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Sociological Research Online 1 (1) 1
Keywords: Action-Research; Anti-Racism; Asian Women's Action Group (AWAG); Community Work; 'Crossroads' Project; Empowerment; Feminist Research; Glasgow
Abstract: Anti-racist sociology, feminist sociology and action-research share a concern with empowerment of 'the researched'. A review and critique of the concept of empowerment in anti racist, feminist and action research is used to argue for the use of Strauss's 'paradigm' for study of the negotiation of power in the research process. Power negotiations are discussed in relation to a reflexive case study of an action-research project which worked alongside South Asian women in Glasgow. The case focuses on the project set up, which was aimed at intrinsic empowerment, then on the community action which tried to respond to local concerns, and finally on the experiences of two researchers in the project. In conclusion, it is argued that empowerment, rather than an unquestioned, universally desirable goal, remains an issue for continuing debate.
Sociological Research Online 1 (1) 1
Keywords: Action-Research; Anti-Racism; Asian Women's Action Group (AWAG); Community Work; 'Crossroads' Project; Empowerment; Feminist Research; Glasgow
Abstract: Anti-racist sociology, feminist sociology and action-research share a concern with empowerment of 'the researched'. A review and critique of the concept of empowerment in anti racist, feminist and action research is used to argue for the use of Strauss's 'paradigm' for study of the negotiation of power in the research process. Power negotiations are discussed in relation to a reflexive case study of an action- research project which worked alongside South Asian women in Glasgow. The case focuses on the project set up, which was aimed at intrinsic empowerment, then on the community action which tried to respond to local concerns, and finally on the experiences of two researchers in the project. In conclusion, it is argued that empowerment, rather than an unquestioned, universally desirable goal, remains an issue for continuing debate.
Sociological Research Online 1 (1) 2
Keywords: Convergence and Divergence, Cross- National Employment Research, Employment Systems, Gender, Gender Order, Patriarchy
Abstract: This article critically reviews a range of theoretical approaches to cross-national employment research in terms of universal, culturalist and intermediary perspectives. These approaches have difficulty accounting for change and the co-existence of similarity and diversity, as well as being 'gender blind'. Debates on the welfare state or women's employment have shown more interest in gender although this tends to become an optional variable in the cross-national comparison, or where there have been attempts to make it more central, the meaning of cross-national differences becomes blurred and confused. It is argued that an employment-systems approach, coupled with the gender order perspective, can provide a useful framework of analysis which enables us to identify how comparable pressures for change have generated specific interest coalitions; these coalitions resolve conflicts by agreeing on a particular gender compromise.
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 (2) 2
Keywords: Caribbean Education; Gender; Gender identity; Masculinities; Secondary Education
Abstract: Derived from qualitative data collected for a research project based at the Institute of Social and Economic Research at the University of the West Indies, Jamaica, this paper explores classroom gendered responses of High School students in Jamaica, Barbados and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The account shows how teachers interpret gendered responses as confirmation of natural and necessary differences between male and female pupils. It is these perceived differences which they use to justify the case for single sex education, particularly for males. Conversely the paper argues that male gendered responses are informed by cultural expectations which translate into pedagogical relationships. These expectations reflect a version of masculinity (emerging from the historical experiences of white patriarchal chattel slavery in the West Indies) which equates education with the female side of a male/female dichotomy. The paper explores ways in which schools encourage this version of 'masculinity' at the same time as rendering it educationally inappropriate. In doing so the paper addresses issues which have been raised about male educational failure in recent British research.
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.
Jacobsen and Vanki
Sociological Research Online 1 (4) 3
Keywords: Engineering; Higher Education; Israeli Women; Simulation; System Dynamics
Abstract: The percentage of women engineering graduates in Israel has increased fourfold during the last two decades, but only a small percentage of Israeli women opt for these fields. We account for the current trend by a general theory of patterned deviance, viewing the recent increase of women's studying for engineering degrees as a case of nonconformity with a traditional norm. A simulation model of that theory reproduced 85.8% of the variance in the data on women engineering graduates between 1966 and 1987, indicating that the theory applies also in this case. The simulations show that it is becoming increasingly legitimate for women to study engineering and informal social control keeping women from enrolling in engineering has almost disappeared, but the internalized sex- stereotype still deters many women from taking such courses.
Sociological Research Online 1 (4) caqdas
Keywords: Engineering; Higher Education; Israeli Women; Simulation; System Dynamics
Abstract: Research Resource: This project continues in its aims to create networks which reach a wide audience of researchers using qualitative data sources. The project is co-directed by Nigel Fielding, University of Surrey and Ray Lee, Royal Holloway,University of London; Ann Lewins is the project resource officer based at Surrey University. It sets out to disseminate information about computer assisted qualitative data analysis (CAQDAS), makes available a number of CAQDAS resources, and creates platforms for the debate which concerns the use and development of CAQDAS. http://www.soc.surrey.ac.uk/caqdas/
CTI Centre for Sociology, Politics and Social Policy
Sociological Research Online 1 (4) ctisocinfo
Keywords: Engineering; Higher Education; Israeli Women; Simulation; System Dynamics
Abstract: Research Resource: SocInfo is the CTI Centre for Sociology, Politics and Social Policy based at the University of Stirling and is directed by Professor Duncan Timms and Millsom Henry. The main remit of this centre is to actively encourage academics to use the new technologies effectively in an overall attempt to improve the quality of teaching and learning. CTI Centres are funded under a joint programme of the Higher Education Funding Councils of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. There are 24 national Centres which are organised on a subject discipline basis. http://www.stir.ac.uk/socinfo/
Sociological Research Online 2 (1) 4
Keywords: Access; Elite Studies; Gender Studies; Interviewing; Power; Rapport; Women MPs
Abstract: This paper reflects on the recent experience of interviewing women MPs. The research process is analyzed in terms of the micro-politics of the relationship between the researcher and the researched. Relevant methodological debates from two areas of sociology which are rarely brought together have been incorporated. Elite Studies and Gender Studies. Both of these fields have discussed the politics of space within the process of interviewing. However, the research experience of interviewing female MPs does not neatly fit in with the descriptions of interviewing to be found in either of these fields. This paper will discuss how the experience meets, criss-crosses and contradicts research reflections that are to be found in both of the above fields. So at times my experience echoed Ann Oakley's description of interviewing women as a cosy, friendly and sisterly exchange of information (Oakley, 1982: p. 55). Whilst at other times I could relate to Stephen Ball's description of interviews with MPs as '...events of struggle, as a complex interplay of dominance/resistance and chaos/freedom.' (Ball, 1994: p. 113). Often the same interview shifted between these two types of scenarios. After a short introduction to the debates on space and power within Elite Studies and Gender Studies this paper will go on to detail some of the complexities of interviewing women MPs for a feminist project.
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 (3) 5
Keywords: Effectiveness; Multi-Disciplinary; Narrative; Post-Modern; Qualitative Methodology; Team Work
Abstract: Narrative has been described as a universally used means for ordering experience. Although the narratives of medical teams have received recent attention, those produced by health professionals in multi- disciplinary health care teams in the course of their everyday work in team reviews and case discussions about service users have not. This paper, then, presents a discussion of an under-investigated area of narrative in the social sciences. The analysis is developed from the narratives produced during team reviews conducted over several weeks about 2 users - one a quadriplegic, the other, a psychiatric patient in a medium secure unit. The major issues with which the paper is concerned are: (i) the identification and explanation of significant differences between the narratives produced by medical and multi-disciplinary teams; (ii) the identification of a suppressed dimension (both in the literature on health care teams, and in the practice of these teams) on the management of difference in the development of complex multi-disciplinary team narratives; and (iii) how members of MD teams work with the different professional knowledges represented by their members. The final section of the paper defines team work as primarily a process of knowledge work and knowledge creation, and it discusses some of the organizational conditions which facilitate such work.
Sociological Research Online 2 (3) 7
Keywords: Femininity; Gender; Management; Organisational Culture; Performance Appraisal; Sexuality; Women
Abstract: Four decades ago, Whyte (1956), described how a new human expression had become universally evident. This was the notion of the 'Organisation Man', an early corporate culture characterised by the middle ranks of managers in large organisations, who were subject to a 'social ethic'. Under the original conception gender was not an issue. However, in a contemporary view of human resource management (HRM) and corporate culture, it has become crucial to understanding both notions of competitive advantage, and the thesis and influence of commitment in the literature and the workplace. This article deals with some issues of women and the organisation man/corporate culture thesis. Unlike many studies (e.g. Fletcher et al, 1993), there is a need to make a distinction between women and men concerning their perceptions and roles. A need to clarify the changes that have taken place in relation to the corporate culture thesis. The analysis in this paper is based on initial research material. It deals with the above issues in relation to gender in contemporary society, asking as it does, if the notion of corporate culture has changed to one where both men and women are implicated in the project at a full, emotional level.
Sociological Research Online 3 (1) 1
Keywords: Citizenship; Culture; Democracy; Identity; Knowledge; Europe
Abstract: The concept 'society' in social theory has generally presupposed notions of cultural cohesion and social integration associated with national societies and the framework of modernity. This older idea of the social emerged out of the experience with institution-building associated with the rise of the nation-state and the transition from 'tradition' to 'modernity'. The question whether European integration can articulate a conception of the social independent of national society is a major challenge for social theory. This paper explores changing conceptions of the social in recent social theory and applies some of these ideas to European integration. It is argued that we need to rethink our notion of society: instead of a 'transition' the kind of social change we are experiencing today is that of social 'transformation', a concept which suggests less the 'end of the social' than an emerging 'network' society based on knowledge. Thus instead of trying to reproduce on the supranational level a model that has reached its limits on the national level, European integration needs to give expression to the emerging power of knowledge. Rejecting the notion of the demos and the ethnos as inappropriate to European integration, the case is made for a discursive understanding of democracy and knowedge.
Sociological Research Online 3 (1) 10
Keywords: Cohort, Gender Issues, Role Reversal, Qualitative Research, Vocabularies
Abstract: Cohort is an important predictor of gender-role attitudes, as a number of surveys have shown. In this article, I undertake a comparison between cohorts of women on the issue of role reversal, with a primary focus on the qualitative differences in what was said and by whom, rather than in how many said what. It is my argument that a qualitative analysis is revealing of the way in which cohort acts to influence the very language used to report 'agreement' or 'disagreement' on matters of gender. Via an analysis of responses to an interview question on role reversal, it is shown that historical location via cohort operates to make permissible and/or available, some ways of talking rather than others. Consequently, on the issue of role reversal, gender featured as a more relevant category in the talk of the oldest cohort than in the talk of the younger cohorts.
W Cealey Harrison
Sociological Research Online 3 (1) 8
Keywords: Category; Emancipatory; Gender; Knowledge; Power; Research; Social Discourse
Abstract: This paper is a contribution to a long standing debate over the nature of research and the relations between knowledge and power recently instantiated in exchanges over the criticisms of Hammersley (Hammersley, 1992, 1995, 1997, Hammersley & Gomm, 1997a and 1997b, Gelsthorpe, 1992; Ramazanoglu, 1992; Romm, 1997, Temple, 1997, Williams, 1993). It takes as its starting point Beth Humphries' recent critical commentary on Hammersley and emancipatory research, and her attempt to 'go beyond ourselves' (Humphries, 1997). It argues that the logical endpoint of arguments that suggest the continuous salience of the social divisions commonly found in the current sociological lexicon is a bewildering impossibility and that they should not be taken as guidelines for research practice. It clarifies this critique in relation to 'gender'. It further argues that Humphries's position, despite her apparent sympathy for post-structuralism, retains much from earlier structuralist positions, which undermines the basis of her attempt to develop a position beyond the constraints of current emancipatory research.
Cealey Harrison and Hood-Williams
Sociological Research Online 3 (1) 9
Keywords: Category; Emancipatory; Gender; Knowledge; Power; Research; Social Discourse
Abstract: This paper is a contribution to a long standing debate over the nature of research and the relations between knowledge and power recently instantiated in exchanges over the criticisms of Hammersley (Hammersley, 1992, 1995, 1997, Hammersley & Gomm, 1997a and 1997b, Gelsthorpe, 1992; Ramazanoglu, 1992; Romm, 1997, Temple, 1997, Williams, 1993). It takes as its starting point Beth Humphries' recent critical commentary on Hammersley and emancipatory research, and her attempt to 'go beyond ourselves' (Humphries, 1997). It argues that the logical endpoint of arguments that suggest the continuous salience of the social divisions commonly found in the current sociological lexicon is a bewildering impossibility and that they should not be taken as guidelines for research practice. It clarifies this critique in relation to 'gender'. It further argues that Humphries's position, despite her apparent sympathy for post-structuralism, retains much from earlier structuralist positions, which undermines the basis of her attempt to develop a position beyond the constraints of current emancipatory research.
Christopher May and Mary Eleanor Buck
Sociological Research Online 3 (2) 5
Keywords: Community Care; Identity; Implementation; Management; Organisation; Power; Professionalism; Resistance; Social Work; Transformation
Abstract: Utilising data drawn from a study of a social service organisation, this article aims to understand the relationship between the rationale of organisational transformations and the professional status of social workers. It contains an examination of the original aims of Community Care legislation, its translation by management into processes of re-structuring and alterations in job specification, as well as the perspectives of those at the front-line of the organisation. This enables a theoretical consideration of organisational transformation and power and their relationship to the identity of social workers.
Eileen Teresa Kennedy
Sociological Research Online 3 (2) 6
Keywords: Capitalism; Capitalist Ascendancy; Globalisation; Marxism; Social Identity
Abstract: This article challenges the prevailing orthodoxy which suggests that contemporary global capitalism is in the ascendancy. In the context of an evaluation of the extensive literature supporting the ascendancy argument and a brief synopsis of empirical evidence supporting a decline thesis, a number of alternative theories of capitalist transition are then assessed. It is argued that each theory, in different ways, offers an inadequate explanation of contemporary capitalist development. On the basis of this assessment, the article then contributes to a theory of capitalist decline by examining and explaining the importance of the Marxist conception of social law, the law of value and the role of gold as world money, to an understanding of contemporary capitalism's transition and decline.
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.
Stephanie Judith Linkogle
Sociological Research Online 3 (2) 8
Keywords: Gender; La PuríSima; Nicaragua; Nicaraguan Revolution; Popular Religion; Sandinistas; Social Change; Social Transformation; Virgin Mary
Abstract: This article is concerned with analysing the role of popular religion in social transformation in Nicaragua from 1979 to the present, focusing in particular on popular religious practices, as spaces in which gender, political and religious identities are shaped and contested. It explores the elements of Nicaraguan popular religion that were constitutive of a religious and often gendered 'common sense' which fostered identification with specific political projects. My aim is two-fold. Firstly, I am concerned to examine some general issues around popular religion in Latin America and its relationship to the practice and pronouncements of the Catholic church. To this end, I begin my analysis of popular religion in Nicaragua with an exploration of some of the general themes which dominate considerations of popular culture and popular religion. I next examine how the issue of popular Catholicism has been taken up both by the 'official' church, particularly in the wake of Vatican II, and by liberation theologians. This discussion leads to a more specific focus on popular religion in Latin America. Secondly, I explore 'Marianism' and the Nicaraguan popular religious festival La Purísima. Here I focus on the competing gender discourses which are worked through different representations of 'the Virgin Mary'. These competing discourses are often also linked to different versions of an 'ideal' society. Finally the article concludes by outlining how an analysis of popular religious practices can inform a sociological understanding of contradictory processes of social change.
Alison Bowes and Teresa Meehan Domokos
Sociological Research Online 3 (3) 5
Keywords: Breast-Feeding; Health Services; Maternity Care; Negotiated Order; Pakistani Women; White Women
Abstract: Breast-feeding is a socially constructed and socially controlled practice, and the social factors which influence it have been much debated. This paper argues that a model of breast-feeding as a socially negotiated project can develop fresh insights into how women breast-feed, through focusing on women's own points of view, and on the role of health professionals. Data from a research study of women from diverse ethnic and class backgrounds are discussed. It is argued that breast-feeding women in hospital are generally subordinate to professionals, but remain active in the negotiation of breast-feeding. At home, health visitor support is especially significant. Breast-feeding appears to be a lonely struggle, and the end of breast-feeding is felt to be stimulated by outside influences. Successful breast-feeding projects are most likely for white, middle class women who have effective stocks of knowledge, and can negotiate concerted action with health professionals. Women belonging to socially excluded groups have greater difficulty in the negotiation process, and their breast-feeding projects are less likely to be successful. Whilst influenced by patterns of constraint, breast-feeding projects also show marked individuality. In conclusion, it is argued that the conceptualisation of breast-feeding as a negotiated project promises to improve sociological understanding, but that further research is needed.
Sociological Research Online 3 (3) 6
Keywords: Education; Employment; Ethnicity; Gender; Marital Status; South Asian Women
Abstract: This paper examines Labour Force Survey (LFS) statistics on economic activity, highest educational qualification, marital status and ethnicity. The paper will specifically explore comparisons within South Asian groups and between other ethnic groups (Afro-Caribbean and white), to investigate whether marriage has a differential impact for different ethnic groups, and if there have been any changes over time (1984-1994). The LFS data indicates that marital status has a differential impact on economic activity and education for different ethnic groups. When controlling for age (25-30), martial status has more impact on Indian and Pakistani/Bangladeshi groups, than it does for Afro- Caribbean and white groups. There are differences between ethnic groups and there are also differences within the South Asian category. Rapid social change is taking place for the 25-30 age cohort, where some South Asian women are becoming highly educated and entering professional occupations. This finding supports recent research carried out on South Asian women in East London (Bhopal, 1997).
Sociological Research Online 3 (3) 8
Keywords: Class; Culture; Gender; Locality; Place
Abstract: There has been considerable debate about the relative significance of class and gender as factors structuring women's lives. This article reports focus group research which reflects upon that relationship. It argues that we must also understand the significance of place if we are to make sense of the ways in which women's domestic and working lives are shaped and their action in response to structural change. The research is situated in an old industrial city which has experienced very fundamental processes of restructuring. Changes in the nature of work, the move from full to part time, from permanent, skilled manual to casual semi and unskilled work has been reflected in the gendered restructuring of the workforce and a considerable rise in male unemployment. The article reports focus group work with women at mother and toddler groups. These groups were important as a way of gaining access to women who were at a particular point in the lifestage when the dominant concerns might be expected to be domestic ones. Mother and toddler groups are also locality based allowing the significance of place in people's discussions to be understood. The groups discussed experiences of work and domestic relations which expressed identifications and differences based in class, gender and place. While the effects of restructuring were universally recognised as bringing change, women identified differences in the nature and pace of change based on the interaction of structural forces.
Diane Kholos Wysocki
Sociological Research Online 3 (4) 3
Keywords: Gynecological Surgery; Hemophilia; Menorrhagia; Von Willebrand Disease; Women
Abstract: Most of the literature about hemophilia has been from a medical perspective and about men. This on-going project has been to document the lives and 'voices' of women who have a bleeding disorder, their experiences with the medical community, and the course of their diagnosis and treatment. The women in this study were predominantly Caucasian (92%), were currently married (66.7%), had (68.9%), and of those women who had children, the majority of their children (67.9%), both boys and girls, as well as other family members (63.3%) had some type of bleeding disorder. Findings revealed there was on average, a 14 year gap between the first bleeding episode and the diagnosis of a bleeding disorder. Women reported long, heavy menstrual cycles and having consulted a physician for menstrual bleeding as teenagers. Treatments for menstrual bleeding included D and C's (42.9%) and hysterectomies (34.5%), while referrals to Hemophilia Treatment Centers for a consultation were rare.
Sociological Research Online 3 (4) 7
Keywords: Disability; Ethnicity; Euphemism; Identity; Japan; Marginality; Name; Political Correctness; Sexuality
Abstract: This paper draws on Japanese, British and other material for a comparative analysis of name-calling. Naming the other is a means of identification, helping to establish definitions of self. Definitional power is socially distributed: the power of the mainstream is orchestrated by expert classifications of marginality that disparage others, often in the form of euphemisms. It is argued that the demand for euphemisms is generated by etiquette, modernist ideology and the power of protest. Cases are examined where euphemisms are dispensable or too troublesome, and where conversely it becomes necessary to coin further cultivated euphemisms in an inflationary manner. Euphemisms are disputed in power struggles of linguistic rectitude, involving accusations of political correctness. In terminological conflict, the power of the other to resist, subvert or escape naming must be recognised, yet unequal definitional resources render celebrations of postmodernism premature: dominant designations can effect the containment and denial of being.
Jennifer Jarman, Robert M Blackburn, Bradley Brooks and Esther Dermott
Sociological Research Online 4 (1) jarman
Keywords: Census/Survey Data; Cross-National Trends; Employment; Employment Patterns; Gender Inequality; Methodology; Occupations; Social Division of Labour; Sociology; Work
Abstract: Despite the prominence of discussions of gender segregation in explanations of labour market inequalities, there have been relatively few cross-national studies due to a lack of suitably detailed data. A recent ILO initiative obtained suitable data for cross-national analysis of 38 countries, with a much greater number of occupational categories than has usually been available. This paper reports findings from the analysis of these data. The problems and potential of using such data are discussed and a standardisation is introduced to control for the effects of the number of occupations in the segregation measure. There are important differences in the level of segregation in different countries. The highly segregated countries are to be found in Western Europe, and in particular Scandinavia. Several Arab countries also have high levels of segregation. An argument is made suggesting that the context and meaning of segregation patterns may be quite different from what might be inferred from single country studies.
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.
Sociological Research Online 4 (2) raffel
Keywords: Identity; Moral Frameworks; Principles; Reflection; Role; Role-conflict; Role-Distance; Self
Abstract: This paper looks at some of the major texts in the history of role theory. The question that is asked is whether any of these works have been able to theorize the self adequately. It is suggested that neither Parsons nor Merton has any place for the self in their respective theories. While Goffman does make a space for the self, it is only a negative space. Even ethnomethodological theory cannot imagine a role player capable of self-expression. It is argued that a solution to the problem of how to conceive of self and role can be developed from some ideas present in the work of the philosopher Lawrence Blum. The concept of self as identity that can be extracted from his work can allow social theory to imagine actors who are simultaneously expressing their selves and fulfilling their roles. Affinities between this idea and some key concepts in theories of both (Alan) Blum and Peter McHugh and Charles Taylor are suggested.
Sociological Research Online 4 (2) repetti
Keywords: Informal Economy; Senegal; Social Networks; Urban Work; Weak Ties; Work Relations
Abstract: In Dakar, faced with crisis and uncertainty, social answers begin to appear. Only those having a supportive social network could find a place in the labour's market. The observation of the daily routine of any of Dakar's micro-businesses and its social aspects, reveals the wide area of interference that exists between waged worker and the relation networks with family and relatives, ethnic groups and Muslim brotherhoods. The urban economy is supported by a network of family, alliance, and client relations. The overlap existing between waged and unwaged work can be understood only by looking closely at the network of social ties present outside the production site. Switching from the analysis of urban work relationships in Africa to the analysis of social networks is almost spontaneous, because a system of relational actions and strategies grows around the figure of the worker. The importance of the "strength of weak ties" in procuring employment is as a whole confirmed, but African sociability creates an intense inter-network relational interchange. Dakar's urban space feeds a "popular economy" where social networks and the gift-giving logic co-exist with market economy. This economy utilise different wage embryos or tokens salaries for each of the social players.
Andrew Robert Finlay
Sociological Research Online 4 (3) finlay
Keywords: Conflict; Derry/Londonderry; Ethnic Identity; Inter-Cultural Communication; Northern Ireland; Reflexivity; Sectarianism; Sociology Of Emotion; Trade Unionism.
Abstract: When strangers in Northern Ireland meet, they draw upon a variety of cues in an attempt to ascertain each other's religio-political identity and, depending on the outcome, enter into what Burton (1978) terms 'systematically distorted' or 'pseudo-communication'. After Burton, the process has come to be known as Telling. The article discusses how Telling manifested itself in an interview which the author conducted nearly 15 years ago. This experience is used to suggest that Telling raises issues for ethnographic and interview-based research that go well beyond the familiar problem of 'reactive effects', to stress the importance of reflexivity as a means of dealing with these issues, and to discuss the difficulties of reflexivity in the context of a cultural reticence which has developed as a way of managing the sectarian alienation arising from a national conflict. The article discusses various forms of reflexivity, and concludes that 'analytical reflexivity', based on a politics of location or practice of positioning, offers a potential way forward.
Sociological Research Online 4 (3) lentin
Keywords: Collective Action; Identity; New Social Movements; Structural Transformation; Transnationalisation
Abstract: The theoretical domain developed for the study of New Social Movements (NSMs) in the early 1980s has recently been largely abandoned by its main advocates. Increasingly, the cross-class, 'post-materialist' movements of the 1970s and 1980s, typified by the issues of environment, peace and feminism, cease to pose a radical challenge to contemporary western politics. This paper revisits the theoretical work of three of the European voices central to understandings of the emergence and success of New Social Movements. Claus Offe, Alberto Melucci and Alain Touraine succeed in amalgamating an essential emphasis on structural transformation and an understanding of the importance of identity in bringing about 'new' collective action in the 1970s and 1980s. In response, to the significant decrease in European work on the NSM phenomenon today the paper proposes that the existing body of theory may be insufficient for describing collective action at the turn of the Millennium. The increasing predominance of 'identity' politics (e.g. in the realms of ethnicity and sexuality) in the arenas previously dominated by 'universalist', post-particularist themes; the institutionalisation of elements of NSM action and concerns; and the perceived appropriation by transnational agencies of the issues dominating original state-NSM struggles are cited as reasons for the need to develop a new language to describe contemporary collective action phenomena.
Tim Strangleman, Emma Hollywood, Huw Beynon, Katy Bennett and Ray Hudson
Sociological Research Online 4 (3) strangleman
Keywords: Coal Industry; Ideal Types; Industrial/Social Redevelopment; Miners; Occupational Identity; Stereo Types; Work Ethic.
Abstract: This paper aims to discover how, with the decline and ending of the deep coal mining industry in many parts of the UK its legacy is being re-evaluated by those involved in various aspects of economic and social regeneration. It opens by exploring the way coal mine workers and their communities have been seen within popular and academic accounts, and in particular the way this group has been subject to ideal typification and stereo-typing. The main body of the paper examines the way this legacy is still subject to such interpretation, and that further, the specificity of the coal industry is commodified in a variety of ways. We point out the contradictory nature of this process and argue that it is inevitably damaging to a complex analysis of the deep problems facing former coalfield areas.
Sociological Research Online 4 (4) anthias
Keywords: Accountability; Class; Gender; Institutional Racism; Masculinity; Power
Abstract: In this article, I will focus on institutional racism and discuss the problems with the idea of 'unwitting racism' found in the report. I will argue that there are a number of conceptual confusions in the report. It is necessary to disassociate the unintentional effects of procedures, from procedures that relate to the exercise of judgements and agency. The pervasiveness of institutional power makes accountability one of the most vital issues raised by the report, which links to the issue of power. In addition, the article argues that it is important to look at the gendered nature of racims and particularly at the role of masculinity.
Sociological Research Online 4 (4) gibbon
Keywords: Community; Empowerment; Health Analysis and Action Cycle; Participatory Action Research; Power; Women's Health
Abstract: This paper analyses the health analysis cycle as an empowering approach to development. It discusses what the terms power and empowerment within the development discourse mean. It considers the factors that contribute to empowerment and those that hinder it. The study involved the use of a participatory action research approach in a community setting. The relationships between women's socio-economic circumstances, their ethnicity or caste and the process of empowerment are introduced through the use of case studies.The health analysis cycle is described in an annexe to this paper.
Sociological Research Online 4 (4) koskinen
Keywords: Conversation Analysis; Ethnomethodology; Management; Organization; Planning; Workplace
Abstract: This paper is based on an ethnomethodologically informed analysis of plans by Dant and Francis (1988). Using ethnographic and conversation data, this paper will argue that although plans do not ordinarily organize action at the workplace in the sense proposed by rationalistic viewpoints on planning, planning does have one key managerial use that has scarcely been dealt with in previous research. Managers often formulate and systematize their vision of the workplace using plans and categories found in plans, and they simultaneously formulate the workplace's activities as sanctionable. This result is discussed.
T Marcus and Desireé Manicom
Sociological Research Online 4 (4) marcus
Keywords: Children; Class; Consciousness; Describe; Gender; Methodology; Race; Rationale; School
Abstract: The aim of this article is to describe the Class Race and Gender (CRG) Research Programme. The CRG research programme aims to explore the development of consciousness in South Africa, to understand how we come to be the black and white, rural and urban, rich and poor and men and women who make up our stratified and differentiated society and to identify and assess the impact of changes over time. This complex problem is being investigated through a study of class, race and gender identity formation in the first generation of children entering the new, compulsory education system. This article specifically tries to document the research process; its methodology and the instruments which were used and developed in order to engage with the issues under investigation. The article also tries to explain the rationale informing the choice of the sample and methods and describes how these research methods were implemented. Research with people is always interactive and reflexive, even if the researchers do not concern themselves with what the research might contribute to respondents. Yet, in questions there are ideas and information which people think about and learn from. Research is or can be a learning process for respondents. For respondents (and researchers) there is a continual tension between the limits of research (finding out) and the possibilities of intervention (acting out).
