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Geoff Payne, Judy Payne and Mark Hyde
Sociological Research Online 1 (1) 3
Keywords: Deprivation, Class, Poverty, Social Indicators, South West, Urban, Rural
Abstract: The development and electronic accessibility of indices of poverty and social deprivation have yet to be fully exploited by mainstream sociology, not least in the field of class analysis where it might seem likely to be taken up. While reasons for this can be suggested, there are several conceptual frameworks within sociological debates about class that might accommodate deprivation and its indicators, and also valuable empirical resources in the form of indices which are now available to researchers interested in contemporary social inequality. The potential of this approach in the UK is demonstrated by an examination of patterns of social deprivation in 1991 Census data for 391 wards in the South West of England, using the Townsend, Jarman, Breadline Britain and the new DoE Local Conditions indices. Urban and rural patterns are demonstrated in inter-pair correlations between index scores, component variable values, and social class represented as SEGs. A factor analysis similarly shows distinct patterns for urban areas, small towns and rural areas. However, in all cases class, single-parent families, and children living in low- income households show the strongest associations with other deprivation indicators. An explanation for the empirical findings may be found in two main strands of class analysis. First, following Weber, deprivation and occupational class both derive from market situations, but the reported deprivation patterns cannot be entirely explained in terms of class: other factors (such as life-cycle) need to be included. Second, while there is no clear evidence of residualization in the data, some aspects of consumption sector theory seem to be born out; for example, differential opportunities for access to consumption. In addition, it is suggested that the rural/urban differences raise issues for ameliorative policies, further demonstrating the potential for a closer integration of the social indicators approach into the techniques of sociological analysis.
Sociological Research Online 2 (4) 2
Keywords: Class Warfare; Culture; Europe; Football (Soccer); Latin America; 'Ludic'; Nationalism; Pagan Religion; Politics; Social Transformation; Sport and Games
Abstract: In this article, I attempt to highlight the relationships between football (soccer), politics, culture, and social change in Latin American societies. The essential argument of the paper is that football in Latin America has tended to reinforce nationalistic, authoritarian, class-based, and gender-specific notions of identity and culture. The few efforts of Latin American professional football clubs, individual players, and fans to resist these oppressive tendencies and 'positively' influence the wider society with public positions on pressing social and political concerns have been issue-oriented, short-term, and generally unsystematic in their assessment of the larger societal ills. In Europe, however, there has been a stronger politicization of football directed towards social change by both professional football clubs and supporters. This European tendency, like its Latin American counterparts, has also failed to tackle wider systemic and structural issues in capitalist European societies. On both continents, the 'ludic' notion of games has been undermined by the era of football professionalism, its excessive materialism, and a corresponding 'win-at-all-costs' philosophy. In the future, the world's most popular game will continue to be utilized as a political tool of mass manipulation and social control: a kind of mass secular pagan religion. As a footnote not mentioned in the essay, the 1998 World Cup in France, a worldwide event with 32 countries and an estimated 2.5 billion fans watching the matches in the stadiums and on television, will be used by the international French Evangelical Alliance called 'Sport et Foi Mondial 98' ('Sport and Faith World Cup 98') to bring the Gospel to the greatest number of people in the world: Chaplaincy work among the athletes, a Bible-Expo at a strategic location, evangelical street concerts, evangelical messages and banners in the stadiums, etc. In this instance, the new pagan and secular religion of football clashes with the traditional Christian Church - itself crippled by a loss of mass supporters and the rise of alternative secular lords. In both cases, football unwittingly acts as an agent of mass indoctrination rather than challenging established dogmas, or serving as a vehicle for deeper, systemic social change.
Sociological Research Online 2 (4) 4
Keywords: Consumerism; Educational Marketplace; Ideology of Parentocracy; Parental Choice of Secondary Education; Social Class Inequalities; Social Reproduction; Symbolic Violence
Abstract: Following the enhancement of parental choice through the 1988 Education Act, an increasing body of educational literature, aside from describing parent wants and the implications for internal organisation and external marketing, includes criticism of it as yet another way of privileging the middle class over the working class (eg. Halstead, 1994). This paper argues that parental choice is a social field where social relations are reproduced, reinforced and mediated. As such, it is an important area for sociological study which, to date, has been neglected. Drawing on some preliminary analysis of a research study, this paper critically examines the merits of using the work of Pierre Bourdieu to facilitate a sociological analysis of parental choice. The paper concludes that parental choice is a new aspect of social reproduction that clearly demonstrates Bourdieu's explanation of the interrelation between 'habitus' and social 'field'.
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.
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.
Sociological Research Online 4 (1) travers
Keywords: Class; Discourse; Ethnography; Ethnomethodology; Life-History; Qualitative; Stratification
Abstract: This paper contrasts two approaches that qualitative researchers can adopt towards studying class and status divisions, drawing upon issues raised by Gordon Marshall in his (1988) paper about working class consciousness. It is suggested that researchers influenced by Marshall, and recent feminist ethnographers, whose central concept is class, ultimately adopt a competitive stance towards common-sense understanding and experience. Sociologists who seek to describe how members of society understand their own activities, such as the community studies tradition in anthropology, Pierre Bourdieu, and ethnomethodology, often conceptualise class in terms of status. These different ways of understanding qualitative data need to be understood in the context of foundational debates in nineteenth century sociology about action and structure, and indicate the continuing relevance of the Marx/Weber debate in discussions about social class.
Sociological Research Online 4 (3) halpin
Keywords: Class analysis, employment, social mobility, cohort, longitudinal, loglinear
Abstract: Has the massive transformation of the class structure over the twentieth century changed the consequences of class? In particular, does the fact that the salariat has taken over from the manual working classes as the largest category mean that the implications of membership of the salariat for one's life chances is no longer the same? This paper takes retrospective life-history data from the British Household Panel Study and models patterns of change in the structure of work-life mobility between the ages of 25 and 35 for individuals born between 1900 and 1959. The purpose is to seek evidence of broad changes in the consequences of class, through the middle and late 20th century, using an extremely valuable data resource. The evidence suggests that there is cross-cohort change in the patterns of work-life mobility, both in terms of traditional class categories and in terms of the relationship between class and more general employment status categories, but more strongly in the latter case. In general, the pattern is one of declining immobility, including declining salariat retentiveness. The paper concludes with a consideration of what the data mean, and what this particular bounded analysis has to say about the question of change in the consequences of class.
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.
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) 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 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.
Sociological Research Online 5 (3) gubbay
Keywords: Change; Class Composition; Class Structure; Industrial Sectors; Population Census; Proletarianisation; Sex Composition; Shift-share; Social Class; Socio-economic Groups
Abstract: Data drawn from Population Census of Great Britain suggest that both the images of proletarianisation and upward shift of the class structure are over-generalised. Shift-share analysis is used for the period 1981-1991 to explore the complex interactions between changes in class composition within industrial sectors, change in the relative size of sectors and sex composition shifts (within classes, within sectors and within class/sector categories). For example, sector shifts explain change in numbers of self-employed professionals and semi- skilled manual workers but changes in class composition within sectors account for changes in numbers of managers, non-manual ancillary workers and artists, unskilled workers and own account workers other than professionals. Change in class composition does not account for the change in the sex ratios within classes. Although sector shifts contribute to a decline of the male/female ratio in most classes, this process is uneven, with both declining male dominated and growing female dominated sectors, whose effect is partly counterbalanced by growing male dominated and declining female dominated sectors.
Clare Lewin and Myron Orleans
Sociological Research Online 5 (3) lewin
Keywords: Class; Critical Theory.; Discourse; Empowerment; Micro-class; Mode Of Of Consciousness; Phenomenology; Qualitative; Stratification; Technocratic' Authority
Abstract: This paper examined the paradoxical class situation of information specialists in the post-industrial society as both professionals and employees. We described and analyzed the 'technocratic' authority wielded by them and their mode of consciousness. We assessed whether these workers functioned as the vanguard of a new style of democratized work or buttressed the position of managerial authority. We used qualitative methods to study the social conduct and meaning systems of fourteen computer specialists, including programmers, analysts, and project leaders employed in a large insurance company. The data was analyzed using a critical phenomenological perspective derived from the work of authors such as Berger, Braverman, Burawoy, Foucault, and Marcuse. We found that the subjects experienced a class situation that was somewhat more empowered than the industrial or corporate models, but did not differ substantially from that of the production workers in industrial society. Their power, prestige, privilege and status essentially camouflaged the subjects' compliance to hierarchical authority. The subjects exhibited awareness of their power but essentially directed their energies toward task attainment and individual mobility. Lacking an orientation toward structure change, the information specialists did not appear to fit the notion of a vanguard group. From this research we foresee some possibilities of changes within organizational authority as information specialists confront management with their expertise, but we anticipate that the institutions of social domination will prevail.
Sociological Research Online 5 (4) bihagen
Keywords: Class Culture; Marriage; Mobility; Rational Action; Social Homogeneity
Abstract: Previous findings of large absolute mobility to service I class (the "upper" part of the "salariat") can be seen as a sign of the implausibility of class cultures. However, it is argued that these findings might be due to inappropriate divisions of class. Using Swedish data, and following a Weberian definition of class, a social class schema is derived empirically from marriage tendencies. Social homogeneity (immobility and in-marriage) is found to be relatively large in the working classes and in certain subgroups of service I. One interpretation of this, and the fact that there are few inter-marriages and a low level of mobility between the working class and these subgroups of service I, is that class structure might be bipolar such that the extremes are upholders of certain norms and cultures. The possible upper classes of service I need to be better operationalised in future research. Thus, since class cultures are plausible, and since individualistic rational action theory appears to be insufficient for explaining all possible class differentials (as earlier research has indicated), future class analysis might better rely on both rational action theory and class cultural explanations.
Sociological Research Online 6 (1) mackeogh
Keywords: Adolescents; Age; Audience; Bourdieu; Discourse; Family; Micro-Politics; Participant Observation; Television
Abstract: This article uses Bourdieu's concept of habitus, to explore how external discourses relating to young people and television, enter into the micro-politics of family viewing. It is based, primarily, on observation data collected by informants in the homes of young people. These data reveal the tactics and strategies that are used both by the young people and by their 'parents' to control the viewing process. It is possible to tentatively identify the projection of discourses of vulnerability onto young people who, in turn, attempt to position themselves as competent viewers evoking public discourses around youth and media savvy. Within the family setting these viewers develop a 'sense for the game' of viewing which informs the strategies they use to increase their control of the viewing experience.
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.
Geoff Payne and Judy Roberts
Sociological Research Online 6 (4) payne
Keywords: Absolute Mobility; British Election Survey; British Society; Nuffield Mobility Study; Occupational Transition; Relative Mobility; Social Change; Social Class; Social Mobility
Abstract: Sociological understanding of social mobility in Britain has depended heavily on the 1972 Nuffield Mobility Study. In the virtual absence of more recent data, analysis has drawn on this single study with its reliance on cohorts of males as the indicator of changes in mobility. One of the central conclusions has been that relative mobility rates, the key marker of class inequalities, remain unchanged. A new analysis of data from recent British Election Surveys shows that these conclusions should not be empirically generalised to the last quarter of a century, and that British society has experienced both periods of greater ?openness? and 'closure'. Several conceptual reservations follow once the limitations of the 'Nuffield tradition' have been identified. In particular, a case is made for closer attention to labour market processes and rates of absolute mobility.
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.
