fairness, Paralympics, Rawls, Sen, Sport
Abstract: Following the final of the 200 metres in the London Paralympics 2012, athlete Oscar Pistorius criticised the prosthetic leg ('blade') length of Alan Oliveira, a fellow athlete and eventual winner of the race, and accused the International Paralympic Committee of failing to implement fair stipulations. Pistorius' contention directs attention toward an issue largely ignored in the sociological spectrum: the concept of fairness in the sporting arena. Drawing on the accounts of John Rawls (1971) and Amartya Sen (2009), specifically in terms of considering justice as fairness, we deconstruct the principle of fairness in the Paralympics which is currently framed within scientific discourse determining the validity of both athletes and performance-enhancing technologies. By identifying how the Paralympics adopts a Rawlsian understanding of fairness, we explore the work of Sen to highlight its complexity in this context and the need to retreat from taken-for-granted assumptions informing current knowledge.
Andy Smith, David Haycock and Nicola Hulme
Sociological Research Online 18 (3) 15
Keywords: Social Class, Inequality, Olympics, Education, London 2012, Sport
Abstract: This rapid response article briefly examines one feature of the relationship between social class and elite sport: the social backgrounds of the Olympians who comprised Team GB (Great Britain) at the 2012 London Olympics Games, and especially their educational backgrounds, as a means of shedding sociological light on the relationship between elite sport and social class. It is claimed that, to a large degree, the class-related patterns evident in the social profiles of medal-winners are expressive of broader class inequalities in Britain. The roots of the inequalities in athletes' backgrounds are to be found within the structure of the wider society, rather than in elite sport, which is perhaps usefully conceptualized as 'epiphenomenal, a secondary set of social practices dependent on and reflecting more fundamental structures, values and processes' (Coalter 2013: 18) beyond the levers of sports policy. It is concluded that class, together with other sources of social division, still matters and looking to the process of schooling and education, whilst largely ignoring the significance of wider inequalities, is likely to have a particularly limited impact on the stubborn persistence of inequalities in participation at all levels of sport, but particularly in elite sport.
Stuart Braye, Tom Gibbons and Kevin Dixon
Sociological Research Online 18 (3) 16
Keywords: Paralympics, Disabled People, Equality, British Media
Abstract: A central aspect of the vision of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) is that the Paralympic Movement is a vehicle for achieving 'a more equitable society' (IPC, 2012a). Building upon the findings of an online survey conducted with disabled activists prior to the London 2012 Paralympic Games (Braye, Dixon and Gibbons 2012), in this short essay we argue that whilst this vision is commendable, the Paralympics has limited impact on the everyday lives of disabled people in the UK. Whilst there was evidence of support for the IPC's view that the 2012 Games would be a positive vehicle for improving equality, there were also protests by disabled activists suggesting some disabled people saw the Games in more critical terms. Despite claims that the Paralympic Games has raised awareness of disabled athletes and wider equality issues for disabled people, such a view is not shared by many disability activists some of whom have controversially used the Games as a vehicle to highlight inequalities. It is concluded that the IPC are distinctively positioned to address disability issues as they relate to a unique and elite sports enclave and perhaps ought to restrain from seeing themselves as anything more until they have opened a dialogue with disability activists.
Rachel Lara Cohen
Sociological Research Online 18 (3) 19
Keywords: Sociology of Sport, Gender, Media, Gymnastics, Femininity, Girls
Abstract: Gymnastics is regularly classified as a feminine-appropriate sport, embodying grace and elegance. Furthermore, it is the Olympic sport which has regularly produced female sporting celebrities. Beth Tweddle is the most successful British gymnast of all time and the first to achieve international success, culminating in a medal at London 2012, yet she has received relatively little media coverage and few corporate endorsements. Employing a ‘negative case’ methodology, this athlete’s relative lack of celebrity is investigated. The article suggests that it can be explained by a) contradictions underpinning the gender-designation of gymnastics, and b) the relative invisibility of a core audience for the sport: young girls. An implication is that the achievement of celebrity within ‘feminine’ sport may be increasingly unattainable, especially for female athletes. The article uses mixed methods, including primary analysis of print and social media and secondary analysis of a national survey of young people in the UK.