Sociological Research Online 4 (4) platt
Keywords: Labour Market; Sociologists; Universities; Women's Employment
Abstract: Women have been a much lower proportion of university teachers of sociology than of students in sociology in Britain, and have also been under-represented in the higher ranks of academia. This has often been treated as the effect of discrimination. However, a review of available data suggests that women's choices - however formed - have also played a role, and that changing historical circumstances have affected the demography of the discipline in ways which have had significant consequences for women (and men) independent of either choice or discrimination. The current pattern cannot be understood without its history, which reveals that much of the snapshot picture of the situation now follows from strata of recruitment laid down at earlier periods.
Sociological Research Online 4 (4) warren
Keywords: Class; Diversity; Gender; Part-Time Employment
Abstract: Why, given all the problems associated with part-time employment in Britain, do women work part-time at all? Does the answer to this question lie in gender-based explanations which focus on women's caring responsibilities? This paper addresses these issues by focusing on the relative experiences of the largest group of part-timers, women working in low status occupations. It is concluded that a gender-informed analysis of women's part-time employment is clearly vital, but an awareness of further dimensions of social inequality is required if we are to understand diversity amongst part-timers. Relative to full-timers, part-timers are similar in their life-cycle positions, their marital status and motherhood status. However, incorporating a class analysis shows that part-timers in lower status jobs stand apart in that they are disproportionately likely to have been brought up in working class households and, as adults, they are more likely to be living in very low waged households with partners who are also in low paid manual occupations. It is concluded that women go into the lowest status part-time jobs in specific social contexts and, as a result, we cannot lump together into one unified group, women working part-time in manual and higher status occupations, and then talk sensibly about part-time work and its impact on women. It is essential to examine the interaction of gender and class inequalities to better understand these women's working lives.
Sociological Research Online 4 (4) wellman
Keywords: Class; Diversity; Gender; Part-Time Employment
Abstract: Why, given all the problems associated with part-time employment in Britain, do women work part-time at all? Does the answer to this question lie in gender-based explanations which focus on women's caring responsibilities? This paper addresses these issues by focusing on the relative experiences of the largest group of part-timers, women working in low status occupations. It is concluded that a gender-informed analysis of women's part-time employment is clearly vital, but an awareness of further dimensions of social inequality is required if we are to understand diversity amongst part-timers. Relative to full-timers, part-timers are similar in their life-cycle positions, their marital status and motherhood status. However, incorporating a class analysis shows that part-timers in lower status jobs stand apart in that they are disproportionately likely to have been brought up in working class households and, as adults, they are more likely to be living in very low waged households with partners who are also in low paid manual occupations. It is concluded that women go into the lowest status part-time jobs in specific social contexts and, as a result, we cannot lump together into one unified group, women working part-time in manual and higher status occupations, and then talk sensibly about part-time work and its impact on women. It is essential to examine the interaction of gender and class inequalities to better understand these women's working lives.
Sociological Research Online 4 (4) wincup
Keywords: Agency; Gender; Structure; Substance Use; Women's Lives
Abstract: Drawing upon qualitative data gathered through fieldwork in three bail hostels, this paper outlines the role of substance use (illegal drugs, alcohol, prescribed medication and food) in the lives of women awaiting trial. Their use of substance is explored within the context of the multiple and complex problems which shaped their lives. It is argued that women's use of substances can be viewed as a active strategy to achieve personal and social satisfaction, to cope with stresses and problem experienced and to exert some degree of control over their lives. Whilst seemingly beneficial for the women in the short-term, ultimately substance use for this group of women can be seen as counter-productive and self-destructive; increasing the control of others (health care, social work and criminal justice professionals) over their lives, leading to social problems and damaging their emotional and physical well-being.
Sociological Research Online 5 (1) irwin
Keywords: Childlessness.; Demographic Transition; Family Formation; Fertility; Gender; Generation; Inter-dependence; Reproductive Regime
Abstract: Within sociological and demographic research many argue that recent demographic transformations can be explained, at least in part, by a growth in individualism. Such approaches, with their emphasis on growing individual autonomy, offer a model of human action in which the social recedes from analysis. This paper offers an alternative framework for analysing processes shaping demographic change, taking as a particular focus aspects of changing patterns of fertility in the UK. Interpretations of the fertility decline at the turn of the twentieth century emphasise the importance of changing patterns of inter-dependence across generations and between women and men. It is argued that in parallel, although to a lesser degree, recent decades have manifest a change in the social positioning of these groups. Change in the reproductive regime is offered as a concept for denoting this restructuring of inter-dependencies. We are witnessing a reconfiguration of social ties and not their displacement. It is as an integral part of such changes that developments in fertility are best interrogated.
Nicola Richards and Katie Milestone
Sociological Research Online 5 (1) richards
Keywords: Cultural Consumption/production; Cultural Industries; Employment; Femininity; Gender; Masculinity; Popular Music; Working Practices
Abstract: This paper explores the experiences of women in small cultural businesses and is based upon interviews with women working in a range of contexts in Manchester's popular music sector. The research seeks to promote wider consideration of women's roles in cultural production and consumption. We argue that it is necessary that experiences of production and consumption be understood as inter-related processes. Each part of this process is imbued with particular gender characteristics that can serve to reinforce existing patterns and hierarchies. We explore the ways in which female leisure and consumption patterns have been marginalised and how this in turn shapes cultural production. This process influences career choices but it is also reinforced through the integration of consumption into the cultural workplace. Practices often associated with the sector, such as the blurring of work and leisure and 'networking', appear to be understood and operated in significantly different ways by women. As cultural industries such as popular music are predicated upon the colonisation of urban space we explore the use of the city and the particular character of Manchester's music scene. We conclude that, despite the existence of highly contingent and individualised identities, significant gender power relations remain evident. These are particularly clear in discussion of the performative and sexualised aspects of the job.
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 5 (2) busby
Keywords: Autobiographical; Health; Mass-Observation Archive; Narratives; Sickness; Work
Abstract: In this paper, I explore some of the writing about health and sickness undertaken by volunteers writing for a British social history archive. The Mass-Observation Archive's commissioning of diaries and other forms of self-reportage has made it a prominent part of the landscape of sociology in Britain (Calder, 1985). Initiated during the 1930s, the Mass- Observation Archive's early work included the well-known worktown project. The early project was wound up in 1950, but interest in the archives eventually prompted a new project, initiated in 1981. The 'new project' is essentially a collection of writing on a range of issues by a panel of volunteers recruited through the media and other informal means.This paper represents a cycling through of ideas about the relationships between health, sickness, and work, via my reading of some of the writing held at the Archive. The writings with which this paper is centrally concerned are the responses to an invitation issued in the autumn of 1998 for writing about 'Staying well and everyday life'. In addition, writings on 'The pace of life' and on working life were consulted. Unlike much of the data about sickness in relation to work - which relies on documentation of sickness absence- these accounts show actions which are not taken. Some of them point to a phenomenon which I have termed 'shadow sickness, that is illness which exists without there being a mechanism to translate that experience into recognised sickness. Overall though it is the moral context of illness and of ideas about staying well which are prominent in many of these accounts and which are discussed in this paper.
Sociological Research Online 5 (2) chatzifotiou
Keywords: Anxiety; Domestic Violence; Fieldwork; Qualitative Research; Women
Abstract: Abused women are a very sensitive group with whom to conduct research. As such, researchers need to be aware of this inherent sensitivity and should design their research accordingly. The ethics of social research, the implications of conducting research on sensitive topics, the possible exposition of the participants to stressful moments for the sake of the interview are important issues to be taken under serious consideration by the researcher prior to undertaking the fieldwork. However, during the fieldwork the researcher might face issues which she had paid less attention to while designing the inquiry, namely issues of dealing with the anxiety that the interviews would expose on herself too.It is well recognised in the literature that the rights and safety of the participants must be of paramount importance to the researchers in every research project. Still, the researcher's 'safety' should not be underestimated or be given little attention. This paper, based on the experience of conducting research with abused women documents the issue of researcher's anxiety which was a salient issue throughout the study. Documenting the research process, from the research design through to issues which arose after the fieldwork, the paper draws attention on the issue of anxiety experienced by the researcher in various stages of the research, including prior, during and after leaving the field, and provides ways that these were dealt with.
Richard Kiely, David McCrone, Frank Bechhofer and Robert Paul Stewart
Sociological Research Online 5 (2) kiely
Keywords: Berwick-Upon-Tweed; Identity Markers And Rules; Local Identity; National Identity
Abstract: Through a systematic programme of research into national identity we have developed a sound understanding of the processes of identity claim, attribution and receipt. Central to these processes are identity markers and rules. We have always sought contexts where national identity is either salient or problematic as identity construction then becomes most clearly apparent. Berwick-upon-Tweed, a town in England but located close to the Scottish border, provides such a context.One would expect people from Berwick-upon-Tweed ('Berwickers') to claim an English national identity. They live in a town jurisdictionally in England and in the county of Northumberland. Moreover, one might think that, living only 3 miles south of the Scottish border, they would feel a heightened sense of their English national identity. However, our research shows that national identity in Berwick-upon- Tweed is complex and problematic. This is not simply due to close proximity to the border but a combination of unique forces - historical, cultural and demographic - that has led some Berwickers to avoid explicitly articulating a definitive nationality. Instead, they mobilise a specific identity strategy of localism. Context dramatically affects the willingness to claim a national identity.Key findings are presented from 70 household interviews conducted in Berwick-upon-Tweed and 48 divided evenly across Eyemouth, a nearby town in Scotland, and Alnwick, a town slightly further south in England. These data allowed us also to explore how Berwickers' identity claims are received, how national identity is attributed to them by others and how these attributions are in turn received. Two of the aims of our work are to demonstrate the fluid nature of national identity processes and the crucial importance of context to these. Our work in Berwick-Upon-Tweed has done much to meet and further these aims.
Lee F. Monaghan, Michael Bloor, Russell P Dobash and Rebecca Emerson Dobash
Sociological Research Online 5 (2) monaghan
Keywords: Body; Bodybuilding; Drugs; Ephedrine; Nubain; Risk; Risk Boundaries; Social Identity; Steroids
Abstract: The instrumental use of steroids and analogous drugs is a normalised practice in bodybuilding subculture. However, in a society where bodily health and lifestyle are conjoined, such risk- taking carries negative connotations. Bodybuilders using drugs for purposes of physique enhancement are able to resist accusations of opprobrium and maintain competent social identity by drawing a sharp contrast between themselves and 'junkies'. This self-serving differentiation appears untenable, however, when bodybuilders take Ephedrine and Nubain: drugs that may be compared respectively and unfavourably to amphetamines and heroin. Using qualitative data, this paper considers the variable status of Ephedrine and Nubain as risk boundaries among bodybuilders. In operating as risk boundaries, these drugs signify limits beyond which 'sensible' drug-using bodybuilders should not venture. As social constructs, risk boundaries are also contingent. Correspondingly, bodybuilders using Ephedrine and Nubain may redraw lines delimiting (in)appropriate behaviour thereby retaining competent social identity. These ethnographic observations ground theoretical debate about the impact of risk society on body- and identity building in late modernity and highlight some of the limitations of influential cultural theories of risk.
Sociological Research Online 5 (3) oconnor
Keywords: Friendship; Identity; Ireland; Organisation; Paid Work; Patriarchal Dividend; Power; Resistance; Transformation; Whistle Blowing Blowing
Abstract: This paper explores the reality of patriarchal privileging and resistance within a society which has undergone dramatic change over the past twenty-five years. Using Foucault's ideas of power and resistance (1980; 1988; 1989) and Connell's ideas of the patriarchal dividend (1995 a and b) it first explores these key concepts. It then draws together a wide range of empirical evidence to document the ongoing reality of patriarchal privileging in the world of paid work and the family in Ireland. It then however identifies and illustrates fourteen analytically different types of resistance including the creation of an alternative power base in the family; facilitating the emergence of new child rearing structures; naming the 'enemy within'; naming aspects of culture which are not 'woman friendly'; whistle blowing; targeting key structures; negative power etc. It concludes by suggesting (drawing on Acker, 1998) that although the institutional structures reflect the needs and wishes of powerful men, choices can still be made by individual men and women.
Sociological Research Online 5 (3) roseneil
Keywords: Culture Identity; Heterosexuality; Homosexuality; Postmodernity; Queer Theory; Sexuality; Social Change
Abstract: This article aims to extend the theorization of postmodernity to consider social changes in the realm of sexuality. It offers a discussion of recent developments in queer theory, which, it is argued, can contribute significant new theoretical frameworks for the analysis of sexuality. It then traces some of the shifts in the organization of sexuality in the second half of the twentieth century, the emergence of modern sexual identities, and the changing relationships between `the homosexual' and `the heterosexual', as categories, identities and ways of life. The article then outlines what are conceptualized as the `queer tendencies' of postmodernity, which it is suggested characterize the contemporary re-organization of relations of sexuality. These queer tendencies are: queer auto-critique, the decentring of heterorelations, the emergence of hetero- reflexivity, and the cultural valorizing of the queer.
Sociological Research Online 6 (1) boden
Keywords: Bridal Magazines; Consumption; Emotion.; Gender; Reason; Romanticism; Weddings
Abstract: This paper examines the role of the media in articulating and sustaining the tension between romance, fantasy and reason as key dimensions of wedding consumption. Two types of media are analysed as evidence of the development of a popular wedding consumer culture in Britain. First, I cite examples of the coverage of celebrity and unconventional weddings in the popular presses to highlight the current media emphasis upon the wedding as a spectacular, within-reach consumer fantasy. I then provide a more sustained analysis of six British bridal magazines, part of the ideological output of the contemporary wedding industry, which do not exist in a vacuum from those other media sites transmitting wedding imagery. In doing so, I deconstruct the recently formed consumer identity of the 'superbride' to reveal two underpinning aspects of her personality: the rational 'project manager' existing alongside the emotional 'childish fantasiser'. This leads me later in this paper into a more general discussion about the roles of reason and emotion, rationality and romance in wedding consumption.
William Housley and Richard Fitzgerald
Sociological Research Online 6 (2) housley
Keywords: Categorization; Devolution; Identity; Interaction; Narrative; Wales
Abstract: Within this paper we examine the use of extended story turns, within the accomplished context of a radio news debate, that display various accounts of national identity in relation to a proposal for devolved democratic institutions within the United Kingdom. In this sense, they display a 'world view'. These various positions are displayed through the use of various categories, inferences and connections in order to lend support to and promote positions of For and Against the proposal of the establishment of a devolved democratic assembly for Wales. In this sense the topics of national identity and political re-organisation are omni-relevant topics (Sacks 1992). However, our particular focus and interest is upon the various detailed ways such positions routinely rely on methods of categorisation and moral assessment in their construction, configuration and promotion of arguments. Furthermore, the analysis of such category work contributes to our understanding of the moral organisation of Welsh identity in relation to devolved forms of political organisation and representation.
Sociological Research Online 6 (2) porter
Keywords: Development; Human Rights; Indonesia; United; Women's Movements
Abstract: This paper focuses on the way in which Jakarta women's groups responded to the crisis that preceded and succeeded the end of Suharto's regime in Indonesia. In particular it looks at the way in which the gang rapes of women of Chinese descent focused and united the feminist response to the turmoil of 1998. Women's groups developed a number of strategies and actions during this period, but this paper focuses on the way in which women's groups accessed and used international instruments, especially Human Rights instruments to challenge their own government and to develop a specifically feminist position on violence against women. This activity is described as a form of creative 'borrowing'. Seen in this context is can provide a new perspective on approaches to development that are genuinely indigenous and participatory.
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.
Carol Stephenson and Paul Stewart
Sociological Research Online 6 (3) stephenson
Keywords: Conflict; Consensus; Individualism; Lean-labour-process; Varieties Of Collectivism; Work Non-work Associations.
Abstract: Despite recent interest in the character of individual dissonance in the workplace less attention has been given to the nature of collectivism in the context of restricted trade union behaviour. While findings on conflicts associated with collective practices have been given reasonable space these have tended to focus on the association between collectivism qua trade unions and the presence or absence of conflict. Moreover, where the relationship between conflict and individualism provide the focus of study, this often serves to herald the demise of forms of collectivism or collectivism in general. The paper identifies three forms of collectivism in two Japanese manufacturing plants. These are; 'trade union collectivism'; 'work place collectivism' and, the 'social collectivism of everyday life'. By moving away from the conflict-consensus polarity, the intention is to shift the terms of debate over the nature of individualism and collectivism in the context of LLPs. The perceived conceptual and empirical gap is not to be closed by highlighting only incidents of dissonance, whether individually or collectively construed.
Michael Anderson, Frank Bechhofer, Lynn Jamieson, David McCrone, Yaojun Li and Robert Paul Stewart
Sociological Research Online 6 (4) anderson
Keywords: Forethought; Planning; Ambitions; Uncertainty; Life-course; Work; Housing; Partnership; Childbearing
Abstract: The limited and sometimes contradictory published literature, mostly relating to younger age groups and non-British societies, suggests that planning and a longer time perspective are inhibited by economic insecurity, by tight structuring of the life course, and a track record of failing to achieve ambitions. This paper uses survey data, backed by qualitative interviews, to investigate planning and forethought in a sample of young adults in the Scottish town of Kirkcaldy in the late 1990s. Responses are compared with those of older age groups and of people of the same age twelve years earlier. Economic insecurity and failure to achieve ambitions had been seen by our older respondents as particularly characteristic of the lives of young adults. However, in spite of considerable sense of insecurity, the young adults we studied do in general feel in control of their lives, and do have well articulated ambitions and plans to achieve them with respect especially to work and housing. Indeed, conditions of modern life almost force many to seek to plan to some degree in these areas. Forethought and an element of planning, albeit often quite provisional in its nature, seems actually to provide some sense of security in an uncertain world. Respondents also show considerable commitment to future childbearing and partnership, though past experience of entry to both has often been fairly haphazard and there is evidence of cultural resistance to overly rational planning in such areas. Failing to achieve ambitions in the past does not affect ambitions but does limit willingness to plan for the future, especially for the long-run. Poverty and job insecurity, and also the presence of children, inhibit planning, in some cases to extreme degrees.
Sociological Research Online 7 (1) dcruz
Keywords: Child Maltreatment; Child Protection; Gender And Child Maltreatment; Perpetrators; Professional Knowledge; Reflexivity; Responsibility For Maltreatment; Social Construction
Abstract: Social constructionism offers valuable insights into the study of social problems for example, poverty, homelessness, crime and delinquency, including how social phenomena 'become' social problems, through social processes of interaction and interpretation. The social construction of child maltreatment has recently emerged as a site of scholarly inquiry and critique. This paper explores through three case studies how 'responsibility for child maltreatment' is constructed in child protection practice, with a specific focus on how 'responsibility' may also be gendered. In particular, how is gender associated with responsibility, such that the identity- pair, 'responsible mothers, invisible men', is a highly likely outcome as claimed in feminist literature? What other assumptions about 'identities of risk' or 'dangerousness' articulate with patriarchy and influence how responsibility is constructed? The case studies explore normally invisible processes by which social categories become 'fact', 'knowledge' and 'truth'. Furthermore, the social construction of 'responsibility for child maltreatment' is extended by a reflexive analysis of my own constructionist practices, as researcher/writer in claims making. The analysis offers an insight into the dynamic and dialectical relationship between professional and organisational knowledge and practice, allowing for a critique of knowledge itself, the basis for the claims made and possible alternative ways of knowing.
Sociological Research Online 7 (1) hepworth
Keywords: Emotions; Gender; Images Of Ageing; Positive Ageing; Royal Family
Abstract: This paper is a reflection on the contribution of the image of the Queen Mother to the cultural construction of role models of positive ageing. The interest lies in the Queen Mother's performance in public of her roles as woman and royal personage particularly as she grew older. It is suggested that cultural analysis of the icon of the Queen Mother as a blend of gender and power suggests certain significant parallels with the imagery cultivated around the career of Queen Victoria in the later years of her life.
John Ryan, James Hawdon and Allison Branick
Sociological Research Online 7 (1) ryan
Keywords: Affirmative Action; Corporations; Employment; Ethnicity; Gender; Policy; Race
Abstract: Using data from a 1998 SHRM survey, this study examines the prevalence and nature of diversity initiatives in Fortune 500 companies. The rhetoric of diversity in industry suggests that a diverse workforce is good for business. Diversity is typically defined in terms of such demographic factors as race, age, gender, ethnic background, and, to a lessor extent, sexual orientation. Our analysis shows that most Fortune 500 companies have some diversity initiatives, but that these initiatives are disproportionately aimed at certain minority groups. Thus, there appears to be a political economy of diversity in which some categories of diversity are valued over others. We place this analysis within the larger context of a changing economic, occupational and political factors affecting the diversity movement.
Sociological Research Online 7 (1) stevenson
Keywords: Citizenship; Cosmopolitanism; Cultural Identity; Difference; Multiculturalism; National Identity
Abstract: This paper argues that the study of citizenship needs to engage with both cosmopolitan and multicultural questions. Despite their difference social and political theory needs to find new ways to bring these concerns together. In particular it is argued that such a venture is only possible if cosmopolitanism opens questions of cultural identity, and multiculturalism decouples itself from specifically national concerns. These moves are likely to bring these approaches into a fruitful dialogue taking their arguments beyond mainstream liberalism, but maintaining a dialectic between universalism and difference. The paper ends by considering the challenge played by fundamentalism.
Sociological Research Online 7 (1) strangleman
Keywords: Government Policy; Nationalisation; Neo-liberal; Nostalgia; Privatisation; Railtrack; Railway Industry; Railway Workers
Abstract: This article reviews the current problems of the UK railway industry and in particular the effective re-nationalisation of Railtrack by the government during 2001. The present state of the industry is placed in the context of the process of privatisation, and of the historical development of the sector. It reviews the current literature and media debate that deals with rail privatisation.
Sociological Research Online 7 (1) taylor
Keywords: Employment; Service Work; Service Encounter; Cultural Turn; Structural Dynamics; Subjectivity; Gendered Emotional Labour; Class Relations; Representation
Abstract: Service work is often (mis)represented within western sociology through hyperbolic language, as its increasing incidence and changing character is seen as symptomatic of profound social change. This paper argues that many recent empirical investigations into, and the dominant representations of, the service encounter (employment involving employee-customer interaction which is represented as a particularly 'new' form of work) exaggerate its novelty as 'cultural' work. Through a critical analysis of some recent empirical accounts of the service encounter and drawing upon one example from the author's own ethnographic research into service encounters within north-eastern England, it is argued that the dominant representations over-emphasise the cultural, and underplay both the economic and gendered, dynamics of the employment experience. More specifically, we argue that it is the active combination of 'the economic' and 'the cultural' - the way in which gendered demands for employees to develop particular norms, values, personalities and identities are embedded within inequitable economic relationships - which can shape the employment experience of service employees. Dominant representations of the service encounter also reject the contemporary relevance of 'traditional' industrial sociological analyses of employment relations. However, given the weak empirical foundations of 'the cultural turn', we argue that this contention cannot be supported. In fact, it is suggested that many 'traditional' industrial sociological analyses precisely examine the interplay between economic, gendered and cultural relations and therefore continue to have relevance for understanding contemporary employment. Finally, our arguments are located within debates about the cultural turn within the wider sociological discipline.
Fiona Gill and Catherine Maclean
Sociological Research Online 7 (2) gill
Keywords: Ethnogaphy; Gender; Identity Of Researchers And Research Context; Reflexivity
Abstract: Female ethnographers often appear to be more aware of their sexual status and its impact on fieldwork and relationships than their male colleagues (Okely 1992: 19, Coffey 1999: 79). Similarly, the behaviour of female fieldworkers is often more closely scrutinised than that of male fieldworkers (Mascarenhas- Keyes 1987: 187), and many female ethnographers' accounts detail gender-specific issues and challenges that arose during their research (e.g. Moreno 1995: 220, Whitehead 1976, Middleton 1986). This paper draws on the authors? experiences in two different rural British communities, conducting research using a combination of methods including participant observation and tape-recorded interviews. Catherine Maclean's research examined migration and social change in 'Beulach', a remote rural parish in the north of Scotland, while Fiona Gill's research focused on issues of identity in 'Bordertown', a small town near the border between Scotland and England. In both cases, while gender was not initially a focus of the research, it became increasingly salient during the fieldwork period. The paper discusses the similarities and differences between the authors' research experiences, and the factors that account for these. The authors' research is set in the wider context of ethnographic community studies. The paper explores the emotional impact of the fieldwork on the authors, and the consequences of this for the research. It concludes that although female researchers have to consider and deal with gender-related research problems not faced by their male colleagues, this also has positive consequences as the experiences of female ethnographers encourage a reflexive and self-aware approach.
Jenny Hockey, Victoria Robinson and Angela Meah
Sociological Research Online 7 (2) hockey
Keywords: Continuity/change; Difference; Gender; Heterosexualities; Life-course
Abstract: Based upon a series of focus group discussions carried out in East Yorkshire, this article contributes to debates on both the nature and theorising of heterosexual relationships that have recently been investigated from diverse perspectives. These group discussions represent the launch of the first major empirical study of heterosexuality and ageing that has been undertaken in the UK. In drawing upon preliminary data from these focus groups, our findings reinforce and add to the challenging of a representation of heterosexuality which is both monolithic and inflexible, by exploring accounts of peoples' actual lived experiences. Through this research we begin to generate a theoretical approach which highlights the complexity of these lived realities. We particularly explore the intersections of gender, age, class and family location. In doing so, we pinpoint differences, contradictions, but also continuities, in the ways in which people discuss and comment on their own and other people's perceptions and experiences of heterosexuality.
Sociological Research Online 7 (4) ladino
Keywords: Feminism; Fieldwork; Identity; Latin America.; Non-western; Respondents
Abstract: The article explores processes of identity construction. It specifically looks into respondents' images of the visiting researcher. Using my own experience as a Colombian researcher in the shanty towns of northern Mexico, the paper looks into respondents' responses to non-white, non-western researchers while doing fieldwork. My own fieldwork experiences revealed that local images of Colombians as 'southerners' conflicted with local expectations about researchers. This situation forced me to adopt the identity respondents felt best suited me locally. Besides stating that not all researchers in the developing world are white, western and in a powerful position, the paper highlights that the construction of identities takes place 'through' and not outside difference. This process allowed me to understand the contradictory processes that lead to successful feminist alliances being formed with the 'other' in a research context.
Tim Dant and David Bowles
Sociological Research Online 8 (2) dant
Keywords: Cars; Dirt; Material Culture; Sociology Of Work; Video Data
Abstract: This paper explores the significance of dirt in the work of technicians who service and repair private cars. Rather than being useful in understanding how dirt is dealt with, the historical and anthropological analyses of dirt are shown to be overly concerned with cultural significance and the idea that dirt is no more than 'matter out of place'. Such accounts suppress the more common sense approach that dirt is unpleasant to human beings and is to be avoided if possible. In work such as garage servicing and repairs, dirt has to be confronted and dealt with pragmatically, according to the consequences of its presence, rather than symbolically according to its cultural meaning. The writing of Sartre on slime provides a more persuasive explanation both for the ambivalence towards ambiguous materials of slime and dirt and for the moral connotations that attach to them. Everett Hughes's account of a 'moral division of labour' in which distinctions are made concerning dirty work fits with some of the visible hierarchical distinctions in the garage setting. But it is the variability of practices, both between garages and between technicians in a similar setting, that suggests dealing with dirt is a practical matter that is not prescribed by ritual or cultural significance.
Rosemary Deem and Rachel Johnson
Sociological Research Online 8 (3) deem
Keywords: Academic Work; Academics; Change; Informal Learning; Management; Risk-cultures; Risk-society; Universities
Abstract: The paper explores the extent to which Heads of Department and Pro-Vice Chancellors, or manager-academics, in UK universities are aware of and prepared for the so-called 'risk society'. It draws on a research project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council concerned with the management of UK universities and the extent of permeation within universities of recent ideologies about new practices for managing public services. Recent debates in social theory about the concept of a risk society and risk cultures, and how these might be applied to higher education, are considered. Key features of a rapidly changing environment for the conduct and management of academic work are also outlined. The focus and methodology of the ESRC research project are explained. Interview data from Head of Department and Pro-Vice Chancellors are then used to illustrate a range of responses to notions of risk made by manager-academics. Finally, the paper examines how the learning of manager-academics could be better supported, in order that post-holders can acquire the flexibility and reflexivity which living in a risk society and culture seems to demand.
Gayle Letherby and Gillian Reynolds
Sociological Research Online 8 (3) letherby
Keywords: Leisure; Place; Space; Time; Tourist Gaze; Train Travel; Work
Abstract: Many volumes have been written cataloguing and detailing the long-term or historical changes in the process of work. Similarly, much attention has been given to 'doing leisure'. What most, if not all of these works have in common is that both work and leisure are seen as taking place either 'in' or 'away from' the home. The space between home and the place of work or leisure is seen as a separate entity: the 'travel' for which one normally requires a means of transport. Transport then is theorized as simply a way of getting from A to B. Indeed, those who study and theorise about transport are more likely to be in the discipline of engineering than of sociology. In this article we challenge all of this through a consideration of the work and leisure that individuals undertake on the train. We draw on own experience and on empirical data from a pilot study of train users and also outline our future research and writing plans in this area.
