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Critical Discourse Analysis, Daily Express, Moral Panics, Parenting, Youth, 2011 English Riots

The Usefulness of Indepth Life History Interviews for Exploring the Role of Social Structure and Human Agency in Youth Transitions

Gill Hubbard
Sociological Research Online 4 (4) hubbard

Keywords: Indepth Life History Interviews; Structure and Agency; Youth Transitions
Abstract: This paper discusses the usefulness of indepth life history interviews in illustrating the role of social structure and human agency in youth transitions. Drawing on sociological theory and youth transition research, the paper highlights how the role of structure and agency has been perceived by youth researchers. Whilst this literature acknowledges the interplay between structure and agency in transitional processes, the appropriateness of particular research methods for explicating structure and agency needs to be further elucidated. Using data from a study of youth transitions in rural areas of Scotland, a range of transitional experiences from two indepth life history interviews is presented here. This exploratory exercise suggests that life history interviews enable researchers to explore how far social structures provide opportunities and constraints for human agents at the same time as showing how individuals, with their own beliefs and desires, take actions despite the social structures that underlie the immediacy of their experiences.


John Jackson
Sociological Research Online 4 (4) jackson

Keywords: Indepth Life History Interviews; Structure and Agency; Youth Transitions
Abstract: This paper discusses the usefulness of indepth life history interviews in illustrating the role of social structure and human agency in youth transitions. Drawing on sociological theory and youth transition research, the paper highlights how the role of structure and agency has been perceived by youth researchers. Whilst this literature acknowledges the interplay between structure and agency in transitional processes, the appropriateness of particular research methods for explicating structure and agency needs to be further elucidated. Using data from a study of youth transitions in rural areas of Scotland, a range of transitional experiences from two indepth life history interviews is presented here. This exploratory exercise suggests that life history interviews enable researchers to explore how far social structures provide opportunities and constraints for human agents at the same time as showing how individuals, with their own beliefs and desires, take actions despite the social structures that underlie the immediacy of their experiences.

Snakes & Ladders: in Defence of Studies of Youth Transition

Robert MacDonald, Paul Mason, Tracy Shildrick, Colin Webster and Les Johnston
Sociological Research Online 5 (4) macdonald

Keywords: Youth, Transition, Youth Culture, Youth Studies, Social Exclusion.
Abstract: Although enjoying a period of renewed government policy interest and favourable research funding, youth studies has recently come under considerable intellectual attack, much of it from within. A common theme is that the major conceptual approach of most British youth research over the past twenty years - the sociological study of youth transitions - is not helpful in approaching 'the youth question'. The paper locates these recent critiques in terms of the development of 'two traditions' of youth research in the UK; a development which has served to separate structural and cultural analyses and so to limit the theoretical potential of the field.A recent qualitative study of young people growing up in Teesside, Northeast England is then discussed. Close analysis of the biographies of two of its participants are used as the basis for a reconsideration of the nature of transitions amongst 'socially excluded' youth and a discussion of some of the limitations of recent critiques of youth studies. The paper argues that the sort of research, methods and analysis employed here provide one example of how interests in the cultural and structural aspects of youth might be integrated. It concludes by reasserting the theoretical value of a broad conceptualisation of transition in understanding the social, economic and cultural processes that define the youth phase.

Cyber-Mothers: Online Synchronous Interviewing using Conferencing Software

Henrietta O'Connor and Clare Madge
Sociological Research Online 5 (4) oconnor

Keywords: Conferencing Software; Cyber-mothers; Internet Methodologies; Online Parenting Community.; Virtual Synchronous Interviews
Abstract: The potential of the Internet as a valuable methodological tool for social science research is increasingly being recognised. This paper contributes to the debate surrounding virtual synchronous interviews and the value of online research. Specifically it introduces the use of a software conferencing technique - Hotline Connect - and discusses the implications of using the technique for Internet-based research. In particular issues of interview design, developing rapport, the role of insiders and outsiders in the research process, language use and the virtual interface are considered. The paper draws on the experience of a recent research project entitled 'Cyberparents' and concludes that the use of conferencing software holds great potential for synchronous online interviewing. However, this must be combined with sensitive, ethical handling of both the research process and the data to overcome both the weaknesses of this particular method and those inherent in any interviewing situation.

Who Suceeds and Who Flounders? Young People in East Europe's New Market Economies

Kenneth Roberts, G I Osadchaya, H V Dsuzev, V G Gorodyanenko and Jochen Tholen
Sociological Research Online 7 (4) roberts

Keywords: East-Central Europe; Education; Labour Markets; Youth
Abstract: The main question addressed in this paper is what happens when the usual sociological predictors (family background and educational attainment, for example) fail to predict labour market success and failure The paper presents evidence from surveys conducted in 1999 among 1300 25-26 year olds in Moscow, Vladikavkaz and Dneipropetrovsk which shows that this was indeed the situation in these places, and probably in most other parts of the former Soviet Union also. Our analysis also draws on evidence from focus groups conducted in Moscow and Dneipropetrovsk during 2002 with a total of 25 recent university graduates. All these young people were 'succeeding' according to the definition of success adopted in our analysis. It is argued that in the new market economies young people's prospects really have become unpredictable: that there are no efficacious but so far overlooked social or psychological variables. Young people's ways of coping with their chaotic conditions are identified: 'keeping faith' with customary reliabilities, off-setting risks, and endeavouring to de-couple their personal prospects from macro-realities. The paper concludes by evaluating competing explanations of the new unpredictability. It is argued that specifically post-Soviet economic trends and conditions in the 1990s are wholly responsible, and that, irrespective of whether the economies recover or remain depressed, the unpredictability of success will most likely be a short-term phenomenon.