Sociological Research Online 18 (3) 4
Keywords: Englishness, Britishness, 'Race', National Identity, Nationalism
Abstract: Analysing data from qualitative interviews, this article demonstrates how white people's constructions of national identity in England destabilise but ultimately reaffirm essentialist, exclusionary boundaries. The first set of findings presented demonstrate the ways in which normalised associations between whiteness and Englishness are regularly, temporarily unsettled through empirical, experiential and ethical processes of reflection, only to be finally regulated back towards dominant, racialised understandings. The second set of findings presented demonstrate that for a minority of white participants who construct the nation in ways that more effectively challenge and destabilise racialised understandings, they nevertheless still normalise difference in relation to the nation-state boundaries of Britain. While racialised boundaries of the nation are often, to varying degrees, problematised by many white people in England, essentialist nation-state boundaries remain virtually unchallenged in discussions of national membership.
Luke Sloan, Jeffrey Morgan, William Housley, Matthew Williams, Adam Edwards, Pete Burnap and Omer Rana
Sociological Research Online 18 (3) 7
Keywords: New Social Media, Demographics, Twitter, Social Media Analytics, Social Science, Sampling
Abstract: A perennial criticism regarding the use of social media in social science research is the lack of demographic information associated with naturally occurring mediated data such as that produced by Twitter. However the fact that demographics information is not explicit does not mean that it is not implicitly present. Utilising the Cardiff Online Social Media ObServatory (COSMOS) this paper suggests various techniques for establishing or estimating demographic data from a sample of more than 113 million Twitter users collected during July 2012. We discuss in detail the methods that can be used for identifying gender and language and illustrate that the proportion of males and females using Twitter in the UK reflects the gender balance observed in the 2011 Census. We also expand on the three types of geographical information that can be derived from Tweets either directly or by proxy and how spatial information can be used to link social media with official curated data. Whilst we make no grand claims about the representative nature of Twitter users in relation to the wider UK population, the derivation of demographic data demonstrates the potential of new social media (NSM) for the social sciences. We consider this paper a clarion call and hope that other researchers test the methods we suggest and develop them further.
Sociological Research Online 18 (4) 11
Keywords: Parenting, Riots, Authority, Discipline, Moral, Experts, Sure Start, Troubled Families, Policy, Media
Abstract: This article reviews the results of a small study of the national British newspapers in the period immediately following the 2011 riots, which analyses the ways in which political and media discourse linked the riots to the problem of 'parenting'. It examines three discourses that arise from this linkage: (a) a generalised 'moral collapse'; (b) the specific problem of 'troubled families'; and (c) parenting policy and the problem of discipline. From this, I propose there is a fourth, 'missing discourse', which would situate the problem of parental authority within a wider crisis of adult authority. Drawing on historical and sociological reflections on the problem of parental authority in the late modern period, I propose that a more fruitful discussion would take account of the ways in which parenting culture and policy has challenged assumptions about generational responsibility.
Jenny Lewin-Jones and Mike Webb
Sociological Research Online 18 (4) 18
Keywords: Metonyms; Metaphor; Place Names; Media; Headlines; Language; Discourse; Ideology; Nationalism
Abstract: 'Place metonyms' are figures of speech which use place names as shortcuts, for example Whitehall to mean the British civil service, or Europe for the institutions of the European Union. The paper examines place metonyms in the headlines of two British newspapers, the Sun and the Guardian. Using evidence from a 12-month period in 2011-12, a headline-by-headline linguistic analysis is used to work out the denotations and wider connotations of each metonym. This critical discourse approach suggests that such place metonyms in headlines have three problematic effects: firstly they may conceal agency and responsibility within some public bodies, secondly for some social institutions, they give an exaggerated impression of unity and homogeneity, and finally for a further list of institutions, they offer relentless pejorative evaluative colouring. These effects are found not only in the right-of-centre Sun but also to some extent in the more progressive newspaper, the Guardian. The authors speculate that it may be difficult for readers of newspapers to think critically about place metonyms in headlines. In particular, place metonyms may subtly reinforce any impression that public institutions are fixed entities, not susceptible to challenge, and may facilitate the polarised value-judgments that are characteristic of 'headlinese'. Such social constructions support some of the central tenets of neo-liberal, capitalist ideology, and so subtly add to the news media’s distorting representations of public matters.