Gaynor R Bagnall, Brian John Longhurst and Mike Savage
Sociological Research Online 8 (4) bagnall
Keywords: Belonging; Children; Class; Cultural Capital; Identity.; Narratives; Parenthood; PTA; Social Capital; Social Involvement
Abstract: This paper uses data gathered from an ESRC funded research project on social networks, social capital and lifestyle to provide an account of narratives of belonging and social involvement. Drawing on data from 88 in-depth interviews carried out in the North-West of England between 1997 and 1999, we identify how parental involvement in voluntary organizations connected to their children, such as Parent Teachers Associations (PTA), figures in middle class narratives as a vehicle through which to perform belonging and social involvement. We argue that social involvement through children is presented as a dimension of feeling located in place socially. By using data from two contrasting areas, Wilmslow and Cheadle, we show how this concern to perform locally based parenthood nonetheless leads to very different patterns of engagement. The mobile, middle class in Wilmslow seek to build social capital through the generation of loose social networks based around children and children's education. We suggest that this serves the dual purpose of connecting them to 'like-minded' people and to the educational establishments they value as a means of getting ahead. In Cheadle, the generally less mobile respondents use their more local habitus to generate bonding forms of social capital with tighter social networks based around, kin, residence and leisure that enable them to 'get by'. We argue that the narratives of participation articulated relate to the respondents' degree of embeddedness in the locale, the different place-based habitus of each area and the gendering of family practices. At the heart of many of these narratives, particularly but not exclusively in Wilmslow, are tales about being a 'good' parent and more particularly of being a 'good' mother.
Alasdair Crockett and David Voas
Sociological Research Online 8 (4) crockett
Keywords: Attitudes; Christianity; Church Of England; Gender; Generation Generation; Homosexuality; Religion; Secularization
Abstract: British attitudes towards homosexuality have changed with astonishing rapidity over recent decades. Society has managed to assimilate these shifts with relative ease. The Christian churches, however, as repositories of tradition and defenders of inherited values, have been finding it increasingly difficult to adjust to the new environment. The Church of England is internally divided in the face of an external crisis: the Archbishop of Canterbury acknowledges that the global Anglican Communion could split over the issue, and the church faces similar pressures domestically. These events raise important questions about how religious institutions come to terms with modernity. The rapidity of social change, the decline in deference to authority, the increase in tolerance of anything that seems a private matter, and the sense that sexuality is fundamental to the free expression of personal identity, all make it difficult for a church to declare that sexual orientation might disqualify one from ministry or even membership.This paper analyses empirical evidence covering two decades from the British Social Attitudes and British Household Panel surveys. It is apparent that no real consensus yet exists on basic issues of sexual morality. Society as a whole is highly polarised over the question of whether same-sex unions are wrong, with significant and increasing divisions between young and old, women and men, and religious and non-religious. Far from being better placed than others to avoid disputes, Christian churches suffer from compounded problems. The attitudes of lay Christians are starkly and increasingly polarised along the dimensions of ideology and religious practice. This gulf presents a particular problem for churches with both liberal and evangelical wings, notably the Church of England.
Brian Heaphy and Andrew K. T. Yip
Sociological Research Online 8 (4) heaphy
Keywords: Ageing Identity; Community; Detraditionalisation; Gay; Late Modernity.; Lesbian; Non-heterosexual; Relationships; Social Change
Abstract: The article draws from focus group data generated for a UK study of the life circumstances of lesbians, gay men and bisexuals aged 50 and above, to consider some key elements of the conceptual framework we are developing for understanding the issue of non-heterosexual ageing. The article considers ways in which non-heterosexual ways of living have been positively evaluated as 'prime' experiments in late modern ways of living, and identifies three core areas (identity, relationships and community) where it has been argued that lesbian and gay lifestyles can be viewed as indicators of the implications of social change. Employing the data to discuss the notion of 'do-it-yourself' biographies, we identify a number of factors that work to enable and limit an empowered sense of self amongst older lesbians and gay. In doing so, we also highlight the uneven possibilities that exist for self-creation in detraditionalised settings. Non-heterosexual couples and friendships can offer distinct possibilities for 'negotiated' and 'chosen' relationships. These are not, however, uniformly adopted or created by older non-heterosexuals. Finally, our data indicates that while non-heterosexual communities can provide crucial supports and resources for their members, some older lesbians and gay men experience these communities as exclusionary. This raises a number of questions about the dynamics that facilitate inclusion or exclusion in reflexive or critical communities. While the article highlights that non-heterosexual ageing cannot be understood without reference the creative possibilities open to non-heterosexuals, and late modern individuals generally, we caution against celebratory accounts of both non- heterosexual and late modern ways of living, and of social and cultural constraints transformed, that is inherent within them.
Sociological Research Online 9 (1) taylor
Keywords: Class; Identity; Sexuality; Space; Stigma
Abstract: This article draws upon my research on working-class lesbians, which explores the relationship between class, sexuality and social exclusion. Research participants were drawn mainly from Scotland (Glasgow, Edinburgh and the Highlands), with smaller samples in Yorkshire and Manchester; in total fifty-three women took part, most being interviewed individually, others as part of three focus groups, and a couple in ÎpairedÌ interviews. The significance of sexuality and class position is highlighted across various social sites from family background and schooling to work experiences and leisure activities. The women's own identifications, understandings and vivid descriptions point to the continued salience of class as a factor in shaping life experiences. This article focuses primarily on the women's 'sense of place' and their relations to the often devalued territories that they inhabit. The relationship between sexual identity and class has received little academic attention - here the 'gaps' in the literature pertaining to 'lesbian and gay' space, and to (de-sexualised) class space, will be identified. By including empirical data I offer a picture of the ways in which classed spaces is sexualised and sexualised space is classed and suggest that space is constitutive of identity in terms of where it places people, both materially and emotionally.
Andrew K. T. Yip and Michael Keenan
Sociological Research Online 9 (1) yip
Keywords: Anglican; Belief; Christian; Church; Gay; Homosexuality; Identity; Lesbian; Priest
Abstract: The current controversies in relation to homosexuality - which emanated from the western quarters but quickly engulfed the entire Anglican Communion - highlight two significant issues. In our view, the first issue, regarding the 'religious citizenship' of lesbian and gay Christians, is generally a western concern. The second issue pertaining to the prospect of the disintegration of the Anglican Communion, however, needs to be examined within a global context. On the first issue, we argue that, since the contemporary western religious landscape (and society in general) prioritizes the authority of the self rather than that of religious institution/tradition, the traditional religious discourse that marginalizes lesbian and gay Christians is undermined by an increasingly sophisticated reverse discourse. This reverse discourse, equipped with lesbian and gay affirming theology and documentation of lived experiences, also converges with contemporary cultural (secular) discourse of human rights and personal liberty, which values social diversity, including sexual difference. We believe that the social and political currency of the reverse discourse will proliferate, thus eclipsing the traditional discourse that appears increasingly out of step with contemporary western socio-cultural reality. On the second issue, we welcome the heightened significance and relevance of (local) culture and Christianity in the debate. We argue that the decentralization (i.e. de-westernization) of the Anglican Communion should be welcomed, for there are various versions of Christianity, the conception and practice of which are closely informed by local cultures. Thus, to force the production of a unified Anglican response to moral or social issues that are differently defined across cultures may prove counter-productive.
Simon Williams and Sharon Boden
Sociological Research Online 9 (2) williams
Keywords: Beauty; Consumption; Health; Leisure; Sleep; Work
Abstract: Abstract: This paper takes the neglected sociological matter of sleep and applies the insights contained therein to issues and debates within the sociology of consumption. Sleep, it is argued, is pursued if not consumed in a variety of ways in consumer culture, including its (lifestyle) associations with health and beauty, leisure and pleasure. It is also increasingly recognised if not contracted for in the workplace, construed as the 'ultimate performance enhancer' and the 'cheapest form of stress relief'. These and other insights are located in the context of a burgeoning 'sleep industry' and the consumer identities it spawns: one which is busy capitalising on this dormant third part of our lives through a range of products, from beds to bedding, night-wear to night-cream, pills to pillows. Sleep, it is concluded, is a crucial element of consumption, augmenting existing theoretical and empirical agendas in significant new ways. The broader sociological implications of sleep are also touched upon and addressed, as a stimulus to further research, discussion and debate.
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) 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.
Sociological Research Online 9 (4) kotchetkova
Keywords: Post-Communism, Transformation of Identity, Russian Intelligentsia, Discourse Analysis
Abstract: This paper seeks to make sense of the transformation of identity in post-Soviet Russia by exploring the debates surrounding the social category 'intelligentsia'. I argue that the concept of intelligentsia should be seen as both a source of collective identity and a rhetorical resource in the struggle for power and domination. Here then, the usage of the category intelligentsia becomes a means for understanding broader post-Communist cultural change and some of its underlying tensions and conflicts. The paper examines two competing discourses about the intelligentsia currently vying for supremacy in Russia and their associated rival interests: one discourse is affirmative, the other negative. In relation to each discourse, several discursive practices are identified and observed on political and academic territories. The analysis of the discursive struggle over definitions contributes to understanding the transformation of power relations in modern Russia. Importantly the paper speculates on the present and future implications of these different tendencies.
Sociological Research Online 9 (4) queniart
Keywords: Fatherhood, Young Fathers, Representation, Paternal Identity, Qualitative Research
Abstract: Have things changed all that much in terms of how fatherhood is conceptualized and exercised in daily life? That is the question underlying this article. The author compares the findings of a recent analysis on certain aspects of the lived experiences of young fathers (under 25 years of age) with the results of studies undertaken over the past ten years, and replies in the affirmative. First of all, when considering the representations held of fathers or mothers, most of these young fathers believe that their role is a multi-faceted one, and that it is often identical to that of their spouse. According to young fathers, fatherhood is a dual experience that requires them to be present on a daily basis while also casting their eye on the future. This is an experience that is constructed out of affectionate moments, child-care duties, education in the literal sense, and especially out of shared experiences with their spouse. In addition, they question the degree to which involvement in a career should take precedence over involvement in their child's life. In other words, the former 'competes' with their ability to be present in their child's daily life, which denotes a change from the attitudes of previous generations.
Garry Crawford and Victoria K. Gosling
Sociological Research Online 10 (1) crawford
Keywords: Gender, Digital Gaming
Abstract: This paper develops out of ongoing research into the location and use of digital gaming in practices of everyday life. Specifically this paper draws on a questionnaire based survey of just under four hundred undergraduate students and twenty-three follow up interviews. This paper suggests that the women in this research play digital games significantly less than their male counterparts, and suggests that this is largely due to digital games continuing to be viewed, both culturally and by the gaming industry, as belonging to men. However, this paper suggests that for some women video and computer gaming can be an important social activity, and for others mobile telephone based gaming can offer a less restricted and more accessible leisure activity.
Sociological Research Online 10 (1) leavy
Keywords: Collective Memory, Film, Hollywood, National Identity, Pearl Harbor, Social Memory
Abstract: In this paper I examine the fusing of collective memory, history and popular culture by analyzing current trends in American-made commercial films with historical events as subject matter that have also been distributed to a global audience. Pearl Harbor is the primary case study. Analysis shows that dominant historical narratives are reified by the use of what I term an 'anticipatory-driven' film experience where audience members engage in an interaction with pre-existing mainstream collective memory while their anticipation for impending climactic trauma is systematically heightened. Comparisons are made to other widely released US films about national and international events and 'non-events.' Questions are also raised about the increasing global importance of the memory-history-popular culture nexus post 9-11, and, how US produced films about 9-11 may or may not engage in the practices detailed in this analysis. In this vein the paper concludes with a discussion of how Pearl Harbor was marketed, edited and received in Japan, the second largest audience for Hollywood films and what this implies about social memory construction in a global commercial context.
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.
Sociological Research Online 10 (2) cooper1
Keywords: QCA, Social Class, Educational Attainment, Gender, Fuzzy Sets, Meritocracy.
Abstract: The paper explores the use of Charles Ragin's Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) in both its crisp and fuzzy set versions in the study of the relations between social class origin, sex, 'ability' and subsequent educational achievement. The work reported is part of a larger ongoing project which is employing QCA to compare these relations within two birth cohorts. Here data are used from the British National Child Development Study, i.e. from children born in 1958. The paper has a methodological focus, bringing out the strengths but also the difficulties that arise when employing QCA with a large dataset of this type. In particular, the problem of calibrating membership in fuzzy sets in a context where detailed case knowledge is not available is illustrated. It is also shown how the use of gradually increasing thresholds with Ragin's fs/QCA software can bring out the relative importance of various factors in accounting for achievement. The QCA-based analysis suggests that the processes of educational attainment can, at best, only be seen as partly falling under a 'meritocratic' description. It is also hoped that this paper will serve as a useful introduction to the potential of QCA for readers not yet familiar with it.
Sociological Research Online 10 (2) davetian1
Keywords: Social Theory, Sociology of Emotions, Self, Identity, Micro, Macro, Postmodernism.
Abstract: This article attempts to contribute to the on-going discussion regarding the 'future of sociology and social theory' by suggesting that classical and contemporary social theories have yet to provide satisfactory accounts of the emotional components of human society. Following a discussion of how emotions have been downplayed in classical and contemporary theory, evidence is presented in support of a sociology that would include the study of emotions as part of broader studies of the social. A central proposition of this article is that the harmonization of studies of 'micro' and 'macro' realities would facilitate the development of a systems theory that neither excludes diversity nor minimizes the immutable emotional needs of individuals and their social systems. In support of the above argument, the author presents some new evidence pointing to the primacy of the human emotions across cultural boundaries.
Sociological Research Online 10 (2) scourfield
Keywords: Suicide, Masculinity, Men, Gender, Crisis, Hegemonic, Subordinated, Mental Health, Autopsy, Qualitative
Abstract: Across the West, suicide rates in young men have been rising for some time. This trend has attracted considerable media attention and is often cited within media discourse as evidence of a 'crisis of masculinity'. The field of suicide research (or suicidology) is dominated by quantitative methodology, and although there has been research attention to the gendered character of suicidal behaviour, studies tend to compare 'men' as a group with 'women' as a group. There is also relatively little consideration within this literature of power relations and the social-political dimension of masculinities. This paper argues the case for a qualitative sociological approach to the study of gendered suicide and begins to outline a framework for understanding the diversity of suicidal masculinities. Connell's theoretical work on masculinities is used to analyse evidence from the suicidology literature. The framework includes consideration of when hegemonic masculinity fails; the subordinated masculinities of gay sexuality and mental illness; and control in intimate relationships.
Sociological Research Online 10 (3) bott
Keywords: Migrant Domestic Work, Racism, Employers' Anxieties, Proximity
Abstract: This paper examines relations between migrant domestic workers and their employers in London, and how employers use ideas about 'race' and racial difference to manage the difficulties and tensions involved in sharing their houses with employees. Using findings from preliminary interviews with employers (the initial phase of data gathering in a wider ongoing project), it looks at how employers might structure proximity/distance relations; levels of intimacy; social hierarchy and guilt management around a conceptual framework that hinges on notions of 'difference' and Otherness.
Paul Johnson and Steph Lawler
Sociological Research Online 10 (3) johnson
Keywords: Class, Distinction, Gender, Intimacy, Heterosexuality, Love, Sexuality
Abstract: This article explores how romantic love, desire, and social class are mutually influencing factors in the formation and enactment of heterosexual intimate relationships. Using qualitative interview data from a study of heterosexuality and love we analyse some of the ways in which social class structures love relationships and, furthermore, how such relationships are a site in which class is 'done' . In particular, we explore a central paradox of the heterosexual love relationship: while heterosexuality relies upon the difference it creates in terms of sex and gender one other form of difference - class difference - is understood to be an obstacle to, if not antithetical to, a 'successful' relationship. Indeed, as we will show, this form of difference, for some people at least, is one that must be guarded and defended against.
Sociological Research Online 10 (3) madriaga
Keywords: American-Ness, American Dream, American Identity, Community, Ethnicity, Latino, \'race\', Social Identity, Social Categorization, \'whiteness\'
Abstract: This article examines the impact the category of 'whiteness' has on individual interpretations of the American Dream. Via twenty-five life-history interviews, this article presents how US military male Veterans have varying interpretations of the collective idea according to their ethnic and racial background. The evidence presented in this article shows that the idea of the American Dream has racial dimensions or aspects. It suggests that 'whiteness' is taken-for-granted in this symbolic idea. For most ethnic minority respondents, this association between American Dream and 'whiteness' places them in a position to straddle the boundaries of American-ness and Otherness. This has implications in their everyday lives and sense of belonging. This article highlights a wider question regarding the extent 'race' shapes the boundaries of American national identity.
Sociological Research Online 10 (3) moriarty
Keywords: Ireland, Narrative, Practice, Identity, Race, Immigration, Gender, Urban Legend.
Abstract: During the last decade, the emergence of what has been coined 'the celtic tiger economy', the Good Friday Agreement on Northern Ireland and net immigration following decades of emigration, represent critical moments in Irish history that have opened up the question of identity in Irish public culture. This paper examines the processes involved in mediating who belongs and who doesn't belong in early 21st century Irish society by examining the creation and circulation of an urban legend in Dublin in 2004. I consider how such a story gains legitimacy, bestows meaning and constructs reality, to explore what it says about 21st century Ireland. To develop this argument, I firstly posit identity construction as processual rather than fixed (Hall, 1996), and examine the forms of knowledge through which the story is constituted and elaborated into objects, concepts and theories. Secondly, I use fragments of the story to examine the construction of self/other and us/them dichotomies through the interaction between narrator and listener, and the construction of threatened Irish identities and invading 'non-national' identities. Thirdly, I locate this story in global regimes of representation which are highlighting the paradoxical positioning of the nation state as subject to significant global changes such as population movement but also enabled by such phenomena in the shaping of belonging. In order to examine how these patterns of enacted conduct become routinised in the context of the nation state, I examine the context of the debates around immigration and racism in Ireland, highlighting the remarkable continuities over time in the images and discourses circulating about the Other, particularly migrant women. Ultimately, I argue that a dialectical approach is required to understand the current debate in Ireland around immigration and racism through considering the interrelationships of discourses, narratives and the constitution of identities.
Jenny Hislop, Sara Arber, Robert Meadows and Susan Venn
Sociological Research Online 10 (4) hislop
Keywords: Qualitative Methods, Audio Diaries, Narratives, Sleep, Women, Couples, Social Context
Abstract: This article draws on data from two major empirical studies of sleep to examine the use of audio diaries as an approach to researching sleep. Sleep has only recently emerged as a topic of interest to the sociologist, providing a valuable resource through which to examine the roles and relationships and gender inequalities which underpin everyday life. Yet accessing individual experiences of sleep is problematic. Considered a non-conscious activity, sleep takes place in most cases at night within the private domain of the home and is thus generally inaccessible to the social researcher and outside the conscious reality of the sleeper. In exploring the social aspects of sleep, we rely primarily on respondents' interpretations of the sleep period given retrospectively in focus groups and in-depth interviews, distanced from the temporal, spatial and relational dimensions of the sleep event. This article also focuses on the use of audio diaries as a method designed to help bridge the gap between events in real time and retrospective accounts. We examine the narrative structure of audio diaries, discuss the principles and practice of using audio diaries in sleep research, illustrate the contribution of audio diary narratives to an understanding of the social context of sleep, and assess the use of audio diaries in social research. We conclude that, used in conjunction with other methods, audio diaries are an effective method of data collection, particularly for understanding experiences of intimate aspects of everyday life.
Sociological Research Online 10 (4) strangleman
Keywords: Sociology of Work and Employment; Industrial Sociology; Sociological Futures; Labour Process
Abstract: This essay is a response to the call for a discussion about future trends in sociology by focusing broadly on the sub-discipline of work and employment. In doing so the piece directly engages with earlier interventions made by John Scott (2005) and Gayle Letherby (2005) in Sociological Research Online. It examines the current state of the sociology of work by charting its foundation and subsequent development. It suggests that there is currently a problem in the area caused in part by intellectual trends and fragmentation. It argues that those sociologists working in the field need to engage collectively in a reflective process to refocus the subject combining elements from its 'golden age' as well as from more contemporary sources.
Sociological Research Online 11 (1) kirk
Keywords: Working Class; Experience; Structure of Feeling; Recognition; Language; Identity
Abstract: This article welcomes the recent renewed interest in the topic of class within sociology and cultural studies. This comes after a long period – from around the middle part of the 1980s and into the 1990s – during which social class was dismissed as a mode of understanding socio-economic and cultural conditions on the part of both academics and mainstream political organisations alike. Working-class formations in particular came under scrutiny, increasingly seen to be in terminal decline and fragmentation through the impact of post-industrialisation processes set in train in western economies from the turn of the 1980s onwards. The demise of heavy industry – steel, coal, textiles, for instance – profoundly altered working-class communities, transforming the material world and cultural life of the British working class, powerful developments reinforcing the 'end of class' debate. Allied to this, the emergence within the academy of new theoretical frameworks associated with postmodern thought claimed to undermine traditional understandings around class. This article insists on the continuing significance of class and does so by focussing on an important recent response to the class debate, Andrew Sayer's The Moral Significance of Class (2005). This book stakes a lucid claim for the importance of recognising class as a powerful determining factor of subjectivity. While drawing upon aspects of Sayer's theoretical framework and argument to examine class experience, it is also the intention of the article to supplement Sayer's work by developing related theoretical propositions derived from the writing of Raymond Williams and the Russian linguist and cultural critic Volosinov/Bakhtin.
Sociological Research Online 11 (1) wahidin
Keywords: Older Offenders, Identity, Time, Prisons
Abstract: Throughout the literature on time there has been an omission of the qualitative dimension of time in relation to the experience of time in different locales. This paper will explore the nature and role of time-use in prison. Based on intensive fieldwork in 8 male and female prison establishments, this article will explore the experiences of women and men aged 50 years and above serving a custodial sentence and their relationship with time. The data draws from 90 semi-structured interviews. The aim of this paper is firstly to landscape time use in prison. Secondly, to show how time in prison is negotiated by the prisoners and finally, examine how outside time becomes more real as the transition from a closed to an open prison becomes more imminent.
Sociological Research Online 11 (2) armstrong
Keywords: Class, Gender, Women, Employment, Motherhood, Feminism, Bourdieu, Habitus, Life-Course, Qualitative Research.
Abstract: This paper proposes that there is a need to push beyond the popular discourses of 'flexibility' and 'work-life balance'. Developing a feminist-Bourdieuian approach and drawing on three illustrative case studies from my interview research with 27 mothers in the UK, I show the importance of maintaining a focus on class and gender inequalities. In the first part of the paper the concepts of capitals, dependencies and habitus which shaped, and were shaped by, this interview research are discussed. An analysis of three women's accounts of their experiences across work and family life is then used to illustrate that although these women all used terms such as 'flexibility' and 'juggling' in describing their work, the experience of that work was crucially influenced by their histories and current positioning. Tracing each of these women's trajectories from school, attention is focused on the influence of differential access to capitals and relations of dependency in the emergence of their dispositions toward work. Overall, the paper points to the significance of examining the classed and gendered dimensions of women's experiences of employment and motherhood.
Miriam Glucksmann and Dawn Lyon
Sociological Research Online 11 (2) glucksmann
Keywords: Work, Employment, Total Social Organisation of Labour, Care Work, Elder Care, Italy, the Netherlands, Configuration, Gender
Abstract: Most current sociological approaches to work recognise that the same activity may be undertaken within a variety of socio-economic forms - formal or informal, linked with the private market, public state or not-for-profit sectors. This article takes care of the elderly as an exemplary case for probing some of the linkages between paid and unpaid work. We attempt to unravel the interconnections between forms of care work undertaken in different socio-economic conditions in two settings, the Netherlands and Italy. The research is part of a broader programme concerned with differing interconnections and overlaps between work activities. In this article, we are concerned with: 1) how paid and unpaid care work map on to four 'institutional' modes of provision - by the state, family, market, and voluntary sector; and 2) with the configurations that emerge from the combination of different forms of paid and unpaid work undertaken through the different institutions. Despite the centrality of family-based informal care by women in both countries, we argue that the overall configurations of care are in fact quite distinct. In the Netherlands, state-funded care services operate to shape and anchor the centrality of family as the main provider. In this configuration, unpaid familial labour is sustained by voluntary sector state-funded provision. In Italy, by contrast, there is significant recourse to informal market-based services in the form of individual migrant carers, in a context of limited public provision. In this configuration, the state indirectly supports market solutions, sustaining the continuity of family care as an ideal and as a practice.
Sociological Research Online 11 (2) goode
Keywords: Taylorisation; Academic Work; Identities; Qualitative Research; In-Depth Interviews; Reflective Practice
Abstract: This paper examines the institutional identity formation of contract research staff in the context of the Taylorisation of research knowledges. The author has been a contract researcher for many years, after initially training and practising as a Probation Officer. She makes links between her social work training, and her current practice as a qualitative researcher. Drawing on her experience of working on a variety of different projects, at a number of different institutions, and providing illustrative examples from projects in sociology, social policy, health, and education, she reflects on the implications of the current social organization of academic research both for professional research practice and for researcher identity. There is a paradox in the way that contract research staff accrue a wealth of experience of how research is organised and conducted in different contexts, a repertoire of skills, and a vast volume of various kinds of 'data', whilst remaining vulnerable and marginalized figures within the academy, with few opportunities for professional development and advancement. She outlines a number of strategies she has employed in the preservation of the 'research self', and concludes by suggesting that the academy has much to learn about the effective management of 'waste', as embodied by researchers' selves and their data, consequent upon the Taylorisation of research work.
Sue Innes and Linda McKie
Sociological Research Online 11 (2) innes
Keywords: Families, Child Protection, Gender, Paid Work, Care
Abstract: Understanding discursive shifts over the twentieth century in relation to family roles, paid work and care is essential to any critical review of contemporary family theory and policies. This paper charts aspects of these shifts. An analysis of case records of the Royal Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (RSSPCC), 1945 to 1960 is presented. Based upon these data we reflect upon the construction of the working-class family in the West of Scotland and draw upon one case study to illustrate issues further. This post-war period was one of rapid social and technological change. It is commonly perceived as a period of segregated gender roles, and in the UK a predominant male-breadwinner family model. The RSSPCC case records suggest that family lives and forms, particularly for those on low incomes, were diverse throughout this period. Although prosecutions for cruelty and neglect are dominant in perceptions of the society, most of its work was in material assistance, advice and surveillance. This latter aspect is considered in this paper.
Sociological Research Online 11 (2) mckie
Keywords: Violence, Violation, Gender, Social Theory, Myths
Abstract: The suffering caused by violence is senseless, persistent and demoralizing (Gordimer, 2003). For perpetrators there is the hollowness of holding power over others, a power that illustrates the fragility of their situation (Card, 2002; Mason, 2002). Yet despite the obvious relevance to sociology, violence in everyday and intimate practices has not been a central concern for sociological theory (Hearn, 1998; Ray, 2002). This may reflect the 'taken for grantedness of violence', the hierarchical and gendered nature of sociological work, especially on theory, combined with an earlier marginalization of gender, ethnicity and age. In this paper I draw upon the work of Midgley (2003) and her definition of 'myths' to offer an over-arching analysis of the images and ideas that surround and imbue sociological work on violence. Highlighting the barriers evident in, and recreated through, the sociological analysis of violence, the paper explores the challenges for sociology. A review of the tendency to atomistic approaches in sociological analysis and explanation reaffirms the need for theoretical pluralism in social sciences on the topic of violence (Eagleton, 2003).
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 ?
Sociological Research Online 11 (3) macvarish
Keywords: Single Woman, Singleness, One-Person Households, Identity, Social Construction, Interpersonal Relationships, Family, Childless
Abstract: Over the past 30 years there has been a considerable increase in the number of people living alone; in the UK, the proportion of one-person households almost doubled between 1971 and 2000, rising from 17% to 31% of households (ONS, 2002). The research drawn on here explores the experience and representation of a rapidly growing sub-group of one-person households identified by Hall et al (1999) as female, metropolitan, managerial/professional, educated and mobile. The paper concentrates on questions surrounding the identity of those who have been termed the 'new single women' (Whitehead, 2003). In much of the specific 'single women' literature, the 'problem' of the single woman has been understood as residing in her social construction; her stigmatisation and marginalisation as an 'other', relative to the norms of heterosexual partnership and motherhood. It is argued here that significant contextual changes in the landscape of interpersonal relationships demand a reconsideration of the way in which singleness is understood sociologically. The paper draws on semi-structured, in-depth interviews conducted in London and the South-East with a small sample of women (15) fitting the characteristics identified by Hall et al. They were aged 34-50, never-married , currently lived alone, were not in a relationship and had never had children. All who volunteered for interview were heterosexual. The women were recruited using a snowball method with the reasoning that 'word-of-mouth' would recruit a more varied range of individuals than might respond to a public call for those who self-identified as 'single' to come forward. Part of the interview schedule was constructed to elicit information concerning how the women negotiated their identity and the way in which they related themselves to the category of 'single woman'. The women were asked how they defined themselves, what they thought of the term spinster, and when they felt their singleness mattered (to themselves and to other people). They were also asked about their relationship and employment history, their daily lives and their future plans.