Sociological Research Online 7 (1) triandafyllidou
Keywords: Culture; Immigration; Italy; Multiculturalism; Political Parties; Press; Religion
Abstract: AbstractIn southern European countries, where immigration is a recent phenomenon, cultural and religious diversity brought into the host societies by non-EU immigrants has become an important public issue. The controversy over the construction of two new mosques in and around Milan, in October 2000, offers a suitable example for the study of attitudes and views on religious diversity in Italy, its recognition, acceptance or rejection. In the first part of the paper, I shall discuss briefly the size and composition of the immigrant community, the socio-economic position of immigrants in the host society and the legal provisions for naturalisation. In the second part of the paper, I shall concentrate on the 'mosque issue' and the dubious emergence of views and practices favouring a multicultural society and citizenship. The analysis is based on material collected from four major newspapers with both a regional and national circulation. The material will be analysed quantitatively with a view of identifying the main 'voices' involved in the debate and the thematic dimensions that organise it. A qualitative methodology of discourse analysis will be used to identify the prevailing discourse(s) and also how the different positions put forward by the dominant social and political actors are linked with specific features of the Italian political and party system. In the concluding section, I will discuss critically the Italian version of multiculturalism emerging in the mosque debate.
Sociological Research Online 7 (3) blokland
Keywords: Collective Action; Community; Ethnography; Gentrification; Middle Class; Neighbourhood; Poverty Poverty; Race; Social Capital
Abstract: In European and American cities alike, politicians and policymakers have developed a strong believe in 'mixture'. They believe that mixed neighbourhoods have the critical mass of an urban middle class whose economic, human and social capital benefits the whole neighbourhood. If middle classes have the social network contacts to access politicians and policymakers in ways that residents without such contact cannot, is it enough for the poor simply to rub shoulders in the same neighbourhood with the better-off? Does such social capital as individual asset become available to all? Or do the social networks within the neighbourhood, across the lines of class and race, need certain characteristics as meant by Putnam and Coleman for Portes' and Bourdieu's social capital to become transferable? This paper discusses these questions through a case study in a mixed neighbourhood in a New England college town. The case study suggests that the help of an urban gentry in collective action might depend on how inclusively and fluidly such a gentry defines 'shared interests', how power relations determine what 'collective' in collective action means, and how difficulties to speak with those the gentry might want to speak for can be overcome. For residents with limited resources, the case suggests that whether or not they can use an urban elite in their neighbourhood to access new resources depends on the quality and nature of informal rather than institutional relationships, and on specific characteristics of reciprocity and mutuality of neighbourhood networks across race and class.
Sociological Research Online 7 (3) butler
Keywords: Gentrification. Middle Classes. London. Metropolitan Habitus. Bourdieu. Social Capital. Globalization.
Abstract: The paper advances the notion that there is 'metropolitan habitus' in large global cities such as London which distinguishes it from other conurbations in the United Kingdom. At the same time, it is argued that whilst London is becoming an increasingly middle-class city, this group is increasingly stratified along socio-spatial lines. Richard Sennett's work The Corrosion of Character is drawn upon to suggest that, to some extent, different gentrification strategies enable the metropolitan middle classes to compensate for the lack of a long term in contemporary middle-class life.Drawing on fieldwork, recently conducted in five gentrified areas of inner London north and south of the Thames, it is suggested that an important aspect of the socio spatial differentiation within the metropolitan middle class is whether it seeks to embrace or escape the contemporary globalization of consumer culture. Although this process is highly nuanced by individual strategies for negotiating the boundaries between the global and the local, which are exemplified by the distinction between residential areas and the centre of London, it is nevertheless suggested that these socio-spatial divisions account for variations within the metropolitan habitus to a greater extent than socio- demographic and occupational divisions which are only weakly associated with the global/non-global dichotomisation. The paper uses both quantitative and qualitative data to look at the different ways in which cultural, economic and social capital are drawn on in the gentrification of each area and how these reflect not only the capabilities but also the proclivities of the different groups concerned. It is suggested that metropolitan habitus is a concept that needs further analysis and research but which has considerable potential explanatory value in accounting for differences between the middle classes in London and other provincial cities and non urban areas.
Sociological Research Online 7 (3) sayer
Keywords: Embarrassment, Worth, Moral Sentiments, Bourdieu
Abstract: The paper attempts to explain the unease and evasion that sociologists commonly encounter when asking lay people about class. It is argued that these responses derive from varying degrees of awareness of the morally problematic nature of class. This has been obscured by contemporary sociology's tendency to explain behaviour by reference to interests and power or custom and to overlook lay moral sentiments. That the responses are reasonable is shown by an analysis of a) the injustice of class, b) its effect in distorting moral sentiments, and c) the injuries caused by class. Combinations of self-justification with acknowledgement of undeserved advantages and disadvantages result in ambivalence and embarrassment about class, though this may not preclude class pride. The analysis of these moral sentiments is then developed further in relation to studies of the struggles of the social field, in the work of Bourdieu and others, commenting on his shift from a hermeneutics of suspicion to a hermeneutics of sympathy in The Weight of the World. It is argued that what is at stake in these struggles is not only differences in material wealth and recognition but differences in ability to realise commitments and valued ways of living.
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.
Sociological Research Online 8 (1) allen
Keywords: Emotions; Facework; Habitus.; Trust; Welfare Intermediaries; Welfare Professionalism
Abstract: The joined-up working research literature consistently emphasizes inter- professional barriers to co-operation, and presents joined-up work as a worthwhile though largely unproductive activity. This reflects the extent to which it uses the sociology of professions literature, which construes 'social closure' goals and 'boundary maintenance' activities as key elements of welfare professional work, as its epistemological reference point. It also reflects the extent to which this literature has hitherto been based on analyses of joined-up working between welfare professionals with professional territory to defend. This paper presents an ethnographic account of how one 'floating support worker' worked as a 'welfare intermediary' at the interstices between (rather than within) the welfare professions. The paper represents welfare intermediaries as noteworthy for two reasons. First, they are shown to employ working practices that constitute the antithesis of 'boundary maintaining' welfare professional work. Second, understanding the nature of these working practices is important because the government is now promoting the logic of their 'new' welfare practice as a way to tackle the 'joined-up causes of social exclusion'.
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.
John D. Brewer
Sociological Research Online 8 (4) brewer
Keywords: Religion; Sex; Sexuality; The Bible; The Church
Abstract: Sexuality is an obsession of the Christian Church. It is one of the social behaviours that it has tried most to control amongst its flock and yet the Christian Church has failed to prevent the encroachment of modern attitudes towards sex and sexuality into the Church as an institution. The furore over the proposed appointment of an openly gay bishop in the Church of England is but the latest expression of this tension. However, this paper argues that this debate needs to be placed in a much broader context, namely, the hermeneutical problem of the authority of the Bible, which is itself only one part of a wider sociology of the Bible. The current debate on sexuality in the Church highlights the need for sociology to begin to apply its way of thinking to the Bible.
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.
Sociological Research Online 8 (4) hicks
Keywords: Lesbian parenting/gay parenting/child development/ Christianity/homophobia/Christian right/homophobic discourse.
Abstract: Abstract: This ‘rapid response’ piece, submitted under the ‘Sexuality and the Church’ theme, examines claims by Christian writers that lesbian and gay parenting is bad for children. The author analyses aspects of what he terms a ‘Christian homophobic discourse’ in order to demonstrate the problematic claim to neutrality made by these writers. In addition, the author shows how the Christian writers’ view of research rests upon a series of positivist assumptions. Claims that research evidence shows children of lesbian or gay parents demonstrate gender or sexual identity confusion are disputed, and the author argues that the Christian writers present their own moral interpretations rather than the ‘facts of the matter’. The author argues that the Christian writers construct a version of homosexuality as highly diseased and dangerous, before concluding that it is both epistemologically and morally misguided to see ‘sexuality’ as an object or variable which influences the development of children.
Yaojun Li, Mike Savage and Andrew Pickles
Sociological Research Online 8 (4) li
Keywords: Civic Participation; Class Formation; Class Polarization; Friendship; Social Capital
Abstract: This paper studies the changing distribution of social capital and its impact on class formation in England and Wales from a ‘class structural’ perspective. It compares data from the Social Mobility Inquiry (1972) and the British Household Panel Survey (1992 and 1998) to show a distinct change in the class profiling of membership in civic organisations, with traditionally working-class dominated associations losing their working-class character, and middle-class dominated associations becoming even more middle-class dominated. Similar changes are evident for class-differentiated patterns of friendship. Our study indicates the class polarization of social capital in England and Wales.
Sociological Research Online 9 (1) mitchell
Keywords: Community Forestry; Fieldwork; Methodology; Mexico; Oaxaca; Researcher Privilege; Sociology
Abstract: This paper examines personal experience as both a sociologist and forester collecting data in the southern state of Oaxaca, Mexico. It builds on writings where researchers have taken an introspective or auto/biographical approach to problematizing their own involvement. My findings illustrate that demographic and social features such as gender, nationality, and language can both hinder and privilege social science research. Moreover, this paper disputes the contention that expertise in a given specialty automatically makes for good field research. Depending upon the type of research and the questions being addressed, previous professional experience may actually hinder the building of rapport in certain cases. Genuine efforts to engage in local discourse can ultimately serve to improve fieldwork, and contribute to mutual understanding.
Sociological Research Online 9 (1) noel
Keywords: Critical Discourse Analysis; Critical Postliberalism; Intersubjectivity; Religion; Sexuality; Social Cognition; Sociolinguistics; The Church
Abstract: Critical sociolinguistics (conceived as Critical Discourse Analysis: CDA), which has a focus on inclusive and exclusive language within social practice, can be used to shed light on underlying aspects of recent debates about the appointment of homosexual bishops in the UK and USA. One strand of the CDA approach is to examine the social cognitions implicit in the behaviours of communities. In the case of the religious communities involved here, a basic feature of their differences lies in their use of contrasting socio-theological, mentally-encoded schemata: the Evangelical, group-focused, strong commitment frame (SCF) contrasts sharply with the more liberally-inclined, more 'individual-respecting', social normalcy frame (SNF). One of the consequences of this is that Evangelicals appear to enjoy a particularly strong sense of 'mental bonding of outlook', intersubjectivity, in which a high focus on group objectives and social outlooks is closely allied to their traditional beliefs. And although Evangelical, 'group-thought' intersubjectivity may aid mental resistance to change on some social issues (eg homosexual bishops), it may however also help maintain 'broad inclusion' in terms of social marginalisation of normally more common, but perhaps less 'culturally visible' kinds (eg the single and elderly).
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.
Manos Savvakis and Manolis Tzanakis
Sociological Research Online 9 (2) savvakis
Keywords: Bias; Biographical-Narrative Method; Biography; Ethnographic Research; Participant Observation; Research Field
Abstract: The way the researcher enters the research field can constitute a privileged mode of observing the structure and qualities of the research field, particularly in qualitative sociological inquiries. In the process of the initial contact of the researcher with a social place, especially in those cases when his/her physical presence is required, the structural features of the place gradually manifest themselves. Quite often, a strictly ‘technical’ approach to research-work tends to overlook the potential usefulness of this phase. In this article, we will put forward the hypothesis that by investigating the way research participants observe the researcher, especially during the initial stage of interaction, we can gain useful knowledge regarding particular structural aspects of the research field.
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.
Marco van der Land
Sociological Research Online 10 (2) vanderland
Keywords: New Middle Class, Symbolic Consumption, Urban Sociology
Abstract: Cities have increasingly developed into spaces for consumption. This paper explores the relationship between patterns of use of urban leisure amenities and feelings of attachment to the city. A survey among highly educated professionals and managers (the new middle class, working in the Dutch city of Rotterdam) was carried out in order to examine both their participation in the domain of urban leisure and urban residence, and their attachments to the city in general. The survey shows that among the new middle class subgroupings can be identified, based on their mobility with regard to leisure and their psychological attachments to the city. One of them is a group of young single urban households, who are not only frequent urban consumers, but who also feel strongly attached to the city as a whole. The findings suggest that in cities specific processes of symbolic consumption occur which facilitate some extent of psychological attachment and which appear to tie a subset of the new middle class to urban places, regardless of place of residence.