A UK Sociolinguistic Perspective: Gene, Jeffrey and Evangelical 'Broad Inclusion' Intersubjectivity

Noel Heather
Sociological Research Online 9 (1) noel

Keywords: Critical Discourse Analysis; Critical Postliberalism; Intersubjectivity; Religion; Sexuality; Social Cognition; Sociolinguistics; The Church
Abstract: Critical sociolinguistics (conceived as Critical Discourse Analysis: CDA), which has a focus on inclusive and exclusive language within social practice, can be used to shed light on underlying aspects of recent debates about the appointment of homosexual bishops in the UK and USA. One strand of the CDA approach is to examine the social cognitions implicit in the behaviours of communities. In the case of the religious communities involved here, a basic feature of their differences lies in their use of contrasting socio-theological, mentally-encoded schemata: the Evangelical, group-focused, strong commitment frame (SCF) contrasts sharply with the more liberally-inclined, more 'individual-respecting', social normalcy frame (SNF). One of the consequences of this is that Evangelicals appear to enjoy a particularly strong sense of 'mental bonding of outlook', intersubjectivity, in which a high focus on group objectives and social outlooks is closely allied to their traditional beliefs. And although Evangelical, 'group-thought' intersubjectivity may aid mental resistance to change on some social issues (eg homosexual bishops), it may however also help maintain 'broad inclusion' in terms of social marginalisation of normally more common, but perhaps less 'culturally visible' kinds (eg the single and elderly).

'Rappin' on the Reservation: Canadian Mohawk Youth's Hybrid Cultural Identities

Robert Hollands
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.

Attitudes, Care and Commitment: Pattern and Process

Sarah Irwin
Sociological Research Online 9 (3) irwin

Keywords: Attitudes, Norms, Care, Parenting, Employment, Work-Life Balance, Schools
Abstract: The paper develops a new analysis of attitudes to aspects of work and caring for children. The paper reports on analysis of data generated through a small scale survey designed and conducted with pilot study funding to follow up aspects of research by the ESRC Research Group for the study of Care, Values and the Future of Welfare. The survey research takes as a focus a specific point in the life course of parents: when they have children in the early years at primary school. The paper develops an analysis of the coherence of people's attitudes and their social location, with particular reference to social inequality. It also reports on new linked analysis of British Social Attitudes Survey data. In contrast to recent arguments of increasingly 'autonomous' subjectivities the research contributes to a broader theoretical understanding of the mutuality of subjectivities and extant social relations.

The Time Economy of Parenting

Anne Gray
Sociological Research Online 11 (3) gray

Keywords: Fatherhood Gender-Contract Parenting Time-Use Work-Life-Balance
Abstract: This paper explores how the UK Time Use Survey (UKTUS), together with the author's qualitative interviews and focus groups with London parents, can inform current policy debates about childcare and parental employment. It also refers to the international literature about long-term trends in parental childcare time. It addresses four key questions about time use and parenting, which have implications for theorisation of the `gender contract' regarding childcare and for our understanding of the gendered distribution of time between care, work and leisure in two-parent families. How is total parenting time affected by parents' work hours ? How do the long work weeks of British fathers affect their capacity to share childcare with mothers ? Would childcare time rise if work hours were more equally distributed between women and men ? This invokes a discussion of how far childcare is really transferable between parents (or can be delegated to external carers); to what extent is it `work' or a relational activity ?

Parental Help-Seeking and the Moral Order. Notes for Policy-Makers and Parenting Practitioners on 'the First Port of Call' and 'No One to Turn To'

Karen Broadhurst
Sociological Research Online 12 (6) 4

Keywords: Ethnomethodology, Membership Categorisation Analysis, Normativity/social Organisation, Parenting Support
Abstract: The topic 'help-seeking' is of international interest. However, there is only a very limited literature concerning help-seeking in child welfare and a distinct dearth of studies that have examined the social organisation of parents' decisions to seek help. Recent developments in child welfare services in England and Wales have seen the introduction of a raft of initiatives that aim to deliver parenting support to a broader range of parents; however, these initiatives are not well grounded in an evidence base concerning parental help-seeking. Focusing on the organisation of talk-in-interaction in interviews and focus groups, this study examined parents' normative and inter-subjective understandings about help-seeking. The study found that when considering the welfare problems of parenting (variously described as 'domestic', 'normal' or 'on the home front'), participants routinely made relevant the binary 'inside/outside' the family, indicating the central (normative) relevance of the category 'family' for this kind of support. Outside (professional) help was very much a residual option, only to be considered on the basis of 'no-one to turn to'. The findings are discussed in relation to national strategies that seek to normalise support for parenting and issues of international relevance to do with professional identification and diagnosis of need.

'Do We Look Like Boy Racers?' the Role of the Folk Devil in Contemporary Moral Panics

Karen Lumsden
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.

Futures Narratives, Possible Worlds, Big Stories: Causal Layered Analysis and the Problems of Youth

Cate Watson
Sociological Research Online 14 (5) 20

Keywords: Causal Layered Analysis, Childhood, Ethical Spectacle, Family, Futures Narrative, Futurology, Risk Factors, Scenario, Youth, Youth Crime
Abstract: Narratives of the future can be seen as a form of colonialisation, structuring fields of discourse, in a process which Johan Galtung (cited in Andersson, 2006) refers to as 'chronological imperialism'. However, futures narratives can also be used to disrupt these attempts at colonialisation through surfacing problematic assumptions in order to explore alternative scenarios. In this paper I first consider modal narratives and possible worlds and their relevance to the social sciences. I then discuss Sohail Inayatullah's 'Causal Layered Analysis' (CLA) - a narrative technique for constructing past and present and imagining the future. CLA draws on a 'poststructural toolbox' to examine problematic issues using a process which focuses on four levels of analysis: litany (the official public description of the issue); social science analysis (which attempts to articulate causal variables); discourse analysis or prevailing worldview; and myth/metaphor analysis. The aim is to disrupt current discourses which have become sedimented into practice and so open up space for the construction of alternative scenarios. In the third part I demonstrate how this approach can be used to examine 'big issues' taking as my example the current preoccupation with troubled and troublesome youth.