Sociological Research Online 11 (3) reynolds
Keywords: Single Women, Narrative, Discursive, Identity, Relationships
Abstract: This article explores some ways in which women not living with an intimate partner talk about their relationships with men. Data are considered in relation to social theorising on the changing nature of intimate relationships. The analysis makes use of traditions in narrative analysis and critical discursive psychology to identify some patterns in the telling, including common cultural resources that are drawn on by speakers. Patterned ways of portraying relationships identified in the data discussed here include a self-blame approach in describing extreme behaviour from the man concerned, and a repudiation of any intention of commitment through talk of the positive features of relationships with unavailable men. A further way of talking introduces a 'new realism' in which relationships are depicted as right for a time but dispensable when their time is up. The analysis suggests that concepts of individualisation and impermanence in relationships provide new cultural resources that women can draw on in providing a self-narrative. The data demonstrate the detailed rhetorical work involved in producing a positive account of the self as a single woman.
Sociological Research Online 11 (3) simpson
Keywords: Intimate Relationships, Familial Change, Single Women
Abstract: Several theorists of social change have argued that there are profound transformations in social interactions emerging in the context of wider social, cultural and economic change, including a shift to greater choice and fluidity in personal relationships. Alongside this, there has been widespread academic support for the notion of individualism as a major explanation of family change, with several commentators raising concerns that changing familial forms signal increasing self-centredness and a decline in commitments to others. Remaining single can be seen as paradigmatic of such individualisation, and single women in particular risk being characterised by their lack of connection to significant others. However, there has been relatively little empirical attention to the relationships of single people. This paper draws on research on never-married single women in Britain and analyses their relationships with both kin and non-kin in relation to claimed transformations in intimacy prevalent in contemporary debates. It concludes by considering the implications of the main findings of this research for sociological debates about the changing conceptions of both intimacy and 'the family'.
Eileen Green, Frances Griffiths and Di Thompson
Sociological Research Online 11 (4) green
Keywords: Bone Densitometry, Risk, Midlife Women, Osteoporosis, Technology
Abstract: Contemporary medical science is increasingly saturated with risk and uncertainty, uncertainty which health professionals are obliged to manage in everyday consultation situations, but which patients presenting with specific health problems, want resolution to. This paper provides an overview of literature concerning the medicalization of women's bodies via health interventions such as screening, including the role played by medical technologies in defining degrees and forms of risk and uncertainty which are embedded within and generated by the screening processes themselves. We draw upon an ESRC funded study into the use of health technologies in women's midlife, in order to demonstrate how empirical research can illuminate the links between screening for osteoporosis and the recommendation and subsequent decision by women to use therapies such as hormone replacement therapy (HRT).The paper explores the centrality of bone densitometry in decision-making about potential risk. Drawing mainly upon data from 24 consultations in specialist clinics, 10 follow up interviews with the women concerned and 7 interviews with linked health professionals, we focus upon the interpretation and significance of the bone scan results. We conclude that, although the technological results are open to flexible interpretation, they seem to confirm the 'at risk' status of many of the women. The scan results appear to assume centre-stage in the consultation discussions, leading both women and clinicians to over interpret their significance as an indicator of risk.
Sociological Research Online 11 (4) mann
Keywords: English/British, Complicity, Discourse, Interviewer, Interviewing, National Identity, Reflexivity
Abstract: This article focuses on the reflexive dynamics of interviewing in the context of a recent qualitative investigation of ethnic majority views of national identity in England. There is now an established literature which specifies the routine mobilisations of national identity through the course of everyday social interaction. Discourse studies also have been centrally concerned with the interview-as-topic and there is considerable work here on ethnic and racial categorizations within the interview context. Taking such work as its departure point, this article will illustrate how and why the interviewer also matters in talking about national identity. While the role of the interviewer is increasingly acknowledged in qualitative research, there has been little attempt to consider this particular methodological dilemma in nationalism research. In highlighting this problem, this article argues in favour of a more reflexive approach to the study of nationalism and national identity, one which brings to bear the researchers' own unwitting assumptions and involvement.
Satnam Virdee, Christopher Kyriakides and Tariq Modood
Sociological Research Online 11 (4) virdee
Keywords: Race, Racism, Nation, Scotland, Identity Formation
Abstract: This qualitative study investigates the relationship between race and nation in an ethnically mixed neighbourhood in Glasgow, Scotland. It finds that Scottishness has a historically founded racialised referent at the level of the neighbourhood but that this referent is undermined in everyday life by syncretic codes of cultural belonging represented by signifiers such as accent, dress and mannerisms. However, these cultural signifiers that contest the racialised referent are, on occasions, themselves challenged by negative ascriptions such as terrorist and extremist which reinforce, though never completely, the original racialised referent of Scottishness as whiteness. We conclude that whiteness is an unstable identifier of Scottishness, and Scottishness is an unstable identifier of whiteness, such that a negative view of Islam as antithetical to imagined conceptions of Scottishness, cannot easily be sustained in areas of relatively high racialised minority settlement.
Sonja M. Dudek
Sociological Research Online 12 (1) dudek
Keywords: Diversity, Gender, Sexuality, Police, Organisation
Abstract: This article examines the significance of gender and sexuality within the German uniformed police. For a long time the police was regarded to be the classic domain of men, but since some years the police actively tries to employ more heterogeneous staff. These efforts result in a clear change of personnel: more and more women are working in the police. It is the aim of this article to firstly examine in which historical contexts gender and sexuality have been relevant categories within the police organisation. Secondly gender and sexuality in organisational theory, especially considering criticism of feminist organizational theory on classical concepts are discussed. Thirdly theories on micropolitical negotiations, processes of managing gender and sexuality are introduced and connected to the police. In the following part of this article two interview examples are presented and analysed, in which the significance of sexuality and gender today are discussed by female police officers.
Sociological Research Online 12 (1) gill
Keywords: Normal, Identity, Gender, Sexuality, Performance
Abstract: This paper examines the management of feminine identities in a women's rugby team in a rural British community. In so doing, the issue of new, and potentially problematic, forms of femininity are explored, with their attendant social consequences. The team, known as the Jesters, is situated in a social context which is dominantly masculine and heterosexist, with rigidly enforced gender roles. Due to their participation in rugby, a 'man's game', the Jesters are threatened with marginalisation for their apparent failure to conform to, and potential disruption of, established gender norms. This threat is managed through the performance of certain 'inauthentic' feminine identities (hyper-femininity and heterosexuality) on the part of the entire team. It is this 'team identity' which lies at the heart of this paper. This paper therefore examines the group dynamics of identity performance and negotiation. In negotiating 'normal' the Jesters are forced to confront changing gender norms and social contexts within the team itself. This paper also examines the difficulties faced by individuals when their own interests are opposed to the interests of the group of which they are a part. Although largely uncaring about the private lives of team members, the heterosexual members of the Jesters refuse to tolerate the performance of alternative versions of femininity when it may result in the exclusion of the team as a whole. This paper therefore examines the differing interests of heterosexual and lesbian femininities within a potentially marginalised group and some of the coping mechanisms adopted by both groups to develop a coherent team image.
Sociological Research Online 12 (1) harris
Keywords: Women\'s Football, Hegemony, Femininity, Masculinity, Sexual Orientation.
Abstract: The following paper looks at the experiences of female football (soccer) players at a College of Higher Education in the South of England. Association Football occupies a special place in English society where it has traditionally been linked to notions of toughness, manliness and hegemonic masculinity. The last decade has witnessed expedient growth in the number of women playing football and this has led to much debate related to the positioning of the game in contemporary society. Data was collected through an ethnographic approach utilizing observation and semi-structured interviews. Through their very participation in the game the women can be seen to be challenging notions of male hegemony. However their acceptance of the male game as being more important, and their adopting of discourse and ideologies emanating from the male model of the sport, means that they are also colluding in the (re)production of masculine hegemony. For the women in this study, of central importance to the development of a female footballing identity are issues surrounding sexual orientation within the football world. Women's football in England suffers from an 'image problem' which can and does lead to tension both on and off the pitch. This paper explores how these women make sense of their own involvement in the game and how they negotiate the contested ideological terrains surrounding femininity, masculinity and sexual orientation.
Sociological Research Online 12 (1) hines
Keywords: Citizenship, Identities, Gender, Gender Diversity, Gender Dysphoria, Gender Recognition Act, Medicalisation, Social Change, Surgery, Transgender
Abstract: This paper aims to contribute to recent sociological debates about gendered identity constructions and formations, and gendered citizenship, by exploring gender transformation through an analysis of new femininities and masculinities as they are variously articulated by transgender women and men. The paper charts the ways in which transgender has emerged as a subject of increasing social and cultural interest in recent years. Shifting attitudes towards transgender people are also evident through recent legislative changes brought by the Gender Recognition Act (2005). These social, cultural and legislative developments reflect the ways in which gender diversity is acquiring visibility in contemporary society, and suggest that gender diverse people themselves are experiencing greater levels of social inclusion. Such developments mark transgender as an important and timely area of sociological study. The paper argues that while the Gender Recognition Act marks a significant shift in socio-legal understandings of 'gender' as distinct from 'sex', it problematically remains tied to a medical perspective of transgender that continues to marginalise practices of gender diversity. The paper thus proposes caution against an assured trajectory of (trans) gender transformation and social change. Rather, normative binary understandings of 'gender' underpin recent social and legislative shifts, giving way to individual and collective tensions around the desirability of assimilation. In turn these issues produce divergent ways of living as 'new' women and men.
Sociological Research Online 12 (1) monro
Keywords: Transgender, Intersex, Gender, Diversity, Theory, Poststructuralism, Transsexuality, Sexual Orientation, Sexuality
Abstract: This paper provides a cross-cultural account of gender diversity which explores the territory that is opened up when sex, gender, and sexual orientation, binaries are disrupted or displaced. Whilst many people who identify as trans or intersex see themselves as male or female, others identify in ways which destabilize sex/gender and sexual orientation binaries. The paper provides a typology of ways in which sex/gender diversity can be conceptualized, and draws out the implications for theorizing gender. It discusses the contributions made by the new wave of authors working in the field of transgender studies; authors who draw on and inform the sociology of sex and gender, feminisms, and poststructuralist theory. It based on empirical material from research carried out in India and the UK.
Sociological Research Online 12 (1) soley-beltran
Keywords: Gender, Performativity, Sex-Reassignment, Social Policy, Transgenderism, Transsexuality, Spain
Abstract: In this paper I will present an overview of the current legal, social and political situation of transsexual and transgendered people in Spain. The study is based on qualitative data gathered from in-depth interviews with transsexual people, transgendered activists and legal experts in Spain, including some aspects of a cross-cultural comparison between Spain and the UK. The empirical study accounts for the development of social policies related to sex-reassignment and their evolution in the last decade in Spain, as well as for transsexual associations and activism, issues of social exclusion and prostitution. The study on transsexuals consists of qualitative interviews with selected individuals of the transsexual community in Scotland and Catalonia about their life experiences. The analysis of the qualitative data explores the cultural assumptions underlying the legal aspects of sex-reassignment. Amongst other issues, the paper will deal with Spanish juridical procedures for documental reorientation and its potential role as incentive for undergoing sex-reassignment operation, and the performative character of transsexualism as a scientific category and folk gender myths in the shaping of gender. The cross-cultural comparison concerns scientific terminology, funding, cultural and legal aspects of sex-reassignment. The study reveals the performative character of scientific categories, the mobilisation of conflicting discourses in the negotiation of meaning, the circularity and self-referentiality of the terms used both in expert and folk discourse. Moreover, the cross-cultural comparison demonstrates the conventionality of transsexualism as a scientific category and some of the ways in which social institutions act to perpetuate the erasure of gender fluidity.
Stephen Whittle and Lewis Turner
Sociological Research Online 12 (1) whittle
Keywords: Transgender; Transsexual; Sex; Gender; Sex Change; Gender Identity; Legal Identities
Abstract: Gender transformations are normatively understood as somatic, based on surgical reassignment, where the sexed body is aligned with the gender identity of the individual through genital surgery – hence the common lexicon 'sex change surgery'. We suggest that the UK Gender Recognition Act 2004 challenges what constitutes a 'sex change' through the Act's definitions and also the conditions within which legal 'recognition' is permitted. The sex/gender distinction, (where sex normatively refers to the sexed body, and gender, to social identity) is demobilised both literally and legally. This paper discusses the history of medico-socio-legal definitions of sex have been developed through decision making processes when courts have been faced with people with gender variance and , in particular, the implications of the Gender Recognition Act for our contemporary legal understanding of sex. We ask, and attempt to answer, has 'sex' changed?
Sociological Research Online 12 (4) 5
Keywords: Migration, Gender, Ethnicity, Life-Story, Methodology, Britain, Germany, Structural and Cultural Readings, Subjugated Knowledges
Abstract: The article argues that biographical methods are particularly suited to shift the methodological and theoretical premises of migration research to foreground the agency and subjectivity of migrant women. It is argued that structural and cultural readings can usefully be applied to the self-representations of migrant women. The context of migrant women's self-representations is explored through looking at the story-telling communities they develop and through the expert knowledges of institutions regulating migration. The dichotomisation of unique versus collective modes of life-stories is questioned. Applying the Foucauldian concept of subjugated knowledges, it is argued that migrant women's life-stories hold transformative potential for producing knowledges critical of gendered and ethnocised power relations that research should pay attention to.
Lawrence Ware, Moira Maconachie, Malcolm Williams, Joan Chandler and Brian Dodgeon
Sociological Research Online 12 (4) 6
Keywords: Nuclear Family; Households; Gender; Longitudinal Analysis
Abstract: In recent years there has been much political debate in the popular media about the fate of the nuclear family in the UK. Very little work has been done, using population data, to actually demonstrate the decline, or indeed continuance of this type of household formation. In this paper we use Office for National Statistics (ONS) longitudinal census data, from England and Wales, to explore the formation, dissolution and continuance of the nuclear family household over a twenty year period (1981- 2001). Our findings indicate a continuing importance of this household arrangement, however routes into and trajectories from nuclear family households take different forms for men and women across the life course.
Sociological Research Online 12 (5) 15
Keywords: Birth Order; Education; Family; Gender; Selective Parents; Social Mobility
Abstract: While members of the same family are assumed to share similar mobility chances, this paper seeks to answer the following puzzle: why do only some children of the same family attain a level of education considered to be socially desirable whereas their siblings do not? The essence of an answer lies in the fact that the same parents could play rather dissimilar roles in the education of their different children. Using part of qualitative data collected in Hong Kong between 1996 and 1997, this paper focuses on what selective parents did for their children's education. The data illustrated that in deciding what they would and could do for each of their children's education, parents responded to their children's academic ability, resource availability, and ideology. The educational attainments of children of the same family could be very diverse not merely because of children's different academic performances but because of the deliberate decisions of their parents in formulating strategies for basic survival or for advancement. The same parents could be seen as enhancing the education of their sons and/or younger children at the expense of the education of their daughters and/or elder children. This suggests that mobility is of an interdependent nature and, in turn, leads me to argue that the mobility of members of the same family should be considered together and not in isolation, and to support the stance that the family, rather than an individual, should be the unit of analysis in mobility studies.
Sociological Research Online 12 (5) 2
Keywords: Sleep, Couples, Interaction, Negotiation, Gender
Abstract: The convention in Western societies of partners sharing a bed is symbolic of their status as a couple, their commitment to the relationship, and their desire for shared intimacy. Yet for many couples, incompatibility as sleeping partners may threaten to undermine romantic notions of the double bed. This paper draws on in-depth interview and audio diary data from research into sleep in couples aged 20-59 (N=40) to examine how couples negotiate the spatial, temporal and relational dimensions of the sleeping environment. The paper contends that the management of tensions inherent in the sleeping relationship plays a key role in framing the couple identity over time, as well as reinforcing the gendered roles, power relationships and inequalities which underpin everyday life.
Sara Arber, Jenny Hislop, Marcos Bote and Robert Meadows
Sociological Research Online 12 (5) 3
Keywords: Sleep, Women, Gender Roles, Partners, Children, Socio-Economic Circumstances, Survey
Abstract: Women in mid and later life report particularly poor quality sleep. This article suggests a sociologically-informed quantitative approach to teasing out the impact of women's roles and relationships on their sleep, while also taking into account women's socio-economic characteristics and health status. This was accomplished through analysis of the UK Women's Sleep Survey 2003, based on self-completion questionnaires from a national sample of 1445 women aged over 40. The article assesses the ways in which three central aspects of women's gender roles: the night-time behaviours of their partners, night-time behaviours of their children, and night-time worries – impact on women's sleep, while also considering how disadvantaged socio-economic circumstances and poor health may compromise women's sleep. Using bivariate analysis followed by hierarchical multiple regression models, we examine the relative importance of different aspects of women's gender roles. The key factors implicated in the poor sleep quality of midlife and older women are their partner's snoring, night-time worries and concerns, poor health status (especially experiencing pain at night), disadvantaged socio-economic status (especially having lower educational qualifications) and for women with children, their children coming home late at night.
Emanuela Bianchera and Sara Arber
Sociological Research Online 12 (5) 4
Keywords: Gender, Women, Caring, Caregivers, Italy, Sleep
Abstract: Drawing on qualitative research with 27 Italian women aged between 40 and 80 years, this article examines how family structure, gender role expectations and caring roles impact on women's sleep at different points in their life course. Care work shapes sleep quality and duration for the majority of these women. High levels of sleep disturbance were found among women who cared for older frail or disabled relatives. Women caring for young children and adult children living at home also experience decreased sleep quality. When informal care is unsupported, very demanding and stress provoking, sleep disturbance is greater, with women experiencing insomnia, frequent awakenings and light sleep. The article discusses the implications of inadequate welfare provision in Italy, which increases women's unpaid domestic caring work resulting in adverse effects on sleep quality and their overall well being.
Brooke Davis, Bernadette Hood and Dorothy Bruck
Sociological Research Online 12 (5) 7
Keywords: Women, Aged-Care, Subjective Sleep Quality, Self-Categorization, Social Comparison, Temporal Comparison
Abstract: This study is a two phase project which utilizes a mixed methods design to investigate the construct of 'good' and 'poor' sleep quality amongst a cohort of older women in Australian residential care. Phase one of the study demonstrates the lack of congruence between quantitative measures of sleep behavior and self categorizations by the participants as 'good' or 'poor' sleepers. This lack of congruence is explored in the second phase of the project where semi structured interviews investigate the process by which self categorizations emerge. Interview data ratifies the findings of phase one identifying that the process of self-categorization is not necessarily linked to sleep behaviors, as many of these phenomena such as nocturnal disruption, or early morning awakenings were similarly described by self-categorized 'good' and 'poor' sleepers. Rather, it appears that these women, through the process of upward and downward social comparison, construct ideas about 'normal' sleep, and it is this normative definition, rather than the sleep phenomena experienced, that the individual uses to provide a benchmark for their self-categorization of sleep quality.
Sara Ferlander and Duncan Timms
Sociological Research Online 12 (5) 8
Keywords: Disadvantaged Area, IT-Café, Local Community, Local Identity, Local Net, Social Capital, Social Networks, Sweden, the Internet, Trust
Abstract: The rapid diffusion of the Internet has considerable potential for enhancing the way people connect with each other, the root of social capital. However, the more the Internet is used for building social capital the greater will the impact be on those whose access and/or usage is curtailed. It is therefore important to investigate the impacts of Internet on groups at risk of digital and social exclusion. The aim of this article is to examine how the use of the Internet influences social capital and community building in a disadvantaged area. Quantitative and qualitative data from a case study in a suburban area of Stockholm are used to evaluate the social impacts of two community-based Internet projects: a Local Net and an IT-Café. Each of the projects was aimed at enhancing digital inclusion and social capital in a disadvantaged local community. The paper examines the extent to which use of the Internet is associated with an enhancement of social participation, social trust and local identity in the area. The Local Net appears to have had limited success in meeting its goals; the IT-Café was more successful. Visitors to the IT-Café had more local friends, expressed less social distrust, perceived less tension between different groups in the area and felt a much stronger sense of local identity than non-visitors. Visitors praised the IT-Café as providing a meeting-place both online and offline. The Internet was used for networking, exchange of support and information seeking. Although it is difficult to establish causal priorities, the evidence suggests that an IT-Café, supporting both virtual and physical meetings, may be especially well suited to build social capital and a sense of local community in a disadvantaged area. The importance of social, rather than solely technological, factors in determining the impact of the Internet on social capital in disadvantaged local communities is stressed.
Victoria K. Gosling
Sociological Research Online 13 (1) 1
Keywords: Coping Strategies, Poverty, Social Capital, Social Exclusion, Women
Abstract: It is evident that the concept of 'social capital' has recently come to the forefront of many governmental strategies aimed at combating social exclusion. In particular the interpretation of social capital used by many authors and agencies is one that emphasises the importance of not only social networks and contacts, but also a social responsibility to one's local community and wider society. Most notably it is poor people and poorer neighbourhoods that are seen to be lacking in these forms of social capital, and therefore emphasis is placed upon individual and community responsibility for tackling their own (and other's) exclusion. Drawing on in-depth interviews with women living on a deprived inner-city housing estate in the north of England, this research considers existing practices, forms and gendered nature of social capital for these women. The paper concludes that contrary to popular beliefs, many of these women already possessed forms of social capital, and specifically, that this was beneficial in helping them cope and 'get by' within their everyday experiences of social exclusion. This research highlights the potential exclusionary nature of social capital for certain individuals and the limitations of social capital in helping excluded women to escape their poverty.
Sociological Research Online 13 (1) 11
Keywords: Research Methods, Quantitative, Queer, Lesbian, Gay, Gender, LGBT
Abstract: Sexualities research is increasingly gaining prominence within, and outside, of academia. This paper will use queer understandings to explore the contingent (re)formation of quantitative data, particularly those that seek to gain insights into Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans populations and lifestyles. I use queer critiques to explore the creation and normalising impulses of quantitative sexualities research and argue that research that addresses 'deviant'/other/(homo)sexualities brings categories (mainly lesbian and gay) into being. Using three key research events from a large scale quantitative research study of 7,212 respondents, 'Do it with Pride', the paper examines the (re)formation of quantitative research between researchers, respondents and the questionnaire. In particular the paper: reveals the contingency of research design by discussing the exclusion of the term 'queer' from the research design, and then questions categories of sexualities as fixed variables by examining; the piloting a non-normative gender question, and the re-coding of sexuality categories in the analysis phase. This points to the (re)creation of research categories, that are not simply instruments of measurements but are actively engaged in the (re)construction of sexualities (including but not limited to sexualities research) within normative frames. The paper finishes by taking this queer critique in a different direction juxtaposing the apparently stable products of quantitative research (questionnaires and reports) with an examination of the transgressive potentials of queer moments in (re)making such research.
Sociological Research Online 13 (1) 13
Keywords: Mixed Race, Thai, Sex Work, Queer Sensibility, Racialised Gender Identities and Sexualities, Non-White Heterosexuality
Abstract: How can we study 'Queer', or indeed, should we? Drawing on fieldwork with people raised in interracial families in Britain and Germany, and reflecting on my own coming out as transgendered/genderqueer during the research, I reflect on the role of difference, similarity, and change in the production of queer knowledges. My entry point is a queer diasporic one. Queers of colour, I argue, have a particular stake in queering racialised heterosexualities; yet differences within diasporic spaces clearly matter. While 'Queer' can open up an alternative methodology of redefining and reframing social differences, the directionality of our queering - 'up' rather than 'down' - is clearly relevant. I suggest the anti-racist feminist principle of positionality as fruitful for such a queer methodology of change. This is explored with regard to a selection of empirical and cultural texts, including the debate around Paris is Burning, Jenny Livingston's film about the Harlem house/ball scene; the appeal that a non-white heterosexual artist such as South-Asian pop singer MIA can have for queers of colour; the camp role model which Thai sex work femininity can represent for queer and trans people from the second generation of Thai migration; and the solidarity of a Southeast Asian butch with feminine women in her diasporic collectivity.
Sociological Research Online 13 (1) 16
Keywords: Working-Class; Identity; Oral Testimony; Commitment; Structure of Feeling; Habitus
Abstract: This article examines a teacher identity through the context of class background and habitus. It considers the significance of class transition, probing how a teacher's working-class history informs and helps define the emergence and consolidation of a teacher identity – to shape what is called here a particular 'teacherly self.' It explores some of the difficulties the working-class actor may experience on entering a largely middle-class profession. This transitional experience has generally gone by the term upward mobility, but the word mobility, with its largely favourable connotations of positive movement, is substituted for the notion of transition, which suggests a more complex and complicated process. The article shows how a working-class background informs class practice; in particular, how a class structure of feeling shapes attitudes and approaches to working-class pupils and their needs. By using oral history methods and aspects of narrative theory, the article seeks to underline how the continued significance of class finds complex expression in British culture.
Sociological Research Online 13 (1) 17
Keywords: Identity, Self/Other, Discourse, Terrorism, Conflict, Security
Abstract: Research into terrorism has traditionally examined the relationship between terrorist activity and a variety of economic, religious, and geopolitical issues associated with modernity and globalisation, in an attempt to understand and explain this global phenomenon. This paper extends this inquiry further by exploring the extent to which the construction of Self and Other dichotomies are used as instruments for domination, self actualisation, and mobilisation within discourses of terrorism and security. The paper proposes that issues of Otherness are a vital and often missing component in understanding terrorism and counter-terrorist activity. In doing so, it argues that the construction of 'polarised collective identities' which accentuate perceived (cultural) differences between terrorists and their intended targets (and their respective host nations) play an integral role in shaping how we identify and respond to emerging threats. Furthermore, it is suggested that the construction and maintenance of these identities not only has a tendency to homogenise populations, but also creates antagonistic and conflict-orientated relationships resistant to resolution.
Andrew K. T. Yip
Sociological Research Online 13 (1) 5
Keywords: Lesbian; Gay; Bisexual; Christian; Muslim; Identity; Methodology; Sampling; Hidden Population
Abstract: This paper highlights some thematic reflections primarily based on two empirical research projects on lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) Christians and Muslims. It begins by discussing reflexivity by way of contextualising the subsequent exploration of specific themes. This is followed by a discussion of the plight of LGB Christians and Muslims which renders research on this population highly sensitive. The paper then explores the theme of researching meanings and lived experiences sensitively, focusing on the importance of being theoretically and culturally sensitive; and the relevance of methodological pragmatism and pluralism. It then proceeds to a detailed discussion of accessing 'hidden' populations and trust building; and the dynamics of the insider/outsider status. The paper concludes with a call for LGB research to take seriously intersectionality of contemporary LGB identity (e.g. sexual, religious, cultural, ethnic), and the role of religion/spirituality in LGB lives and politics.
Sociological Research Online 13 (1) 6
Keywords: Older Gay Men; Homosexuality; Ageing; Gender; Qualitative Methodology; Semi-Structured-Interview; Reflexivity
Abstract: This paper draws on exploratory research examining the sexual and ageing identities of gay men in England and the way in which these affect welfare needs and service use experiences. In this case, the focus is not upon the research findings per se, but on the research methods used to elucidate them. The author theorises about the ways in which the qualitative interviewing that took place was influenced by his age, homosexuality, and gender during the interaction with older gay men. The conclusions are that the shared gender and sexual orientation (although not without their differences) were crucial to the successful completion of the research and in trying to ensure participants felt valued and empowered. Therefore, it is asserted from this that increasingly reflexive research is paramount to the development of qualitative methodologies and gerontology, to ensure the academe is inclusive of diverse identities and that its research stands up to rigorous scrutiny.
Barry Cooper and Judith Glaesser
Sociological Research Online 13 (3) 2
Keywords: Boolean Methods, QCA, Social Class, Gender, Education, Meritocracy, Counterfactual Models
Abstract: This paper, whose purpose is both substantive and methodological, focuses on changes over a nine year period, drawing on data from two British birth cohorts (individuals born in 1958 and 1970), and, substantively, employs set theoretic methods to explore the extent to which an upward shift in qualifications achieved led to any reduction in the roles class and gender played in the achievement of professional, managerial and technical (PMT) social class destinations in early adulthood. Our methodological purpose is to illustrate how a counterfactual modelling approach can be used together with Ragin's set theoretic methods to provide an alternative way of analysing relationships in this area. We draw on earlier work exploring the extent to which educational achievement was 'meritocratic' with respect to ability for these cohorts (Author1, 2005, 2006). Our configurational account of the causal pathways to various class destinations is set against the background of a simple model of 'meritocracy' (allocation to available class positions by qualifications alone taking account of the empirical marginal distributions). This model allows us to specify, counterfactually, what qualifications would have represented necessary and sufficient conditions in our modelled meritocracy for reaching the PMT class. By comparison of these conditions with the empirically derived necessary and sufficient conditions for achieving these outcomes (using Ragin et al's fs/QCA software) we show that while allocation processes were far from meritocratic in both cohorts, there were some changes in the way both class and gender combined with qualifications as conditions for destinations. We also show that Ragin's configurational methods, focussing on holistically-conceived cases and conjunctural causation rather than on the net effects of independent variables, provide a useful analytic technique for capturing relationships in this field.