Sociological Research Online 10 (3) callaghan
Keywords: Structure, Agency, Habitus, Field, Focus Groups
Abstract: The article focuses on the intersection of theory methodology and empirical research to argue that we can learn about habitus through certain types of focus groups. An account of the relationship between structure, individual and collective agency is developed to provide a grounding for the methodological argument. The article suggests, on the basis of this understanding, that focus groups can be constituted to give us access to interactions which draw upon the collective basis of habitus. Some empirical work is drawn upon for illustrative purposes.
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) khattab
Keywords: Class, Discrimination, Earning Inequality, Ethnicity, Israel, Palestinians
Abstract: This paper focuses on the role of ethnicity and class in generating earnings inequality in Israel. Unlike previous studies on inequality of opportunities in Israel, in this paper I compare the earnings of five ethnic groups: European Jews (Ashkenazi), Asian-African Jews (Sephardi), Muslim Palestinians, Christian Palestinians and Druze Palestinians. In addition, both men and women are taken into account. The analysis, which is based on data obtained from the 1983 and 1995 Israeli population censuses, has revealed that in Israel, class variations resulting from the differentiation of employment contracts in the labour market, appear to have played a much more important role over time in producing earnings inequality. However, at the same time, it was found that class in this context is highly related to ethnicity, thereby suggesting that class and ethnicity are interwoven. While it seemed that to some extent, class plays a similar role among men and women, the role of ethnicity among men was much more central than it was among women, in the allocation of people into class positions.
Sociological Research Online 10 (3) taylor
Keywords: Class, Sexuality, Reflexivity, Materialism, Queer
Abstract: This research note is grounded in the findings of my PhD thesis 'Working-class lesbians: classed in a classless climate' (2004), which examines the significance of class and sexuality in the lives of women who self-identify themselves as working-class and lesbian, who are necessarily, unavoidably, painfully and pleasurably, living out the intersection of class and sexuality. I aim to offer an oversight of the project, taking account of the material and subjective inputs into working-class lesbian identity. Drawing on data collected from a series of interviews I will highlight the interconnections between class and sexuality and the role they play in relation to identities and experiences. By drawing on and critically evaluating previous work in the field and related fields I will illustrate the various ways in which working-class lesbians may be seen to constitute a gap in the literature. Hoping to address this gap and this invisibility, I will examine the ways in which class and sexuality are negotiated and represented by my interviewees. I contrast lived experience with notions of a 'queer identity' and the material constraints imposed upon the normative expression of identity.
Sociological Research Online 10 (4) ramji
Keywords: Employment, Ethnicity, Class, British Pakistani Men
Abstract: This article draws upon research conducted amongst young British Pakistani men in Lancashire to explore how different boundaries of British Pakistani identity are being constructed. It focuses on the significance of employment within Pakistani men's inter and intra-ethnic peer group relations and the ways in which the social dynamics that underlie those relations provide the context for understanding the particular nature and form that ethnicity takes. It does this through the narratives of professional and non-professional men. The article has two aims, firstly it seeks to contribute to the literature on understanding ethnic identity by looking at boundaries as they manifest themselves and suggesting one way in which ethnicity can be understood within a specific social context. Secondly, in so doing it hopes to extend research focus on British Pakistanis away from conventional agendas.
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 (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.
Sociological Research Online 12 (3) 6
Keywords: Qualitative Data, Social Class, Identities
Abstract: The idea that class identities have waned in importance over recent decades is a staple feature of much contemporary social theory yet has not been systematically investigated using primary historical data. This paper re-uses qualitative data collected by Mass-Observation which asks about the social class identities of correspondents of its directives in two different points in time, 1948 and 1990. I show that there were significant changes in the way that class was narrated in these two periods. There is not simple decline of class identities, but rather a subtle reworking of the means by which class is articulated. In the earlier period Mass-Observers are ambivalent about class in ways which indicate the power of class as a form of ascriptive inscription. By 1990, Mass-Observers do not see class identities as the ascribed product of their birth and upbringing, but rather they elaborate a reflexive and individualised account of their mobility between class positions in ways which emphasise the continued importance of class identities. As well as being a contribution to debates on changing class identities, the paper highlights the value of the re-use of qualitative data as a means of examining patterns and processes of historical change
Geoff Cooper and Mary Ebeling
Sociological Research Online 12 (3) 8
Keywords: Epistemology, Fields, Financial Understanding of Science, Nanotechnology, Sociology of Journalists, Scepticism, STS
Abstract: This paper, which examines the work of journalists in one field, argues for the value of including journalists' own understandings and practices in analyses of the role of the media. Moreover it suggests that, in this field, there may be more commonalities between the practices of journalism and social science than is commonly supposed. The paper is based upon a set of interviews with scientific and financial journalists, covering their interpretations of nanotechnologies and their development. Whereas much of the social scientific work to date in this area has been concerned with the public understanding of science, and the role that journalism plays in relation to this, our study addresses the parallel issue of how, in a field characterised by high levels of commercialisation, potential investors get information and make judgments about particular applications, and the extent to which journalism plays a key role in this process. Here, we focus not primarily on the ways in which the media frame understandings of a complex technology, important though they may be, but on the practical epistemological strategies that journalists employ to make sense of it. We argue that journalists can be seen to be engaged in epistemological strategies that are analogous to those of sociologists, and that this dimension is too easily missed by approaches that, for example, recommend that the correct unit of analysis should always be journalism rather than journalists. We conclude by suggesting that, whilst the general applicability of our argument to other fields of journalism is necessarily an empirical question, our approach may have more general significance for debates about the critical role of social science.
Sociological Research Online 12 (5) 16
Keywords: Educational Mobility; Class Mobility; Social Mobility; Occupational Attainment; Class Inequality; Service Class; Mother\'s Education; Mother\'s Class; Cultural Capital; Credentialism
Abstract: Quantitative studies of occupational attainment and intergenerational social mobility have often devoted little attention to the roles of parental education and educational inheritance. Informed by the ideas of authors who see class reproduction as reflecting more than occupations and economic resources (including Devine, Savage and Crompton), this paper assesses the importance of parents' educations, and considers the relevance of education to class analysis and class reproduction processes. Logistic regressions using British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) data establish the relative importance of parents' educations and parents' occupational classes as determinants of children's attainment of service class occupations. These multivariate analyses reiterate the salience of mother's class, but also show that mother's education has an independent impact. However, this is more limited if both parents can be assigned to classes. The only difference between daughters and sons that is found in the impact of parental characteristics is a weaker impact of father's class on daughter's occupational attainment than on son's occupational attainment. For both daughters and sons, mother's education and mother's class have an impact. The relationship between parents' and children's educations accounts for relatively little of the relationship between parents' and children's occupational classes. Hence intergenerational class mobility patterns do not simply echo intergenerational educational mobility patterns. However, an examination of the direct and indirect effects of parents' educations and classes on children's occupational attainment shows parental education to play a substantial role in the intergenerational transmission of advantage, and indicates that part (but not all) of the relationship between class origin and occupational attainment can be explained in terms of the intergenerational transmission of cultural capital. In contrast, a substantial part of the indirect effect of parental class via children's qualifications does not reflect parental education. Hence the conversion of parental economic resources into children's educational credentials also appears important.
Sociological Research Online 12 (6) 10
Keywords: Bourdieu, Class, Postcommunism
Abstract: This article suggests that Bourdieu's model of class, framed in terms of cultural capital and habitus, is particularly valuable in understanding the restoration of capitalism under postcommunist conditions. Following the analyses of Szelényi and his collaborators, it is suggested that post-communist managerialism is still strikingly more pronounced than in the West. This and the notion of habitus in particular are perhaps the main elements of Bourdieu's thinking on which we can draw in theorizing postcommunist transition.
Sociological Research Online 12 (6) 14
Keywords: Bourdieu, Distinction, Relation, Pratique, Souffrance Physique, Violence Symbolique
Abstract: Le concept de distinction est au cœur de la réception allemande des travaux de Pierre Bourdieu. La traduction particulière des termes principaux qui s'y lient directement, à savoir le corps (Leib) et l'agent (Akteur), et la traduction du concept de distinction lui-même (Unterschied) pousse à revenir sur leur signification dans l'œuvre originale du sociologue français. L'analyse est menée à travers le prisme de la souffrance physique. Elle indique que contrairement à ce que la sémantique allemande de la distinction suggère, la distinction de Bourdieu n'intègre pas sa propre différenciation. Le concept reflète le privilège accordé à une description et à une explication des pratiques sociales misant sur un principe fort de relation. Or, il a le désavantage de ne pas considérer les phénomènes de déstructuration renvoyant à des différenciations de logiques distinctives qui peuvent apparaître en contexte de souffrance physique.
Sociological Research Online 12 (6) 5
Keywords: Aspirations; Education; Middle Class; Hong Kong; Resources; Strategies
Abstract: It is well-documented for most industrial-capitalist societies that despite educational expansion, class differentials in educational attainment persist. This paper seeks to understand mechanisms maintaining the class differentials by examining how two groups of middle-class parents – teachers and managers – help their children obtain an advantaged qualification. Qualitative data were collected in Hong Kong between 1996 and 1997. Given a changing employment structure, teachers and managers anticipated that their children would need at least a bachelor's degree in order not to become disadvantaged in the future labour market and therefore used economic, cultural, and social resources to enable their children to obtain such a qualification. However, despite their strategies, whether respondents will succeed in achieving that remains uncertain. In addition, the evidence also indicated that their strategies could be counter-productive. This points to a need for researching into possible negative impacts of strategies of middle-class parents on their children's academic performance and emotion. As Hong Kong is then under the Chinese rule after the 1997 handover, this study documenting strategies of middle-class parents for their children's education under the British rule could serve as a reference for future comparisons.
Sociological Research Online 13 (1) 10
Keywords: Mills, Goffman, Gay, Queer, Mixed-Methods, Methodology, Reflexivity, Sociological Imagination, Symbolic Interactionism, Class
Abstract: The central objective of this paper is to attempt to counter an overly-rigid theoretical approach in data analysis. Implicit in the push to identify and follow one proper theoretical stream is the idea that one's particular theoretical approach will always be plausible and contains an inherent 'value' over any other approach. That being said, the purpose of this paper is two-fold. The first is to argue that a rigid theoretical approach to understanding people from non-homogenized communities leaves the analysis wanting. Instead, I refer to a more flexible nature of using a mixed-method approach to analysis, which will generate an appropriately pluralistic representation of someone from a pluralist community. Secondly, this paper suggests that a mixed-method approach should include both a micro and a macro analysis. In this vein, I put forward the benefits of combining the theoretical approaches of both Goffman and Mills. In doing so, I am not suggesting that Goffman and Mills are the only theorists to use. Rather, the combination of these two theories is useful for understanding an intersubjective approach to myself. A flexible epistemological approach would recognize that other situations might call for the use of other theorists.
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.
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.
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.
John S. McKenzie
Sociological Research Online 14 (2) 8
Keywords: Participant Observation; Ethics; Covert Research; Overt Research; Informed Consent; Researcher Role; Field Relations; Reflexivity
Abstract: There has been a tendency in sociology to see covert and overt roles of social researchers in participant observation studies as opposites. This is both in terms of the researcher role and the surrounding ethics, with the overt researcher role being seen as fundamentally more ethical than the covert participant observer. However, Calvey (2008) alleged that covert practices often remain unreported in overt accounts. The purpose of this paper is therefore to address this issue through reflections on my own research experience. Drawing on my research with the contemporary spiritual milieu in Scotland, I will argue that the covert and overt roles are far from opposites and should be seen as part of a continuum. The moral high ground attributed to overt research is often questionable and most overt studies will employ covert practices. It will therefore be argued that decisions regarding the role of the participant observer should be grounded in the intellectual contemplation of specific research situations, including ethical considerations, rather than condemning sound social enquiry on the misguided basis that overt research is always superior to covert studies because of its ethical standards. In conclusion it will be argued that all researchers have a responsibility to reflect honestly upon their research experience as part of wider reflexive turn in social research.
