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Karen Mary Moore
Sociological Research Online 1 (3) 2
Keywords: Survey; Replication; Response Rates; Research Methods; Community; Locality; Liverpool; Inner City; Urban Studies
Abstract: This note describes a study to discover the extent to which it would be possible to follow the respondents in a 1978/79 social survey in inner Liverpool. The follow up would be used to describe the ways in which peoples' circumstances had changed in the intervening 17 years. It would also provide an opportunity to discover how the respondents themselves viewed the changes that had taken place in inner Liverpool (if that was where they still lived) and the extent to which they had realized the aspirations they expressed in 1978/79 (wherever they now lived). An additional benefit of the research was to 'test the water' for forthcoming policy related research in Liverpool. The results of the pilot study are clear and unambiguous: it was not possible to follow up the previous respondents. Reasons for this are believed to include changing attitudes towards giving information and to reservations about collaborating in research projects which in the context of inner city Liverpool are seen to have no benefits to local people. The prognosis for future survey-based research is poor. These findings are consistent with more anecdotal evidence from colleagues working elsewhere in inner city areas and in sharp contrast to similar work undertaken in the very different political climate of the 1970s.
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.
Sociological Research Online 13 (5) 8
Keywords: Bengal, Bangladeshi, Bengali, East End, British Empire, Postcolonial, Whiteness, Belonging, Jamestown, East India Company
Abstract: This paper explores how processes of remembering past events contribute to the construction of highly racialised local and national politics of belonging in the UK. Ethnographic research and contextualised discourse analysis are used to examine two colonial anniversaries remembered in 2006: the 1606 departure of English 'settlers' who built the first permanent English colony in North America at Jamestown, Virginia, and the 1806 opening of the East India Docks, half a century after the East India Company took control of Bengal following the battle of Polashi. Both events were associated with the Thames waterfront location of Blackwall in the east London borough of Tower Hamlets, an area with the highest Bengali population in Britain and significant links with North America through banks and businesses based at the regenerated Canary Wharf office complex. It investigates how discourses and events associated with these two specific anniversaries and with the recent 'regeneration' of Blackwall, contribute to the consolidation of the dominant 'mercantile discourse' about the British Empire, Britishness and belonging. Challenges to the dominant discourse of the 'celebration' of colonial settlement in North America by competing discourses of North American Indian and African American groups are contrasted with the lack of contest to discourses that 'celebrate' Empire stories in contemporary Britain. The paper argues that the 'mercantile discourse' in Britain works to construct a sense of mutual white belonging that links white Englishness with white Americaness through emphasising links between Blackwall and Jamestown and associating the values of 'freedom and democracy' with colonialism. At the same time British Bengali belonging is marginalised as links between Blackwall and Bengal and the violence and oppression of British colonialism are silenced. The paper concludes with an analysis of the contemporary mobilisation of the 'mercantile discourse' in influential social policy and 'regeneration' discourse about 'The East End'.
Nabil Khattab, Ron Johnston, Ibrahim Sirkeci and Tariq Modood
Sociological Research Online 15 (1) 3
Keywords: Ethnicity, Residential Segregation, Bangladeshis in UK, Enclave Economy, Multilevel Analysis, England, Employment Outcomes
Abstract: Studies of ethnic residential segregation and its impacts on labour market performance have reported both negative and positive outcomes for different groups in different geographies. We revisit the issue with a particular focus on the Bangladeshi minority in England and Wales using both quantitative and qualitative data to explore the impact of living in segregated areas upon their labour market outcomes. We analyse the 2001 UK Census Controlled Access Microdata Sample (CAMS) and a subset (34 Bangladeshis) of qualitative data collected through in-depth interviews with 73 men and women from Indian, Bangladeshi and Black Caribbean backgrounds in 2005. Our quantitative analysis does show a clear negative impact of living in segregated areas (i.e. Bangladeshi ethnic enclaves) on unemployment, economic inactivity and on the occupational returns on education. Qualitative material suggests that cultural and practical reasons very often lead Bangladeshis, including highly qualified persons, to live in enclaves or nearby. Also, ethnic businesses in enclaves appear to offer jobs to many Bangladeshi men and women, but these jobs are normally low-paid that does not require high qualifications increasing the risk of lower occupational returns further.
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.
Thees F Spreckelsen and Mariska van der Horst
Sociological Research Online 21 (3) 13
Keywords: Statistical Significance, Transparency, Replication, Ban, Hypothesis Testing, Controversy
Abstract: Significance testing is widely used in social science research. It has long been criticised on statistical grounds and problems in the research practice. This paper is an applied researchers’ response to Gorard’s (2016) 'Damaging real lives through obstinacy: re-emphasising why significance testing is wrong' in Sociological Research Online 21(1). He participates in this debate concluding from the issues raised that the use and teaching of significance testing should cease immediately. In that, he goes beyond a mere ban of significance testing, but claims that researchers still doing this are being unethical. We argue that his attack on applied scientists is unlikely to improve social science research and we believe he does not sufficiently prove his claims. In particular we are concerned that with a narrow focus on statistical significance, Gorard misses alternative, if not more important, explanations for the often-lamented problems in social science research. Instead, we argue that it is important to take into account the full research process, not just the step of data analysis, to get a better idea of the best evidence regarding a hypothesis.