Sociological Research Online 18 (4) 23
Keywords: Seriousness, Roller Derby, Serious Leisure Perspective, Sport, Gender
Abstract: This article draws on original ethnographic research in the context of roller derby to argue for a sociological analysis of seriousness. Galvanized by the notable divergence between participants’ practices of ‘seriousness’ and the use of this concept in the Serious Leisure Perspective (SLP), the article develops three constructively critical points. Firstly, contra to assumptions at the core of the SLP, ‘seriousness’ in leisure is differently accessible according to familiar intersectional patterns of inequality. Moreover, roller derby occupies a position of gendered alterity in relation to a broader cultural field of sport; ‘getting taken seriously’ in this context is an issue of gender contestation. Secondly, while the normative assumption that seriousness in leisure is individually and socially ‘good’ pervades the SLP, I argue that seriousness is more accurately understood as a generative ‘mode of ordering’ (Law 1994). I analyse seriousness as one discursive resource drawn upon and enacted in participants’ organizational and representational practice. Thirdly seriousness cannot be defined, as the SLP does, predominantly in terms of commitment; commitment is an interactional achievement. Participants’ enactments of seriousness include tactics of ridicule and satire and do not necessarily cohere. This paper thus responds to the question of what a more sociological approach to seriousness might look like and argues that seriousness-in-practice, in leisure and elsewhere, is generative of multiple and ambivalent effects and is thus amenable to, and requires, sociological analysis.
Andrew Shears and Emily Fekete
Sociological Research Online 19 (1) 7
Keywords: Television, Media, London Olympics, National Broadcasting Company, Geographic Imagination, Map
Abstract: The 2012 Olympic Games was an event watched on television by billions of viewers worldwide. In the United States, approximately 40 million people viewed a tape-delayed opening ceremony of the games on the NBC network. With such a high viewership, NBC was in a position of power to influence and educate their audience on the various countries across the globe who participated in the Olympic Games and opening ceremony. Drawing on Gregory’s notion of a ‘geographic imagination,’ we suggest NBC editors put their version of the world on display to the American audience, thus influencing the way in which American viewers may understand the world. In this paper, we have constructed a map to provide a visual representation of NBC’s geographic imagination. We find this map, based on total screen time the countries received during the ‘Parade of Nations’ segment of the opening ceremony, to suggest a unique geographic imagination worthy of further study because of its potential wide influence.
Sociological Research Online 19 (2) 12
Keywords: Class; Masculinity; Mass-Media; Social Mobility/alternative Approach to Mobility Analysis; Qualitative Research
Abstract: Qualitative upward mobility, the mass-media and ‘middleclass’ masculinity: a micro sociological case-study. Abstract The Changers are seven British men who have experienced upward mobility in their lives. A vast body of quantitative insights into upward mobility exist. Yet the qualitative, experiential dimensions of upward mobility are understudied; especially in relation to the lives of upwardly mobile males. This article presents an empirically rigours corrective that qualitatively outlines the Changers’ upwardly mobile existences and views. In particular, this article examines how sections of the mass-media have produced a didactic notion of ‘middleclass’ masculinity which the Changers feel compelled to replicate in their everyday lives, largely via the men consuming specific, expensive commodities. Attention is drawn to the anxieties which the Changers endure because of their social mobility and associated attempts to qualitatively appear ‘middleclass’.
Kim Allen, Imogen Tyler and Sara De Benedictis
Sociological Research Online 19 (3) 2
Keywords: Austerity, Media, Gender, Welfare, Care, Social Class
Abstract: Focusing on Benefits Street, and specifically the figure of White Dee, this rapid response article offers a feminist analysis of the relationship between media portrayals of people living with poverty and the gender politics of austerity. To do this we locate and unpick the paradoxical desires coalescing in the making and remaking of the figure of 'White Dee' in the public sphere. We detail how Benefits Street operates through forms of classed and gendered shaming to generate public consent for the government's welfare reform. However, we also examine how White Dee functions as a potential object of desire and figure of feminist resistance to the transformations in self and communities engendered by neoliberal social and economic policies. In this way, we argue that these public struggles over White Dee open up spaces for urgent feminist sociological enquiries into the gender politics of care, labour and social reproduction.