Sociological Research Online 14 (4) 10
Keywords: Historical Sociology, Sociology of Religion, Gravestones, Graveyards, Sociology of Culture
Abstract: Permanent individual gravemarkers were established as social norm for large populations in the nineteenth century. These markers typically display a range of matters-of-fact about the dead: name, age or dates of birth and death, family status, social position, profession, religion, etc. They also include symbolic figurations, which communicate in a more implicit way how the survivors remember their dead. Against this background, this paper analyses gravemarkers and graveyards as material witnesses of changing social and cultural sensibilities. It explores the kinds of changes which took place in European regions with a predominantly Catholic population.
Sociological Research Online 14 (5) 1
Keywords: Baroque, Body, Cancer, Celebrity, Death, Dying, Media, Reality Television, Sequestration, Social Class
Abstract: The article analyses the scale of, and reactions to, print media coverage of the dying from cancer in 2009 of young British media celebrity Jade Goody. Some sociologists have argued that death is sequestrated, with the dying body particularly hidden and problematic; hence the sociological significance of the intense and high profile coverage of Jade's final weeks. In particular, the baroque emotionality of press photos, especially those which glamorised her baldness (the result of failed chemotherapy), challenges the sequestration thesis. Reactions were complex, with criticism of her public dying mixed with criticism of reality television in general, together with class prejudice. New media's blurring of public and private creates new arenas for publicising the bodily, personal and emotional experience of dying, while at the same time affirming the public/private boundary so that the ordinary dying of ordinary people remains substantially hidden.
John R. Hall
Sociological Research Online 14 (5) 10
Keywords: Conflict, Generalization, Historical Sociology, Historicism,, Lifeworld, Methodology, Modernity, Phenomenology, Religion, Temporality, Theory
Abstract: Methodologies of historical sociology face research problems centered on the instability of historical referents, their historical non-independence, and the privileging of objective time of the clock and calendar. The present essay, by reflecting on an analysis of the apocalyptic in the long run (Hall 2009), proposes the potential to solve these problems by way of a phenomenology of history, which analyzes the enactment and interplay of multiple social temporalities. Whereas high-modern theories of modernity tended to portray a secular trend toward the triumph of rationalized social order centered in diachronic time, analysis of the historical emergence of apocalyptic times in relation to other temporalities especially objective (or diachronic) temporalities, the here-and-now, and the collective synchronic reveals that the apocalyptic has survived within modernity through the articulation of rationalized diachronic time with the sacred strategic time of apocalyptically framed 'holy war.' Overall, the 'empire of modernity' is a hybrid formation that bridges diachronic and strategic temporalities. Despite diachronic developments that tend toward what Habermas described as the colonization of the lifeworld, a phenomenological analysis suggests the durability of the here-and-now and collective synchronic times. These analyses unveil a research agenda that deconstructs the high-modern 'past' versus 'present' binary in favor of a model that analyzes the interplay of multiple social forms, and thus encourages a retheorization of modernity as 'recomposition' encompassing multiple temporalities.
Jeanne Allen, Mark Sinclair and Richard Smith
Sociological Research Online 14 (5) 6
Keywords: Mead, Theory of Emergence, Field of Interaction, Role Taking, Self Regulated Behaviour, Rationality, Theory-Practice Gap, Pre-Service Teacher Education, Beginning Teacher Practice
Abstract: In this paper we take up Chang's (2004) challenge to apply Mead's theory of emergence in sociological inquiry. Largely overlooked by scholars, this theory is shown to prove explanatory in one field where limited solutions have been found to date. Specifically, the theory sheds light on how the theory-practice gap is created and sustained in pre-service teacher education. The argument is that under current institutional arrangements the trainee/beginning teacher encounters different and oft-times conflicting environmental, social and cultural conditions in the two 'fields of interaction' (Mead, 1934: 249) of their training program, namely, the on-campus pre-service program and the school. The argument draws on interview and focus group data collected via a study of first-year graduate teachers of an Australian pre-service teacher education program. We conclude that the Meadian mechanisms of role taking and self-regulated behaviour within the two environmental fields of interaction inhibit the trainee/beginning teacher from exercising the power of agency to implement theory learned at university in practice in the classroom. In this sense Mead's theory of emergence predicts the obduracy of the gap between theory and practice in teacher education.
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.
Robert M. Vanderbeck, Gill Valentine, Kevin Ward, Joanna Sadgrove and Johan Andersson
Sociological Research Online 15 (2) 3
Keywords: Anglican Communion; Sexuality; Christianity; Religious Identities
Abstract: Recent discussions of the international Anglican Communion have been dominated by notions of a 'crisis' and 'schism' resulting from conflicts over issues of homosexuality. Existing accounts of the Communion have often tended to emphasise the perspectives of those most vocal in the debates (particularly bishops, senior clergy, and pressure groups) or to engage in primarily theological analysis. This article examines the nature of the purported 'crisis' from the perspectives of Anglicans in local parishes in three different national contexts: England, South Africa, and the US. Unusually for writing on the Communion, attention is simultaneously given to parishes that have clear pro-gay stances, those that largely oppose the acceptance of homosexual practice, and those with more ambivalent positions. In doing so, the article offers new insights for the growing body of literature on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Christians, as well as wider discussions about the contested nature of contemporary Anglican and other Christian identities. Key themes include the divergent ways in which respondents felt (and did not feel) connections to the spatially distant 'others' with whom they are in Communion; the complex relationships and discordances between parish, denominational, and Communion-level identities; and competing visions of the role of the Communion in producing unity or preserving diversity amongst Anglicans.
Sociological Research Online 15 (4) 10
Keywords: Gay, Lesbian, Elias, Reflexivity, Figurational Sociology, Habitus
Abstract: Lesbian and gay sociology has witnessed a reflexive turn in recent years, which emphasises choice, self-creation and self-determination in the formation of sexual identities. Individuals are involved in, what Giddens (1991) called, a 'project of self' or a 'reflexive biography', which allows them to engage in a dynamic and constantly evolving process of defining and re-defining their self-identity. Identity becomes fluid, fragmented and plastic. In a recent issue of this journal, Brian Heaphy argued that such accounts of lesbian and gay reflexivity are partial and fail to take account of the ways in which structural factors continue to limit one's choice narrative and he proposed a move towards a reflexive sociology, rather than a sociology of reflexivity. This article seeks to develop Heaphy's argument further and suggests that the limitation of theories of reflexivity lies in their inability to adequately account for the continued significance of collectivity, interdependency and human relations in shaping an individual's identity. Drawing on Norbert Elias' figurational sociology, it will be argued that against a reflexive model of identity that privileges individualism, choice and creativity over collectivity and material constraints, there is a pressing need to revisit and re-establish our interdependent relationships with one another.
Sociological Research Online 15 (4) 7
Keywords: Bauman, Beck, Bourdieu, Capital, Class, Individualisation, Self-Perception
Abstract: One of the core contentions of individualisation is that the residents of contemporary Western nations are no longer willing or able to perceive the motors of their life paths as external, social forces such as 'class' or material resources and instead talk of internal, personal facets and motivations. This paper, grounded in a Bourdieusian understanding of class, engages with this prominent assertion through analysis of 55 life-history interviews with people from a mix of class positions. It reveals that though individualistic sentiments are present, the respondents were all too ready to cite various forms of capital as advantages or disadvantages as well, though the degree to which they were seen as 'external' or 'individualised' differed by class. Furthermore, when 'class' was brought explicitly into the frame it was generally seen as a playing a fundamental role in life's trajectory, but mainly through issues of interaction and (mis)recognition rather than deprivation and inequality. Insofar as individualistic schemes of perception and class thus intertwine these processes could be said to represent what Beck refers to as a 'both/and' situation, but since they are neither particularly new nor damaging to class analysis the individualisation thesis is put in doubt.
Sociological Research Online 16 (1) 14
Keywords: Moral Sentiments of Class, Class Injuries, Social Mobility, Biography, Middle Class, Hong Kong
Abstract: Drawing on the mobility accounts of eighty-nine respondents who perceived themselves as socially mobile in post-war Hong Kong, I devise a typology of four biographies – normal, choice, special, and emotional biographies – to examine the cognitive structure of their accounts in order to make sense of moral sentiments of class. Three tentative conclusions are drawn. First, class feelings could be seen as better class markers than self-reported class identity. Second, upward mobility does not simply complicate class feelings but could lead to a distorted class sentiment that justifies rather than challenges class inequality; yet four biographies show a variety of its operation. Third, upward mobility does not necessarily treat previous class injuries; instead, it could bring new class injuries. In sum, social fluidity of a class society does not make class inequality less arbitrary or more just nor does it necessarily render class feelings and moral sentiments of class as irrelevant.
Rachel Brooks and Johanna Waters
Sociological Research Online 16 (2) 1
Keywords: Higher Education, Students, Tuition Fees, International Education, Cultural Capital
Abstract: An article in The Guardian in 2006 claimed that: 'some bright students have found an answer to the fees nightmare: in Europe'. It went on to argue that the introduction of variable fees in the UK in 2006 had encouraged some UK students to consider moving overseas for their degrees and, in particular, to European countries such as Sweden and the Netherlands, which charged low fees or no fees at all. While there have been a small number of further press reports which have indicated that changes to the funding of higher education in the UK have encouraged more young people to consider seriously the possibility of studying abroad, we still know relatively little about the impact of financial factors on a decision to pursue a degree overseas. Although many researchers have explored the economic rewards which often accrue in the medium- or long-term as a result of overseas study, the academic literature has much less to say about both the impact of fee differentials on young people's decision-making, and the resources upon which they draw to fund a period of study overseas. In an attempt to redress this gap, this paper draws on data from a qualitative study of young UK citizens who had either completed a degree abroad, or were seriously considering moving overseas for this purpose, to explore the impact of short-term economic calculations on their decisions, and the sources of funding upon which they drew. In doing so, we argue, firstly, that there are important differences between mobile students: those who moved abroad for an undergraduate degree tended to be from more privileged backgrounds than those who moved for postgraduate studies and, as a result, considerably less sensitive to price differentials. Secondly, we suggest that, despite important differences in economic capital, both undergraduates and postgraduates were able to draw on significant cultural resources. This raises questions about the extent to which overseas opportunities can be opened up more widely, to include a greater cross-section of young people.
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?
Sociological Research Online 16 (2) 9
Keywords: Habitus; Biographical Interview; Epistemological Break; Educational Research; Bourdieu
Abstract: The intention of this paper is to serve as a reflexive comment as to my ongoing empirical processes and epistemological position concerning research on university graduates' aspirations and expectations of graduate employment. This paper will illustrate the inevitable role of social theory in empirical research, and from a Bourdieusian position, consider the use of theory in creating a break with common sense, the danger of replacing common sense with learned bias, and processes that may aid to avoid this problematic issue. Using educational research as a tangible basis, this paper will discuss the empirical application of the habitus in creating a break with common sense, whilst not losing itself to social theory. However, in an effort to depart from simply offering a comment on the need for the application of theory in educational research, this paper intends to demonstrate how the neo-positivist biographical narrative interview method can, contrary to Bourdieu's (1987) comments, illuminate the habitus, offering an opportunity for its empirical application in educational research and also for the wider academy.
Sociological Research Online 16 (3) 12
Keywords: Sociology, Urban, Immigration, Housing, Housing Classes, Community, Sparkbrook, Birming¬ham, Race Relations, Discrimination
Abstract: Race, Community and Conflict by John Rex and Robert Moore was published in 1967 and had a considerable public impact through press and TV. Forty four years later it is still widely cited in research on British urban society and 'race relations'. It is used in teaching research methods, theory, urban sociology and 'race relations' to undergrad-uates. This article describes and explains the immediate impact of the book and its more lasting contribution to sociology. Race, Community and Conflict immediately addressed contemporary public issues around immigration and race relations and was the first book systematically to explore the responses of one city administration to the arrival of new migrants drawn in by the local demand for labour. The longer term impact of the book, it is argued, derives from its attempt to create a theoretical framework deriving from both the work of the Chicago School of Sociology and the adoption of a Weberian approach to social class and urban conflict. The combination of theorised structural analysis with detailed local ethnographic approaches to research probably accounts for the book's continued contribution to the teaching of sociology.
