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Katie MacMillan and Shelley McLachlan
Sociological Research Online 4 (2) macmillan_mclachlan
Keywords: Content Analysis; Discourse Analysis; Education; Framing; Media; Metanarratives; Nudist; Theory-building
Abstract: We examine Nud.ist software in terms of its 'theory-building' properties in order to access the extent to which Nud.ist can be used, not only to develop content categories, but also to develop a research method using two potentially incompatible approaches. The methods, content analysis and discourse analysis, were used in a single case study on education news in the press. Our case study, on how news about education issues gets constructed and framed by the national press into generalized themes and narratives, was initially informed by an extensive content analysis of the news over a twelve month period. Having identified variations in press coverage, we then collected large quantities of media text on education issues, using Nud.ist to organize and to recode the subsequent data. Having categorized the news extracts our aim was to then explore whether Nud.ist could assist a discourse analysis of the text.
Sociological Research Online 6 (3) davetian
Keywords: Courtesy; Ethics; Family; Globalization; Iran; Morality; Religion; Sexual Permissiveness; Sexuality; Terrorism
Abstract: This article suggests that, in the wake of the events of September 11th, it would be an error for sociologists and political analysts to concentrate on revisions of economic and political theory while not paying equal attention to the moral tensions between Islamic and Western cultures. It proposes that economic and geopolitical research be expanded to include bilateral studies of Western and Islamic conceptions of morality and standards of right and wrong. The argument is based on the proposition that certain Western liberal attitudes threaten Islamic peoples' commitment to the traditional family, thereby delaying conflict resolution and providing terrorists with additional venues for "justifying" their acts.
Sociological Research Online 12 (2) sevon
Keywords: Care, Cultural Narratives, Ethics of Care, Morality, Motherhood, Narrative Research, Pleasure, Vulnerability
Abstract: Early motherhood and caring for the infant involve a moral ambiguity that is related to the questions of responsibility and vulnerability. By means of the ethics of care, motherhood can be understood as belonging to the moral domain, as relational, and as linked with everyday social situations. The culturally dominant narratives of 'good mothering' easily naturalise and normatise maternal agency. This study illustrates the process of adopting responsibility for the infant and the moral ambivalence that is inscribed in early maternal care. The data consist of four interview sessions with each of seven first-time mothers conducted during pregnancy and the first post-natal year. The interviews concentrated on events, relationships, routines, thoughts and feelings related to the mothers' daily caring for the baby. The women talked about their experiences drawing on two different narratives. The narrative of desirable responsibility unfolded the positive aspects of caring and responsibility for the baby. By means of this narrative, the women were able to give coherence to their lives as new mothers and to narrate the pleasure they felt in taking responsibility for their baby. In contrast, the narrative of maternal vulnerability showed the shadow side of maternal care focusing on the mothers' tiredness and distress. This narrative embodied 'moral monitoring' and 'epistemological struggles' between the dominant cultural narratives and the mothers' personal narratives. The study shows that early mothering is morally laden in two different ways simultaneously. Mothering itself is a moral disposition and practice characterised by ambivalence. The cultural narratives of 'good mothering' play a dual role in this process: they tempt women into pursuing intensive mothering, but at the same time they create an elusive moral imperative.
Sociological Research Online 14 (2) 6
Keywords: Alcohol, Attitudes, Morality, Calvinism, Ascetic Protestantism, Licensing Act 2003
Abstract: This paper examines the popular reaction to the implementation of licensing reforms in England and Wales in 2005. It characterises these events as an episode of moral panic and seeks an ideological explanation for this alarmist response. Utilising historical perspectives, the paper draws particular attention to the formative importance of the Nineteenth Century in terms of constructing contemporary public attitudes towards alcohol. This paper draws on existing sociology and social history to highlight an international and chronological pattern which suggests a connection between Victorian temperance movements and ascetic brands of Protestantism. Through a consideration of Max Weber, E.P. Thompson and a variety of primary sources, an interpretive explanation for this pattern is provided. Legal evidence, showing the growth of alcohol regulation and the partial enforcement of temperance codes of behaviour, is then used to illustrate the survival and secularisation of temperance views from the Nineteenth Century onwards. An interpretive analysis of public discourse surrounding licensing reform in 2005 provides empirical support for this argument. Attitudes to alcohol exhibited during this episode were found to bear qualitative similarities to Calvinist-inspired temperance beliefs. The paper argues that ascetic Protestant attitudes to alcohol have achieved a wide currency and now occupy a hegemonic position within secular British society. The public reaction to the implementation of the Licensing Act 2003 is thus reinterpreted as a moral panic largely constructed by ascetic Protestant beliefs.
Sociological Research Online 16 (1) 12
Keywords: Content Analysis, Gold, Conspiracy, Inflation, Monetary Policy
Abstract: Using archival data from the four most popular gold investment websites, this study is a content analysis of gold investment enthusiast ('gold bug') commentaries over a six-month time period, from November 2007 to April 2008. We examine gold bug discourse as a conspiracy narrative whose central tenet is the criticism of inflationary monetary policy. Gold bugs argue that the continual presence of inflation demonstrates the fundamental flaws of global capitalism and the illegitimacy of the administrative system that operates it. The invocation of inflation is the primary way in which gold bugs forecast economic conditions and the inevitable failure of those who control global monetary policy. Based upon the ontological claim that gold is the only 'true' store of value, gold bugs posit a sharp rebuke of monetary policy, predicting a drastic increase in the price of gold and a consequent collapse of the world's fiat currencies.