Parenting in Post-Divorce Estonian Families: A Qualitative Study

Leeni Hansson
Sociological Research Online 15 (1) 1

Keywords: Divorce; Parenting Patterns; Traditional Gender Roles; Qualitative Study; Estonia
Abstract: Estonia is a society characterised by persistence of traditional gender role attitudes. Accordingly, taking care of children is considered to be mainly mother's task and children's living arrangements following divorce are usually solved in the most traditional way children stay with their mother. Based on qualitative interviews with divorced mothers the study focused on the attitudes of mothers towards fathers' involvement in parenting following divorce. It was possible to differentiate between three post-divorce parenting patterns: (1) cooperative parenting with nonresident father involved with his children, (2) distant parenting characterized by loose contacts between children and nonresident father, and (3) sole parenting without any paternal involvement or financial support. The interviewees basically agreed that shared parental responsibilities would be the ideal form of post-divorce parenting but in practice their expectations concerning father's involvement were rather modest. The interviewees mostly approved prevailing in Estonia normative gendered parental role obligations with mother as the primary parent who had to take main responsibility for children both in the marriage as well as in the post-divorce period.

Using Focus Group Research in Exploring the Relationships Between Youth, Risk and Social Position

Dave Merryweather
Sociological Research Online 15 (1) 2

Keywords: Focus Groups, Youth, Risk, Social Position, Distinctions
Abstract: This paper draws upon current research to consider the value of the focus group method for exploring the relationships between youth, risk and social position. Groups comprising young people occupying similar social positions were used to generate talk about aspects of everyday life regarded as risk. Through the processes of conversational interaction facilitated by the focus group method, participants co-produced detailed risk narratives, understood here in Bourdieu's terms as product and producer of the habitus related to social position. Using data from several of the focus groups I illustrate how the method was especially useful in generating narratives indicative of how risks were experienced and understood in different ways according to social positions of class, gender and ethnicity. Such risk narratives also reproduced distinctions between and within different social positions. Consideration is given to certain limitations of the focus group method in respect of this research. Ultimately, however, the ability of the method to generate collaborative narratives reflective of shared social position is viewed as an invaluable means for developing a rich and nuanced account of the relations between youth and risk.

"If I Shut My Eyes, I Cannot Hear You'': The Regulation of Parent and Adolescent Communication About Sexual Practices and Identities in the Family Context

Sharon Elley
Sociological Research Online 15 (2) 4

Keywords: Adolescence; Communication; Family Practices; Kinship and Familial Relationships; Intimacy; Parenting; Sex and Relationship Education; Sexuality; Young People
Abstract: This paper examines parent-adolescent communication about sexuality in the family context. Of central concern is how parents and their adolescent children interact and communicate about sexual identities and practices. The paper focuses on kinship and familial relations between parents and adolescents, family dynamics and the processes impacting on young people's emergent sexual development and informal sex education in the home. The data is drawn from interviews with 38 young people aged 15-21 years with another 31 participating in focus-groups. The paper argues that mutual and open dialogue about sexuality between parents and adolescents remains highly circumscribed due to how sexuality is relational and regulated in the family context. The data reveals that despite strong family relationships, complex patterns of surveillance and negotiation mean that parents and children monitor and control situations related to expressing sexuality. Instead of 'passive' processes operating to manage sexual identities, this paper finds that parents and young people necessarily draw on more sophisticated practices of what can be conceptually termed as the 'active acknowledgement' and 'active avoidance' of sexuality as a means to manage sexual identities across different family contexts.

Gendered Performances in a Male-Dominated Subculture: 'Girl Racers', Car Modification and the Quest for Masculinity

Karen Lumsden
Sociological Research Online 15 (3) 6

Keywords: Car Culture; Femininity; Ethnography; Gender; Subcultures; Youth
Abstract: This paper discusses female participation in the male-dominated 'boy racer' culture. Little is known about girls who join male-dominated subcultures while studies of car cultures have tended to describe girls as peripheral participants and emphasise the link between the car and masculinity. Hence this paper provides an analysis of 'girl racers'; those drivers who are active participants in the 'racer' culture through their positioning in the 'driver's seat'. Gender is understood as 'performative' and Connell's notions of 'hegemonic masculinity' and 'emphasized femininity' frame the analysis. For the 'girl racers', 'doing gender' involved negotiating a complex set of norms while reconciling the competing discourses of the masculine 'racer' scene and femininity. In order to be viewed as authentic participants, females were required to act like 'one of the boys' through their style of dress, driving, language and attitudes. They internalised the gender norms of the culture rather than resisting them explicitly, for fear of being excluded from the group. However, the feminine ways in which they modified their cars allowed them to retain an element of femininity within the world of 'boy racers'. Thus, 'girl racers' resourcefully negotiated their way through the culture by employing a combination of complex strategies involving compliance, resistance and cooperation with the masculine values of the group. Findings are presented from participant observation, semi-structured and ethnographic interviews with members of the 'racer' culture in Aberdeen, Scotland, and semi-structured interviews with members of 'outside' groups.

Under the Influence? The Construction of Foetal Alcohol Syndrome in UK Newspapers

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.

Understanding the Significance of the Teenage Mother in Contemporary Parenting Culture

Jan Macvarish
Sociological Research Online 15 (4) 3

Keywords: Teenage Pregnancy; Parenting; Sexuality; Adulthood; Family Policy
Abstract: This paper attempts to understand the prominence given to teenage pregnancy in policy discussions since the late-1990s by contextualising it within a broader analysis of the contemporary 'culture of parenting'. The emerging field of parenting culture studies has begun to develop an analysis of the key features of policy, practice and informal culture. Three key concepts are discussed to shed an alternative light on the issue of teenage pregnancy and parenthood with the hope of further developing the healthy debate that has emerged in recent years in response to policy priorities: the development of 'parental tribalism' whereby differing parental choices and behaviour become a site for identity formation; the idea of a deficit at the level of parenting and intimate familial relationships; the reconceptualising of the parent as an autonomous, authoritative adult to a more infantilised imagining. The teenage mother, herself neither adult nor child, becomes emblematic of these developments.