Sociological Research Online 16 (3) 13
Keywords: Authorship Patterns, Bibliographical Databases, British Sociology, Fields Within Sociology, International Sociology, Journal Articles, Regional Differences
Abstract: To provide a factual foundation for understanding of the trajectory of the development in British sociology a content analysis of the journal articles in the main generalist British sociology journals is provided. This contributes both an overall picture, and allows an account of contrasts between the journals. Attention is focused on the extent to which the content differs between British and other authors (and more detailed geographical breakdowns and other aspects of authorship) and how content has changed over time. Finally, how the research outcomes are related to some of the characteristics of producers and producing departments are assayed.
Sociological Research Online 16 (3) 2
Keywords: Intergenerational Downward Mobility, Parental Mobility, Parental Educational Level, Cultural Capital Theory, Longitudinal Study
Abstract: Intergenerational downward social mobility is an issue of growing relevance, but there are still very few studies examining possible risk factors for dropping down the occupational hierarchy. On the basis of unique longitudinal interview and register data from Sweden, this study analyses the roles played by parental upward mobility and parental levels of education in downward mobility. Elements from cultural capital theory (CCT) are investigated as possible mechanisms for explaining the relationship between independent and dependent factors. Whereas the study fails to find support for the role of parental mobility, the parents' level of education turns out to be a powerful predictor of downward mobility. And whereas the measure of cultural capital presents a weak or non-existent relationship with the dependent variable, two attitudinal variables, employed as indicators of habitus and a possible don Quixote effect, do present a significant relationship with the risk for downward mobility. However, while the study hypothesized these attitudes to be mediating mechanisms that might explain the relationship between parental educational level and downward mobility, in the multivariate analyses the attitudinal measures instead turn out to have an independent effect in addition to the parental level of education.
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) 1
Keywords: Animal Rights and Liberation, Protests, Ethnography, Field Relations, Overt Research
Abstract: This article reflects upon the experience of conducting research into a UK-based, though internationally-renowned, animal rights group. The article firstly rationalizes the ethnographic research methodology used to approach Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC). Secondly, it describes the effect of unforeseen factors (from adverse media attention to ongoing criminal investigations) on the Author's ability to forge research relationships with informants within the movement, and how these challenges were overcome. Given the interdisciplinary focus of the project, this manuscript will be of interest to scholars wishing to investigate 'hard-to-reach' social groups, and particularly those who have written on reflexivity and power in research relationships.
Graham Scambler and Annette Scambler
Sociological Research Online 16 (4) 25
Keywords: August Riots, Folk Devils and Moral Panics, Financial Capitalism, Class/command Dynamic, Class Politics, Movements for Change, Recommendations for a Purposive Research Programme
Abstract: Rioters from what has been contemptuously dismissed as a 'feral underclass' have become instant 'folk devils', a judgement evoking wider 'moral panic'. In this brief contribution to an already lively project to make sociological and explanatory sense of four days of unpredicted mahem, together with its political/media packaging, we provide some pointers from sociology's classic tradition. It is argued that the post-1970s era of financial capitalism has witnessed a shift in the dynamic between class and state. The class politics of the advantaged, engineered by core members of Britain's capital executive and their allies in the state's power elite, has effectively restricted the potential for a class politics of the disadvantaged. The riots cannot be reduced to class action, far from it: they seem to have been more opportunistic and consumerist than political. Nevertheless, they cannot be explained without reference to the class politics of the advantaged. Issues of oppositional mobilization are addressed and three proposals for a research programme commended.
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.
Jo Haynes and Demelza Jones
Sociological Research Online 17 (2) 1
Keywords: Secondary Analysis; Research Methodology; Class; British Migration; Bourdieu
Abstract: This article provides a unique contribution to the debates about archived qualitative data by drawing on two uses of the same data - British Migrants in Spain: the Extent and Nature of Social Integration, 2003-2005 - by Jones (2009 ) and Oliver and O'Reilly (2010), both of which utilise Bourdieu's concepts analytically and produce broadly similar findings. We argue that whilst the insights and experiences of those researchers directly involved in data collection are important resources for developing contextual knowledge used in data analysis, other kinds of critical distance can also facilitate credible data use. We therefore challenge the assumption that the idiosyncratic relationship between context, reflexivity and interpretation limits the future use of data. Moreover, regardless of the complex genealogy of the data itself, given the number of contingencies shaping the qualitative research process and thus the potential for partial or inaccurate interpretation, contextual familiarity need not be privileged over other aspects of qualitative praxis such as sustained theoretical insight, sociological imagination and methodological rigour.
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) 14
Keywords: Cosmologies, Bourdieu, Patronage, Capital
Abstract: Contemporary sociology has paid very little attention to cosmology. But, like all forms of intellectual endeavour, cosmology is a product of society. Using insights from Bourdieu's social theory, this paper shows how cosmologies are invested in by owners of economic capital seeking power and social status. There are also important dialectical relations between economic patronage and cosmology, cosmologies resonating in different ways with the economic interests patronising them. These assertions are made using three case studies: Renaissance Europe, 17th century England and 20th century U.S.A. The selection of these case studies has been based on two connected criteria. First, as Arrighi (2010) outlines, there has been 'a recurrent pattern of historical capitalism' whereby phases of stable growth based on technological innovation alternate with periods of crisis and the rise of a new economic, social and technological regime. The case-study areas examined here have been made the nodal-points of these cycles of accumulation and financial investment. Local elites, business organisations and governments have organised the expansion and restructuring of their economy and have used regional economic expansion to promote and display their power and cultural capital. This brings us to the second reason for choosing the particular case studies examined here. Advances in scientific capital (including astronomy and cosmology) have often corresponded with these macrosocial changes and investments. A macro-perspective such as that of Arrighi does little to show how 'economic capital' is used by particular people and institutions in particular regions to enhance their power and prestige. But a Bourdieusian perspective can show which elites (owners of economic, social and symbolic capital) control, and are controlled by, these global economic shocks.
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 (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.
Sumi Hollingworth and Ayo Mansaray
Sociological Research Online 17 (3) 2
Keywords: Social Mixing, Comprehensive Schooling, Education, Social Class, Ethnicity, Community Cohesion, Inequality
Abstract: Social mix and social mixing are topics of increasing significance to both the policy and academic communities in the UK, and have particular salience in urban multi-ethnic and socially diverse contexts. Enshrined in the comprehensive school ideal, and implicated in the now legal duty to promote 'community cohesion,' (urban) schools play a pivotal role in agendas for social mixing but little is empirically known about how this is lived and experienced by the young people in those schools. This paper begins to develop a theoretical understanding of social mixing drawing on qualitative data on the patterns, discourses, and experiences of associations and friendships collected in a London comprehensive school. We find that while the social mix of the school is celebrated, in official discourse as congenial and 'convivial', by staff and students alike, the extent of actual mixing - of associations and friendships forming between those of different social and ethnic backgrounds - is both constrained and complex. We point to the social and cultural factors which produce this sense of conviviality, and the opportunities for cultural learning it supports. At same time, we argue that there are limitations. Schools are sites of differentiation, and friendships as exemplars of social mixing, both (re)produce and are (re)produced by existing social hierarchies and inequalities.
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) 4
Keywords: Bourdieu; Habitus; Decision-Making; Middle-Class; Hot Knowledge
Abstract: This paper's focus is on young people's university decision-making processes. It offers two key arguments in response to the model of decision-making which predominates in the classed practices literature. Firstly, that the dominant decision-making model obscures the extent of variation within the middle-class; and secondly, that commonly articulated notions of 'certainty and entitlement' need to be deconstructed to render them sociologically meaningful. I argue that the model developed by Stephen Ball, Diane Reay and colleagues had established itself as a key influence in the field, and indeed, it continues to provide a reference for those exploring student decision-making as a classed practice. In having drawn from Bourdieu's conceptual framework their account of educational practices takes us some distance beyond the labels and boxes of class analysis. My findings intersect and contrast with what has become a binary model of working-class disadvantage versus middle-class privilege. The narratives presented in this paper contribute to, but in many ways challenge what has become an influential and pervasive model of student choice.
Sociological Research Online 17 (3) 8
Keywords: Participation, Power, Young People, Privilege, Social Class, Qualitative Research, Visual Methods
Abstract: The practice of using participatory visual methods in research with young people is one that has come under scrutiny in recent years. Many scholars have examined these practices in order to question the singular and simple notions of voice that are often represented in these accounts. Taking up the challenges laid down by these scholars, this paper attempts to critically disturb some of the claims that have been made about this supposedly inherently collaborative and empowering practice. Drawing on research with a group of privileged young people the paper will argue that there is a real need for researchers to examine the ways in which different subjectivities are performatively produced in the participatory research process - to explore the ways in which the methods themselves may work to constitute difference and to position young people as powerful or powerless in this process. A call is also made for researchers to inspect their own practice and use of visual methods, in order to recognise the particular knowledges, subjectivities and truths that are constituted as a result.
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.
Christopher M. Donnelly and Bradley R.E. Wright
Sociological Research Online 18 (1) 18
Keywords: Religion, Goffman, Face-Saving, Social Psychology, Ritual
Abstract: This article explores behavioural norms and consequences of their transgression during Mainline Protestant and Catholic church services in the Northeastern United States. We utilize Erving Goffman's essay "On Face-Work" as our primary theoretical orientation. Based on fieldwork conducted at twelve different churches in two Northeastern states, we found multiple types of social disruptions, sanctions, and attempted repairs occurring in services. Our findings highlight the normative complexity of religious services and have implications for a variety of collective endeavours.
Sociological Research Online 18 (1) 3
Keywords: Class, Education, Employment, Youth, Youth Cultures.
Abstract: Middling youth were centre stage in research on school-to-work transitions from the early-20th century up to and throughout the 1980s. Since then they have been overshadowed by sociological attention to the young unemployed/NEETs on the one side, and university students and graduates on the other. Simultaneously, economists have been crowding out sociologists in the study of education-to-work transitions, especially in the middle ground. However, this paper argues that this is not just a case of the sociological gaze missing the middle. It is argued that old middling labour market destinations have diminished in number, and the new middle remains elusive because the employment tends to be precarious. Thus today's middling groups of school-leavers must either try to move-up or face career-long threats of descent to the bottom.
Sociological Research Online 18 (1) 5
Keywords: Antisocial Behaviour; Middling Youth; Social Class; Neighbourhood; Otherness
Abstract: In an attempt to understand youth-related antisocial behaviour, UK social policy has typically sought answers from the edge; investigating the motivations of young people perpetrating deviant behaviour or exploring the experiences of victims. Equally polarised and sensationalist narratives are present in journalistic accounts, with Knight's Hood Rat and BBC documentary The Scheme both depicting the lives of young people in 'disadvantaged' neighbourhoods as on the margins of society. Drawing on ethnographic research conducted in a Scottish housing estate, this paper calls for a localised and situated approach to understanding 'the antisocial'. The empirical data shows that young people do not fit easily into the dualist categories of 'perpetrator' or 'victim'. Despite living in what could be classed an 'antisocial' place the majority of young people's everyday experiences were not spent on the margins but rather somewhere in-between, while their own identities were described as normal and unspectacular. The paper concludes by emphasising the value of research that situates understandings of 'the antisocial' within its everyday social context. This offers us the opportunity to take a broader analysis of young lives and crucially re-establish the connection between lives on the margins and the 'missing middle'.
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.
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.