Colin C. Williams and John Round
Sociological Research Online 13 (4) 7
Keywords: Informal Sector; Underground Economy; Shadow Economy; Gender Divisions of Labour; Envelope Wages; Monetary Exchange; Market Society; New Economic Sociology; Post-Socialism; Ukraine
Abstract: In recent years, a small but growing tributary of thought has begun to re-theorise the gendered nature of undeclared work by transcending the conventional 'thin' depiction of undeclared work as profit-motivated market-like exchange and constructing 'thicker' representations that recognise the presence of multifarious work relations and motives in this sphere. Given the paucity of empirical accounts that have sought to develop a nuanced theorisation of the gender variations in undeclared work based on such thicker readings, the aim of this paper is to report a study of the gendering of undeclared work in the post-socialist society of Ukraine. Analysing data collected from 600 face-to-face interviews conducted during late 2005 and early 2006 that unravel the work relations and motives involved when men and women engage in undeclared work in Ukraine, the finding is that whilst over two-thirds (68 per cent) of men's undeclared work in this post-socialist society is composed of various types of profit-motivated market-like work, nearly three-quarters (72 per cent) of women's undeclared work is undertaken for friends, neighbours and kin under work relations more akin to unpaid mutual aid and for rationales other than purely financial gain. The consequent argument is that representing undeclared work in conventional 'thin' terms as profit-motivated market-like endeavour depicts such work more through the lens of men's lived practices rather than women's experiences. The paper therefore concludes by calling not only for a re-theorisation of undeclared work and its gendered nature in a wider range of societies and regions of the world but also for a critical evaluation of the validity of depicting monetary transactions as always market-like and profit-motivated.
Sociological Research Online 13 (5) 12
Keywords: Bangladeshi Women; Citizenship; Learning English, Tower Hamlets
Abstract: A key element of the Government's citizenship strategy is the requirement that all immigrants have a basic command of English. The lack of English speaking skills has been identified as a contributory factor to much of the social unrest amongst different communities in the UK. It has been argued that the ability to speak English will allow immigrants to integrate better, create more cohesive communities and reduce segregation. This paper will question the emphasis placed on language proficiency in reducing segregation and discuss issues around language and citizenship by exploring the experiences of Bangladeshi women living in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. Drawing on qualitative interviews it will argue that while the ability to speak English may indeed enhance elements of women's lives and allow them to engage more actively in the community, there may be an over-emphasis on its role in reducing segregation. The paper also argues that learning English is not simply a matter of personal choice, multiple cultural and gendered factors intersect to sometimes limit individual's options. Within the Bangladeshi community, women's voices are the least heard, their opinions are rarely sought and it is usually the men from the community who speak on behalf of the women. This paper will show how whilst Asian men were denouncing policies to encourage learning English, women expressed a strong desire to be able to speak English, yet identified a range of obstacles preventing them from being able to learn. It is suggested that more attention needs to be paid to women's needs to help facilitate their participation in the community and aid them to achieve full citizenship status. This is turn can enable women to help create more cohesive communities.
Erene Kaptani and Nira Yuval-Davis
Sociological Research Online 13 (5) 2
Keywords: Playback Theatre; Forum Theatre, Refugees, Performance, Research Methods, Identity
Abstract: The paper is based on the ESRC research project: 'Identity, Performance and Social Action: Community Theatre Among Refugees' which is part of the research programme on 'Identities and Social Action.' After describing the project, the paper examines the methodological specificities and different stages of Playback and Forum Theatre. The latter includes image work, character building, scenes and interventions. It argues that overall participatory theatre techniques as sociological research methods provide different kinds of data and information than other methods – embodied, dialogical and illustrative. The paper ends by examining in which circumstances the use of these techniques as research methodology will be beneficial and calls for an overall wider use of them in sociological research, especially for studying narratives of identity of marginalized groups as well as for illustrating perceptions and experiences of social positionings and power relations in and outside community groupings. Using participatory theatre as a research tool, therefore, can be considered as one form of action research.
Jayne Raisborough and Matt Adams
Sociological Research Online 13 (6) 2
Keywords: Chav, Children\'s Comics, Cultural Representations, Disgust, Distinction, Humour, Middle Class, Ned, Ridicule, Working Class
Abstract: We draw on 'new' class analysis to argue that mockery frames many cultural representations of class and move to consider how it operates within the processes of class distinction. Influenced by theories of disparagement humour, we explore how mockery creates spaces of enunciation, which serve, when inhabited by the middle class, particular articulations of distinction from the white, working class. From there we argue that these spaces, often presented as those of humour and fun, simultaneously generate for the middle class a certain distancing from those articulations. The plays of articulation and distancing, we suggest, allow a more palatable, morally sensitive form of distinction-work for the middle-class subject than can be offered by blunt expressions of disgust currently argued by some 'new' class theorising. We will claim that mockery offers a certain strategic orientation to class and to distinction work before finishing with a detailed reading of two Neds comic strips to illustrate what aspects of perceived white, working class lives are deemed appropriate for these functions of mockery. The Neds, are the latest comic-strip family launched by the publishers of children's comics The Beano and The Dandy, D C Thomson and Co Ltd.
Sociological Research Online 14 (1) 3
Keywords: Human, Identity Politics, Nonhuman, Oppressed, Performative, Primacy, Radical, Social Construction
Abstract: In a recent issue of this journal Mike Homfray asserted that social constructionism challenges emancipatory politics based in essential conceptualisations of identity. Thus for Homfray the concept of identity as associated with the pre-deconstructed subject is central for the emancipatory goal of oppressed groups like the lesbian and gay movements. In this paper I offer a distinction between radical identity politics that seeks to liberate oppressed groups, and what I have called primacy identity politics in which primacy identity is used to preserve the subjugation of those who are oppressed. In so doing I put forward a challenge to Homfray's somewhat wholesale rejection of the capacity for a critique of identity to work for emancipatory politics by focussing on primacy identity politics rather than on radical identity politics. In making an argument for the deconstruction of identities for emancipatory purposes I refer to my work on the human oppression of nonhuman animals. In this work I turn my attention away from those who are oppressed to the oppressors because this transfer of attention shows how useful the deconstruction of identity could be for the emancipation of oppressed groups. My examination of discourses used by the pro nonhuman animal experimentation lobby group Pro-Test shows how primacy identity politics can effectively be challenged by a social constructionist critique of essential identities and thus, contra Homfrey, I conclude that the deconstruction of identities can strengthen emancipatory causes.
Jason Lim and Kath Browne
Sociological Research Online 14 (1) 6
Keywords: Trans; Transgender; Transsexual; Sex; Gender; Sense; LGBT; Embodiment; Body; Mental Health
Abstract: This paper explores the testimony of trans respondents to Count Me In Too (a participatory action research project that examined LGBT lives in Brighton and Hove), and this analysis occasions the development of innovative concepts for thinking about understandings and experiences of trans phenomena and gender. The analysis starts by exploring the diversity of trans identities before considering evidence of how health services pathologise trans experiences. These analyses not only call into question mind/body dualisms within contemporary gender schema, but also challenge the continued reliance on a sex/gender dichotomy – both in public institutions and in academic theorising – making a definitive distinction between transsexualism and transgenderism difficult to sustain. To do justice to the complexity of the respondents' testimony, we advance the concept of a 'sense of gender' – a sense that belongs to the body, but that is not the same as its fleshy materiality – as one register in which gender is lived, experienced and felt. This sense of gender becomes expressed in relation to a sense of dissonance (sometimes articulated through the 'wrong body discourse') among the various elements that compose the body, its sex and its gender, such that the 'body' experiences an inability to be 'consistent' in ways that are usually taken for granted. The paper suggests that further work needs to be undertaken to explore how the concept of 'senses of gender' can be applied to a broader rethinking of the relationship between gender and the body.
Sociological Research Online 14 (1) 7
Keywords: Political Participation, Young People, European Union, Gender
Abstract: There is now widespread recognition that, far from being politically apathetic, young people across Europe are engaged in a wide range of 'political' activities. While turnout at national and European elections among the 18-25 age group may be low, researchers have highlighted diverse and creative new forms of political participation. In relation to young women, in particular, Harris (2005) has presented a compelling analysis of the new 'borderspaces' opened up between public and private domains by young women through the use of new technologies. She contends that in the face of greater surveillance and regulation brought about by the shift to neo-liberal forms of governmentality, carving out a protected space for oneself is a political act, in itself. Moreover, the creative ways in which young women across the world use such spaces – to question dominant narratives about the nature of contemporary girlhood, to resist discourses which construct young women as merely passive consumers, and to trouble conventional notions of 'youth participation' – are highly political. Some EU representatives have indicated an awareness of these new forms of engagement and professed a desire to develop links between them and more traditional forms of party politics and policy making (Hoskins, 2005). Nevertheless, the degree to which these sentiments have been translated into policy remains unclear. This article draws on recent documents on young people, citizenship and political participation to assess the extent to which these new spaces of young women's politics are, firstly, recognised and, secondly, valued within EU policy.
Stephanie Jones, Nickie Charles and Charlotte Aull Davies
Sociological Research Online 14 (2) 1
Keywords: Gender, Political Culture, New Political Institutions, Consensus Politics, Political Style, National Assembly for Wales
Abstract: In the devolved legislative assemblies of Scotland and Wales the proportion of women representatives is approaching parity. This is in marked contrast to Westminster where one in five MPs are women. In this paper we explore the extent to which the masculinist political cultures characterising established political institutions are being reproduced in the National Assembly for Wales or whether its different gendering, both in the numbers of women representatives and in terms of its institutional framework, is associated with a more feminised political and organisational culture. Drawing on interviews with half the Assembly Members, women and men, we show that the political style of the Assembly differs from that of Westminster and that Assembly Members perceive it as being more consensual and as embodying a less aggressive and macho way of doing politics. AMs relate this difference to the gender parity amongst Assembly Members, to the institutional arrangements which have an 'absolute duty' to promote equality embedded in them, and to the desire to develop a different way of doing politics. We suggest that the ability to do politics in a more feminised and consensual way relates not only to the presence of a significant proportion of women representatives, but also to the nature of the institution and the way in which differently gendered processes and practices are embedded within it. Differently gendered political institutions can develop a more feminised political culture which provides an alternative to the masculinist political culture characterising the political domain.
Lynn Jamieson, Fran Wasoff and Roona Simpson
Sociological Research Online 14 (2) 5
Keywords: Family Friendship Gender Intimacy Solo-Living One-Person Household
Abstract: Solo-living is analytically separate from 'being single' and merits separate study. In most Western countries more men are solo-living than women at ages conventionally associated with co-resident partners and children. Discussions of 'demographic transition' and change in personal life however typically place women in the vanguard, to the relative neglect of men. We draw on European Social Survey data and relevant qualitative research from Europe and North America demonstrating the need for further research.
Andrew Smith and Linda McKie
Sociological Research Online 14 (4) 1
Keywords: Care, Carescapes, Employing Organisations, Organisation Carescapes, Research Methods, Work
Abstract: In this research note we critically consider the concept of 'care' both inside and around the workplace. Care, we assert, is ever-present in the workplace and evident in friendships and wider social relations. Moreover, many organisational policies and practices provide a framework within which caring may take place or be denied. 'Organisation carescapes' is introduced as a conceptual framework, which we argue can aid the identification and analysis of 'care' in employing organisations. Drawing on exploratory interviews, we discuss the implications these had on future stages of the research project in terms of our use of language and ways of conceptualising care at work. We explain how we operationalised the concept of care at work through the development of a questionnaire, which sought to map the care policies and services offered by a range of employing organisations. Furthermore, we discuss the appropriateness of the critical incident interview technique in uncovering the cultures and practices of care both in and around the workplace. Hence, through our conceptual and empirical research, we seek to bridge the sociologies of work and care.
Sociological Research Online 14 (4) 4
Keywords: Qualitative Research Methodologies, Workplace, Organisational Culture, Teamwork, Manufactured Community, Community, Solidarity, Post-Fordism, Fordism
Abstract: The workplace provides a very important context for the development of community. Structural changes that have occurred in the workplace in the last 25 years have impacted on how community has been constructed and experienced in the workplace. These structural changes have often been accompanied by particular types of organisational cultures and forms of work organisation. One such form of work organisation has been teamwork. Some have argued that management induced forms of employee collectivism, such as teamwork hasundermined more genuine employee generated forms of community and solidarity. Through in-depth interviews with employees in a number of organisations from two research projects, this article explores employee's experiences of community and highlights the different ways in which teamwork is interpreted and experienced by workers.
Jenny Hockey, Angela Meah and Victoria Robinson
Sociological Research Online 14 (5) 14
Keywords: Sexual Knowledge, Sexual Practice, Taboo, Stigma, Gender, History, Marriage, Pregnancy, Death, Second World War
Abstract: This paper explores contradictions within qualitative data gathered among women and men whose young adulthood coincided with the Second World War. These data were generated as part of an ESRC-funded project which investigated the making of heterosexual relationships cross-generationally. They suggest the co-existence of both a prevalent taboo or stigma associated with sexual knowledge and practice before and outside marriage, and personal experiences of precisely these engagements with embodied sexuality. Drawing on Charles Tilly's work, the paper argues that, when interrogated, these contradictions can reveal the strategies through which a creaky heterosexual consensus was shored up during a period of military upheaval that profoundly destabilised existing beliefs and practices. Tilly differentiated between academic historians who sought to reconcile 'very large structural changes' and 'the changing experiences of ordinary people' through either collectivist or individualist approaches to 'history from below'. Neither of these methods could yield an adequate account, in his view. However, the 'lay historians' who participated in our study combined collectivist and individualist perspectives, thereby providing a unique insight into an era when collective values and individual practices were often in tension with one another. As our participants spoke about their young adulthood, their data revealed the potency of local gossip which mobilised wider discourses of alterity or 'othering', so shoring up a consensual view of sexual mores, despite the prevalence of attitudes and practices that contravened it. What we argue, therefore, is that rather than a half-remembered, contradictory account of heterosexuality during the 1920s and 1930s, the data we gathered in the early 21st century exemplifies precisely the discursive strategies of that period. In other words, these data shed light on the ways in which not only heterosexual norms, but also an entire, endangered system of distinctions based on class, gender and national identity was upheld.
Sociological Research Online 14 (5) 18
Keywords: Autobiography, Narrative, Ethnography, Neopaganism, Authenticity, Rhetoric, Gender
Abstract: The late Charles Tilly argued that good social science required both detailed analyses of the minutiae of everyday life and of the big structures and large social processes. This paper argues that analyses of social scientists' everyday practices, and particularly of their autobiographical narratives, are one way to illuminate the large-scale social processes that are ongoing in the social sciences. The specific focus, ethnography on neopagans, leads to a discussion of four 'big' questions of the type Tilly advocated. The inextricable links between academic textual conventions, the use and abuse of narrative data, and 'access' to the 'realities' and 'knowledges' of believers in other worldly phenomena in other dimensions or times, are explored. There has been a rapid growth in neopaganism in all the industrialised Anglophone countries since the 1960s. Ethnographers, particularly women, have conducted fieldwork in such groups, exploring the cosmologies and practices of neopagans. An analysis of the published accounts of such fieldwork raises questions about ethnography, gender, and particularly how claims to authenticity are made in academic texts. The specific topic - who can speak about neopaganism? - has wider applications when other types of narrative are explored.
Sociological Research Online 14 (5) 2
Keywords: Part-Time Work, Political Groups, Social Capital, Trade Unions, Voluntary Associations
Abstract: This paper evaluates both the economic, or rational choice, and sociological theories to examine the effects of part-time working on employees' activity in voluntary associations. Using longitudinal data analysis of the British Household Panel Survey from 1993 to 2005, this study demonstrates that, in Britain, part-time work increases the likelihood of individual level involvement in expressive voluntary associations (i.e. associations orientated to relatively immediate benefits for their members) but it is negatively related to their involvement in instrumental-expressive (such as trade unions and professionals' associations) and instrumental (political, environmental, and voluntary service) associations. The main conclusion is that time is an important resource for activity in expressive voluntary associations; however, for activity in instrumental and instrumental-expressive associations other factors are more important.
Sociological Research Online 14 (5) 8
Keywords: Membership Categorization Analysis, Identity, Moral Discrepancy, Victim-Perpetrator, Subversion
Abstract: This paper seeks to build on previous work on the doing of politics as a members' practice. More specifically, it seeks to add to the growing work on perpetrator-victim identities by explicating how perpetrator identity is projected from individuals to the morally self-organized group 'the government', and so, in this way, subversion is achieved. Using membership categorization analysis (MCA) as a research methodology and data of naturally-occurring talk-in-interaction taken from recordings of the negotiations between the FBI and David Koresh during the Waco siege, this paper explicates how Koresh invokes perpetrator-victim identities to 'do' subversion. Findings indicate that this is achieved through his self-avowal of victim identity and consequent ascription of perpetrator identity to the FBI agents. Through this category work, Koresh is able to set up a moral discrepancy between the de jure rights and responsibilities of law enforcement officers and de facto actions of the FBI agents. This identity work is then transferred to the government which becomes an integral, rather than incidental, part of the interaction. In this way, Koresh does subversion and is able to turn the world upside down by proposing a revolutionary theocratic, rather than democratic, moral order.
Cecilia Benoit, Leah Shumka, Kate Vallance, Helga Hallgrimsdottir, Rachel Phillips, Karen Kobayashi, Olena Hankivsky, Colleen Reid and Elana Brief
Sociological Research Online 14 (5) 9
Keywords: Social Determinants, Sex, Gender, Intersectionality, Health Gap, Canada, Social Location, Life Course
Abstract: In the last few decades there has been a resurgence of interest in the social causes of health inequities among and between individuals and populations. This 'social determinants' perspective focuses on the myriad demographic and societal factors that shape health and well-being. Heeding calls for the mainstreaming of two very specific health determinants sex and gender we incorporate both into our analysis of the health gap experienced by girls and women in Canada. However, we take an intersectional approach in that we argue that a comprehensive picture of health inequities must, in addition to considering sex and gender, include a context sensitive analysis of all the major dimensions of social stratification. In the case of the current worldwide economic downturn, and the uniquely diverse Canadian population spread over a vast territory, this means thinking carefully about how socio-economic status, race, ethnicity, immigrant status, employment status and geography uniquely shape the health of all Canadians, but especially girls and women. We argue that while a social determinants of health perspective is important in its own right, it needs to be understood against the backdrop of broader structural processes that shape Canadian health policy and practice. By doing so we can observe how the social safety net of all Canadians has been eroding, especially for those occupying vulnerable social locations.
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.
Sociological Research Online 15 (1) 4
Keywords: Social Work, Risk, Power, Social Justice, Authority, Legitimacy Left_arrows
Abstract: Contemporary ideas and strategies of both 'risk' and 'power' are significant and dynamic influences in social theory and social action, and they can therefore be expected to have a substantial impact on the ways in which social work is constituted, practiced and evaluated. In this article, I shall articulate distinct conceptualisations and debates about each of these, before considering their inter-relationships and the implications of these for our thinking about what social work is, and what it should be. Firstly, I will consider social work's contested and problematic place within the broader welfare domain. It is recognised as being a form of activity which inhabits an ambiguous and uncertain position at the interface between the individual and the social, and between the marginalised and the mainstream. Building on this, 'power' will be shown to infuse social work ideas and practices in a number of distinct dimensions, linking and bridging 'personal', 'positional' and 'relational' domains. This discussion will be juxtaposed with a discussion of 'risk' and the part it has come to play in shaping and infusing social work practices, especially but not exclusively with children. The deconstruction of contemporary understandings and uses of risk as a central and 'authoritative' feature of assessment and decision-making will inform the argument that it can be viewed as a vehicle for the maintenance and legitimation of power relations which disenfranchise and oppress those who are most vulnerable. In conclusion, I will summarise the ways in which conventional understandings and inter-related material realities of power and risk are often hierarchical, uni-directional and oppressive; and on this basis, how they can be laid open to challenge. The reconceptualisation and remaking of power relations will be shown to have direct consequences for the ways in which risk is defined and addressed as a social work 'problem'.
Anette E. Fasang
Sociological Research Online 15 (2) 1
Keywords: Retirement, Aging, Life Course, Sequence Analysis, Germany, Britain, Gender
Abstract: Since the 1970s people have retired increasingly early across advanced societies. Parallel to this trend, numerous institutional early retirement pathways evolved, such as bridge unemployment and pre-retirement schemes. This article compares retirement in Britain and Germany to show how individuals progress through these institutional retirement pathways. The analysis uses longitudinal data and recent innovations in sequence analysis to capture the sequential nature of retirement as a series of transitions over time. As expected, prominent institutional retirement pathways are mirrored in individual retirement trajectories. Beyond these expected patterns, there are pronounced regularities in individual retirement trajectories outside of explicit institutional pathways. The 'institution of the family' is an additional powerful force in structuring women's retirement. Access to advantageous institutional retirement pathways is stratified by gender, education, income, and health. The article concludes that specific population groups, particularly women, are systematically excluded from protective institutional early retirement pathways in Britain and Germany.
Lisa Garforth and Anne Kerr
Sociological Research Online 15 (2) 11
Keywords: Women, Science, Laboratory, Epistemic Community, Organisation, Value, Work, Career, Housekeeping
Abstract: Over the past thirty years there has been a significant turn towards practice and away from institutions in sociological frameworks for understanding science. This new emphasis on studying 'science in action' (Latour 1987) and 'epistemic cultures' (Knorr Cetina 1999) has not been shared by academic and policy literatures on the problem of women and science, which have focused on the marginalisation and under-representation of women in science careers and academic institutions. In this paper we draw on elements of both these approaches to think about epistemic communities as simultaneously practical and organisational. We argue that an understanding of organisational structures is missing in science studies, and that studies of the under-representation of women lack attention to the detail of how scientific work is done in practice. Both are necessary to understand the gendering of science work. Our arguments are based on findings of a qualitative study of bioscience researchers in a British university. Conducted as part of a European project on knowledge production, institutions and gender the UK study involved interviews, focus groups and participant observation in two laboratories. Drawing on extracts from our data we look first at laboratories as relatively unhierarchical communities of practice. We go on to show the ways in which institutional forces, particularly contractual insecurity and the linear career, work to reproduce patterns of gendered inequality. Finally, we analyse how these patterns shape the gendered value and performance of 'housekeeping work' in the laboratory.
Sociological Research Online 15 (2) 13
Keywords: Epistemic Community, Epistemic Responsibility, Epistemic Cultures, Community of Practice, Gendering of Community, Synchrotron User Community
Abstract: This article explores what the concept of epistemic community can contribute to studies of science and technology and to existing analytical frames of epistemic cultures, technosocial network and community of practice. Reviewing conceptions of epistemic community in political science, organisational studies and feminist epistemologies I suggest that heuristic dimensions include a focus on historical contingencies and timings; on particular epistemic projects and technologies that work as boundary objects; and on epistemic responsibilities and stratifications. These dimensions are further explored in two research vignettes. The first vignette follows the mobilisation and expectations of the Czech synchrotron user community at a funding event as a focal point for examining epistemic responsibilities and the genderings of community. The second vignette follows a biographical narrative about being and becoming a member of an epistemic community and amplifies the importance of different configurations of community. I argue that the contours, distributions and textures of an epistemic community cannot be studied at a single analytical site such as the laboratory and conclude by outlining what can be gained by using a refined concept of epistemic communities and sketching some strategies for further research.
Sociological Research Online 15 (2) 2
Keywords: Ambivalence; Hong Kong Dream; Middle Class; Class Identity; Social Mobility
Abstract: In following the lead of Savage and his associates, who unpack the ambivalent nature of class identities, this paper draws on narratives of seventy-three middle-class respondents in post-war Hong Kong to illustrate that pacifying effects of social mobility could operate through a sense of ambivalence. Moving into a newly emerging middle class, my respondents applied such class label to themselves; recognising their relocation, the respondents attributed their successes to talents and efforts and thus embraced an achievement ideology – the Hong Kong dream – and viewed themselves as deserving members of the middle class. At the same time, they were ambivalent about the ideology, manifested in their sympathy with their parents' structural failures and anxiety about their children's future. Yet, their ambivalence did not mean to challenge the ideology but served to confirm that my respondents deserved a middle-class position and to show that they were sympathetic individuals and good parents.
Sociological Research Online 15 (2) 5
Keywords: Sleep, Gender, Sexuality, Same-Sex Couples, Intimacy, Caring
Abstract: Sexuality as well as gender can be added to the range of socio-structural factors that influence the social patterning of sleep. This paper draws on in-depth interviews with 20 women and men aged between 45 – 65 years in same-sex couple relationships to examine how they negotiate their sleeping arrangements. The paper contends that gender differences are evident in how these negotiations are played out in the bedroom with women and men in same-sex relationships mirroring some of the patterns demonstrated in the research about women and men in opposite-sex couple relationships. However there are also differences, both between the same-sex women and men, and also when compared with the research concerned with the sleep negotiations between opposite-sex couples. These differences relate to the strategies used in managing a same-sex coupled identity with sharing a bed part of this management.
Sociological Research Online 15 (2) 6
Keywords: Cyberspace, Empowerment, Gender, Relationships, Seafaring, Support Groups, Values
Abstract: Past research in sociology and social psychology has revealed two aspects of online support. This mutual support among members of online support groups brings about empowerment as well as produces common values. The interaction between the two, however, has not been explicitly explored. This paper fills in this gap by examining the activities of a group of seafarer-partners in an online support group. It shows that common beliefs and values in groups can make online support, which is supposed to be empowering, serve disempowering purposes. This suggests that online support can produce a tension between empowerment and disempowerment. The finding leads to the conclusion that group values condition the empowerment potential of online support.
Sociological Research Online 15 (3) 10
Keywords: Work-Family Interface, Dual-Earner Parents, Symbolic Meaning, Work Constraints and Resources
Abstract: This article explores the work and family life of dual-earner parents, how they manage these commitments and how they respond to competing demands on their daily life. The analysis of qualitative data suggests that parents manage the work-family boundaries according to the specific meaning that they attach to these spheres of daily life, but it also points out at employment structures, which inform parents' 'focus' on work and family and equally shape these boundaries. Hence, this article assesses the relevance of these boundaries and how families mediate work and home. This mediating position is analysed through an approach whereby social and economic constraints become parameters informing parents' sense of self and the meanings used in the work and home articulation. Then, the symbolic side of the work-family interface becomes crucial to understand issues concerning the meaningful order of daily life and the emotional attachments of families to these domains. On this point, I argue that mechanistic approaches to the work-family articulation that take in consideration solely chronometric parameters cannot explore these issues as deeply. This article then advocates a qualitative approach to the work-family interface in order to understand better its cultural co-ordinates and contexts.
Frank Bechhofer and David McCrone
Sociological Research Online 15 (3) 3
Keywords: National Identity Choice; Devolution; Moreno; England; Scotland; United Kingdom
Abstract: This paper examines national identity in England and Scotland, arguing that it is necessary to understand how people construe it instead of simply assuming that it is constructed from above by the state. It adds to qualitative data on this issue by discussing recent survey data, from the British and Scottish Social Attitudes surveys 2006, in which for the first time people are asked about their reasons for making a specific choice of national identity. In so doing it fleshes out the responses given to a well known survey question (the so-called 'Moreno' question) providing a greater understanding of what a large sample of people are saying when they make these territorial identity choices. The English and the Scots handle 'national' and 'state' identities differently, but the paper shows there is considerable similarity as regards reasons for choosing national identity. Both English and Scottish 'nationals', those placing greater weight on their 'national' as opposed to their 'state' identities, choose to do so mainly for cultural and institutional reasons. They are not making a 'political' statement about the break-up of Britain. At the British end of the scale, there are patterns in the English data which throw into doubt easy assertions about 'being British'. Simply assuming, as some politicians and commentators do, that 'British' has singular meanings is unfounded. The future of the United Kingdom as presently constituted may lie in the hands of those who describe themselves as equally national (English or Scottish) and British. Devolution influences which national identity people choose in all three sets of national identity categories but these effects are sociologically most interesting in this group. Devolution seems to have encouraged them to stress the equality of the two nations in the British state, recognising that they are equal partners, that one can be equally proud of a national and a British identity, and that it is not necessary to choose one over the other.
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.
Sociological Research Online 15 (3) 7
Keywords: Work, Repair, Cars, Phenomenology, Material Interaction
Abstract: As the pressure on limited natural resources and energy increases so the trend of the consumer society of the twentieth century towards discarding things that stop working and replacing them will shift towards recycling and repairing things. This paper contrasts the work of production with the work of repair and argues that the later is an artisanal process in tune with the species being of humans identified by Marx. Amongst the distinctive characteristics of the work of repair are the use of a complex repertoire of gestures, a variable emotional tone and the gathering of sensual knowledge. These distinctively human characteristics are not amenable to systematisation or replication in a machine process. The argument is illustrated with reference to more than sixty years of research on mechanised production in the car industry and a recent study of the work of repairing cars in local garages. Video data – here summarised with still images – is used to show the complex process of the work of repair that is explored in the light of theoretical perspectives from Leroi-Gourhan, Hendrick, and Merleau-Ponty.
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'.