'What Science Says is Best': Parenting Practices, Scientific Authority and Maternal Identity

Charlotte Faircloth
Sociological Research Online 15 (4) 4

Keywords: Parenting, Psychology, Neuroscience, Scientific Authority, Maternal Identity
Abstract: Based on research in London with mothers from a breastfeeding support organisation this paper explores the narratives of women who breastfeed 'to full term' (typically for a period of several years) as part of a philosophy of 'attachment parenting', an approach to parenting which validates long term proximity between child and care-taker. In line with wider cultural trends, one of the most prominent 'accountability strategies' used by this group of mothers to explain their long-term breastfeeding is recourse to scientific evidence, both about the nutritional benefits of breastfeeding and about the broader cognitive and developmental benefits of attachment parenting more broadly. Women's accounts internalize and reflect popular literature around attachment parenting, which is explored here in-depth as a means of contextualizing shifting patterns of 'scientisation'. What follows is a reflection on how 'scientific evidence' is given credence in narratives of mothering, and what the implications of this are for individuals in their experience of parenting, and for society more broadly. As a form of 'Authoritative Knowledge' (Jordan 1997) women utilise 'science' when they talk about their decisions to breastfeed long-term, since it has the effect of placing these non-conventional practices beyond debate (they are simply what is 'healthiest'). The article therefore makes a contribution to wider sociological debates around the ways in which society and behaviour are regulated, and the ways in which 'science' is interpreted, internalized and mobilized by individuals in the course of their 'identity work'.

Researching Barriers to Cultural Change for Those in Loco Parentis

Heather Piper and Pat Sikes
Sociological Research Online 15 (4) 5

Keywords: False Accusation, Sensitive Research; Carers' and Educators' Lives and Careers; Parenting, Touch
Abstract: Drawing on recent research on professional fears around touching children, and also on the consequences for those professionals who find themselves the subject of a false allegation of abuse, this paper considers some of the barriers to changing the 'parenting' culture of those in loco parentis. It consists of three linked sections. The first sets the scene by describing briefly the research relating to 'touch' and to 'false allegation' as well as outlining the particular ethical and methodological approach of the latter. This leads into the central section of the paper which comprises a first person account of the experiences of a male teacher who was wrongly accused and convicted of touching young children inappropriately in the classroom, serving a prison sentence before being found not guilty. In spite of this verdict his career is ruined and he will not be able to teach or work with children/vulnerable adults in the future. The final section reflects on the implications of this and other accounts, and offers tentative suggestions as to how accusations could be dealt with in a more appropriate way. The challenge is to identify principles and practices which are in keeping with our joint responsibility in relation to human rights (ie those of both children and professionals), and which also contribute towards encouraging the changes required in the 'parenting' culture of those in loco parentis.

Fathers 'Care' Too: The Impact of Family Relationships on the Experience of Work for Parents of Disabled Children

Katharine Venter
Sociological Research Online 16 (3) 1

Keywords: Carers, Children's Chronic Illness, Disability, Employment, Family, Gender, Parenting
Abstract: There is a wealth of literature exploring the impact of parenthood on employment. However, this literature largely overlooks the experiences of parents of children with disabilities, for whom combining the care of their child with employment poses considerable challenges. Within the limited literature on these parents, the focus is on primary carers who are predominantly women. Consequently, the implications for fathers' employment experiences of parenting children with disabilities are largely invisible. Based on research with mothers and fathers this paper argues that being the parent of a child with disabilities impacts significantly on the characteristics of both parents' employment and on their experience of employment. This depends on the nature of parents' roles in care and is reflective of broader patterns of gender relationships within the family. Employment decisions take place within an ongoing parental dialogue that reflects broader conceptualisations of gender relations within the family and in the workplace.

Underlying the Riots: The Invisible Politics of Class

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

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

Hopes for the Future: Parents' and Children's Narratives of Children's Future Employment Orientations

Jeni Harden, Kathryn Backett-Milburn, Alice MacLean and Lynn Jamieson
Sociological Research Online 17 (2) 13

Keywords: Children's Futures; Intensive Parenting; Employment
Abstract: 'What do you want to be when you grow up?' is a question often asked of children yet little is known about how children and their parents think about their future in terms of employment. This paper, based on qualitative longitudinal research with 14 families, explores children's and parents' narratives about children's employment futures, illuminating the values, social relations and structures through which such narratives are formed. The paper reflects on the extent to which children's present lives are future orientated and the ways this future orientation manifests itself in everyday life. The findings highlight the hopes expressed by parents and the nature of parental influence in shaping their children's futures. While children's futures were not developed as precise plans, there were many ways in which they were being 'planned'. Choices were expanded or narrowed and trajectories mapped out through parents' and children's hopes, dreams and assumptions for what the future would hold. This 'planning' was framed by the families' individualised biographies and their socio-economic position.