David Beer and Mark Taylor
Sociological Research Online 18 (2) 14
Keywords: Music, Field Analysis, Digital Data, Digital Methods, Genre, Musical Field, Cultural Tastes
Abstract: This article seeks to highlight what might be thought of as the hidden dimensions of the musical field and explores the potential of digital by-product data for illuminating the aspects of musical taste and preference that are difficult to see with traditional social science methods. It suggests that the limitations of existing field analysis create what might be thought of as darkened areas of music consumption that may remain outside of the gaze of the interested social scientist. The paper briefly discusses some of the analytical problems associated with this lack of visibility. In response this article focuses upon the specific example of Last.fm and looks to make use of the by-product data that this particular website accumulates about individuals’ everyday music listening practices. From this specific example the article provides some substantive observations about the contemporary musical field and uses these to offer insights into the potentials and limitations of using by-product data in the analysis of (the musical) field. This article specifically questions the boundaries drawn around genre in the study of field, and looks at how these might be reported upon in alternative ways using new forms of data.
Thomas Fletcher and Katherine Dashper
Sociological Research Online 18 (2) 17
Keywords: Dressage, Equestrian, Media, Olympic, Social Class
Abstract: Due to historical relationships with the military, royalty, landed gentry and upper-class society, equestrian sport faces regular accusations of being elitist and exclusionary. Through qualitative textual analysis of British press reporting of dressage events at the London 2012 Olympic Games we argue that despite British dominance of the sport, these historical associations with the upper classes, privilege and elitism were foregrounded in many media reports; trivialising and at times mocking dressage. We identify three key themes related to the ways in which media reports framed dressage and its participants in heavily class-laden terms. Faced with their ignorance of the sport, the majority of articles analysed resorted to class-based stereotypes that trivialised, satirised and devalued this seemingly elitist and incomprehensible sport. The success of Team GB in dressage meant that media reports were never wholly critical and elements of the hysteria and pride surrounding the Games led to a highly ambivalent response to dressage that reflects the “vague, confused, contradictory [and] ignorant” (Cannadine, 1998: x) attitudes to social class that characterise British society at the current time.
Andy Smith, David Haycock and Nicola Hulme
Sociological Research Online 18 (3) 15
Keywords: Social Class, Inequality, Olympics, Education, London 2012, Sport
Abstract: This rapid response article briefly examines one feature of the relationship between social class and elite sport: the social backgrounds of the Olympians who comprised Team GB (Great Britain) at the 2012 London Olympics Games, and especially their educational backgrounds, as a means of shedding sociological light on the relationship between elite sport and social class. It is claimed that, to a large degree, the class-related patterns evident in the social profiles of medal-winners are expressive of broader class inequalities in Britain. The roots of the inequalities in athletes' backgrounds are to be found within the structure of the wider society, rather than in elite sport, which is perhaps usefully conceptualized as 'epiphenomenal, a secondary set of social practices dependent on and reflecting more fundamental structures, values and processes' (Coalter 2013: 18) beyond the levers of sports policy. It is concluded that class, together with other sources of social division, still matters and looking to the process of schooling and education, whilst largely ignoring the significance of wider inequalities, is likely to have a particularly limited impact on the stubborn persistence of inequalities in participation at all levels of sport, but particularly in elite sport.
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) 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.
Jessica Abrahams and Nicola Ingram
Sociological Research Online 18 (4) 21
Keywords: Local Students, Habitus, Field, Social-Class, Reflexivity, Bourdieu, Higher Education
Abstract: This study utilizes an innovative creative method of plasticine modeling to explore the identities of local students (those who live in their family home) at the University of Bristol and the University of the West of England. Students created models representing their identity, which were used as a springboard for in-depth discussion. Through drawing upon Bourdieusian theory this article attempts to shed new sociological light on the subject of local student experiences. In much of the literature this is presented as problematic and it is often argued that local students either 'miss out' on the conventional university experience or that they are stuck between two worlds. This paper, however, presents a more complex picture of local students' experiences of inhabiting local and university spaces. The data is analysed through a Bourdieusian lens in which the university and local worlds are seen as fields of struggle, this allows for a nuanced understanding of how students conceptualize their positions and dispositions in relation to both fields. The findings indicate that living at home can be both problematic and of benefit to the working-class students in particular. Despite being immersed within two somewhat contradictory fields they can sometimes develop various strategies to enable them to overcome any internal conflict. In this article we draw uniquely upon Bhabha's concept of a third space to expand upon Bourdieusian theory, arguing that a 'cleft habitus' is not always negative and can be a resource for some in their attempts to negotiate new fields.
Sociological Research Online 19 (2) 12
Keywords: Class; Masculinity; Mass-Media; Social Mobility/alternative Approach to Mobility Analysis; Qualitative Research
Abstract: Qualitative upward mobility, the mass-media and ‘middleclass’ masculinity: a micro sociological case-study. Abstract The Changers are seven British men who have experienced upward mobility in their lives. A vast body of quantitative insights into upward mobility exist. Yet the qualitative, experiential dimensions of upward mobility are understudied; especially in relation to the lives of upwardly mobile males. This article presents an empirically rigours corrective that qualitatively outlines the Changers’ upwardly mobile existences and views. In particular, this article examines how sections of the mass-media have produced a didactic notion of ‘middleclass’ masculinity which the Changers feel compelled to replicate in their everyday lives, largely via the men consuming specific, expensive commodities. Attention is drawn to the anxieties which the Changers endure because of their social mobility and associated attempts to qualitatively appear ‘middleclass’.
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.
Sociological Research Online 19 (3) 13
Keywords: Mass Observation, Gambling, Rowntree, Class
Abstract: This paper explores the relationship between Mass Observation and sociological method. It will demonstrate that often this relationship has been an uneasy one with the detailed, deeply qualitative and broadly ‘unstructured’ data elicited by Mass Observation frequently positioned as posing problems for sociologists particularly in terms of data analysis and interpretation. The paper will explore these debates by focusing on two case studies drawn from Mass Observation directives. The first will draw on the 1947 gambling study which was commissioned by the social reformer Seebohm Rowntree and his collaborator Commander G.R. Lavers and the second will draw on the 2011 ‘Gambling and Households’ directive. These case studies have been chosen because they help to illuminate the complexities of the concerns surrounding the sociological uses of Mass Observation. The paper will draw on correspondence between Rowntree, Lavers and co-founder of Mass Observation Tom Harrisson in 1947 which uncovers fascinating detail about Harrisson and Rowntree’s shared commitment to revealing information about the everyday experiences and practices of working class life, but also some interesting disparities about what ‘sociological data’ might look like and what its purpose ought to be. The second case study draws on findings from the 2011 Gambling and Households directive. This directive offers an interesting historical comparison with the 1947 data. It flags up similarities particularly in terms of the moral framing of gambling, social attitudes to gambling pathologies and addictions and discourses about spending and winning money but also some notable differences particularly with regards to class identification and gambling. Each of these similarities and differences will be explored with the intention of demonstrating the particular uses of Mass Observation in uncovering the frequently overlooked and subjective patterns of intimacy.
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.
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) 11
Keywords: Russia, Power, Elite, Access, Fieldwork, Interviews
Abstract: This article explores the dynamics at play when conducting research on the contemporary upper class in Russia. It examines the effect of economic and social status divide between researcher and subjects on how to gain access to interviewees and how to handle the interview situation. Culturally specific expressions of power in social interaction are sought, their characteristics identified and their raison d’être explored. Furthermore, gender related issues encountered throughout the research are discussed; which commenced at the outset when applying to the ethics board and was evident at the end when presenting the data analysis. The material for this article stems from the author’s experiences of conducting narrative-biographical interviews with rich high-status Russians in Moscow between 2008 and 2009.
Sociological Research Online 19 (4) 14
Keywords: Russia, Punk Scene, Post-Socialist, Ethnographic Fieldwork, Insider, Knowledgeable Authority
Abstract: Ethnographic studies of youth subcultures, scenes and urban tribes often rely on insiders’ accounts, where researchers investigate a social environment of which they are presently or formerly members. This approach raises important questions about the positionality of the researcher, and the reflexivity, epistemology and ethics of an ethnographic investigation, as different roles and engagement with the field, as well as the very identity of the ‘field’ itself, no longer fit into the methodological framework of traditional ethnography. This article explores the difficulties that arise during ethnographic research on one’s own social world. I was actively involved in the Russian punk scene before pursuing my academic career in England, and in the framework of a research project on post-socialist punk at the University of Warwick, I went back to study this milieu as a ‘field’ in two different sites in 2009 and in 2010. The article shows the complexity of researching one’s own subculture and demonstrates that active discentring of the ‘knowing authority’ in studying one’s own ‘tribe’ necessarily involves a transformation of its main research paradigms, where epistemological and ethical issues appear to be rearranged in a new way which radically affects the methodological foundations of such an investigation.
Sociological Research Online 20 (1) 5
Keywords: Rural, Space, Time, Elite, Ethnography, Social Class
Abstract: The paper uses ethnography to discuss a political putsch – a move from Old Guard to newcomer dominance – in an English rural village. Applying the conceptual ideas of Goffman on symbols of class status and Thrift (2012) on space and an expressive infrastructure, it responds to Shucksmith’s (2012) call for research into the micro workings and consequences of class power in rural contexts. The analysis stresses the relevance of ‘sticky’ space (the residue of past social relations shaping the present, the dwindling amenities and a contemporary absence of pavements) and a contemporary blurring of rural and the urban identities (Norfolk/ London). Moreover, both Goffman’s restrictive devices and class symbols (who garners support and who does not) and the temporal dimension of an expressive infrastructure (informing individual dispositions and orientations – class affect) now construct rural spaces. The paper therefore retains a flavour of sociology’s obstinate interest in geographic milieu, but the stage is now one of a global countryside both influencing and influenced by local politics and elites. A global recession and the rural penalty, whereby rural residents experience is more acute, has meant that not all spaces or agents are equal and some are therefore better placed to adapt, accommodate or resist change (Shucksmith 2012). In a climate of various rural crises (fracking in the ‘desolate’ North of England and the contentious culling of badgers), this paper uses ethnography to study the operation of rural micro-politics and by doing so highlight the value of an ethnographic approach for sociology for understanding the local in the global.
Mark Cieslik and Donald Simpson
Sociological Research Online 20 (1) 7
Keywords: Basic Skills, Social Class, Life Course, Literacy, Stigma
Abstract: This paper draws on qualitative data from three research projects that examined the impact of poor skills on the life chances of adults living in two disadvantaged areas of England. We employed the theories of Goffman and Bourdieu to document how problems with literacy have a corrosive effect on the identities of interviewees, threatening their wellbeing. Though learning difficulties occur across all social backgrounds, the poor family resources and educational opportunities of our respondents meant they struggled to overcome their literacy problems when young, thus shaping later life course transitions. Thus the origins of the shame that our adults felt about their poor skills lie in part in the distinctive classed experiences they had when young. However, the resourcefulness of our respondents meant that many had secured employment, bought homes and become parents which obscured the ongoing psychic problems that a lifetime of poor skills had bestowed on our sample. The disjuncture between the apparent material standing of our sample and the ‘hidden injuries of class’ raises questions about how we understand the operation of class across the life course and the role of literacy, learning and wellbeing in the shaping of social identities.
Emma Rich, Laura De Pian and Jessica Francombe-Webb
Sociological Research Online 20 (2) 10
Keywords: Health, Physical Activity, Policy, Social Class, Stigma, Physical Cultural Studies
Abstract: In recent years, the increasing regulation of people’s health and bodies has been exacerbated by a contemporary ‘obesity discourse’ centred on eating less, exercising more and losing weight. This paper contributes to the growing body of work critically examining this discourse and highlights the way physical activity and health policy directed at ‘tackling’ the obesity ‘crisis’ in the UK articulates numerous powerful discourses that operate to legitimise and privilege certain ways of knowing and usher forth certain desirable forms of embodiment. This has given greater impetus to further define the role of physical activity, sport and physical education as instruments for addressing public health agendas. It is argued that these policies have particular implications for social class through their constitution of (un)healthy and (in)active ‘working class’ bodies. One of the most powerful forms of stigmatisation and discrimination circulating within contemporary health emerges when the social and cultural tensions of social class intersect with obesity discourse and its accompanying imperatives related to physical activity and diet. This raises some important questions about the future of sport and physical activity as it is shaped by the politics of broader health agendas and our position within this terrain as ‘critics’. Consequently, the latter part of the paper offers reflections on the nature and utility of our (and others’) social science critique in the politics of obesity and articulates the need for crossing disciplinary and sectoral borders.