Sociological Research Online 16 (2) 17
Keywords: Big Society, Responsibility, Conservative Party, Values, Sociology of Morality, Young Conservatives
Abstract: This paper focuses on the interplay between Conservative thought as evinced by the current Conservative Party leadership and the idea of responsibility, which is a central concern in the Big Society programme. I show that responsibility holds different meanings based on attitudes to work and the welfare state and that the differentiation in meaning map onto a working class/middle class distinction. I then argue that the 'good society' as it emerges from the Big Society idea would be a more stratified one that accepts large degrees of inequality. Leaving the conceptual plane, I then provide support for my argument with findings from qualitative research into the lifeworld of young Conservatives.
Edwin van Teijlingen
Sociological Research Online 17 (3) 14
Keywords: History, Content Analysis, Reproductive Health, Medical Sociology, Aberdeen, Dugald Baird,
Abstract: This paper offers an analysis of the book reviews published about the 1973 book Experience of Abortion: A case study of North-East Scotland, a volume edited by Gordon Horobin. The paper sets the scene at the time of publication of Experience of Abortion, including abortion as a societal issue, the 1967 Abortion Act and the role of the MRC Medical Sociology Unit in Aberdeen. The reviews were analysed using content analysis. Considering the controversy of abortion in the early 1970s, it is interesting that the book reviews were overwhelmingly positive towards both Experience of Abortion and the need for high quality social science research in this field. Several reviews highlighted the importance of having someone like Sir Dugald Baird in Aberdeen and that of the Aberdeen-based Medical Research Council's (MRC) Medical Sociology Unit. Nearly 40 years later abortion has disappeared off the sociology and social policy agenda, at least in the United Kingdom (UK), and Horobin's legacy in medical sociology appears to be in areas other than abortion or reproductive health more generally.
Sociological Research Online 18 (1) 17
Keywords: Altruism, Class, Cosmopolitanism, Globalization, Inequality, Morality, Neoliberalism, Causal Mechanisms, Solidarity, Sympathy, Telescopic Philanthropy
Abstract: The British socioemotional economy is marked by a tension between cosmopolitan humanitarian sentiments and the denial of sympathy for geographically close, but socially distant, strangers in need. The essence of this tension can be captured by the Dickensian notion of 'telescopic philanthropy'. A proper understanding of this tension would benefit from examining both short-term and secular trends - proximate and distal causal mechanisms. The paper is not explanatory in nature, but aims to generate sensitizing concepts, while at the same time seeking to steer the altruism, morality, and social solidarity literature towards a more active engagement with history, power, and ideology.
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.
Colin C. Williams and Ioana Horodnic
Sociological Research Online 20 (3) 11
Keywords: Informal Sector, Shadow Economy, Marginalisation, Tax Morality, Nordic Societies, Scandinavia
Abstract: The aim of this paper is to evaluate the validity of the ‘marginalisation thesis’, which holds that marginalised populations are more likely to participate in the undeclared economy, in relation to Nordic societies. To do this, a 2013 special Eurobarometer survey is reported on who engages in undeclared work conducted in three Nordic nations, namely Denmark, Finland and Sweden involving 3,013 face-to-face interviews. Using multilevel mixed-effects logistic regression analysis, the finding is that the marginalisation thesis is valid in relation to some marginalised populations, namely those having difficulties paying their household bills, younger age groups, those defining themselves as working class and those who hold non-conformist norms, values and beliefs on tax compliance. Other marginalised populations however, including the unemployed, those living in rural areas and with less formal education, are revealed to be no more likely to engage in undeclared work than the employed, those in urban areas and with more years in education. Yet others marginalised populations, including women and people living in less affluent Nordic nations, are significantly less likely to participate in the undeclared economy than men and those living in more affluent Nordic countries, thus supporting the reinforcement thesis that undeclared work reinforces, rather than reduces, the disparities produced by the declared economy. The outcome is a call for a more nuanced understanding of the marginalisation thesis as valid for some marginalised populations but not others. The paper concludes by discussing the implications for theory and policy of this more variegated assessment of the marginalisation thesis.
Tuomas Ylä-Anttila and Eeva Luhtakallio
Sociological Research Online 21 (4) 4
Keywords: Morality, Valuation and Evaluation, Justification, Content Analysis, Framing
Abstract: This article introduces Justifications Analysis, a methodological approach for studying moral evaluations made in public debates. Established approaches to content analysis, most often building on the concept of framing, tend to overlook the moral dimension of public deliberation. We draw on Luc Boltanski and Laurent Thévenot's justification theory to present a typology of moral justifications, that is, ways of justifying arguments referring to varying understandings of the common good. We illustrate the use of the method through two case studies, one on the media debate on globalization and another on local political conflicts. We argue that this approach is particularly useful for understanding the differing degrees of institutionalization of moral categories and power relations within and across cultural contexts.