Sociological Research Online 19 (3) 23
Keywords: Worklessness, Welfare Dependency, Welfare Conditionality, Media Representations, Behaviour Change
Abstract: This article outlines the recent circulation of media images and discourse relating to characters pre-figured as ‘welfare dependents’ and reaction to Benefits Street. The article provides a brief overview of sociological analysis of such representations of apparently spiralling ‘cultures of dependency’ and proposes an alternative relational geography approach to understanding existing welfare dynamics. It describes a shift from putative welfare dependency, to dependency on geographically uneven employment opportunities, low-wage dependency and dependency on a new migrant division of labour. It then contrasts this relational geography approach with the increasingly behaviourist overtones of contemporary welfare reform, which began under New Labour and have accelerated under the Coalition government since 2010 and are in part reliant on the aforementioned media images in securing public acceptance. The article concludes by speculating on the apparent importance of Benefits Street in marking the possible ‘end times’ for the welfare state as we knew it.
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.
Béla Janky, Boglarka Bakó, Péter Szilágyi and Adrienn Bognár
Sociological Research Online 19 (3) 4
Keywords: Media Portrayal of the Poor, Stigmatisation of the Poor, Video-Vignette, Welfare Attitudes, Ethnic Cues, Roma
Abstract: In the past two decades, many studies have warned of the role the popular media might play in the stigmatisation of the poor. Media reports about poverty often include references to antisocial behaviour, which make the principle of deservingness particularly conspicuous and could also strengthen the effects of ethnic stereotypes. We argue, however, that it could be misleading to place all the blame for stigmatisation on direct references to ‘undeserving’ behaviour. Media images of extreme distress themselves could have a selective stigmatising effect. Thus, even benevolent portrayal of the poor could erode sympathy. This paper presents the results of a video-vignette experiment on a sample of Hungarian students. The subjects watched one of four versions of a video interview with a poor person (none of them contained any references to antisocial behaviour) and then expressed their attitudes towards welfare payments. We found that support for welfare was higher where a version highlighted signs of extreme distress. But this was only the case if there were no mention of ethnic minorities. If the video report emphasized that Roma (Gypsies), the largest disadvantaged minority group in Hungary, lived in the neighbourhood, signs of their extreme hardship lowered the support for welfare payments.
Sociological Research Online 19 (3) 5
Keywords: Social Welfare State, Mainstream Mass Media, Cultural Representations of Poverty and Disadvantage, Neoliberalism, Disidentification, Greek Crisis and Golden Dawn
Abstract: Due to the economic crisis in 2008, processes of restructuring and dissolution of the social welfare state have been accelerated in the European Union, especially in the context of severe austerity measures imposed in countries with sovereign debt problems such as Greece. These neoliberal policies have increasingly sought their ‘legitimizing basis’ in discourses concerning a corrupt, ineffective and oversized public realm, while simultaneously promoting the notion of ‘welfare dependency’, insinuating an absence of moral values and proper ‘work ethic’ for the poor and disadvantaged, who are the most affected by the social state’s withdrawal. Additionally, such narratives seem to have benefitted from the creation of ‘moral panic’ and the associated cultural representations of underprivileged social groups through mainstream mass media. The current article focuses on the nuances of this phenomenon in Greece, arguing that the catalyst has been the popularity of the extremist, nationalistic and anti-immigrant party of ‘Golden Dawn’. It contends that the representation of Golden Dawn’s rhetoric and activism by the media, triggered processes of disidentification with poverty and the underprivileged in the mind of the average Greek; processes rooted in highly emotive sentiments of patriotism, religion and national identity, while linking such groups with the supposed deviant behaviour and ‘inferior’ traits of immigrants. Furthermore, it argues that this discourse enabled the government to ‘assault’ the ideological stance and arguments of the advocates of robust public social interventions from an advantageous position, enhancing the acceptance of its neoliberal agenda regarding public social policy in the Greek populace.