Sociological Research Online 20 (2) 11
Keywords: Football, Rugby Union, Social Class, Sports Fandom, Female Fans
Abstract: This article draws on 85 interviews with female fans of men’s football and rugby union to explore sporting preferences and social class in one locale in Britain. Although it has been widely contended that social class is no longer a major source of people’s identity and people will usually deny class identities, these findings demonstrate that sport can operate as a unique space in which people openly discuss class distinctions. The findings examine the perceived class differences between football and rugby union fans and rivalry between respective groups of supporters. There is very little work on the cross sport perceptions of sports fans so this article makes an original contribution to sociological research.
Michelle Addison and Victoria, G. Mountford
Sociological Research Online 20 (2) 4
Keywords: Class, Higher Education, Accent, Value, Employees, Students
Abstract: In this article we raise questions about fitting in pertaining to various classed identities within two UK Higher Education Institutions (HEI). We discuss the pains and privileges attached to accent and ways of speaking worth: Who is able to mobilize and capitalize on inscribed values, as they come to be attached to ways of talking? Accents and ways of talking are part of embodied class identities and whilst some carry connotations of intelligence, other ways of talking are positioned as lacking value, as well as other cultural meanings (Sayer 2002; Spencer, Clegg and Stackhouse 2013; Lawler 1999; Skeggs 1997; Southerton 2002; Taylor 2007; MacFarlane and Stuart-Smith 2012). In this article we discuss our empirical research carried out in two separate qualitative ESRC-funded research projects in the north of England with undergraduate students (Author B) and university staff (Author A). Focusing primarily on white British ways of talking, we examine how embodying particular accents or ways of talking affect classed notions of ‘fitting in’ or ‘standing out’ (Reay, et al 2009: 1; Abraham and Ingram, 2013) in HE. In a climate of uncertainty in Higher Education we are concerned that the importance of demonstrating one’s impact, value and worth comes down to more than just productivity, it is becoming demonstrably about being able to ‘talk the talk’. Here we trouble the practices of speaking ‘what you are worth’.
Simeon Yates, John Kirby and Eleanor Lockley
Sociological Research Online 20 (4) 12
Keywords: Internet, ICT, Digital Divide, Inequality, Age, Class
Abstract: This paper takes a national perspective on issues of digital media use. The paper draws upon the OfCom Media Literacy 2013 survey to explore how digital media use varies in regard to two major social variables – class and age. Both class and age feature predominantly in UK policy on digital access and use. Class and age are invoked as either things that create barriers to access or as issues to be addressed and managed through using digital media. Despite the large body of work on the ‘digital divide’ there is a more limited literature that explicitly addresses class. The paper seeks to act as an empirical reference point for the development of further debate around the links between class and digital media use. The paper presents a factor analysis of the OfCom data that identifies five main areas of digital media use. These five factors are then subjected to a multiple analysis of variance to explore the effects across, between and within age and class categories. A cluster analysis based on the factors identifies seven main ‘User Types’ that are again compared across class and age. The paper finds that class and age act relatively independently as predicators of digital media use and neither compound or mitigate each other’s effects. Importantly the paper notes that the greatest levels and breadth of Internet use can be found in NRS social class groups AB and to an extent C1. In contrast the greatest levels of non-use and limited use can be found in NRS social class groups DE. In conclusion the paper notes that age still acts as the major explanatory variable for overall use and some specific types of use, but that class also independently acts to explain patterns of digital media use. As a result any simplistic policy expectations that digital access and use issues will become less relevant as age demographics change have to be questioned.
Chau-kiu Cheung and Eileen Yuk-ha Tsang
Sociological Research Online 20 (4) 14
Keywords: Social Class, Political-Economic Coalition, Conspicuous Consumption, Middle Tier
Abstract: As entrepreneurs, professionals, and cadres constitute the middle tier in China, they exhibit extravagance, gifting, and the pursuit of privileges. Particularly, privileges are likely to stem from political-economic coalition within the middle tier. The coalition is also likely to favor the preservation of the political structure. All these features of the middle tier need substantiation with qualitative data. The study gleaned the data from personal interviews with 59 entrepreneurs, professionals, and cadres in Guangdong, China. Results illustrate extravagance, political-economic coalition, privileges, and political preservation espoused by the middle tier. These results identify an investment theory to reflect the preservation of investment in political-economic coalition in order to reap privileges to afford extravagance in the middle tier. The results imply that political reform in China hinges on the erosion of the exchange of privileges in the coalition.
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.
Renato Miguel Carmo, Margarida Carvalho and Frederico Cantante
Sociological Research Online 20 (4) 16
Keywords: Class, Inequality, Labour Force, Social Change
Abstract: The aim of this article is to analyse the structural changes and continuities in Portuguese society over the two decades from 1988-2008. Although modernisation processes have intensified, the country still has a highly polarised social structure. This study included a multiple correspondence analysis and a cluster analysis, using sociological variables collected in a national database that covers all Portuguese companies. Developing this approach made it possible to not only produce different sociological profiles of social and class inequality, but also compare the structural changes in the labour force in these two decades (private sector). The study shows that although the space of social positions was mainly formed by three large socio-professional groups in both 1988 and 2008, their size and social composition changed, reflecting the social and economic trends experienced by Portuguese society in this period.
Sociological Research Online 21 (1) 11
Keywords: Performativity, Emotional Labour, Bourdieu, Interpretive, Shame, Teaching and Learning
Abstract: Teaching and learning observations (henceforth ‘observations’) are used in educational environments worldwide to assess teaching quality and support professional development through reflexivity. Pressures from neo-liberalist, New Right politics encourage observations that are evaluative in nature, thereby over-emphasising quantitative strategies. Research suggests some observations are ineffectual because of emotional tensions between what is perceived as ‘authentic’ teaching and the inherent performativity required by managerialist policies (Ball 2003). But as Scheff (2003) argues, conformity to social processes is not necessarily based on an individual’s awareness of explicit rewards or sanctions resulting from judgements. Instead it can be based on invisible self-perceptions of the risk of shame. In turn, this discourages playfulness as these actions may be considered deviations from ‘best practice’. Hence observations can limit teacher effectiveness because they involve interpretations and judgements by an Other (Price 2001). This article draws on narrative data from tertiary-sector staff in a UK research study using a multi-disciplinary interpretive framework (Denzin 1989). Given the importance attributed to reflexivity in teaching practice, research in this area is sparse. Emotional factors within these contexts are often disregarded, perhaps because articulating feelings is considered weak or dangerous (Lupton 1998). However, Bourdieu’s theoretical concepts of professional habitus, field and capital bring deeper meaning to interpretations of teachers’ embodied emotional labour (Colley 2006a; Nias 1996; Reay 2004). The subtle nuance within the participants’ narratives illuminates the observer/observee dynamic within the classroom, providing examples of the complex, fluid nature of perceptions of performativity in observations; the inherent rewards and risks.
Sociological Research Online 21 (2) 6
Keywords: Emotion, Depression, Anxiety, Social Inequality, Socioeconomic Status, Social Class
Abstract: The frequency of the experience of particular emotions can be considered a measure of subjective well-being and therefore an indicator of the quality of life in the overall population. Key approaches to the sociology of emotions provide the theoretical background to this study. On the basis of Swiss Household Panel (SHP) data for the years 2005–2011, a random effects regression assessed relationships between the frequency of negative emotions (desperation, anxiety and depression) and the parameters of individual socioeconomic status. The results suggest that negative emotions are experienced differently along status- and resource-based predictors such as education, income and occupational status. These associations persist when controlling for key variables of mental health and stress research such as critical life events, chronic stressors and social resources.
Sociological Research Online 21 (3) 1
Keywords: Gentrification, Urban Policy, Retail, Class Conflict, Hipsters
Abstract: Gentrification involves the displacement of working class populations, a phenomena most obviously manifest in the transformation of residential landscapes. But this is also palpable in the changes visible on many shopping streets, with locally-oriented stores serving poorer populations and ethnic minorities being replaced by ‘hipster’ stores such as ‘real coffee’ shops, vintage clothing stores and bars serving microbrews. These stores have been taken as a sign that the fortunes of struggling shopping streets are improving, with the new outlets often depicted as offering a better range of healthy, green and ‘authentic’ consumption choices than the shops they displace. However, this paper argues that we need to resist this form of retail change given it typically represents the first stage of a more thoroughgoing retail gentrification process, remaining suspicious of forms of hipster consumption which, while aesthetically ‘improving’ local shopping streets in deprived areas, actually encourage the colonisation of neighbourhoods by the more affluent.
Till Kaiser and Christian Schneickert
Sociological Research Online 21 (3) 14
Keywords: Cultural Capital, Cultural Participation, Personality, Habitus, Educational Inequalities, Primary School
Abstract: Various studies have examined the relevance of either cultural capital or personality traits for academic achievement. Integrating these two fields of research, this study compares cultural participation in `highbrow activities’ and personality and their possible impact on the intergenerational transmission of educational inequalities in primary school. It also examines whether cultural participation in ‘highbrow activities’ and personality substitute for a non-academic background. The differences and similarities of the sociological concept of habitus and the psychological concept of personality are discussed on a conceptual level. Data are drawn from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) and the Families in Germany Study (FID). Results show that the effect of parental education on school grades is partially mediated by three personality facets – Focus, Intellect, and Curiosity – as well as the cultural activity of playing music. Furthermore, the effect of parental education on school grades is multiple-mediated via playing music and Focus, as well as Curiosity to a small extent. Results of a multiple group analysis between children from academic and non-academic households show that participation in cultural activities and personality does not substitute for parental education.
Adrian Leguina, Paul Widdop and Gindo Tampubolon
Sociological Research Online 21 (3) 15
Keywords: Cultural Omnivore, Cultural Capital, Consumption, Bourdieu
Abstract: This research offers a unique opportunity to revisit the omnivore hypothesis under a unified method of cross-national analysis. To accomplish this, we interpret omnivourism as a special case of cultural eclecticism (Ollivier, 2008; Ollivier, Gauthier and Truong, 2009). Our methodological approach incorporates the simultaneous analysis of locally produced and globally known musical genres. Its objective is to verify whether cultural omnivourism is a widespread phenomenon, and to determine to what extent any conclusions can be generalised across countries with different social structures and different levels of cultural openness. To truly understand the scope of the omnivourism hypothesis, we argue that it is essential to perform a cross-national comparison to test the hypothesis within a range of social, political and cultural contexts, and a reflection of different historical and cultural repertoires (Lamont, 1992).
Sociological Research Online 21 (3) 2
Keywords: Activism, Class, Inequality, Protest, Regeneration, Violence
Abstract: This paper explores why individual retailers have become the target of anti-gentrification protest, examining where the ‘blame’ for gentrification should be placed. Some commentators have argued that independent retailers should not be scapegoated, as this blames individuals for wider structural processes. In this paper I provide a brief overview of some of the retailers who have been targeted in anti-gentrification protests. These businesses have been singled out as their aesthetic branding has provoked conflict between existing residents and incoming gentrifiers. In each of these cases, the history of an area has been nostalgically appropriated in ironic marketing campaigns promoting ‘hip’ urban consumption. The paper questions whether these instances can be excused simply as instances of ‘bad taste’ and misjudged marketing. I turn to Bourdieu to think about the ways in which class inequality is upheld via symbolic violence. The paper highlights how social inequality does not just come about via economic restructuring, but also through symbolic gestures and lifestyles, which mark certain places as both financially and culturally out of reach. Ultimately, I argue that while the wider structures of gentrification may exist beyond the agency of individual retailers and consumers, this does not mean that individuals have no role to play in determining how gentrification plays out in our communities.