Colin C. Williams, Sara Nadin, Peter Rodgers, John Round and Jan Windebank
Sociological Research Online 16 (1) 13
Keywords: Informal Sector; Labour Practices; Livelihoods; Household Work Practices; Economic Sociology; Uneven Development; Eastern Europe; Russia; Moscow
Abstract: The starting point of this paper is recognition that the depiction of a formal/informal labour dualism, which views formal and informal labour as separate and hostile realms, is inappropriate for capturing the range of labour practices in societies. This is because labour practices cannot be neatly separated into discrete formal and informal realms, the differences within the formal and informal spheres are as great as the differences between the two realms, and formal and informal labour are not always embedded in different economic relations, values and motives. Here, an alternative more nuanced conceptual lens is proposed that resolves these problems and in so doing captures the multifarious labour practices in societies, namely the total social organization of labour (TSOL) perspective. This depicts labour practices as existing along a spectrum from more formal-oriented to more informal-oriented practices and cross-cuts this with a further spectrum from non-monetized, through in-kind and reciprocal labour, to monetized labour. Applying this conceptual lens, the results of a survey of the anatomy of labour practices in an affluent, mixed and deprived district of Moscow, comprising 313 face-to-face interviews, are then analysed. This reveals that socio-spatial variations in the organisation of labour are not solely about the degree of formalization of working life. Instead, this study unravels that populations range from relatively affluent 'work busy' populations undertaking, and voluntarily selecting from, a multiplicity of labour practices, to relatively disadvantaged 'work deprived' populations engaged in a narrower range of practices and more commonly out of necessity and in the absence of alternatives. The outcome is call for both the wider application and refinement of this TSOL approach when mapping the social organisation of labour and evaluations of whether the findings from Moscow are more widely valid in other societal contexts.
Sociological Research Online 16 (2) 12
Keywords: Gentrification, Race, Ethnicity, Class, Gender, Age, Intersectionality
Abstract: Brixton is one of the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods of London. Its name has been strongly associated with meanings related to race, difference and postcolonial resistance. This paper sheds light on aspects of local gentrification and multicultural constructions of the social world, as told by people who moved into the area through the years. According to our analysis, Brixton's gentrification revolves around the joys of diversity. More interestingly, phenomena of intercultural disassociation that allegedly characterize the gentrified world of Brixton are mostly narrated in economic/social terms (class, income, education, lifestyle etc.) or alternatively in a synthetic way that brings together class along with race, ethnicity, gender and age. As a result of this, a kind of a question arises: What is the relationship between gentrification and different differences and how should it be analyzed, in spaces of diversity, in order to do justice to all categories involved?
Maria Pérez-y-Pérez and Tony Stanley
Sociological Research Online 16 (2) 13
Keywords: Ethnography; Informed Consent; Ethics Committees; Reflexivity; Sex Work; Risk and HIV
Abstract: Ethnographic researchers entering sensitive fields of research become entangled in ethical dilemmas when they encounter 'sticky' questions, situations and issues. In undertaking research within two distinct sex worlds: female sex work and male sexual negotiation/risk and HIV, we struggled to manage the contingent links between our relationships with the people who inhabit these worlds, the ethical requirements of our institutional ethics committees, and our hybrid selves. In the context of 'doing' intimate ethnography, we were required to craft ourselves into the field and establish a number of intimate and prolonged relationships. While the participants in our studies were active in giving their consent, this did not obviate the risk that they would become objectified within the field relationship and the texts the research generated. These issues are central to our discussion as we consider the lack of fit between ethical guidelines and the practical reality of fieldwork.
Sociological Research Online 16 (2) 8
Keywords: Food, Diet, Nutrition, Discourse, Nostalgia, Tradition, Cultural Identity, Obesity
Abstract: Low-carbohydrate diets, notably the Atkins Diet, were particularly popular in Britain and North America in the late 1990s and early 2000s. This paper approaches the low-carbohydrate trend as one response to the twin obesity and diabetes epidemics, drawing firstly on a discourse analysis of bestselling low-carbohydrate diet books, especially The South Beach Diet (Agatston 2003). I explore and critique nostalgia in the low-carbohydrate movement as a response to a perceived contemporary health crisis caused by modern Western food habits and lifestyle. The low-carbohydrate literature demonstrates a powerful discursive combination of nostalgia for pre-industrial Western foodways, and valorisation of 'authentic ethnic' (non-Western) culinary traditions. Together, these tropes construct a generalised notion of traditional diet which contrasts positively with a putative 'modern Western diet'. The binary opposition set up between modern Western food habits and a traditional ideal leads to generalisations and factual inaccuracies, as any diet or cuisine that is not modern, and/or not Western, must be adjusted discursively to fit the low-carbohydrate model. Further, in an interview study with low-carbohydrate dieters, dieters' descriptions of their experiences did not match the nostalgic rhetoric of popular low-carbohydrate manuals. Instead, I found that the requirement to eliminate staple carbohydrate foods severs dieters both practically and symbolically from culinary tradition, whether their own or that of an ethnic Other. I conclude that there is a disjuncture between the romantic 'nutritional nostalgia' (Beardsworth 2002) of the diet books, and dieters' own food practices.
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.
Yaojun Li and Fiona Devine
Sociological Research Online 16 (3) 4
Keywords: Social Class, Absolute and Relative Mobility, Gender Difference, Social Fluidity
Abstract: This paper contributes to the ongoing debate on social mobility in contemporary Britain among economists and sociologists. Using the 1991 British Household Panel Survey and the 2005 General Household Survey, we focus on the mobility trajectories of male and female respondents aged 25-59. In terms of absolute mobility, we find somewhat unfavourable trends in upward mobility for men although long-term mobility from the working class into salariat positions is still in evidence. An increase in downward mobility is clearly evident. In relation to women, we find favourable trends in upward mobility and unchanging downward mobility over the fourteen-year time period. With regard to relative mobility, we find signs of greater fluidity in the overall pattern and declining advantages of the higher salariat origin for both men and women. We consider these findings in relation to the public debate on social mobility and the academic response and we note the different preoccupations of participants in the debate. We conclude by suggesting that the interdisciplinary debate between economists and sociologists has been fruitful although a recognition of similarities, and not simply differences in position, pushes knowledge and understanding forward.
Sociological Research Online 16 (4) 5
Keywords: British Asians; Community; Cricket; Identity; Racism; Symbolic Boundaries
Abstract: People in sport tend to possess rather jaded perceptions of its colour-blindness and thus, they are reluctant to confront the fact that, quite often racism is endemic. Yorkshire cricket in particular, has faced frequent accusations from minority ethnic communities of inveterate and institutionalised racism and territorial defensiveness. Drawing upon semi-structured interviews conducted with amateur white and British Asian cricketers, this paper examines the construction of regional identities in Yorkshire at a time when traditional myths and invented traditions of Yorkshire and 'Yorkshireness' are being deconstructed. This is conceptualised through a reading of John Clarke's 'magical recovery of community'. Although cricket has been multiracial for decades, I argue that some people's position as insiders is more straightforward than others. I present evidence to suggest that, regardless of being committed to Yorkshire and their 'Yorkshireness', white Yorkshire people may never fully accept British Asians as 'one of us'. Ideologically and practically, white Yorkshire people are engaged in constructing British Asians as anathema to Yorkshire culture. The paper concludes by advocating that, for sports cultures to be truly egalitarian, the ideology of sport itself has to change. True equality will only ever be achieved within a de-racialised discourse that not only accepts difference, but embraces it.
Yvette Taylor and Michelle Addison
Sociological Research Online 16 (4) 6
Keywords: Public Sociology, Use, Impact, City Publics, Class, Gender
Abstract: This article raises questions about who becomes the proper subject for (non)academic attention in a time when 'city publics' might be positioned as democratising and open or, conversely, as curtailed and shaped through specific and pre-determined economies of value and use. The use of the city and its residents are echoed in regeneration politics and objectives, attached to and brought forward by specific 'regenerative' subjects, now deemed 'resilient' and capacitated. Such rhetorics of inclusion and measurable impact are echoed within ideas of a 'public sociology', which the engaged researcher should practice as she re-engages differently located spaces and subjects. Here, questions are raised about the place of a 'public sociology' as part of a 'city publics', where understanding local disseminations and disparities is important in considering where different users, interviewees and indeed researchers are coming from. Having situated the fieldwork site, we initially focus on the expert advisory group and their constructions of the project's 'use-value'. We then consider the background 'shadows' in and out of 'expert' space, as a trailing presence of research intentions and trajectories. Ideas of public sociology – as with an open 'city publics' often assumes that all users are interested, willing to hear and appear as equal members of a 'community'. In contrast, the experience of engaging a user group may involve dis-engaging the research-researcher-researched and here we provide disruptions to a straightforward 'travelling through' research space as we walk through our research methodologies. This article presents professional and personal reflections on research experience as well as interpretative accounts of navigating fieldwork and city space.
Robert Ford, James Tilley and Anthony Heath
Sociological Research Online 16 (4) 8
Keywords: National Identity, Comparative, Survey, Generational Change
Abstract: We investigate the reasons why some people, and some countries, place greater or lesser emphasis on the idea that membership of a nation is tied to ancestry. We test the influence of two key factors - economic development and ethnic division. Economic development is strongly associated with support for the ancestry criterion of national membership. Those who are more economically secure, who grew up in wealthier nations, or live in a wealthier nation currently, are less likely to emphasise ancestry as an important factor in national identity. Those who have grown up since mass immigration to a country begun are also less likely to emphasise ancestry. However, we find no evidence that historical conditions are correlated with current national identity beliefs.
Mary Leaker and Priscilla Dunk-West
Sociological Research Online 16 (4) 9
Keywords: Sex Work, Prostitution, Risk, Gender, Gendered Violence, Socio-Cultural Risk Theory, Disembedding Risk
Abstract: Risk narratives are of increasing importance in contemporary social life in that they help in understanding and anticipating the shifts that characterise our late modern landscape. Our qualitative research explores risk as it relates to violence toward street-based sex workers in a suburban Australian setting. Female street-based sex workers represent a highly stigmatised and marginalised group. International studies report that they experience high levels of sexual violence perpetrated by male clients and our empirical work with street-based sex workers in Adelaide, South Australia concurs with this finding. Despite many creative and specialized skills workers reported drawing upon to minimise the risk of violence to themselves, we argue that a socio-cultural lens is vital to viewing risk in this context. We argue that in order to effect change, risk must be disembedded from increasingly individualized discourses, since it is through the personalisation of risk that violence becomes legitimised as an occupational hazard in street-based sex work.
Naydene de Lange and Claudia Mitchell
Sociological Research Online 17 (1) 7
Keywords: Community Health Workers; Community-Based Digital Archive; Participatory Archiving; Participatory Cultures; Stigma; HIV and AIDS
Abstract: Addressing the issue of HIV-stigma is recognised as essential to reducing the spread of HIV and AIDS, enabling community members to access prevention, treatment and care. Often the very people who are able to contribute to solving the problem, are marginalised and do not see ways to insert themselves into dialogues related to combating stigma. Community health workers in rural South Africa are one such group. At the heart of the research discussed in this article is an intervention based on participatory analysis through participatory archiving (Shilton and Srinivasan 2008). Drawing on participatory work with thirteen community health workers in rural KwaZulu-Natal, we use a digital archive containing HIV-stigma visual data - generated five years earlier by youth in the community - to engage the participants in the analysis. Drawing on such participatory work as Jenkins' participatory cultures framework, we focus on the idea of re-using, re-coding, and re-mixing visual data. One participant stated that "these pictures talk about the real issues faced by our communities", highlighting the value of resources generated by community members themselves. They also indicate that they "could use [the resources] to teach the cons of stigmatizing". A key concern in work related to visual images (particularly in projects such as ours where a large amount of visual data is produced) is to consider ways of extending its life through the use of community-based digital archives.
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 (2) 20
Keywords: Labour Geography; Visual Sociology; Sociology of Work; Representation of Work, Place and Space
Abstract: This paper explores the notion of the visual landscape of work. Coming from a sociological perspective it attempts to view work, its meanings and the identities that surround it, through the lens of landscape. It takes on recent challenges to work sociology made by economic/labour geographers who argue that sociological understanding of employment are insufficiently spatial - space if used as a concept at all is reduced to the notion of a boundary containing economic processes rather than something that is constructed and in turn constructs work. Using material from ongoing research into the former Guinness Brewery at Park Royal in West London, and in particular a range of archival and contemporary visual sources, this paper illustrates the ways in which spatial ideas underpin complex sociological notions of work practice and culture. It will examine the way space is implicated in the location, construction, labour, and closing of this once famous brewery and how visual material helps to unlock theoretical and methodological understandings of work and industry.
Sociological Research Online 17 (2) 22
Keywords: Identity, Space, Objects, Visual, Identityscape, Time, Photography, Photomontage, Hairdressers
Abstract: This article considers how one group of workers, hairdressers, use aspects of their material landscape of work as important resources in the production and re-production of their work identities. It shows how the participants of the study use the spaces, objects and things in their workplaces to form a visual narrative of who they are. The article also considers the significance of visual methods in such identity research. It argues for encouraging participants using participant-led photography to choose how to view and arrange their photographs. Participants' preference for paper analogue prints rather than on-screen digital images allowed them to work with multiple images simultaneously, rather than consecutively, and enabled them to create richer accounts of career development by incorporating time and movement in their stories. The participants' construction of these 'identityscapes', it is argued, can be usefully understood in relation to the concept of 'photomontages' developed by the British artist David Hockney.
Dawn Lyon and Les Back
Sociological Research Online 17 (2) 23
Keywords: Craft, Embodiment, Ethnography, Fishmonger, Photography, Sensory Sociology, Skill, Tacit Knowledge, Work
Abstract: This article is based on multi-sensory ethnographic research into fishmongers on a south London market, the setting for a specific topography of work. We contrast Charlie, a white Londoner whose family has been in the fish business for over 100 years, with Khalid, an immigrant from Kashmir, who, even without the tacit knowledge of generations at his fingertips, has successfully found a place for himself in the local and global economy of fish. The research pays attention to the everyday forms of work that take place when the fishmongers sell to the public. We use these two very different cases to explore what constitutes work and labour and the different sensibilities that these two men bring to their trade. Drawing on observations, photography and sound recordings, the paper also represents the fishmongers at work. We take the two cases in turn to discuss learning the trade and the craft of fishmongering, the social relations of the market, and the art of buying and selling fish. More generally, the article explores how global connections are threaded through the local economy within a landscape of increasing cultural and racial diversity. It also critically discusses the gain of the visual as well as the aural for generating insights into and representing the sensuous quality of labour as an embodied practice.
Sociological Research Online 17 (2) 24
Keywords: Home-Based Work, Space, Design, Visual Methods, Life-Worlds, Architecture, Class, Lifestyle, Occupational Identity, Gender, Dwelling, Workplace, Family, Public, Private, Home, Workhome, Typology
Abstract: This article draws on recent research into the architecture of home‐based work, the working practices of the home-based workforce and the range and types of buildings they inhabit. The initial project was conducted in 2005-07. It involved 76 informants, from urban, suburban and rural contexts in England: a London Borough, a London suburb and a West Sussex village. Follow-on research was conducted in London in 2009-11. Originating in architecture, the research employed a number of visual methods, including photography, orthogonal drawing and diagram-making. While these visual methods are commonplace in architecture, they are normally used to portray idealized buildings and interiors. People and their everyday lives are usually absent. In contrast, as is more typical of sociology, a primary concern of this research was to understand the ordinary daily lives of people who either lived at their workplace or worked in their homes. The research sought a better understanding of the historical and contemporary significance of the spaces and buildings that would be of use to this workforce, one which could give a voice to contemporary home-based workers across the social spectrum and in a wide variety of occupations. Representing their life-worlds visually has been central to this aim.
Sociological Research Online 17 (2) 26
Keywords: Body Work Economy, Ageing, Health Care, Social Care, Privatisation, Tattooing, South Florida, South Beach
Abstract: This article seeks to demonstrate the value of producing still photographs as a way of comprehending the growth of the 'body work economy'. It documents the body work landscape of contemporary capitalism through exploring the ubiquity, appearance and scale of body work enterprises and employment in two localities of south Florida. It focuses on health, social care and other services for the ageing population of retirees in southeast Florida, as well as on tattooing and other body work services for younger, fashionable residents of and visitors to South Beach, Miami. The article sees the photographs of body work enterprises it deploys as a kind of ethnographic evidence, similar in status to quotations from a fieldwork diary or interviews, and suggests that they may help to pinpoint issues of that require further analytical exploration, in this case the role of body work as a component of economic development and patterns of employment. The article goes on to explore of the reasons for the growth of the body work economy in south Florida.
Sarah Irwin and Mandy Winterton
Sociological Research Online 17 (2) 4
Keywords: Qualitative Research Methods, Secondary Analysis, Re-Use, Gender, Time Pressure
Abstract: The current paper takes as a focus some issues relating to the possibility for, and effective conduct of, qualitative secondary data analysis. We consider some challenges for the re-use of qualitative research data, relating to researcher distance from the production of primary data, and related constraints on knowledge of the proximate contexts of data production. With others we argue that distance and partial knowledge of proximate contexts may constrain secondary analysis but that its success is contingent on its objectives. So long as data analysis is fit for purpose then secondary analysis is no poor relation to primary analysis. We argue that a set of middle range issues has been relatively neglected in debates about secondary analysis, and that there is much that can be gained from more critical reflection on how salient contexts are conceptualised, and how they are accessed, and assumed, within methodologies and extant data sets. We also argue for more critical reflection on how effective knowledge claims are built. We develop these arguments through a consideration of ESRC Timescapes qualitative data sets with reference to an illustrative analysis of gender, time pressure and work/family commitments. We work across disparate data sets and consider strategies for translating evidence, and engendering meaningful analytic conversation, between them.
Murray Stewart Leith and Duncan Sim
Sociological Research Online 17 (3) 11
Keywords: Scottish, Diaspora, National Identity, England, Symbolic Ethnicity
Abstract: Scotland has often had an almost absent relationship with its diaspora, with expatriate Scots often viewed from the 'homeland' as being 'more Scottish than the Scots'. Expatriate Scottish identities are not only strong, but may be rooted in an overly romantic view of Scotland. Most research into the Scottish diaspora, however, has focused on North America and Australasia, although a diaspora exists much nearer home, elsewhere in the UK. Limited previous work suggests that the Scottish diaspora in England does not adopt the overly romantic view of Scotland characteristic of North American Scots and indeed, there is evidence that feelings of Scottish identity begin to fade within a generation of emigration to England. There is also evidence that Scottish organisations within England are declining. This paper therefore explores the continuing sense of a Scottish identity within the Scottish diaspora in England, through a series of interviews exploring the identities of second-generation 'Scots' - the offspring of Scottish migrants. The findings suggest that Scottish identity does indeed appear to weaken quite quickly in contrast to the overseas experience, perhaps because proximity to Scotland means that the preservation of an expatriate identity is considered to be relatively unimportant.
Sociological Research Online 17 (3) 12
Keywords: Higher Education; Class; Gender; Career Decision-Making
Abstract: This paper reports upon the results of a small-scale qualitative investigation looking at the perceptions of students and lecturers regarding students' motivations to become teachers. The samples for the study were a group of final-year undergraduates on a non-QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) degree in Education Studies at a post-1992 university in the South-East Wales area and their lecturing staff, plus careers advisor. The aim of the study was to compare the perceptions of the two research samples with regard to students' motivations for wanting to become teachers. A particular focus of the study was to consider the relationship between students' social class and the extent to which (if at all) they cited extrinsic factors such as job security or pay as sources of motivation to enter teaching. The research revealed some degree of disjunction between the accounts given by the students and the members of staff. Focus group interviews with student samples indicated that although they initially highlighted intrinsic motivations for wanting to be teachers, when questioned about extrinsic factors, job security emerged as an important source of motivation. In contrast, individual interviews with staff members revealed more mixed responses, with a tendency to cite holidays as an important motivating factor in the students' aim to become teachers. The comments of some staff members also revealed an unwitting tendency to position students within a cultural deficit discourse based upon perceptions of students' limited career decision-making. It is concluded that it will be increasingly necessary for higher education teaching staff to have some awareness of the social context within which their students undertake career decision-making in view of a policy context in which universities are to become increasingly accountable for the employment outcomes of their graduates.
Sociological Research Online 17 (3) 13
Keywords: Family - Italy - Marital Dissolution - Divorce - Female Employment - Working Wives
Abstract: Previous research has shown that the association between female employment and risk of marital disruption is still far from clear-cut, partly because certain theoretical and empirical evidence indicates that it may vary according to different conditions. The purpose of this study is to reassess the association between female employment and marital stability in Italy, by viewing it as contingent on historical period, institutional and cultural context and wives' gender ideology. The relative risk of marital disruption is estimated using discrete time event-history models. The empirical findings clearly show that wives' employment in this country seems to be disruptive for marriages, and its effect remains constant across the different conditions tested in the analysis.
Chris Allen and Surinder Guru
Sociological Research Online 17 (3) 17
Keywords: National Muslim Women's Advisory Group; Muslim Communities; Political Engagement; Consultation; Extremism; Gender
Abstract: Established in 2008 and launched by the then Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, the National Muslim Women's Advisory Group (NMWAG) brought together 19 British Muslim women to advise Government on ways to empower Muslim women and increase their participation in civic, economic and social life. This article critically considers the NMWAG as a vehicle for improving how government sought to engage Muslim women within the context of a political and policy agenda that sought to prevent violent extremism. The article begins with a consideration of the ways in which women's groups - including those which might represent more than one constituency, BME women for instance - have traditionally emerged and mobilised as a means of advocating and lobbying on behalf of those they represent. From here, the article considers how government has engaged with faith communities, paying particular attention to governmental dialogue with Muslims, the reasons for this, and where - if at all - Muslim women have featured. From here, the article approaches the way in which the establishment of the NMWAG is anomalous in comparison to historical processes, putting forward some observations and theories to explain why this might have been so whilst also considering the impacts - both potential and actual - within the context of the post-9/11 era. In conclusion, this article considers the impact of the NMWAG as a means of improving learning about the role and process of governmental engagement.
Maria Zubair, Wendy Martin and Christina Victor
Sociological Research Online 17 (3) 21
Keywords: Age; Ethnicity; Gender; Power; Body; Dress; Fieldwork; Identity; Researcher; Reflexivity
Abstract: In recent years, there has been an increasing interest in researching people growing older in the South Asian ethnic minority communities in the UK. However, these populations have received comparatively little attention in wide-ranging discussions on culturally and socially appropriate research methodologies. In this paper, we draw on the experiences of a young female Pakistani Muslim researcher researching older Pakistani Muslim women and men, to explore the significance of gender, age and ethnicity to fieldwork processes and 'field' relationships. In particular, we highlight the significance of dress and specific presentations of the embodied self within the research process. We do so by focusing upon three key issues: (1) Insider/Outsider boundaries and how these boundaries are continuously and actively negotiated in the field through the use of dress and specific presentations of the embodied 'self'; (2) The links between gender, age and space - more specifically, how the researcher's use of traditional Pakistani dress, and her differing research relationships, are influenced by the older Pakistani Muslim participants' gendered use of public and private space; and (3) The opportunities and vulnerabilities experienced by the researcher in the field, reinforced by her use (or otherwise) of the traditional and feminine Pakistani Muslim dress. Our research therefore highlights the role of different presentations of the embodied 'self' to fieldwork processes and relationships, and illustrates how age, gender and status intersect to produce fluctuating insider/outsider boundaries as well as different opportunities and experiences of power and vulnerability within research relationships.
Sociological Research Online 17 (3) 3
Keywords: Secondary Education, Identity, Antiracism, Multiculturalism, Whiteness, Citizenship
Abstract: This paper is drawn from ethnographic participant-observation data and interview materials collected between September 2004 and July 2005 in 'Kingsland', an inner-city, multiethnic comprehensive secondary school in the South West of England. It explores the complex and often contradictory ways in which young people negotiate and reflect on notions of identity and difference in relation to social and pedagogical vocabularies of belonging, friendship and fairness which operate within their school. The paper pays particular attention to experiences and perspectives outlined by Kingsland's 'white British' or 'ethnic majority' students in order to highlight and critically examine some of the tensions within, and limitations to, both national policy frameworks for citizenship education and local, institutional discourses which powerfully construct the school as a strongly antiracist multicultural community.
Sue Maguire, Thomas Spielhofer and Sarah Golden
Sociological Research Online 17 (3) 7
Keywords: Young People, Employment, Training, Jobs Without Training, School-To-Work Transitions
Abstract: In recent years, mass participation in post-16 education and training in England has led to a diminishing understanding about young people who leave education at the end of compulsory schooling to enter 'jobs without training' (JWT). Drawing on data from three recent studies, this article argues that the JWT group is not homogeneous in its composition. Similar findings led to the development of a common typology across all three studies to define young people's position in the labour market, their motivations and aspirations, and their access to training and development. It concludes with a series of recommendations for addressing the deficit in knowledge about the composition of the JWT group, and the learning and training needs of young workers. This discussion is set in the context of the implementation of the Raising of the Participation Age (RPA) in England for all 17-year olds from 2013 and for all 18-year olds from 2015, although within the Coalition Government's current proposals, its delivery will lack any form of immediate enforcement. Therefore, unless young workers and their employers are committed to the acquisition of accredited qualifications, RPA delivery will be seriously undermined and intervention to support school to work transitions among the JWT group will remain negligible.
Sociological Research Online 17 (4) 2
Keywords: Hairstyling, Hairdressing, Customer Service, Emotion Work, Expert Status, Identity, Service Work
Abstract: This paper contributes to a growing body of scholarship concerned with hairstyling as an occupation and, more broadly, to sociological discussions concerning contemporary forms of service work. As an occupation hairstyling is largely under-researched, with the majority of existing studies restricting their focus to small low-profile salons situated in the 'backstreets' of rural areas or small towns. Hairstyling in larger high-profile salon environments, such as those in city centres, has only recently begun to be examined and critical discussion of existing knowledge in light of these environments has yet to be fully developed. The aim of this paper is to stimulate discussion by exploring, in the context of high profile salon environments in the UK, how the work practices and service interactions of hair stylists impact upon their status and identities in relation to clients. Research undertaken in low profile salon settings has found that the service-oriented and commercial features of the work position stylists as subservient to clients and undermines their 'expert' status. Drawing on empirical qualitative research this paper explores how, in contemporary high-profile salon environments, stylist-client dynamics are differently configured. It highlights how service orientated norms and practices underpinning the work of stylists are informed by discourses of customer service 'excellence' which promote employee proactivity and discourage customer deference. Discussion of the data shows how within these settings stylists are empowered to be directive in their service interactions with clients and engage in range of work practices which facilitate, rather than undermine, the establishment of their expert status. The relevance of the research findings to understandings of status and identity construction in similar service work jobs is also highlighted in the paper.
Sociological Research Online 17 (4) 4
Keywords: Football Hooliganism, Gender, Hyper-Masculinity, Deviant/criminal Subcultures, Female Academic, Reflexivity, Presentation of Self, Performativity
Abstract: This article reflects upon being a female academic researcher in the hyper-masculine subculture of 'football hooliganism'. With this subculture being a male-dominated field of study, the article argues that gender blindness has prevailed in most studies conducted by male researchers, with a failure to consider the positioning, practices and performances of the gendered self in the gendered field. Nor has this been a consideration of the rare female researcher working on the phenomenon. This article breaks this gendered silence by drawing on my own fieldwork experiences with ('retired') football hooligans to identify the methodological challenges specifically (re)negotiated as a female academic throughout the gendered research process and offers some strategies and field tips to future researchers faced with gendered incongruence with their informers. The key concerns for me were: first, gaining access to a hyper-masculine subculture; second, entering and developing rapport within the subculture; and third, 'doing gendered research' in the hyper-masculine field. Central to negotiating these challenges was a very conscious and performative presentation of self, often for self-preservation, during the research process. In practice, this sometimes required demonstrating that I had the (metaphorical) 'balls' in terms of my (gendered) image management. The article argues for consideration of the performativity of social research with a need for wider disclosure of the complexities and 'messiness' of qualitative research practices and the emotional labour required.
Sociological Research Online 17 (4) 5
Keywords: Intimacy; Gender Relations; India; South Asians; Second Generation; Equality; Love
Abstract: This paper explores young heterosexual Indian Gujaratis' ideals and experiences of intimate relationships in the UK and India, focusing particularly on gender relations. Men and women in both contexts had similar aspirations of intimacy, but women were likely to be more in favour of egalitarian values. What this meant was interpreted differently in India and the UK. In neither setting, however, was gender equality fully realised in the lives of the participants due to both structural and normative constraints. Despite this gap between ideals and experiences, participants portrayed their relationships as broadly equal and conjugal. It appears that the heavy emphasis on love and intimacy is making it difficult for women to negotiate a more egalitarian relationship with their partner, since any 'flaw' in the relationship potentially brings into question its loving foundations. In this way, women tend to ignore or justify the gendered roles and inequalities apparent in their relationships and paint a picture of blissful marital equality despite evidence to the contrary.
Sociological Research Online 17 (4) 8
Keywords: Full Employment, Work, Sustainability, Active Labour Market Policies, Neoliberalism
Abstract: This article is an attempt to re-conceptualise Full Employment. The UK context is the main geographical focus. A normative route to the rehabilitation of Full Employment is offered - recast here as 'Green Full Employment' - utilising a variety of Green perspectives from sociology, politics and economics. This contribution to the debate about Full Employment is 'normative', because without ethical values we may lack a moral compass to motivate policies. Green Full Employment is presented here not simply as a potential 'active labour market' policy, but as a contributory facet of the on-going 'Green Industrial Revolution.' Inevitably, this reconceptualization raises questions about the value of many forms of contemporary work and what purpose they serve. The potential resistance of neoliberal forces to Green Full Employment is noted, before future lines of research are suggested.