Bases, Stages and 'Working Your Way Up': Young People's Talk About Non-Coital Practices and 'Normal' Sexual Trajectories

Ruth Lewis, Cicely Marston and Kaye Wellings
Sociological Research Online 18 (1) 1

Keywords: Youth Transitions, Sexual Trajectories, Heterosexuality, Normative Sexuality, Sexual Behaviour, Vaginal Intercourse, Non-Coital, Oral Sex
Abstract: While the symbolic importance of 'losing your virginity' has been described in many settings, meanings of non-coital sexual experiences, such as oral sex and hand-genital contact, are often missing from theorisation of sexual transitions. Drawing on data from a qualitative mixed methods study with young people aged 16-18 in England (the 'sixteen18 project'), we explore normative expectations about non-coital sex and sexual trajectories. Our study demonstrates how gendered talk about a 'normal order' of non-coital sexual activities 'leading to' vaginal intercourse contributes to a heteronormative discourse shaping sexual narratives and experiences long before first vaginal intercourse. Pre-coital sexual experiences were accounted for in terms of providing an opportunity for young men to develop and demonstrate sexual skill, for young women to be prepared for penetration by a penis and to learn to enjoy partnered sexual encounters, and for both sexes to develop the emotional intimacy required for first vaginal intercourse in a relationship. Prior to 'having sex', young people's talk about, and experience of, non-coital sexual activities helps circulate ideas about what 'proper' sex is, which sexual practices are valued and why, which skills are required and by whom, and whose pleasure is prioritised. If sexual health programmes are to challenge gendered inequalities in dominant assumptions about sex, non-coital sexual activities should be viewed as a legitimate area for discussion.

Stillbirth and Loss: Family Practices and Display

Samantha Murphy and Hilary Thomas
Sociological Research Online 18 (1) 16

Keywords: Stillbirth, Identity, Qualitative Research, Parenting
Abstract: This paper explores how parents respond to their memories of their stillborn child over the years following their loss. When people die after living for several years or more, their family and friends have the residual traces of a life lived as a basis for an identity that may be remembered over a sustained period of time. For the parent of a stillborn child there is no such basis and the claim for a continuing social identity for their son or daughter is precarious. Drawing on interviews with the parents of 22 stillborn children, this paper explores the identity work performed by parents concerned to create a lasting and meaningful identity for their child and to include him or her in their families after death. The paper draws on Finch's (2007) concept of family display and Walter's (1999) thesis that links continue to exist between the living and the dead over a continued period. The paper argues that evidence from the experience of stillbirth suggests that there is scope for development for both theoretical frameworks.

Education to Work Transitions: How the Old Middle Went Missing and Why the New Middle Remains Elusive

Kenneth Roberts
Sociological Research Online 18 (1) 3

Keywords: Class, Education, Employment, Youth, Youth Cultures.  
Abstract: Middling youth were centre stage in research on school-to-work transitions from the early-20th century up to and throughout the 1980s. Since then they have been overshadowed by sociological attention to the young unemployed/NEETs on the one side, and university students and graduates on the other. Simultaneously, economists have been crowding out sociologists in the study of education-to-work transitions, especially in the middle ground. However, this paper argues that this is not just a case of the sociological gaze missing the middle. It is argued that old middling labour market destinations have diminished in number, and the new middle remains elusive because the employment tends to be precarious. Thus today's middling groups of school-leavers must either try to move-up or face career-long threats of descent to the bottom.

Between Edges and Margins: Exploring 'Ordinary' Young People's Experiences of the Everyday Antisocial

Emma Davidson
Sociological Research Online 18 (1) 5

Keywords: Antisocial Behaviour; Middling Youth; Social Class; Neighbourhood; Otherness
Abstract: In an attempt to understand youth-related antisocial behaviour, UK social policy has typically sought answers from the edge; investigating the motivations of young people perpetrating deviant behaviour or exploring the experiences of victims. Equally polarised and sensationalist narratives are present in journalistic accounts, with Knight's Hood Rat and BBC documentary The Scheme both depicting the lives of young people in 'disadvantaged' neighbourhoods as on the margins of society. Drawing on ethnographic research conducted in a Scottish housing estate, this paper calls for a localised and situated approach to understanding 'the antisocial'. The empirical data shows that young people do not fit easily into the dualist categories of 'perpetrator' or 'victim'. Despite living in what could be classed an 'antisocial' place the majority of young people's everyday experiences were not spent on the margins but rather somewhere in-between, while their own identities were described as normal and unspectacular. The paper concludes by emphasising the value of research that situates understandings of 'the antisocial' within its everyday social context. This offers us the opportunity to take a broader analysis of young lives and crucially re-establish the connection between lives on the margins and the 'missing middle'.

Young People and School GCSE Attainment: Exploring the 'Middle'

Roxanne Connelly, Susan J. Murray and Vernon Gayle
Sociological Research Online 18 (1) 6

Keywords: Sociology of Youth, Educational Attainment, GCSE, Missing Middle, British Household Panel Survey.  
Abstract: The term 'missing middle' has been used to describe the position of ordinary young people in youth research. There have been recent appeals for youth researchers to concentrate upon the lives of ordinary young people and to better document their educational experiences through the secondary analysis of large-scale social surveys. This paper presents a series of exploratory analyses that attempt to identify the school-level educational attainment and social characteristics of ordinary young people using contemporary survey data. We undertake a series of exploratory analyses of data from the British Household Panel Survey. These data cover the period directly after General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) qualifications were introduced. The dataset provides measures of school attainment and suitable individual, household and parental measures. We detect gender differences in school GCSE performance, with females outperforming males. There are some effects due to differences in parental education levels and household circumstances. There is a large group of young people who fail to gain any GCSEs, and their attainment falls far short of benchmark standards, and has negative consequences. In contrast gaining a moderate level of GCSEs at school has a positive effect in relation to employment in early adulthood. Our analyses fail to convince us that there are distinctive, or discrete, categories of GCSE attainment. The evidence explored here persuades us that there are no crisp boundaries that mark out a 'middle' category of moderate GCSE attainment. We conclude that there are clear benefits to understanding school attainment as being located upon a continuum, and that measures which reflect the heterogeneity of GCSE performance as fully as possible should be preferred.