I Lin Sin
Sociological Research Online 21 (4) 3
Keywords: Cultural Capital, Ethnicity, Bourdieu, Malaysia, International Education, Graduate Employment
Abstract: This article investigates the under-researched role of ethnicity in the conversion of cultural capital linked to UK international education into life chance privileges and disadvantages. It reports findings from qualitative interviews with Malaysian international students and graduates who pursued their UK education in the UK and/or in Malaysia. It moves beyond a heavy focus on class in existing literature to delayer further complexities in distinction influenced by ethnicity and made more visible by new modes of international education alongside the traditional mode. I highlight how ethnicity influenced the participants’ higher education choices, and their accumulation and activation of knowledge, skills, dispositions and networks. I show how ethnicity shaped their sense of appropriate graduate work and their perceived value of a UK education in relation to economic opportunities and constraints. The participants tended to study, interact and work most with members of their ethnic group, reflecting Malaysia’s distinctive majority-minority divide across higher education and employment. While linked to ethnicity, relevant participants regarded nationality as a more significant factor for exclusion in the UK labour market. The findings have implications for the development of Bourdieu’s concept of cultural capital, and the advancement of equity and inclusiveness within and beyond international education. I conclude that more recognition is needed of the heterogeneity of the foreign student and graduate middle-class to explore the exchangeability of cultural capital across stratified geographical and socio-relational contexts.
Sociological Research Online 22 (1) 10
Keywords: Church of England, Bourdieu, Class, Field, Clergy Spouse, Spiritual Capital
Abstract: Traditionally, clergy wives have been obliged to assist the Church in an unpaid capacity; such work has been feminised, associated with the assumed competencies of women (Denton 1962; Finch 1980, 1983; Murphy-Geiss 2011). Clergy husbands are a relatively recent phenomenon in the Church of England, emerging when women started to be ordained as deacons in 1987 and priests in 1994. Based on interviews with men whose wives were ordained as priests in the Church of England, this article will explore the dynamics of class and gender privilege. Most clergy husbands were middle class, defined through educational, occupational and cultural markers (Bourdieu 1984). The narratives highlighted how gender and class privilege was maintained and extended through the clergy spouse role. The interweaving dynamics of class and gender privilege secured preferential outcomes for participants; outcomes that were less evidenced in relation to working-class spouses. Using Bourdieu’s (1984) concepts of habitus, field and capital and Verter’s (2003) conceptualisation of spiritual capital, this article will highlight the complex ways in which gender and class advantage is perpetuated and sustained, using the Anglican parish as the analytical context, thereby emphasising the role religion plays in consolidating privilege.
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.
Mathew Guest and Kristin Aune
Sociological Research Online 22 (1) 12
Keywords: Christianity, Social Class, Aspiration, University Students, Higher Education, Careers
Abstract: Economic uncertainties have unsettled the status of higher education as an assured means to social mobility, raising questions of how students orient themselves to life after graduation. In this context, how does religion (a neglected aspect of student identity) shape students’ attitudes and plans? This article examines the future aspirations of Christian students, theorising Christian identity as an inter-subjective resource through which ‘alternative’ futures are imagined, a resource variously framed by classed assumptions about propriety. It analyses data from 75 interviews with undergraduates at five English universities, and explores emerging aspirational paradigms structured around hetero-normative domesticity, the formation of Christian counter-narratives to contemporary capitalism and positive submission to God.
Sociological Research Online 22 (1) 13
Keywords: Sexuality, Religion, Youth, Employment, Family, Transitions
Abstract: This paper explores the construction of vocational and familial futures, in times of ‘aspiring’, ‘post-welfare,’ or ‘crisis’ youth transitions, as mediated by sexual-religious identification. By considering the intersectional relations of both sexuality and religion in constructing young people’s aspirations, the paper highlights pragmatic and caring orientations, including a ‘calling’ to religion as a site of present-future vocational and familial investment. I challenge the separation of religion and sexuality in youth transitions, and in notions of the ‘times we’re in’ as compelling certain kinds of future-orientated aspirant (and secular) selves. Overall, the article hopes to contribute to theorising the intersection sexuality and religion in further understanding the subversive – and conservative – potential of religious-sexual values and futures. Such orientations interface with aspects of ‘getting by’ and ‘getting on’ and at once re-inscribe and stretch normative vocational and familial choices.
Sociological Research Online 22 (1) 14
Keywords: Evangelicalism, Class, Childhood, Academies, Free Schools, Cultural Capital
Abstract: While class has been an enduring focus for sociologists of education, there has been little focus on the interrelations between class, religion, and education, despite widespread public anxieties about faith schools potentially encouraging both social class segregation and religious separatism, which have become more pronounced as the expansion of free schools and academies in England has increased opportunities for religious bodies’ engagement in educational provision. This article explores the importance of class in relation to the intersections of religion and education through examining how an ‘open evangelical’ church engages with children in schools linked with it, drawing on eighteen months’ ethnographic fieldwork with the church, its linked schools, and other informal educational activities run by the church. Through analyzing the everyday practices through which evangelical leaders seek to affect children’s lives and how they speak about their involvements with children, the article reveals the significance of class in this context, providing insight into how evangelicals’ primary aspiration in this setting is for children’s ‘upward mobility’, as their ambitions are shaped through middle-class, entrepreneurial norms, in which developing a neoliberal ethic of individual self-discipline and ‘productivity’ is privileged. Through focusing on the ‘othering’ of the urban poor in these discourses, the article adds to our knowledge of the complex interrelations between evangelicalism and class, and deepens understanding of how secular neoliberal norms become interwoven with an alternative evangelical moral project of forming the self.
Sociological Research Online 22 (1) 15
Keywords: Religion, Class, Bourdieu, Cultural Capital, Field, Habitus, Christianity, Anglican, Church of England, Bishops
Abstract: This article outlines two inter-related but distinct theoretical approaches to the study of Christianity and Social Class developed from the work of Pierre Bourdieu. The first is a model derived from Distinction ( 1984), the second comes from Bourdieu’s work on religious fields with a focus on the conversion of capital between different fields. The former, better known, approach has the potential to provide important insights, including identifying the affinity of different religious groups with different class locations; on the other hand, this would tell us little about the internal workings of religious communities; it is also unfortunately hampered by a lack of suitable data. The conception of fields and their inter-relations will not answer the questions about the affinity of particular class fragments for particular kinds of religiosity, but it does provide much keener insight into the operation of class within religious communities, by examining the conversion of different types of capital into religious capital. This is illustrated with an extended Bourdieusian hypothesis, a schematic outline that could be used as the starting point for empirical research on the operation of different kinds of capital in the Church of England.
Sociological Research Online 22 (1) 6
Keywords: Cultural Capital, Cultural Stratification, Legitimate Culture, Taste, Bourdieu
Abstract: The concept of legitimate culture plays a crucial role in the study of the relationship between the differentiation of tastes and the reproduction of social inequalities. Nevertheless, the actual role of legitimate culture in present society is often disputed in light of a supposed crumbling of the privileged structure of the fine arts. Meanwhile, the existing practice of survey research often neglects this institutional dimension of the legitimisation of taste and researchers often withdraw from attempts to develop an empirically-based scale to measure the legitimacy of taste. The aim of this paper is to develop a method of measurement of cultural capital which is based on empirical evaluation of the legitimacy of respondents’ taste. Specifically, this measurement links responses to open-ended questions about favourite cultural goods with institutionalized critical ratings. The particular focus is to answer how this methodologically innovative approach relates to prevalent instruments for measurement of cultural capital (highbrow culture attendance, educational credentials) and how it could inform the study of the change of legitimate culture. The study uses data from a survey of Czech youth cultural consumption (N=524). The results show close ties between the institutional measurement of cultural capital and the Bourdieusian application of Multiple Correspondence Analysis as a mean to identify significant cultural differences. While the feasibility of institutional measurement of cultural capital in survey data could be disputed, it is a useful tool to advance our understanding of how legitimate culture operates in present society.
John Stephen McKenzie
Sociological Research Online 22 (1) 8
Keywords: Emotional Reflexivity, Emotions, Field Position, Guiding Principle of Objectivity, Reflexive Turn
Abstract: This paper demonstrates how emotional reflexivity can help researchers aspire to the benchmark of objectivity. It will be argued that emotional exchanges during interviews with research participants can enhance understanding based on the author’s research experiences in an inter-disciplinary, multi-method, longitudinal study of low-energy, social housing in Aberdeen, Scotland. It will then be demonstrated that emotional reflexivity allowed the researcher to identify how his feelings of empathy with the household occupants, who had had a negative experience, developed and how he began to share their frustrations and disappointments with the Council. This allowed him to locate himself within the research field, and help him understand how this influenced his representation of this group. This consequently allowed him to moderate his focus on the negative experiences of some occupants and produce a more comprehensive account of the full range of the householders’ perspectives. In conclusion, it will be argued that emotional reflexivity can help researchers maintain the guiding principle of objectivity whilst locating the researcher within the field and therefore can provide an effective means of negotiating the pitfalls of the reflexive turn.
Oki Rahadianto Sutopo, Steven Threadgold and Pam Nilan
Sociological Research Online ()
Keywords: Social Capital, Reflexivity, Bourdieu, Indonesia, Temporality, Youth
Abstract: The concept of social capital has received wide attention and stimulates productive academic debates. In this paper we draw on a study of the transition experiences of young Indonesian musicians to argue that the social capital of creative youth may be productively understood in relation to reflexivity and temporality. This is particularly important if they move to other locations to further their careers. In brief, we offer three key contributions to social capital debates. Firstly, social capital – as defined by Bourdieu - is most important as a valuable form of capital to deal with both actual and anticipated Beckian risk. Secondly, in fields of creative struggle the development of social capital is closely related to possession of strategy and reflexivity as a form of cultural capital. Thirdly, social capital cannot be operationalized effectively by youth without the element of timing, the temporal capacity to reflexively recognize and seize opportunities as they arise at critical moments of a creative career.
Paul Chappell, Ying Kei Tse, Minhao Zhang and Susan Moore
Sociological Research Online ()
Keywords: Twitter, Geodemographics, Social Class, Coming Crisis, Tweet Analysis, Digital Methods
Abstract: This paper outlines a new method for investigating social position through geotagged Twitter data, specifically through the application of the geodemographic classification system Mosaic. The method involves the identification of a given tweeter’s likely location of residence from the ‘geotag’ attached to their tweet. Using this high resolution geographic information, each individual tweet is then attributed a geodemographic classification. This paper shows that the specific application of geodemographics for discerning between different types of tweeters is problematic in some ways, but that the general process of classifying tweeters according to their position in geographical space is viable and represents a powerful new method for discerning the social position of tweeters. Further research is required in this area, as there is great potential in employing the mobile GPS data appended to digital by-product data to explore the intersections between geographical space and social position.
Garth Stahl, Pamela Burnard and Rosie Burt-Perkins
Sociological Research Online ()
Keywords: Practice of Learning, Bourdieusian Sociology of Music, Education, Industry, Nexus of Habitus, Field, Capital,, Comparative Analytic Induction
Abstract: Bourdieu’s rich conceptual tools of habitus, capital and field continue to be useful in multiple areas of sociological research; however, his tools take many shapes within his own writing and different disciplines. In this article, we reflect on our use of Bourdieu’s tools in order to enhance our understanding of how Bourdieu’s notion of ‘practice’ can be applied to practices of learning in sociological studies on music. Through comparisons of three separate studies (a secondary school, a conservatoire and an industry), we employ a comparative method of analytic induction where we think critically about how we used Bourdieu’s tools in overlapping but analytically distinct ways. After exploring the extent to which Bourdieu’s tools proved productive, or not, to think with, we end with a concluding synthesis, which highlights the challenges associated with representing forms of Bourdieu’s ‘practice’ as they relate to and inhere in practices of learning, inseparable from cultural and social immersion.