Sociological Research Online 18 (1) 13
Keywords: Intersectionality, Performativity, Ontological Complicity, 'race' and Gender, British Asians and Women's Football
Abstract: Debates regarding intersectionality have been widely held in the U.K. and elsewhere for over a decade. However, the value of intersectionality has been questioned as researchers struggle to analyse intersectionality-in-practice. That is, how and why social identities connect in the ways that they do in the everyday lives of women and men. In this paper I argue that the concepts of 'performativity' and 'ontological complicity' offer a useful way of exploring the articulation of identities. I specifically draw on empirical research about the experiences of British Asian female footballers, to signal how their particular identities articulate in and through the spaces of women's football. I argue that by playing-up some identity dispositions and concomitantly playing-down others, British Asian females are able to negotiate inclusion within the spaces of the women's game. However, this does not mean that they automatically become valued insiders. At other times, and in other spaces, their marginalisation from and within the game is clear. I suggest that considering the intersectional plays of identity captures the complex and nuanced operation of discrimination, which is often rendered invisible in women's football.
Sociological Research Online 18 (1) 15
Keywords: Divorce, Fathering, Care, Feminist Ethics, Gender, Intimacy, Theorising Family Life
Abstract: This article adds to theoretical debate among British sociologists of families and relationships by considering the analytical potential and positioning of intimacy and care as concepts. Drawing on qualitative data from a study of fathering after separation or divorce, it explores the conceptual value of care as a means to advance understanding of fathering relationships. Raising the question of labour and the question of power, the discussion demonstrates the distinctiveness of care as an analytical tool, alongside, but not equivalent to, intimacy. I argue that intimacy and care are not interchangeable concepts and that care should not be limited as a purely descriptive term. The article presents care as a valuable concept which sheds particular light on the interplay between practical, ethical and emotional dimensions of family relationships, arguing that it has a deeply embedded ethical dimension which lies at the heart of its analytical potential.
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.
Jenny Hockey, Rachel Dilley, Victoria Robinson and Alexandra Sherlock
Sociological Research Online 18 (1) 20
Keywords: Footwear, Shoes, Identity, Memory, Embodiment
Abstract: This article raises questions about the role of footwear within contemporary processes of identity formation and presents ongoing research into perceptions, experiences and memories of shoes among men and women in the North of England. In a series of linked theoretical discussions it argues that a focus on women, fashion and shoe consumption as a feature of a modern, western 'project of the self' obscures a more revealing line of inquiry where footwear can be used to explore the way men and women live out their identities as fluid, embodied processes. In a bid to deepen theoretical understanding of such processes, it takes account of historical and contemporary representations of shoes as a symbolically efficacious vehicle for personal transformation, asking how the idea and experience of transformation informs everyday and life course experiences of transition, as individuals put on and take off particular pairs of shoes. In so doing, the article addresses the methodological and analytic challenges of accessing experience that is both fluid and embodied.
John Goodwin and Henrietta O'Connor
Sociological Research Online 18 (1) 4
Keywords: Ordinary Lives, Girls, School to Work, 1960s, 1980s
Abstract: Since 2000 we have been engaged in restudies of transitions projects from the 1960s and 1980s and we have used historic data to problematise past experiences of school to work to question assumptions around complexity and linearity. Yet, in our own analyses, we have perhaps followed too closely the dominant transition discourses, concentrating only on those young people for whom transitions were not straightforward thus privileging the non-linear and complex at the expense of those who had largely unremarkable education and early work experiences. In doing so we have missed important lessons located in the life stories of the previously 'ordinary kids' in these past studies. In this paper, we seek to build upon the work of Roberts (2011) and France (2007), by returning to our own school to work restudies with two main aims in mind. First, we consider the emergent notions of 'ordinary' and 'unspectacular' transitions in the context of past studies of youth. We reflect critically on the concept the 'ordinary' and consider 'typicality' as an alternative. Second, we use data, in the form of eight vignettes, from Adjustment of Young Workers to Work Situations and Adult Roles (1962) and Young Adults in the Labour Market (1983), to develop our understanding of the ordinary or typical in the lived realities of the transitions of girls in one labour market (Leicester) from the 1960s and 1980s. We conclude the paper by reflecting upon what lessons can be learnt from those who made seemingly ordinary transitions during past periods of economic change and transformation.
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.
Patrick Ainley and Martin Allen
Sociological Research Online 18 (1) 8
Keywords: Riots, Olympics, Social Class, New Middle Working Class, So-Called 'Underclass', Education, Training, Higher Education, Further Education, E-Bacc
Abstract: Whilst widening participation to higher education was approaching New Labour's target of 50% of 18-30s (for women at least), it was presented as a professionalisation of the proletariat but in reality and in hindsight it can be seen to have disguised a proletarianisation of the professions - for which HE supposedly prepares its graduates - with many reduced to para-professions at best. It is argued therefore that education as a whole faces a credibility crunch. However, many have nowhere else to go since without qualifications they face falling into the so-called 'underclass' which was widely seen to have manifested itself in the riots of summer 2011. Like other commentators, we point out that the majority of youth did not riot and focus instead upon the children of the new working-middle class who are running up a down-escalator of devalued qualifications. This only intensifies national hysteria about education as the Coalition's reception of Browne's Review restricts competitive academic HE entry to those who can afford tripled fees, while relegating those who cannot to 'Apprenticeships Without Jobs' (cf. Finn 1987) in FE and private providers. With reference to Allen and Ainley (2011), this paper speculates as to the likely outcome of this generational crisis.
Kathryn Wheeler and Miriam Glucksmann
Sociological Research Online 18 (1) 9
Keywords: Consumption Work, Division of Labour, Recycling, Waste
Abstract: The recycling of domestic waste has become increasingly significant over recent years with governments across the world pledging increases in their recycling rates. But success in reaching targets relies on the input and effort of the household and consumer. This article argues that the work consumers regularly perform in sorting their recyclable waste into different fractions and, in some cases, transporting this to communal sites, plays an integral role in the overall division of labour within waste management processes. We develop the concept of 'consumption work' drawing on comparative research in Sweden and England to show how the consumer is both at the end and starting point of a circular global economy of materials re-use. The work that consumers do has not been systematically explored as a distinctive form of labour, and we argue that treating it seriously requires revision of the conventional approach to the division of labour.
Sociological Research Online 18 (2) 10
Keywords: Body; Teenage, Femininity, Black; Working Class, Glamour, Hetero-Sexualisation, Gaze; Dance, Agency
Abstract: Historically the working class, black, female body has been defined by its sexuality and socially constructed as an object for heterosexual consumption; this article is concerned with how this manifests itself for young British women in educational settings today. I will argue that this historical bodily construction has been compounded for young women in this context by a contemporary popular culture which frames, glamorises and hetero-sexualises black female bodies. Drawing on the work of Judith Butler and Michel Foucault, I will suggest that girls who perform a Black British, working-class femininity play a central role in their own construction as hetero-sexualised and consequently passive bodies, through an internalisation of and performance for a heterosexual “gaze” within various spaces of the urban, post-16 college. This article ultimately focuses, however, on the potential for resistance. Based on research conducted into the experiences of four dance students at an inner London post-16 college, I will explore the dance class as a potential space for resisting the debilitating heterosexual gaze enacted within the public spaces of the college. I will argue that the dance class can be a space where the student can reconstruct and reproduce her own body in a way that grants it agency, rather than objectifying it within a metaphorical frame.
Sociological Research Online 18 (2) 12
Keywords: Alternative Schools, Working Class, Sociology of Education, Widening Participation, Academic Achievement, Post-Secondary, Cultural Capital, Symbolic Violence, Content Analysis
Abstract: In recent years, the development of the global knowledge economy has rendered post-secondary education necessary for employment and earning potential, with manual labour no longer as prevalent or secure as it once was. Yet, access to post-secondary institutions continues to be stratified based on social class. To support working-class students in obtaining a post-secondary education, some countries have opened alternative public schools geared toward this purpose. This article draws on a Canadian case study of a school for working-class students whose parents do not have any post-secondary education to investigate the discourse surrounding these institutions and their goals. Using a content analysis of newspaper articles and policy documents, I find that while alternative schools certainly have the potential to increase educational attainment amongst working-class students, they may pose significant challenges to working-class identities.
Sociological Research Online 18 (2) 13
Keywords: Sexualisation, Childhood, Gender, Heteronormativity
Abstract: The proliferation of debates surrounding the sexualisation of childhood in the late 20th and early 21st century has led to the commission of a range of investigations into the role of sex and consumer culture in the lives of children and young people. This paper sets out to analyse the dominant ‘sexual scripts’ embedded within four international examples of such reports. It finds that a broad-brush approach to sexualisation appears to render all fashion, consumption, nudity and seemingly embodiment itself, as ‘sexualised’ and therefore inherently problematic. In what is overwhelmingly a negative reading of contemporary media and consumer cultures, the concepts of gender and sexuality remain un-problematised. Within these official discourses girls are constructed as vulnerable and passive whilst boys are ignored, presumably viewed as either unaffected or unimportant. Sexuality as an issue is palpable by its absence and throughout there is a lack of attention to the voices of children in an international debate which should place them at the centre of enquiry. The paper concludes by urging more in-depth consideration of value positions, lacunae and definitions of key concepts in such reports and consultation processes since such critiques have the potential to inform policy making and the gendered and embodied worlds we seek to explore.
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.
Sociological Research Online 18 (2) 9
Keywords: Girls, Empowerment, Neoliberalism, Gender, World Bank, Development
Abstract: This paper explores representations of girls in current discourses of neoliberal development through an analysis of a range of texts that promote the global Girl Effect movement. These representations are situated in the context of theoretical debates about gender mainstreaming and policy developments that construct girls and women's 'empowerment' as 'smart economics'. The paper draws on postcolonial and transnational feminist analyses that critique market-led approaches to development and their complicities in the dynamics of neo-colonialism and uneven development, to contextualise the Girl Effect movement. It is argued that Girl Effect movement draws on colonial stereotypes of girls as sexually and culturally constrained, but reworks these through the discourses of neoliberal development to construct girls as good investment potential. In doing so, it reproduces a dominant narrative that highlights the cultural causes of poverty but obscures structural relations of exploitation and privilege.
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) 2
Keywords: White Working-Class Boys; Social Class; Habitus; Reflexivity; Identity
Abstract: The article primarily explores the social class identification of 15 white working-class boys at a high performing school in a socially marginalized area of South London where academic performance was routinely depicted as crucial to economic and social well-being. The research aims to consider the influence of a high performing school on the boys’ identity and the relationship between their identity and their engagement with education. First, a brief background on white working-class boys ‘underachievement’ will provide the context. Second, Bourdieu’s conceptual tools of habitus, institutional habitus and capitals are examined. Bourdieu’s class analysis provides a useful conceptual framework to address (divided) working-class masculinities in a high attaining academic institution. Third, semi-structured interviews focused on academic self-concept, social class-identification and subsequent rationales, as well as participants’ identification of who they considered to be a student they admire, provide valuable insight into understanding habitus disjunctures and learner identities.
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.
Sociological Research Online 18 (3) 6
Keywords: Class, Gender, Teaching, Employability, Higher Education
Abstract: This paper presents the results of a mixed-methods investigation into undergraduates’ perceptions of the competition for Newly Qualified Teacher positions within the primary sector in England and Wales. The study sample was a cohort of final-year Education Studies undergraduates at a post-1992 university in Wales. All of the participants aimed to become primary school teachers. The study’s rationale lies in evidence that teaching is becoming more competitive while offering less security. The study revealed that the students had a realistic view of the labour market for NQT positions, showing awareness of the increasing demands placed upon the cultural, social and material resources of potential entrants Although this knowledge did not deter the students, it is concluded that developments within teaching may ultimately deter working-class students. This has worrying implications for the composition of the teaching profession and, in turn, for wider issues of social justice within education.
Sociological Research Online 18 (4) 13
Keywords: 1958, Cohort, Generation, Identity, Baby Boomers
Abstract: This paper explores the meaning of the concept of generational identity for a specific cohort of individuals born in Britain in the late 1950s - now in their fifties. It draws on qualitative biographical interviews that have been carried out with a subsample of 170 members of the 1958 British Birth Cohort Study. These interviews included questions about cohort members' sense of identity and specifically asked 'Do you think of yourself as belonging to a particular generation?' Cohort members' understandings of the multi-faceted concept of 'generation' are explored and the strategies that individuals used to answer this question are discussed. Although they were born at a time of continued high fertility in Britain, following the Second World War, it is clear that this cohort do not see themselves as properly part of the 'baby boom'. Analysis suggests that this group derive a sense of generational location more from cultural than from structural factors, or from historical/political events. Indeed the majority of them do not have a strong generational identity and might be thought of as a 'passive generation'.
Mikolaj Stanek and Alberto Veira Ramos
Sociological Research Online 18 (4) 16
Keywords: Migration Occupational Mobility, Spain, Labour Market Segmentation, Human Capital, Social Capital,, Gender Gap
Abstract: This article provides insight into the determinants of occupational mobility recorded for immigrants between their last job in the region of origin and their first job in Spain. Multinomial and bivariate logistic regression models are applied to identify the strongest predictors of upward and downward mobility when immigrants move from one country's labour market to another. This study's empirical analysis was carried out using data from the Spanish National Immigrant Survey of 2007. Our results show that ethnic segmentation in the Spanish labour market negatively affects the occupational mobility of immigrants. Secondly, we observe that non EU15 immigrants are at higher risk of downward mobility. Thirdly, higher levels of education offer protection against downward mobility and increase the chance for upgrading. Finally, contrary to our predictions, social capital embedded in support received from friends and relatives who reside in the destination country increases the risk of occupational downgrading and reduces the possibility of upward mobility.
Sociological Research Online 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.
Sociological Research Online 19 (2) 1
Keywords: Happiness, Homo Sociologicus, Role-Identity Theory, Social Capital, Subjective Well-Being
Abstract: This article examines what can be the contribution of Sociology to the 'new science of happiness', and what can such happiness studies contribute to Sociology? It does so by presenting the example of a quantitative analysis of European Social Survey data for the UK on social capital and life satisfaction by age. It reveals heterogeneity in the relationship between social capital and SWB by age with, for instance, socialising being more strongly associated with SWB among younger and older people compared to a mid-age group. Using this analysis as a case study, the first aim is to illustrate how sociological theory can crucially enrich research on SWB by relating the under-theorised field to broader narratives. While a range of empirical findings on the correlates of subjectively reported happiness have been dutifully collected over decades, solid theory building has often been neglected. It is crucial, however, to draw the various pieces of evidence together in order to formulate viable theoretical frameworks. Sociology is a science rich in useful approaches for the study of well-being. Role-identity theory as well as socialisation theory allow us in this paper to develop testable hypotheses for well-being data and give the research field a much-needed grounding. At the same time, it is demonstrated in this article how analysing data on life satisfaction can deliver much needed empirical tests of and new perspectives on long-standing sociological theories. For instance, the unresolved debate about homo sociologicus and homo economicus as competing conceptions of man can gain new perspectives from data on SWB.
Sam de Boise
Sociological Research Online 19 (2) 11
Keywords: Masculinities, Gender, Hegemonic Masculinity, Social Embodiment, Music, Affect
Abstract: Connell's concept of hegemonic masculinity remains a pervasive influence in critical studies on men and masculinities (CSMM). However as Connell and Messerschmidt note, one of the key drawbacks of the approach is that it lacks an adequate theory of 'social embodiment'. Subsequent authors have explored how masculinities entail bodily control and regulation but this often reproduces the Cartesian divide between mind and body that CSMM is highly critical of. On the other hand, poststructuralist critiques often see the body as entirely constructed through discourse, undermining the problem of gendered, embodied experience. This article suggests that literature on affect is a means of moving between these two approaches in order to see masculinities as corporeally experienced through power relations, but ultimately not entirely reducible to them. Drawing on 6 life history case studies from a larger research project, the article demonstrates how 'learning to be affected' by music is an embodied process which relies fundamentally on learning physiological experience through social interaction. This highlights the potential for both re-producing and transforming gendered performances and offers a new theoretical framework for conceptualising masculinities in the field of CSMM.
Sociological Research Online 19 (2) 13
Keywords: Amish, Qualitative, Midwifery, Power, Rural Sociology, Women
Abstract: In this paper, I investigate the role of the non-Amish midwife in Amish society. Conventional research on the Amish has overlooked the role the midwife plays in the structure of the Amish community, given that midwives who serve the Amish are not members of the community they serve and are not themselves Amish. Despite their status as outsiders to Amish society, I draw on ethnographic data collected during a two-year study with a non-Amish midwife to argue that the non-Amish midwife provides Amish women and men access to knowledge about sex and sexuality, provides them resources such as books and condoms, and shapes the structure of Amish society through these channels. Her power is clearly demonstrated in her ability to broker access between the Amish and non-Amish worlds, and her fingerprints on the community she serves exist long after she has caught a baby. So while the non-Amish midwife has largely remained invisible when viewed from conventional analyses of Amish society, I suggest that her position on the margin between Amish and non-Amish society is worth considering. As an analytic category, this position " neither fully part of Amish society nor fully extricated from it " has something to offer studies of community power within the field of Sociology and augment future studies of Amish society.
Sociological Research Online 19 (2) 15
Keywords: Fieldwork, Gender, Emotion, Rapport, Access
Abstract: Fieldwork is wrought with challenges and emotional obstacles. Techniques of dealing with these logistical challenges are well discussed in the literature; however, rarely are the emotions involved in fieldwork explored, nor are the specific techniques for dealing with this emotional fallout. In this paper, I explore not only the emotions of fieldwork, specifically as a woman in a male dominated research setting, but actual tactics for dealing with these feelings-- tactics I call “flanking gestures.” Flanking gestures are techniques that allow the researcher to blur and stretch their gender, which I suggest provides a certain amount of emotional relief in the field.
Bram Vanhoutte and James Nazroo
Sociological Research Online 19 (2) 4
Keywords: Subjective Well-Being, Measurement, Gender, Third Age, Second Order, Confirmatory Factor Analysis
Abstract: The hedonic view on well-being, consisting of both cognitive and affective aspects, assumes that through maximizing pleasurable experiences, and minimizing suffering, the highest levels of well-being can be achieved. The eudemonic approach departs from the concept of a good life that is not just about pleasure and happiness, but involves developing one-self, being autonomous and realizing one’s potential. While these approaches are often positioned against each other on theoretical grounds, this paper investigates the empirical plausibility of this two dimensional view on subjective well-being. The interrelations between common measures such as the General Health Questionnaire, the CES-D inventory of depressive symptoms, the satisfaction with life scale and the eudemonic CASP scale are examined in a confirmatory factor analysis framework using the third wave of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA). A multidimensional structure of well-being, distinguishing cognitive, affective and eudemonic well-being, is shown to be the best fitting empirical solution. This three dimensional second order structure is neutral to gender in its measurement. A lower influence of feeling energetic on self-actualisation, and of somatic symptoms of depression on affective well-being was noted for respondents in the fourth age () in comparison to respondents in the third age (). These small measurement artefacts underline that somatic symptoms of later life depression should be distinguished from mood symptoms. Two main social facts are confirmed when we compare the different forms of well-being over gender and life stage: men tend to have a higher level of well-being than women, and well-being is lower in the fourth age than in the third age. Although the three measures are very closely related, with high correlations between .74 and .88, they each have their specific meaning. While affective and cognitive well-being emphasize the use of an internal yardstick to measure well-being, the eudemonic perspective adds an external dimension. As each measure has an own story to tell, we advocate the use of these multiple assessments of well-being.
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.
Sociological Research Online 19 (2) 8
Keywords: African American Females, Women of Color, Acculturation, Sociology, Socialization, Psychology, STEM
Abstract: This article takes a brief look at the manner in which African American females in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) have been studied over the years. Noting that this group faces challenges due to gender and race, research has not always presented their struggles and successes from both a sociological and psychological view. Socialization theory has yielded a great deal of information despite the socialization process being driven by those in charge of the structure by which a person progresses through the STEM fields. Acculturation theory provides a glimpse of how African American females in these aforementioned fields progress from their perspective. Acculturation framework is of value because it parallels the emotional, cognitive, and behavior patterns students take as they progress through graduate school in order to become colleagues of the very professors that taught them. The framework considers the effects of the person’s previous background and experiences, their coping skills and tactics, which are important to the success of African American females. Another common dynamic across the theory of acculturation and the experiences of these women is choice and the freedom to choose their own acculturation patterns.
Robert MacDonald, Tracy Shildrick and Andy Furlong
Sociological Research Online 19 (3) 1
Keywords: Worklessness, Welfare, Benefits, Neighbourhoods
Abstract: This paper critically engages with a pervasive myth about welfare in the UK which is commonly spread by politicians, think tanks and the media. This is the myth that there are areas of the country which are so affected by entrenched cultures of 'welfare dependency' that the majority of residents are unemployed. In undertaking research that sought to investigate a different idea - that there are families where no-one has worked over several generations - we simultaneously gathered evidence about the likelihood that there are localities where virtually no-one is in employment. The rationale for Channel 4's Benefits Street was exactly this; that whole streets and neighbourhoods are of out of work and living on welfare benefits. We draw on research evidence gathered in Middlesbrough and Glasgow to investigate this idea. Thus, the aim of our paper is simple and empirical: is the central idea of 'Benefits Street' true? Are there streets and neighbourhoods in the UK where virtually no-one works?
Sociological Research Online 19 (3) 12
Keywords: Garden, Gender, Auto/biography, Leisure, Narrative, Home
Abstract: Life writing in the form of a single garden story is used in this paper to examine the garden as a powerful theme in gendered leisure. I explore the ways in which garden narratives in the form of auto/biography can represent new identities in everyday life. One women's life story is (re)told; about her childhood, her home and family, and her work in the garden. I conclude that life stories contained in the Mass Observation Archive (big and small) are useful ways of studying gendered lives to gain deeper understandings of the uses and meanings of leisure spaces in and around the home.
Simon Dyson and Sue Dyson
Sociological Research Online 19 (3) 14
Keywords: Evidence-Based Research, Health Services Research, Hired Hands, Midwives, Research Methodology, Work and Employment
Abstract: Previous health services research has failed to account for the role played by clinical staff in the collection of data. In this paper we use the work of Roth on hired hand research to examine the politics of evidence production within health services research. Sociologies of work predict lack of engagement in the research tasks by subordinated groups of workers. We examine the role of midwives in researching ante-natal screening for sickle cell and thalassaemia in England, and construct three ideal types: repairers, refractors, and resisters to account for the variable engagement of health staff with research. We find some features of the hired hand phenomenon predicted by Roth to be in evidence, and suggest that the context of our project is similar to much health services research. We conclude that without concerted attempts (1) to change the social relations of research production; (2) to mitigate hired hand effects; (3) to assess the impact of the hired hand effect on the validity and reliability of findings, and (4) to report on these limitations, that health services research involving large teams of subordinated clinical staff as data collectors will be prone to produce evidence that is of limited trustworthiness.
Martina Byrne and Brid Ni Chonaill
Sociological Research Online 19 (3) 17
Keywords: ‘race’, Ethnicity, Class, Place, Immigration, Ireland, Nation, Identity, Ghetto
Abstract: The Republic of Ireland became a country of net immigration for the first time in 1996 and a large body of literature has since examined, at macro and meso levels, migration rates and flows, impacts on the economy, and issues around integration. However, there is a paucity of sociological literature on the effect of unprecedented immigration at local or community level. This article addresses this deficit by demonstrating how the social identity of a place, home to a particularly high proportion of immigrants over the past two decades, is differentially constructed in the perceptions of those situated within, and outside. We combine data sets from two qualitative studies of Irish people living inside and outside the north Dublin suburb of Blanchardstown firstly to underpin our argument that place identities are processes which can change in a relatively short time and that some place identities are more mythical than real. Secondly, we problematise the term ‘ghetto’, as employed by some participants in this study and argue that racial, ethnic and class positionality is implicated in the construction of the relational identities of the place. Our findings contrast residents’ awareness of the heterogeneity of their area with outsiders’ construction of a homogenous raced and classed identity for the place, namely, one where large numbers of lower class and black immigrants live.
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.
Angus Bancroft, Mariah Jade Zimpfer, Orla Murray and Martina Karels
Sociological Research Online 19 (3) 20
Keywords: Alcohol, Pleasure, Gender, Women, Students
Abstract: This paper reports on a participatory ethnography conducted with undergraduate students. It examined the rituals and habits through which they constructed their intoxication culture. Students used video recording devices such as smartphones to collect data about aspects of their intoxication experiences. They were then interviewed about emerging analytical themes. In this paper we focus on one aspect of intoxication culture, the place of pleasure in women’s accounts. We build on previous research that showed that pleasure was present but not always dominant in women’s accounts of leisure focused drinking. They experienced the predominant, neo-liberal concept of pleasure as a demand which had to be navigated alongside their own desires which could include a preference for a more situated, intimate, sociability. Pre-drinking occasions were especially significant as places where bonds could be built up and body and self prepared to enter the public night-time economy. For many, this preparation became the main, enjoyable event in contrast to sometimes fraught and demanding public drinking spaces, where women could find themselves subject to various critical judgements about their femininity. Their activities on these occasions focused on achieving a ‘good drunk’, a manageable state of group intoxication. We use these findings to comment critically on the gendering of the night-time economy, the narrow framing of ‘pleasure’ in it, and the commodification of student experience in the UK.
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.
Sociological Research Online 19 (4) 15
Keywords: Reflexivity, Positionality, Ethnography, Women, Migrants, Friendship
Abstract: This paper explores the implications of shared femininity in a qualitative study of friendship networks amongst Russian-speaking migrants in London by a Russian researcher. Drawing upon feminist literature on the complexities of women interviewing women, I outline the reflexive approach to positionality informing power relations and establishment of trust in the relationship between the researcher and the researched. The examples of interviewing a friend and two friendly strangers demonstrate the ways of negotiating mutual positions in the interaction. Shared gender is regarded as partially, but not universally, promoting rapport, taking into account the intersectionality of multiple differences between women. Considering the researcher’s positionality has been presented in this paper as a means of making similarities and differences between participants useful for the critical interpretation of the work, and using its relevant aspects for building a positive, open, and more equal interaction.
Violeta Alarcão, Ana Virgolino, Luis Roxo, Fernando L. Machado and Alain Giami
Sociological Research Online 20 (2) 8
Keywords: Intimacy, (Double Standard Of) Sexual Behavior, Scripting Theory, Sexual Experiences, Gender, Portugal
Abstract: The nature of intimacy and self-identity changed profoundly over the past century. The disruption between sex and procreation enabled the emergence of new forms of relationships and contributed towards the legitimacy of a sexuality focused on pleasure, as a mean of self-realization and an expression of intimacy. Despite the evidence that most individuals now approach close relations with expectations of mutual emotional support and romantic love, intimate relationships remain highly gendered, particularly in societies where traditional roles of men and women persist in the growing diversity of sexual relationships. To address this topic, an empirical research was conducted in the Greater Lisbon area using a mixed methods approach. First, a quantitative study, with 323 primary healthcare users, intended to explain how gender influences self-constructions of sexuality and intimacy. Then, a qualitative study, with a subsample of 10 heterosexual men and 15 heterosexual women, employed in-depth interviews to explore how individuals construct their etiquette of sexual behavior. Building upon Gagnon and Simon’s scripting theory and Giddens’ transformations of intimacy, along with feminist criticisms concerning male dominance in hetero-relationships, we have reached an explanatory typology that focuses on Portuguese specificity in terms of the subjective experience of sexuality and intimate relationships. Sexuality and intimacy are complex and multifaceted phenomena that are affected by sexual and non-sexual factors, both in and out of the bedroom. Key findings reveal a coexistence of highly gendered sexual scripts with increasingly more egalitarian sexual roles, namely among the youngest and the most educated generations in Portuguese society.
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.
Sociological Research Online 20 (3) 16
Keywords: Intersectionality, Citizenship, Britishness, Whiteness, Feminism, National Identity
Abstract: This article critically engages with the concept of intersectionality, beginning with an account of its roots in Black feminist’ theorizing and critical legal studies. The article argues that it is important to understand the origin and roots of the term in order to track its radical potential. Whilst intersectionality as a concept has been perhaps one of feminism’s most successful exports, the article also considers some of the potential pitfalls in the widespread usage of the language. It asks: has intersectionality lost something in its travelling and re-interpretation? The article argues that there is a risk that intersectionality has, in some contexts of its usage, lost its critical, anti-racist and feminist edge. Considering the campaigns against changes in the spousal visa regulations in Britain, the article tracks the production of whiteness and of citizens and non-citizens in Britain. This example is used to argue for the maintenance of a more flexible and complex range of vocabularies with which to examine exclusion and oppression.