Researching 'Ordinary' Young People in a Changing World: The Sociology of Generations and the 'Missing Middle' in Youth Research

Dan Woodman
Sociological Research Online 18 (1) 7

Keywords: Young People, Youth, Generation, Ordinariness, Missing Middle, Precariousness, Inequality, Class, Gender
Abstract: Several researchers have pointed to an overemphasis on 'spectacular' elements of youth culture and on 'at-risk' young people, arguing for greater attention to the 'ordinary' in sociological youth research. This article draws upon the Life Patterns Project, a 20-year longitudinal study of transitions in Australia, to argue that both understanding the 'ordinary' experience of youth and contemporary patterns of inequality between young people can be facilitated by a return to ideas from the undervalued legacy of the sociology of generations. Much youth research draws, often implicitly, on a model of youth where the adulthood that is the end point of transitions tends to be taken for granted. Yet, in the context of a rapidly changing labour market, the Life-Patterns participants have had to reshape the meaning of youth and adulthood as the field of possibilities open to them has changed. Understanding this remaking is the basis from which youth research can understand how some young people come to win or lose in contemporary conditions.

Restricting the Public in Public Space: The London 2012 Olympic Games, Hyper-Securitization and Marginalized Youth

Jacqueline Kennelly and Paul Watt
Sociological Research Online 18 (2) 19

Keywords: Public Space, Youth, Marginalization, Policing, Security, London Olympics
Abstract: In contrast to Olympic organizers’ claims about the London 2012 Games as a celebration for all, we recount the experiences of low-income and marginally housed young people as experiencing exclusion from the benefits of the Games being held in their neighbourhood. Drawing on qualitative methods with young people living in the ethnically diverse and economically deprived Olympic host borough of Newham, we focus on public space and its limitations in the context of the 2012 Games. The article discusses the sense conveyed by young people of their neighbourhood being made beautiful for visitors, but of themselves being overly policed and subject to Olympic-related dispersal orders. We conclude by querying for whom is public space made available during the Olympic Games, suggesting that the benefactors are not economically marginalized young people living in the shadow of the Games.

Youth Studies, Housing Transitions and the 'Missing Middle': Time for a Rethink?

Steven Roberts
Sociological Research Online 18 (3) 11

Keywords: Youth; Housing Transitions; Housing Careers; Missing Middle; Social Change; Cultural Resources
Abstract: A recent but growing trend in studies of young people's lives has been to highlight that there is a 'missing middle' in the youth studies research agenda. It has been argued that much youth research focuses on either successful or very troubled transitions to adulthood, with the lives of those who might simply be 'getting by' representing an empirical absence. Building on previous work that has addressed how such a missing middle can add to our understanding of educational experience and attainment, labour market engagement and participation, and issues of identity, this paper pays attention to the housing transitions, careers and aspirations of a group of 'ordinary' and apparently unproblematic working class young men. Because they do not represent groups that have been of especial interest in youth studies to date, their experiences problematize the on-going utility of dominant conceptual frameworks used to explain housing transition to date. In addition to their 'lack of fit' with ideal type typologies, the young men also reveal the shifting nature of attitudes towards communal living 'which is traditionally associated with middle class students' but the continuing role of social resources as a determining factor in their housing transition.

Reporting the Riots: Parenting Culture and the Problem of Authority in Media Analysis of August 2011

Jennie Bristow
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.

Riots, Restraint and the New Cultural Politics of Wanting

Tracey Jensen
Sociological Research Online 18 (4) 7

Keywords: Riots, Thrift, Austerity, Parenting, Motherhood, Neoliberalism
Abstract: In the aftermath of the 2011 English riots, many political elites, journalists and public commentators obscured the material, sociological and economic factors which contributed to the unrest and instead connected the riots to a problematic kind of 'wanting' - wanting the wrong kinds of things, in a manner and degree that was constructed as illegitimate and vulgar in a time of austerity - and thus constructing the riots as a problem of excessive greed, rampant materialism and social decay. This article reflects upon how the riots played a key role in the political production of a new cultural politics of wanting, whereby wanting is made problematic, suspect, a sign of material fixation and of irresponsible consumerism. It reflects upon this cultural politics within the current austerity regime which manifests through a celebration and romanticisation of post-War restraint and re-animation of thrift practices and frugal living.

Parenting, Play and the Work-Family Interaction

Stefano Ba'
Sociological Research Online 19 (2) 7

Keywords: Work-Family Interaction, Play, Parenting, Children’s Activities, Gender
Abstract: This article explores the recreational time of parents with young children and the ways it can influence practices reconciling work and family. The aim is to examine the internal dynamics and the emotional side of family life vis- -vis parents’ time structures. Children’s organised and spontaneous activities have received scant attention in work-family studies and this lack of conceptual development around the quality of time use is unfortunate, if we take the work-family interaction to be more than the sum of strategies aiming at balancing both domains. In this analytical framework special attention is then placed on play and on the activities parents set up with children during their recreational time. We find that especially play and loosely structured recreational time becomes important for parents because this time strongly characterises their home experience and through it they construct emotional bonds with their children. In this research, the concepts of ‘parent-initiated play’ will be introduced and used to find that play and activities with children are linked to asymmetric gender practices of care and bonding. The dual nature of parents’ time with children is considered crucial in understanding the construction of family life and the strains around the work-family interaction.

‘Justin Bieber Sounds Girlie’: Young People’s Celebrity Talk and Contemporary Masculinities

Kim Allen, Laura Harvey and Heather Mendick
Sociological Research Online 20 (3) 12

Keywords: Affect, Celebrity, Youth, Masculinity, Sexuality, Gender
Abstract: In this article, we explore the ways that contemporary young masculinities are performed and regulated through young people’s relationship with celebrity. We address the relative paucity of work on young men’s engagements with popular culture. Drawing on qualitative data from group interviews with 148 young people (aged 14-17) in England, we identify ‘celebrity talk’ as a site in which gender identities are governed, negotiated and resisted. Specifically we argue that celebrity as a space of imagination can bring to the study of masculinities a focus on their affective and collective mobilisation. Unpicking young men’s and women’s talk about Canadian pop star Justin Bieber and British boyband One Direction, we show how disgust and humour operate as discursive-affective practices which open up and close down certain meanings and identities. We conclude that while there have been shifts in the ways that masculinities are performed and regulated, hierarchies of masculinities anchored through hegemonic masculinity remain significant.