Anna Fohrbeck, Andreas Hirseland and Philipp Ramos Lobato
Sociological Research Online 19 (4) 9
Keywords: Benefits Recipients, Welfare Reform, Hartz IV, Stigma, Respectability, Media
Abstract: Dominant cultural representations of ‘the typical benefits recipient’ – notably in reality television and the tabloids – have been marked by an increasing focus on the character and alleged moral defects of individuals. Drawing on interviews from a large-scale German qualitative longitudinal study, this article explores how benefits recipients respond to such negative media images. Our analysis of interviewees’ ‘identity work’ finds that they have internalised and replicate negative public discourses to a surprising extent. The figure of the ‘typical’ benefits recipient constructed in the media emerges as both a threat to recipients’ self-identities, and as a central reference point in the strategies through which they attempt to defend their respectability. The article concludes with some thoughts on the relationship between such negative representations and the political legitimacy of welfare reform.
Sociological Research Online 20 (1) 2
Keywords: Creative Methods, Critical Pedagogy, Fundraising Campaigns, Homelessness, Media, Stereotypes
Abstract: This article presents findings from a creative qualitative study, where drawing was used as a methodological tool to investigate university students' awareness of homelessness. Previous research (Breeze and Dean 2012; 2013) has shown that homelessness charities often utilise stereotypical images in their fundraising campaigns, focusing on the arresting issue of rough sleeping (rooflessness) as opposed to other, more widespread experiences of homelessness. In drawing 'what homelessness looks like' the images students produce are often rooted in familiar local scenes - local roofless people they see regularly, or replications of common media images, with a tendency to depoliticise and individualise homelessness as a social issue. These drawings show striking similarities, common themes, and indicate a lack of critical engagement with the complex problems within personal homelessness narratives. The efficacy of the methodological approach is assessed, with the role creative methods such as drawing can play in stimulating critical discussion of issues, such as gender and the media, highlighted. The article also argues that such methods can play a role in critical pedagogy, encouraging deeply reflexive accounts of participants' behaviour and knowledge. In policy terms however, this article concludes that it would be a risk for homelessness charities to utilise less stereotypical images in their fundraising materials, as the findings suggest such images align with those in the minds of potential donors.
Giorgia Doná and Helen Taylor
Sociological Research Online 20 (1) 4
Keywords: Micro-Sociology of Violence, 2011 Riots, Turkish Shopkeepers, Kurdish Shopkeepers, Peaks and Troughs, Social Media
Abstract: This article examines an instance of contained violence during the 2011 riots in London, when Turkish and Kurdish ‘shopkeepers’ in Dalston, East London prevented rioters from entering the area. Introducing a ‘peaks’ and ‘troughs’ approach to the sociological study of violence, the article argues that we need to look at the troughs of non-violence in order to understand the peaks of violence and vice-versa. Based on a small-scale empirical study, this article also shows that contrary to the dominant representation of social actors playing fixed roles during social unrest, we found shifting positions and blurred boundaries in the drama of the 2011 riots. The paper demonstrates that the instance of contained violence in Dalston was informed by three types of reverberations. Firstly, we identified anticipatory reverberations, as the shopkeepers were aware of concurrent events elsewhere in London and, as a result, anticipated rioting in Dalston. Secondly, we saw experiential reverberations, as they used their own experience of unrest in Turkey to inform their behaviour. Finally, the representation of the action of the shopkeepers in traditional and social media may have contributed to the containment of violence elsewhere in England, suggesting representational reverberations.
Sociological Research Online 20 (2) 11
Keywords: Football, Rugby Union, Social Class, Sports Fandom, Female Fans
Abstract: This article draws on 85 interviews with female fans of men’s football and rugby union to explore sporting preferences and social class in one locale in Britain. Although it has been widely contended that social class is no longer a major source of people’s identity and people will usually deny class identities, these findings demonstrate that sport can operate as a unique space in which people openly discuss class distinctions. The findings examine the perceived class differences between football and rugby union fans and rivalry between respective groups of supporters. There is very little work on the cross sport perceptions of sports fans so this article makes an original contribution to sociological research.