Yasmin Hussain and Paul Bagguley
Sociological Research Online 20 (3) 18
Keywords: Ethnicity, Reflexivity, Identity, 7/7 Bombings, Migration
Abstract: This paper we presents an analysis of how people reflexively relate to their ethnicity in the context of cultural and political crisis after the 7/7 bombings in London in 2005. Introducing a differentiated conception of reflexivity following Archer and Lash, the paper shows how cognitive, hermeneutic and aesthetic reflexivity (Lash) are expressed autonomously, communicatively and autonomously (Archer) variably across and within ethnicities. Differentiated reflexive expressions of ethnicity are rooted in the politics and histories of ethnicities in relation to dominant discourses of whiteness and Britishness. The data is from a qualitative interview study of how different ethnic groups in West Yorkshire were affected by the 7/7 London bombings, with people of African-Caribbean, Black- African, Bangladeshi, Indian Pakistani and White backgrounds. The increased reflexivity of identity that this demands, is seen to be rooted in the political crises generated by Britain’s role in and response to the war on terror, but also biographical experiences of contextual continuities, discontinuities and incongruities of migration.
Martina Angela Caretta and Elena Vacchelli
Sociological Research Online 20 (4) 13
Keywords: Focus Group Discussion, Workshop, Participation, Feminist Critical Research
Abstract: This article aims at problematizing the boundaries of what counts as focus group and in so doing it identifies some continuity between focus group and workshop, especially when it comes to arts informed and activity laden focus groups. The workshop is often marginalized as a legitimate method for qualitative data collection outside PAR (Participatory Action Research)-based methodologies. Using examples from our research projects in East Africa and in London we argue that there are areas of overlap between these two methods, yet we tend to use concepts and definitions associated with focus groups because of the lack of visibility of workshops in qualitative research methods academic literature. The article argues that focus groups and workshops present a series of intertwined features resulting in a blending of the two which needs further exploration. In problematizing the boundaries of focus groups and recognizing the increasing usage of art-based and activity-based processes for the production of qualitative data during focus groups, we argue that focus groups and workshop are increasingly converging. We use a specifically feminist epistemology in order to critically unveil the myth around the non-hierarchical nature of consensus and group interaction during focus group discussions and other multi-vocal qualitative methods and contend that more methodological research should be carried out on the workshop as a legitimate qualitative data collection technique situated outside the cycle of action research.
Elias le Grand
Sociological Research Online 20 (4) 15
Keywords: Class, Identity, Moralisation, Moral Panic, Respectability, Ressentiment
Abstract: This paper aims to link two fields of research which have come to form separate lines of inquiry: the sociology of moralisation and studies on class identity. Expanding on recent papers by Young (2009, 2011) and others, the paper argues that the concepts of ressentiment and respectability can be used to connect moralisation processes and the formation of class identities. This is explored through a case study of the social reaction in Britain to white working-class youths labelled ‘chavs’. It is demonstrated that chavs are constructed through moralising discourses and practices, which have some elements of a moral panic. Moreover, moralisation is performative in constructing class identities: chavs have been cast as a ‘non-respectable’ white working-class ‘folk devil’ against whom ‘respectable’ middle-class and working-class people distinguish and identify themselves as morally righteous. Moralising social reactions are here to an important extent triggered by feelings of ressentiment. This is a dialectical process where respectability and ressentiment are tied, not only to the social control of certain non-respectable working-class others, but also to the moral self-governance of the moralisers.
Katherine Twamley and Charlotte Faircloth
Sociological Research Online 20 (4) 2
Keywords: Gender, Intimacy, Equality, Love
Abstract: [No abstract]
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’.
Jenny van Hooff
Sociological Research Online 20 (4) 4
Keywords: Sexual Practices, Heterosexuality, Couples, Women, Relationships, Gender
Abstract: This article draws on qualitative interviews in order to analyse the ways in which heterosexual women reconcile their everyday lived sexual practices, expectations and desires. Focusing on the accounts of twenty women in long-term relationships, analysis suggests that the sexual practices of the women interviewed continue to be largely conducted within a dominant heteronormative framework. This runs contrary to claims about the democratisation or queering of sexual relations (Giddens 1992; Roseneil 2000). I argue that participants’ sexual desires and expectations are undermined by essentialist understandings of masculinity and femininity, with shifts in the outward forms of heterosexuality having a limited impact upon sexual practices which continue to be entrenched in heteronormative ideals.
Sociological Research Online 20 (4) 6
Keywords: Gender, Intimacy, Equality, Single Motherhood
Abstract: This paper explores experiences and expectations of equality within the intimacy narratives of UK single mothers. A perceived lack of equality was often cited by participants as a contributing factor in relationship breakdown, contradicting notions of increasing democracy (Giddens, 1992). For those who had grown up aspiring to egalitarian relationships, experiences of inequality engendered disappointment. Yet narratives simultaneously contained longings for the perceived certainty of traditional gendered roles associated with more stable, committed, enduring relationships - an ideal model of intimacy against which intimate lives were measured. Narratives were therefore marked by ambivalence as participants navigated their way through different understandings of intimacy, while managing challenging situations. While equality in intimate relationships was viewed as a possibility by some, participants often felt it was out of reach due to a lack of suitable potential partners. For others achieving stability in relationships was the main priority. This article therefore argues that commentators who two decades ago heralded a brave new world of equality in intimate lives (Giddens, 1992) were overly optimistic; the narratives discussed here reveal a more contextualised, complex and uneven picture of contemporary intimacies.
Ruth Lewis, Elizabeth Sharp, Jenni Remnant and Rhiannon Redpath
Sociological Research Online 20 (4) 9
Keywords: Feminism, Safety, Women, Space, Women-Only, Activism
Abstract: The gendered nature of safety has been explored empirically and theoretically as awareness has grown of the pervasive challenges to women’s safety. Notions of ‘safe space’ are frequently invoked in wider feminist environments (particularly, recently, in relation to debates about trans people’s access to women’s spaces), but are relatively neglected in academia. Indeed, despite a body of scholarship which looks at questions of gender, safety and space, relatively little attention has been paid to exploring the meaning of ‘safety’ for women and, particularly, the meaning and experience of spaces they consider to be ‘safe.’. Drawing on focus group data with 30 women who attended a two-day, women-only feminist gathering in the UK, this paper analyses experiences of what they describe as ‘safe space’ to explore the significance and meaning of ‘safety’ in their lives. Using their accounts, we distinguish between safe from and safe to, demonstrating that once women are safe from harassment, abuse and misogyny, they feel safe to be cognitively, intellectually and emotionally expressive. We argue that this sense of being ‘safe to’ denotes fundamental aspects of civic engagement, personhood and freedom.
Kevin Ralston, Vernon Gayle and Paul Lambert
Sociological Research Online 21 (1) 3
Keywords: First Birth, Childbearing, Occupation, Gender, Fertility, Scotland
Abstract: In the period following the turn of the Century European total fertility rates (TFR) dropped to well below replacement. Work examining this highlights that cohort postponement in births contributes to low TFRs. It is generally recognised that women in more advantaged occupations often postpone childbearing in contrast to those in less advantaged occupational groups. However, relatively little research has been conducted on men in similar terms. This paper contrasts the timing of first birth by occupational class between men and women using individual level data in a case study of Scotland. The data are an extract from the Scottish Longitudinal Study (SLS). This provides a 5.3% sample of the population of Scotland from the 1991 Census. The research applies the Cox proportional hazard model to estimate the speed to first birth during a period of observation between 1991 and 2006. Class is measured using NS-SEC 8 class analytic version. The model controls marital status, educational attainment, raised religion and urban-rural geography. It is found that ‘career men’ who occupy more advantaged occupational positions do not delay first birth in contrast to men in other occupational categories. This is in contrast to the well-known phenomenon of career women who have later childbearing. Our analysis shows that gender inequalities in how the social structure influences childbearing offer an avenue of explanation for wider patterns of social inequality.
Sociological Research Online 21 (1) 4
Keywords: Work, Tokenism, Gender, Identity, Firefighting, Women
Abstract: Despite the increasing percentage of women entering masculinized workplaces, certain organizations consistently see little change in the gender makeup of their staff. Contemporary scholarship suggests that women in rigidly gendered organizations are often assigned a token status and are victimized due to their gender. This study relocates the conversations of women as tokens towards a fresh conversation of women’s agency in masculinized workplaces. This paper uses ten qualitative interviews and ethnographic fieldwork to discuss how female firefighters navigate their gender at work. This article draws on reflexive accounts of everyday gendered negotiations to look at how the female firefighters ‘do gender’ within a specific fire service in Australia. I argue that emergency services, such as firefighting, create a contradictory field where women are located in (1) a paradoxical environment where the ‘female body’ is problematized (2) a work environment where they have to repeatedly prove their cultural competence in order to confirm their professional identity. The findings suggest that while female firefighters do have agency, tokenism locates many of them in a ‘never quite there’ bind that challenges their ability to progress into leadership roles within the service. This article concludes that the nuanced difference between, and at times, within the women’s narratives problematizes the bounds of personal agency and cultural change. This consequently results in resistance to policies by some women that may benefit like-situated women, such as affirmative action.
Adam Pattison Rathbone and Kimberly Jamie
Sociological Research Online 21 (2) 4
Keywords: Identity, Sociological, Ethics, Pharmacist, Clinical Researcher, Healthcare Professional
Abstract: Researcher identity can present methodological and practical, as well as epistemological and ethical tensions, in sociological research. Identity management, such as the presentation of the self during a research interview, can have significant effects on the research encounter and data collected. 'White coat syndrome', the disjointed interaction between clinicians and patients arising from unequal power and expertise, can occur in research encounters. For clinicians engaged in social science research, identity management can be particularly challenging given the added potential for 'white coat syndrome'. Drawing on the experiences of a registered pharmacist undertaking qualitative research, we discuss the epistemological transition many clinicians go through when embarking on sociological research. We suggest that identity management is not just a matter of optimising data collection but also has ethical tensions. Drawing on Goffman’s social role theory, we discuss the epistemic tensions between researchers’ dual identities through positivist and constructivist frames, discussing the professional and legal implications, as well as the methodological practicalities of identity negotiation. We discuss conflicting professional and regulatory ethical frameworks, and ethics committees’ negotiation of intervention and elicitation during research encounters and the conflict in managing professional, legal and clinical responsibilities whilst adhering to expected social research conventions.
Sociological Research Online 21 (3) 12
Keywords: Atmosphere, Embodiment, Lefebvre, Rhythmanalysis, Time-Lapse Photography, Work
Abstract: This article documents, shows and analyses the everyday rhythms of Billingsgate, London’s wholesale fish market. It takes the form of a short film based an audio-visual montage of time-lapse photography and sound recordings, and a textual account of the dimensions of market life revealed by this montage. Inspired by Henri Lefebvre’s Rhythmanalysis, and the embodied experience of moving through and sensing the market, the film renders the elusive quality of the market and the work that takes place within it to make it happen. The composite of audio-visual recordings immerses viewers in the space and atmosphere of the market and allows us to perceive and analyse rhythms, patterns, flows, interactions, temporalities and interconnections of market work, themes that this article discusses. The film is thereby both a means of showing market life and an analytic tool for making sense of it. This article critically considers the documentation, evocation and analysis of time and space in this way.
Giulia Garofalo Geymonat and P.G. Macioti
Sociological Research Online 21 (4) 10
Keywords: Sex Work, Sexual Assistance, Sex Workers Organisations, Germany, Switzerland, Quality of Work
Abstract: Drawing on participant methodologies this article examines two cases of workers’ self-organised projects oriented to improving the quality of sex work and to ‘professionalisation’. The first case is a group of sexual assistants for people with disabilities, who have organised meetings and training for sexual assistants in a medium-sized city in Switzerland. The second is a group of peer sex worker educators offering workshops to people who sell sex in various industry sectors in a large German city. We argue that these activist interventions may represent a resource for identifying crucial aspects of work-quality and professionalisation in sex work and for making sense of some apparent contradictions of sex workers’ organising. Indeed, through ongoing conversations and recommendations about working practices and ethics, our participants develop situated views of what is better sex work and they originally engage with key conceptual areas, such as consent, autonomy, standardisation, income and professional identity. They do so by comparing a variety of experiences in sex industries, as well as discussing similarities with other jobs such as body work, care work, and psychotherapy.
Sociological Research Online 21 (4) 11
Keywords: Sex Work, Prostitution, Gender, Migration, Quality of Work, Latin-American Women, Transnational
Abstract: The aim of this article is to analyse the quality of work of two of the main types of female sex work in Spain (clubs and in-call flats). In order to do so I will focus on the following working dimensions: wages, power relations, skills, alienation, health, violence, work life and stigma. Firstly, the article seeks to highlight the structural factors that condition the quality of work of Latin American female sex workers in Spain. These factors are closely connected to policies regarding migration and sex work, which foment irregular work arrangements (undocumented migrants and informal workers). Secondly, I analyse entry formats (indebted or autonomous migration) and how they impact on working conditions. Thirdly, the article considers the migrant women’s work choices and the resulting living and working conditions they may encounter. I intend to show that Latin American women sex workers in Spain might opt for a certain type of work within the context of strategic decisions, as linked to their migratory and social mobility projects. These decisions have a family and a transnational scope (country of origin, country of destination). The analysis presented is based on qualitative fieldwork (semi-structured interviews) carried out in Galicia (north-west Spain).
Sociological Research Online 21 (4) 12
Keywords: Commercial Sex, Brothels, Precarious Work, Autonomy, Control, Australia
Abstract: Decriminalising (or legalising) sex work is argued to improve sex workers’ safety and provide access to labour rights. However, there is a paucity of empirical research comparing how different regulatory approaches affect working conditions in the sex industry, especially in relation to venues that are managed by third parties. This article uses a mixed methods study of the Australian legal brothel sector to critically explore the relationship between external regulation and working conditions. Two dominant models of sex industry regulation are compared: decriminalisation and licensing. First, the article documents workplace practices in the Australian legal brothel sector, examining sex workers’ agency, autonomy and control over the labour process. Second, it analyses the capacity of each regulatory model to protect sex workers from unsafe and unfair working conditions. On the basis of these findings, the article concludes that brothel-based sex work is precarious and substantively excluded from the protective mantle of labour law, notwithstanding its legality. It is argued that the key determinant of conditions in the legal brothel sector is the extent to which the state enforces formal labour protections, as distinct from the underlying regulatory model adopted.
Sociological Research Online 21 (4) 13
Keywords: Migration, Sex Work, Working Conditions, Exploitation, Trafficking, Nigeria
Abstract: Migrant sex workers’ experiences of exploitation depend on a dynamic re-evaluation of the working conditions and relationships that frame their entry into the global sex industry according to the subsequent unfolding of their working and wider lives. Contrary to the essentialist obliteration of consent introduced by abolitionist scholarship and policymaking, migrants can decide to endure bounded exploitative deals with people enabling their travel and work abroad in order to meet the economic and administrative (becoming documented) objectives they set for themselves. When this deal is broken as a result of the betrayal of original negotiations, migrants can decide to reframe their migration and work experience as trafficking and denounce their original enablers as traffickers, which gives them a chance to obtain the right to reside and work in the country of destination through asylum.
Fairleigh Evelyn Gilmour
Sociological Research Online 21 (4) 14
Keywords: Sex Work, Working Conditions, Sex Work Legislation, Australia, Mobility, Decriminalisation
Abstract: This article explores sex workers’ experiences of work conditions and job mobility in the indoor sectors of the Australian sex industry: brothel work, escort work and small cooperative work. Drawing from 14 in-depth life-narrative interviews with sex workers and former sex workers, it explores the key challenges faced by participants in navigating regulation and carving out a safe and lucrative working space. It offers a critical account of job flexibility and mobility in the sex industry and argues that the availability of increased options in a decriminalized setting means a greater range of potential spaces for workers to negotiate a suitable work environment.
Teela Sanders, Laura Connelly and Laura Jarvis King
Sociological Research Online 21 (4) 15
Keywords: Crimes, Escorts, Internet, Job Satisfaction, Prostitution, Sex Work
Abstract: The sex industry is increasingly operated through online technologies, whether this is selling services online through webcam or advertising, marketing or organising sex work through the Internet and digital technologies. Using data from a survey of 240 internet-based sex workers (members of the National Ugly Mug reporting scheme in the UK), we discuss the working conditions of this type of work. We look at the basic working patterns, trajectories and everyday experiences of doing sex work via an online medium and the impact this has on the lives of sex workers. For instance, we look at levels of control individuals have over their working conditions, prices, clientele and services sold, and discuss how this is mediated online and placed in relation to job satisfaction. The second key finding is the experience of different forms of crimes individuals are exposed to such as harassment and blackmail via the new technologies. We explore the relationship internet-based sex workers have with the police and discuss how current laws in the UK have detrimental effects in terms of safety and access to justice. These findings are placed in the context of the changing landscape of sex markets as the digital turn determines the nature of the majority of commercial sex encounters. These findings contribute significantly to the populist coercion/choice political debates by demonstrating levels and types of agency and autonomy experienced by some sex workers despite working in a criminalized, precarious and sometimes dangerous context.
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.
Sociological Research Online 21 (4) 6
Keywords: Household Work, Identity, Motherhood, Narrative, Personal Life, Relationality
Abstract: Household work literature has highlighted the importance of mothers to their daughters’ accounts of their household work practice, arguing that women can both aim to emulate and avoid particular practices in their own household work. This paper further explores this topic, drawing on a small-scale qualitative study to explore the self-narratives that two generations of mothers construct around the theme of household work. It looks particularly at how accounts of household work practices are incorporated into broader stories of growing up and taking responsibility, and the relevance of discourses of individualisation, and the notion of reflexive biographies to these explanations. This article also draws on theories of connectedness to show how self-narratives around the theme of household work reflect different forms of relationality, and to argue that a concept of relational selves is useful for making sense of these narratives.
Sociological Research Online 21 (4) 8
Keywords: Insider/outsider, Qualitative Research, Critical Reflexivity, Veiled Muslim Women, Islamophobic Hate Crime
Abstract: This article presents a reflexive discussion of insider and outsider positions in a qualitative study researching Islamophobic hate crime with Muslim women who wear the niqab (face veil) in public in the United Kingdom (UK). As a non-Muslim woman, some aspects of my identity can be linked to insider positions while other aspects of my identity can be linked to outsider positions, with implications for the documentation of participants’ lived experiences. Within the framework of ‘critical reflexivity’, this article considers the impact of my insider/outsider status at each stage of the research process, from deciding on the research topic, the research design, accessing participants through to data collection and analysis. This article re-articulates the importance of researcher reflexivity, particularly when both researchers and participants exhibit multiculturality (for example, in the context of having multicultural backgrounds), which has become more common in the globalised world. It will be concluded that engaging in critical reflexivity is important for producing reliable and ethical research as it enables researchers to be aware of their position in the ‘space between’ and be transparent how their positionality impacts on the entire research process.
Stef Adriaenssens, Giulia Garofalo Geymonat and Laura Oso
Sociological Research Online 21 (4) 9
Keywords: Prostitution, Sex Work, Quality of Work
Abstract: [No abstract]
Sociological Research Online 22 (1) 1
Keywords: Policing, Male Rape, Gender Hierarchy, Gender Expectations, Identity
Abstract: This paper adopts the theoretical framework of hegemonic masculinity to elucidate and make sense of male sexual victimisation. Critically evaluating the empirical data, which comprises of police officers and practitioners in voluntary agencies (N = 70), that this paper offers, I argue that gender expectations, hegemonic masculinities and sexism prevail in societies, state and voluntary agencies. It has been found that, because male rape victims embody subordinate masculinities, they are marginalised as ‘abnormal’ and ‘deviant’. They are, in other words, classified as the ‘other’ for challenging and contradicting hegemonic masculinity, disrupting the gender order of men. Consequently, male sexual victimisation is not taken seriously in services, policy and practice, whilst the victims of this crime type are relegated in the gender hierarchy. As a result, male rape victims suffer a ‘masculinity crisis’ in the context of male rape. This paper attempts to open up a dialogue regarding male rape and male sexual assault, to challenge hegemonic masculinity, and to bring male rape ‘out of the closet’.
Sociological Research Online 22 (1) 11
Keywords: Social Class, Bourdieu, Identity, Evangelical Christianity, Religion, Habitus
Abstract: This article explores the lived experience of class in relation to English evangelical Christianity. It examines how the subjective, affective impacts of class are felt, navigated and negotiated by working-class evangelical church leaders in the context of everyday ministry. Recent class analysis (Abrahams and Ingram 2013; Friedman 2016; Reay 2015) has mobilized and developed the Bourdieusian concept of ‘cleft’ or divided habitus (Bourdieu 2000) in empirical study of the emotional impact of movement across class fields. Examining data produced in interviews with evangelical leaders, this article draws on this work, exploring how working-class evangelical leaders experience cleft habitus as they engage with different class fields in the course of their work in ministry. It is argued that, whilst often overlooked in research on classed subjectivities, religious identity plays a critical role in provoking distinctive responses to the everyday experience of class. The accounts suggest that, in the negotiation of feelings of cleft habitus, interviewees’ Christian subjectivity prompts a proactive seeking of an integrated identity that is both evangelical and working-class.
Michaela Rogers and Anya Ahmed
Sociological Research Online 22 (1) 4
Keywords: Trans/transgender, Gender Diversity, Translocational Positionality, Identity, Sexuality, Sexual Orientation
Abstract: This article explores the confluence of trans identity and sexuality drawing on the concept of translocational positionality. In this discussion, a broad spectrum of gendered positionalities incorporates trans identity which, in turn, acknowledges normative male and female identities as well as non-binary ones. It is also recognised, however, that trans identity overlaps with other positionalities (pertaining to sexuality, for example) to shape social location. In seeking to understand subject positions, a translocational lens acknowledges the contextuality and temporality of social categories to offer an analysis which recognises the overlaps and differentials of co-existing positionalities. This approach enables an analysis which explores how macro, or structural, contexts shape agency (at the micro-level) and also how both are mediated by trans people's multiple and shifting positionalities. In this framing, positionality represents a meso layer between structure and agency. Four case studies are presented using data from a qualitative study which explored trans people's experiences of family, intimacy and domestic abuse. We offer an original contribution to the emerging knowledge-base on trans sexuality by presenting data from four case studies. We do so whilst innovatively applying the conceptual lens of translocational positionality to an analysis which considers macro, meso and micro levels of influence.
Caroline Barratt and Gill Green
Sociological Research Online 22 (1) 9
Keywords: House in Multiple Occupation (HMO), Private Rented Sector, Identity, Wellbeing, Mental Health, Home
Abstract: Housing research and sociological research on ‘home’ has under-explored Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) as a form of specific and relatively marginalised housing tenure. In this paper we utilise data collected through participant photography and interviews with vulnerable HMO residents in a seaside town to explore their experiences of homemaking in HMOs. Drawing on literatures on home, identity and wellbeing we explore how HMO residents create a home in the space in which they live and how where they live simultaneously moulds their sense of identity. Our analysis is based upon interviews with, and photographs taken by, HMO residents. We highlight how home is created and experienced in a setting where basic levels of privacy can be hard to maintain, where space is constrained, and where residents would often prefer to live elsewhere. The meaning of ‘home’ in an HMO is influenced by personal histories and circumstances, by the normative attitudes towards housing in the UK, as well as by the space itself. The impact that living in a HMO might have on a tenant’s identity and as a consequence their wellbeing is therefore highly contextual – not solely due to the characteristics of the property itself and the stigma some associate with this housing type but as an outcome of how the tenants relate to the property given their own preferences, conditioning and previous housing experience. There was variation in the extent to which respondents wanted their room to reflect, project or build their identity.
Kinneret Lahad and Vanessa May
Sociological Research Online 22 (2) 12
Keywords: Belonging, Participation Unit,, Solo Dining, Time, Time, Gendered Respectability
Abstract: In recent years, various lifestyle websites have offered tips on eating out alone as well as lists of the best restaurants for solo dining in major cities of the world. Utilising the theoretical concepts of participation units, territories of the self (Goffman, 1972) and belonging (Author B, 2011, 2013), this paper explores the challenges that spatio-temporal conventions pose for women solo diners in particular. Through the lens of solo dining, we explore being alone and belonging in shared public spaces, and the gendered nature of aloneness and respectability. The paper contributes to existing theory by examining the influence that time has on a woman solo diner’s ‘single’ participation unit, her ability to lay claim to public space and her relationship with the surrounding social environment. The paper concludes by exploring what the new trend of solo dining can offer and the consequences this has for how sociologists conceputalise sociality in public spaces.
Gareth M. Thomas
Sociological Research Online 22 (2) 14
Keywords: Emotions, Ethnography, Gender, Identity, Male Researcher, Reflexivity
Abstract: Very little attention has been afforded to how male researchers actively position their gender in their studies, particularly in ethnographic research located within settings populated largely by women. In this article, I reflect on my own gender work during an ethnography of prenatal clinics and how this was articulated with other aspects of my researcher self. By reporting on the successes and failures of this performance, I argue that my gender constituted an essential element in the everyday negotiations between myself and female participants. In so doing, I suggest that reflexive commentaries of how researchers perform gender should not be viewed as a form of egotistic self-indulgence. Rather, they should be read as valuable statements for rendering the researcher visible and, here, for revealing how issues of doing gender play out during fieldwork.
Sociological Research Online 22 (2) 7
Keywords: Poverty, Welfare Benefit Receipt, Reconciliation of Work and Family, Employment, Single Mothers, Event History Analysis
Abstract: The following article investigates to what extent individual employment of mothers contributes to ending receipt of welfare benefits in Germany. It disentangles the process of an employment-related exit into two stages: first, the process of taking up employment and second, the probability of ending benefit receipt with this new employment. This analysis focuses on mothers because they face particular restrictions on their labour market behaviour. It identifies the determinants involved using event history and probit models on the basis of longitudinal administrative data on benefit receipt and employment. Whereas the time and effort spent on childcare based on the age of the youngest child only influences the taking up of employment, household size plays a role only for the probability of ending benefit receipt. The individual labour market resources of the mothers influence access to the labour market, whereas for exits from benefit receipt the job position and type of employment relationship are more decisive.
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).
Sociological Research Online ()
Keywords: Ethnography, Military, Organizations, Time, Sociology, Workers
Abstract: Organizational time remains an under examined research area in terms of analysis which combines workers temporal perceptions, temporal embodiment and temporal inter-embodiment. These processes are portrayed using the case of the military organization and focus upon the temporal practices of UK infantry via ethnographic data obtained from participant observation.
Sociological Research Online ()
Keywords: Ood, Power, Gender, Resources, Intimacy, Ethnicity
Abstract: This paper draws on Morgan's theorisation of family life as consisting of political, moral and emotional economies (Morgan 2001) to examine the interplay of women's control over resources, gender norms and expectations of intimacy in the context of household food consumption. The research that informs the paper focuses on findings from 84 interviews with two South Asian groups: Pakistani Muslim and Gujarati Hindu women with at least one dependent child and from a variety of occupations and household compositions. In examining everyday food consumption, the research demonstrates how gender hierarchies are reproduced by parallel, mutually reinforcing, political, moral and emotional economies. The women in the study sometimes struggled to subvert gender oppression and negotiate more powerful positions within the household through food management and/or employing manipulative and deceptive tactics. The paper argues that, while access to economic resources is important if women are to achieve desirable food and nutritional outcomes, it is not in itself sufficient to meet this aim. Instead, the interplay of resources, gender norms and conjugal relations are central to household food consumption.
Sociological Research Online ()
Keywords: Emotions Online, Online Social Interaction, Social Web, Gender, Age, Social Web Engagement
Abstract: Emotional expression is key to the maintenance and development of interpersonal relationships online. This study develops and applies a novel analytical framework for the study of emotional expression on the social web in everyday life. The analytical framework proposed is based on previous ethnographic work and the self-reported measurement of the visual cues, action cues and verbal cues that people use to express emotions on the social web. It is empirically tested, using an online survey of Spanish frequent Internet users (n=301). The analysis focuses particularly on how age, gender and social web engagement relate to emotional expression during online social interactions. We find that both personal characteristics (age and gender) as well as levels of social web usage affect emotional communication online. The effect size is particularly strong for gender. The paper illustrates and reflects upon the potential of the proposed analytical framework for unveiling norms and strategies in online interaction rituals.
Mark Taylor and Dave O'Brien
Sociological Research Online ()
Keywords: Cultural Workers, Principal Components Analysis, Inequality, Attitudes, Meritocracy
Abstract: The attitudes and values of cultural and creative workers are an important element of explaining current academic interest in inequality and culture. To date quantitative approaches to this element of cultural and creative inequality has been overlooked, particularly in British research. This paper investigates the attitudes of those working in creative jobs with a unique dataset, a web survey of creative workers’ attitudes (n=2487). Using principal components analysis and regression, we have three main findings. First, in contrast to Richard Florida's thesis on the attitudes and values of ’the creative class’, our respondents’ attitudes were no more meritocratic than those of the general population. Second, those with the strongest belief in meritocracy in the sector are those in the most privileged positions, specifically those are best-rewarded by the sector. Third, our research provides support for existing qualitative research on attitudes in the cultural sector, in which worse-rewarded workers are most aware of structural inequality. We conclude that the attitudes held by creative workers, and who holds which attitudes, make it unlikely that access to the sector and trajectories of individual progression within the sector will change. These findings also have important implications for current public interest in whether access to creative work is limited to those from privileged backgrounds.