‘Menacing Youth’ and ‘Broken Families’: A Critical Discourse Analysis of the Reporting of the 2011 English Riots in the Daily Express Using Moral Panic Theory

Jasbinder S. Nijjar
Sociological Research Online 20 (4) 10

Keywords: Critical Discourse Analysis, Daily Express, Moral Panics, Parenting, Youth, 2011 English Riots
Abstract: This paper utilises moral panic theory and critical discourse analysis to examine the coverage of the 2011 English riots in the British newspaper, the Daily Express. Findings show that the Daily Express drew on two previous moral panics concerning youngsters and family life to diagnose the riots as a consequence of youth criminality and poor parenting. The newspaper identified young people as folk devils of the unrest by adopting discourses which vilified them, their behaviour and choice of clothing. Furthermore, the Daily Express exaggerated the severity of the disorder by describing it as war and mass murder to reinforce to its readers the supposed threat posed by young people to social relations. Additionally, the newspaper supported politicians who denied structural determinants as causes of the unrest and, instead, blamed micro issues including a decline in ‘traditional’ family life and morals and discipline among youngsters. While some suggest that folk devils are now defended by experts, the Daily Express gave column inches to expert commentators who also pinpointed young people and poor parenting as causes of the disorder. This paper proposes that future research on media coverage of social problems might, in addition to exploring whether the reporting of an issue identifies new anxieties and concerns, examine the extent to which media institutions draw on and modify discourses concerning previous and familiar social anxieties in order to interpret and frame a social problem.

Negotiating Intimacy, Equality and Sexuality in the Transition to Parenthood

Charlotte Faircloth
Sociological Research Online 20 (4) 3

Keywords: Parenting, Gender, Intimacy, Equality, Sex, Couples
Abstract: Whilst both ‘parenting’ and ‘intimacy’ have been explored extensively in recent social scientific research (for example, Lee et al 2014, Gabb and Silva 2011), their intersections in the context of family life remain curiously absent. This paper presents findings from on-going longitudinal research with parents in London, which investigates how the care of children, and particularly the feeding of infants, affects the parental couple’s ‘intimate’ relationship. In particular, as part of this special section, it looks at couples’ accounts of sex as they make the transition to parenthood, as a lens on the themes of gender, intimacy and equality. Far from being an easy relationship between them, as predicted by some scholars, this research shows that they are in fact, ‘uncomfortable bedfellows’.

Getting the Green Light: Experiences of Icelandic Mothers Struggling with Breastfeeding

Sunna Símonardóttir
Sociological Research Online 21 (4) 1

Keywords: Breastfeeding, Motherhood, Parenting Culture, Scientific Discourses, the Body
Abstract: The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life, with continued breastfeeding up to two years of age or beyond. This policy has been adopted by the Nordic countries, including Iceland, where there has been an upward trend towards higher breastfeeding rates and duration. The high breastfeeding rates in Iceland indicate that the idea that all women should breastfeed is culturally very strong. Exclusive breastfeeding is constructed as a pillar of successful bonding and absolutely paramount when it comes to promoting the close primary relationship between mother and child. Previous research on breastfeeding from a socio-cultural point of view remains very much rooted in an Anglo-American context and has mostly been conducted in countries where breastfeeding rates remain relatively low and the cultural context of breastfeeding similar. This paper addresses that particular knowledge gap by making visible the identity work that Icelandic mothers perform in order to be able to construct themselves as “good” responsible mothers and how dominant biomedical discourses on infant feeding and ʹgood motheringʹ discursively position women as powerless and unable to make decisions on breastfeeding cessation. The reaction that they experience from their immediate surroundings indicates that their ʹfailuresʹ in breastfeeding can rarely be constructed as anything other than a personal shortcoming. Whilst the surveillance that they come to expect from other mothers and the general public results in them having to account for their ʹlackʹ of breastfeeding in order to avert the hostile gaze of others.

New Ways of Doing the “Good” and Gender Equal Family: Parents Employing Nannies and Au Pairs in Sweden

Sara Eldén and Terese Anving
Sociological Research Online 21 (4) 2

Keywords: Care Work, Parenting, Gender Equality, Au Pairs/nannies, Family Practices, Welfare State
Abstract: The last decade, Nordic families have started to employ nannies and au pairs to an extent previously never experienced. Political initiatives such as tax deductions for household services, together with global trends of “care chains”, have created a private market for care services, which have made it possible for families to hire cheap female, and often migrant, care labour. In the case of Sweden, this is an indication of a re-familializing trend in politics of care and family; a move away from a social democratic welfare regime, towards the privatized and marketized care/family solutions of other Western countries. This qualitative study of Swedish families who hire nannies/au pairs shows how the dual earner/dual carer family is being replaced by a dual earner/privately outsourced care family, a shift that requires particular forms of accounting for their practices on the part of the parents, related to the discourse of gender equality as well as narratives of what is ‘best for children’. This, we argue, indicates that gender equality and “good care” for children is increasingly becoming a class privilege.

Mediating ‘Aspirant’ Religious-Sexual Futures: In God’s Hands?

Yvette Taylor
Sociological Research Online 22 (1) 13

Keywords: Sexuality, Religion, Youth, Employment, Family, Transitions
Abstract: This paper explores the construction of vocational and familial futures, in times of ‘aspiring’, ‘post-welfare,’ or ‘crisis’ youth transitions, as mediated by sexual-religious identification. By considering the intersectional relations of both sexuality and religion in constructing young people’s aspirations, the paper highlights pragmatic and caring orientations, including a ‘calling’ to religion as a site of present-future vocational and familial investment. I challenge the separation of religion and sexuality in youth transitions, and in notions of the ‘times we’re in’ as compelling certain kinds of future-orientated aspirant (and secular) selves. Overall, the article hopes to contribute to theorising the intersection sexuality and religion in further understanding the subversive – and conservative – potential of religious-sexual values and futures. Such orientations interface with aspects of ‘getting by’ and ‘getting on’ and at once re-inscribe and stretch normative vocational and familial choices.