Sociological Research Online 20 (2) 12
Keywords: New Media, Football, Diaspora, Internet, Place, Virtual
Abstract: This article explores how new media forms linked to the internet are feeding into the generation of community. It looks specifically at the place-making practices of a transnational group of football fans, European supporters of the Turkish club team Beşiktaş. I trace the mediations of two common football fan practices: the singing of chants and the display of banners. Adopting a multi-sited ethnographic approach, I track their circulation. While remaining part of the stadium experience, the chant and the banner have a prolonged life as digital objects. Fans combine them with new media practices, using them to expanding the array of places and means by which they can be Beşiktaş fans. The politics of building a transnational fan community is increasingly predicated on mediating between ‘virtual’ and ‘actual’ spaces. Success is measured through an individual’s ability to intervene successfully on both the terrace and the Facebook page. This in turn requires a new form of interaction amongst fans, one based around a sense of distracted tactility. I conclude by suggesting the need to refigure the benchmarks by which we judge the affective relationships of fans. The sociology of sport can be refreshed through paying closer attention to the production of space, the materiality of internet media, and the sensate dimensions of the fan experience.
Sociological Research Online 20 (2) 14
Keywords: Football, Scotland, Nationalism, Culture, Unionism, Sectarianism
Abstract: The 2010-11 football season in Scotland was affected by many incidents of violence and threatening behaviour. Fans of the two Glasgow clubs, Celtic and Rangers, were involved in the majority of these incidents. Players and officials of Celtic were targeted by loyalist terrorists and sent bullets through the post. The Scottish government felt that many of the incidents were motivated by religious, ethnic, and national hatred, and introduced an Act of Parliament in order to tackle the problems that had arisen. The “Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act” came into law on 1 March 2012, representing a governmental judgement that Scottish football is negatively affected by inter-communal tension. The Act criminalises violent incidents and threatening behaviour related to the expression of religious hatred towards football fans, players, and officials. It also explicitly targets expressions of hatred on ethnic and national grounds. This is significant because in the contemporary era, much of what is termed “sectarianism” in Scotland is directly related to national identity, particularly British and Irish identities. The modern iconography of Celtic and Rangers has comparatively little to do with religion, and relates to differing visions of Scotland, the United Kingdom, and the island of Ireland. Incidents that are termed “sectarian” are often best examined through the prism of nationalism, for in contemporary Scotland it is national identity that is most significant to those who perpetrate the actions that the Act seeks to tackle.
Sociological Research Online 20 (3) 17
Keywords: British Asians; British Muslims; Legibility; Race; Sport; State
Abstract: This article explores the social construction of the British Asian male sport star. It foregrounds an analysis of the racial state, primarily its biopolitical function in (re)affirming racialised models of citizenship and contemporary hierarchies of belonging. Drawing on conceptualisations of legibility, the article argues that this relationship between race and the state is necessary to understand the processes by which such athletes are made intelligible in the popular imagination. Empirically, the article focuses on the articulations, experiences and performativity of British Asian Muslim international cricketer, Moeen Ali, during the summer of 2014. It suggests that these examples reflect the contestation and de/legitimisation of various forms of social, cultural and political attachment and embodiment within the public sphere. The article argues that the extent to which athletes such as Ali are made il/legible in sport is linked inextricably to the way in which British Asians and British Muslims are made il/legible in society. Finally, the article considers the spaces, contexts and discourses within which British Asian athletes can(not) represent themselves; and the dominant forms of being, speaking and thinking with which they must conform to meet the requirements of elite sporting citizenship.
Elizabeth Seale and Gregory Fulkerson
Sociological Research Online 20 (3) 4
Keywords: Science, Hydraulic Fracturing, Fracking, Claims-Making, Media, Risk
Abstract: This content analysis of newspaper articles and online social media from English-speaking sources on the topic of ‘fracking’ interrogates the use of scientific legitimacy in claims-makings and how public understandings of science develop through these media. In both forms of media, science is invoked in one sense as rational and objective to either neutralize or support emotionally-charged accounts and fears of hydraulic fracturing dangers. In another sense, however, science is viewed as a bureaucratic tool used at the will of government and business interests and easily corrupted to support ideological or interest-based positions. Claims regarding science typically follow ideological positions rather than the reverse – the ‘science’ that supports fracking as safe is called into question by those skeptical of fracking, while the anti-fracking position is designated as ‘anti-science’ by those who favor fracking. These strategies as they play out in the media serve to spread uncertainty, heighten cynicism, and undermine public confidence in science. An understanding of science as incomplete and cumulative, however, lends itself to the precautionary principle.
Sociological Research Online 20 (4) 5
Keywords: Seduction, Mediated Intimacy, Masculinity, Neoliberalism
Abstract: This paper explores negotiations of intimate and sexual subjectivity among men involved in the London ‘seduction community’, a central locus within what is more properly regarded as a community-industry. Herein, heterosexual men undertake various forms of skills training and personal development in order to gain greater choice and control in their relationships with women. As an entry point to this discussion I consider the international media event that enveloped American ‘pickup artist’ Julien Blanc in November 2014. Shifting focus away from the cultural figure of the ‘pickup artist’ and onto socially located men, I attempt to complicate a dominant narrative that characterises men who participate in this community-industry as pathetic, pathological or perverse. This analysis makes use of extensive ethnographic research undertaken within the London seduction community, and examines how men who participate in this setting engage a mode of intimate and sexual subjectivity ordered by themes of management and enterprise. Ultimately I argue that the central logics of the seduction community are not dissonant from but are in fact consistent with broader reconfigurations of intimacy and sexuality taking place in the contemporary UK context.
Sociological Research Online 21 (1) 8
Keywords: Affect, Belonging, Nature, Landscape, Nationalism, Race
Abstract: This is an article about the embodied, sensual experience of rural landscape as a site where racialized feelings of national belonging get produced. Largely impervious to criticism and reformation by ‘thin’ legal-political versions of cosmopolitan citizenship, it is my suggestion that this racialized belonging is best confronted through the recognition and appreciation of precisely what makes it so compelling. Through an engagement with the theorization of affect in the work of Divya Praful Tolia-Kelly, I consider the resources immanent to the perception of landscapes of national belonging that might be repurposed to unravel that belonging from within. I suggest that forms of environmental consciousness can unpick the mutually reinforcing relationships between nature and nation, opening up opportunities for thinking identity and belonging in different ways, and allowing rural landscapes to become more hospitable places.
Ashnil Murray, Adam White, Ryan Scoats and Eric Anderson
Sociological Research Online 21 (3) 11
Keywords: Masculinity, Media, Men, Sport, Rugby League
Abstract: The research uses discourse analysis, and inclusive masculinity theory, in order to explore and explain the construction of esteemed and subjugated masculinities within the context of Australia’s National Rugby League’s (NRL) Footy Show. Results suggest that despite previous research on NRL players which finds inclusive masculinities dominate, this television show instead attempts to construct orthodox versions of masculinity. We suggest that the Footy Show thus operates in something of a liminal state, attempting to portray and construct orthodox masculinities against social trends of inclusive masculinities.
Huiquan Zhou and Quanxiao Pan
Sociological Research Online ()
Keywords: Social Media, Nongovernmental Organization, China, Civil Society, Organizational Behavior
Abstract: Previous studies on Chinese NGOs’ behavior on social media have failed to take into consideration the diverse backgrounds of these NGOs. In this paper, we report findings on a study of 155 rural education NGOs on one of China’s largest social media platforms, Sina Weibo. We followed the organizations for six months, and coded the posts on their organizational accounts during this time period. We compared organizations with governmental, corporate, grassroots and student background, focusing on both the Weibo update frequency and reliance on different Weibo functions (information, dialogue, and promotion). While an organization’s IT capacity influences update frequency, relative reliance on various Weibo functions seem to be influenced by organizational background, which is related to organizational strategy, governance and management styles, and dependence on external environment.
Sociological Research Online ()
Keywords: Social Media, Historical Text, Linguistic Change, Big Data, Computational Social Science, Twitter
Abstract: This article seeks to understand partiality and perspectivity within comparative, historical technologically-mediated empirical methods. This article uses two empirical data sources: one contemporary (Twitter) and the other, historical (Google Books 'n-gram' data) to make an argument that we can use process-oriented theory to conduct empirical research. Additionally, it argues that such perspectives help bring Norbert Elias’ notions of ‘sociogenesis’ and ‘psychogenesis’ into data-driven research. Canonical process-oriented researchers such as Elias used mixed methods approaches, including visual maps and quantitative surveys. By comparing 17th century digitized book data with tweet data, this study highlights that quantitative methods are important to process-oriented methodologies and can be extended to big data empirical sources. An important finding is that there are similarities in the politics of everyday life in historical diaries and in contemporary microblogging. What is different is that historical diary writing was the preserve of the elite, while microblogging has democratized this.