Is Information Power? Comparing Anonymous and Open Egg Donation

Amy Speier
Sociological Research Online 22 (2) 1

Keywords: Egg Donation, In-Vitro Fertilization, Anonymous/open Donation, Pre-Conception Parenting, Disclosure
Abstract: Both the Czech Republic and the United States are destinations for cross-border reproductive travelers. For North Americans, including Canadians, who opt to travel to the Czech Republic for IVF using an egg donor, they are entering a fertility industry that is anonymous. This makes the Czech Republic different from other European countries that necessitate open gamete donation, as in Austria, Germany and the United Kingdom. For reproductive travelers coming to the United States for fertility treatment, there is a wider menu of choices regarding egg donation given the vastly unregulated nature of the industry. More recently, professionals in the industry are pushing for ‘open’ egg donation. For intended parents traveling to either location seeking in vitro fertilization using an egg donor, they must choose whether or not to pursue open or closed donation. As pre-conception parents, they navigate competing discourses of healthy parenting of donor-conceived offspring. They must be reflexive about their choices, and protective when weighing their options, always keeping their future child’s mental, physical and genetic health in mind. Drawing from ethnographic data collected over the course of six years in the United States and the Czech Republic, this paper will explore both programs, paying special attention to the question of how gamete donation and global assisted reproductive technologies intersect with different notions about healthy pre-conception parenting.

‘I Suppose I Think to Myself, That’s the Best Way to Be a Mother’: How Ideologies of Parenthood Shape Women’s Use of Social Egg Freezing Technology

Kylie Baldwin
Sociological Research Online 22 (2) 2

Keywords: Social Egg Freezing, Reproductive Timing, Motherhood, Assisted Reproductive Technologies, Fatherhood, Parenting Ideologies
Abstract: The age distribution of women giving birth in England and Wales, as well as many other Western countries, has changed significantly in recent decades with growing numbers of women having children later in their reproductive lives. However, motherhood at an older age is positively associated with greater risks to mother and child including complications during pregnancy and birth as well as an increased risk of age-related infertility. In response to the increasing numbers of women attempting childbearing at an older age, a new form of technology has emerged, one which has the promissory potential to enable women to preserve a number of healthy young eggs for potential future use after the decline of their nature fertility. This technology is egg freezing, or as it is often referred, egg freezing for social reasons. This paper will examine the technology of egg freezing and its use for social reasons and will argue that current lay and media representations of this technology which infer a deliberative ‘choice’ on behalf of the user to delay motherhood, to pursue career advancement, does not adequately or accurately reflect the experiences of women engaging with this technology. Instead, and by drawing on data collected in 31 interviews with female users of this technology, this paper will suggest that women’s decision to engage in egg freezing as well as their perceptions about the timing of motherhood can be seen as being shaped by contemporary parenting culture and ideologies of parenthood. Furthermore, this paper will examine how these ideologies and expectations about parenthood are shaped by the demographic profile of the users of this technology.

Friendship, Gender and Sexual Experience: Retrospective Narratives About the Formation of a Sexual Self During Youth

Verónica Policarpo
Sociological Research Online 22 (2) 8

Keywords: Friendship, Friendship Practices, Gender, Sexual Experience, Sexual Self, Youth
Abstract: In this article, I explore the ways in which friendship contributes to shaping the boundaries of men’s and women’s sexual experiences. Using inputs from the sociology of experience and the sociology of friendship, I explore qualitative data from a research about sexuality in Portugal, in which I collected sexual biographies of 35 men and women, aged 30-55. In the in-depth interviews, these adult participants, possessing secondary and tertiary education, and living in urban areas, reflected retrospectively about their sexual biography, including their childhood and youth. The main thesis is that the practices of friendship (which structure those relationships as social facts) also help to structure sexual practices and representations and, through them, to construct the contemporary sexual self. Those practices may be discursive (‘talking’ and ‘chatting’), or rather oriented to action (‘doing things together’). In this article, I focus on discursive friendship practices, and how they contribute to shaping contemporary sexual experience. Drawing on F. Dubet’s sociology of experience, I argue that this relationship is defined in the tension along three dimensions: integration, strategy and subjectivation. This process is cross-cut by gender, as discursive friendship practices interact differently with the dimensions of sexual experience, in that strategy mainly reinforces definitions and enactment of hegemonic forms of masculinity, while subjectivation helps to challenge them and to build plural gender experiences (both feminine and masculine).

Young Indonesian Musicians, Strategic Social Capital, Reflexivity and Timing

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

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

‘Your Past Makes You Who You Are’: Retrospective Parenting and Relational Resilience Amongst Black Caribbean British Young People

Michela Franceschelli, Ingrid Schoon and Karen Evans
Sociological Research Online ()

Keywords: Black Caribbean Families, Black Caribbean Young People, Parenting, Migration, Resilience, Social Mobility
Abstract: In this paper, we explore how Black Caribbean parents prepare their children for the challenges ahead - including anticipated discrimination - in order to boost their opportunities in education and work and eventually their social mobility. Drawing upon family case studies with Black Caribbean families in London, this article focuses on what we have defined as retrospective parenting, to mean the use of narratives about the past as resources for parenting. Retrospective parenting draws on the struggles of a cumulative past and aims to transmit a sense of relational resilience, drawing simultaneously on individual, family and community histories. We found that retrospective parenting had restorative purposes, with parents aiming to make up for their missed opportunities, but also being preventive and progressive, conveying aims with forward-looking implications for the future of their children.