The Peter Townsend Policy Press Prize - Sociologists are encouraged to apply (posted 18/11/2014)
The British Academy, with the support of the Policy Press, will award a prize biannually to commemorate the life and work of Peter Townsend, who died in 2009 after a long and remarkable career.
The prize, of £2,000, will be awarded to the author of what the British Academy judges to be a piece of outstanding work with policy relevance and academic merit. It should be published within five years of the closing date for nominations, on this occasion 31 January 2015, and be by anyone whose habitual residence is the UK.
The topic must fall within one or more of the fields to which Peter Townsend made a major contribution - poverty and inequality, ageing and the lives of older people, disability, or inequalities in health. It must be published in the English language. An article, a book in more than one volume or a series of closely related articles will count as a single work.
Nomination forms may be downloaded from the British Academy website where further details of the award may be obtained. The closing date is 31 January 2015.
Wales mixed ethnic groups more likely to claim national identity than Scots (posted 13/11/2014)
Research on the 2011 Census, carried out by the Centre on Dynamics and Ethnicity at Manchester, found that 47% of mixed ethnicity groups in Wales claimed a Welsh only identity, compared to 37% of Scots counterparts.
New research on the 2011 Census reveals that people from 'mixed' ethnic groups in Wales are more likely to claim their national identity than counterparts in Scotland.
The latest briefing from The University of Manchester's Centre on Dynamics and Ethnicity (CoDE), reveals that 47% of mixed ethnicity individuals living in Wales identify themselves as Welsh only, according to responses to the 2011 Census, compared to 37% of mixed groups in Scotland who identify only as Scottish. Read more>
Irish Journal of Sociology UK Regional Editor 2015-16 Call for Applications (posted 13/11/2014)
The Irish Journal of Sociology (IJS) is seeking to recruit a second UK Regional Editor to serve a 2-year term from 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2016 (serving alongside the current UK Regional Editor, Dr. Lucy Michael, University of Ulster, Northern Ireland). Deadline for Applications: 30 November 2014, 17:00 (GMT). Read more>
Mentoring scheme set up for women theology researchers (posted 11/11/2014)
A new mentoring scheme for women in academia researching religion has been launched in the wake of a report which highlighted the significant lack of women in senior academic positions.
Gender and Career Progression in Theology and Religious Studies, released last year, noted that while women outnumber men among undergraduates in the two disciplines, they make up only about a third of academic staff and one in six professors. Read more>
Winner of 2014 Foundation for the Sociology of Health and Illness Book Prize Announced (posted 26/09/2014)
Congratulations to Professor Joanna Latimer who has been awarded the Foundation for the Sociology of Health and Illness Book Prize for The Gene, The Clinic, and the Family: Diagnosing Dysmorphology, Reviving Medical Dominance.
The winner was announced at the BSA Medical Sociology Conference, and is awarded to the author or editor of a newly published book which has made a significant contribution to medical sociology/sociology of health and illness.
Joanna's book documents her ethnographic study on dysmorphology. While some theorists argue that medicine is caught in a relentless process of 'geneticization' and others offer a thesis of biomedicalization, there is still little research that explores how these effects are accomplished in practice. In this book, Joanna - whose groundbreaking ethnography on acute medicine gave us the social science classic 'The Conduct of Care' - moves her focus from the bedside to the clinic. Against current thinking that proselytises the rise of laboratory science, Joanna shows how the clinic is at the heart of the revolution in genetic medicine.
ESRC Council Vacancies (posted 25/09/2014)
The ESRC is currently seeking applications from leading academics to serve on its governing Council.
The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK’s largest organisation for funding research on economic and social issues and for nearly 50 years has been committed to supporting the very best research with wide ranging impact to help shape public policy and make business, voluntary bodies and other organisations more effective, as well as shaping wider society.
The Council’s Appointments Panel is seeking applications from senior academics in the area of economics/finance or experienced individuals from the voluntary/charitable sector, to fill two vacancies on its governing Council. These vacancies are for part-time, fixed term membership and the total time commitment would be approximately 20 – 25 days per year. All reasonable travel and subsistence expenses to meetings will be reimbursed.
The closing date for receipt of applications is 16:00 hours on Monday 6 October 2014.
Further information about the ESRC and the current vacancies is available via the ESRC’s website.
What has Social Science done for us? (04/09/2014)
In 2015 ESRC will be celebrating 50 years of funding research in economic and social issues.
They need your help to identify the most important social science achievements over the last 50 years in the UK or abroad. For example: Research on wage-related state pensions led to the Pensions Act of 1959.
Please complete the online suggestion form as soon as possible to send your ideas.
Scottishness is a more inclusive national identity than Englishness for many ethnic groups in Britain (04/08/2014)
New research on the Scottish Census data reveals that almost all minority communities in Scotland were more likely to claim a Scottish identity in Scotland, than an English identity in England. The picture is complicated, however, because many minorities in Scotland were just as likely to choose a ‘British only’ identity as a ‘Scottish only’ identity.
This is one of a series of findings from an analysis of the 2011 Scottish Census data by the Centre on the Dynamics of Ethnicity (co-hosted by the Universities of Manchester and Glasgow). The briefing examines national identity in Scotland, explores how national identity relates to other characteristics such as place of birth and religion and draws comparisons with the data from other parts of the UK. Read more>
Smoking linked to working hours, according to Loughborough research (24/07/2014)
People who work long hours find it harder to quit smoking, and those who have given up are more at risk of starting again, according to Loughborough University research.
The study also suggests that more people are likely to start smoking if the Government ever secures an opt-out from the European Working Time Directive.
Academics found direct links between the hours worked and the number of cigarettes smoked, revealing that people who work longer smoke more.
The study, which used data from the British Household Panel Survey, reviewed the smoking behaviour of more than 20,000 people over a 19-year period.
It found a smoker who increases their working week from 40 to 60-plus hours is less than half as likely to quit smoking as someone who stays on a 40-hour week.
The study, Working time and cigarette smoking: evidence from Australia and the United Kingdom, was led in the UK by Professor Andy Charlwood from Loughborough University’s School of Business and Economics.
He said: “We were interested to find out what happens to smoking behaviour as working hours change, and have identified a clear link between the hours worked and an individual’s likelihood of smoking. Read more>
Domestic violence and sexuality – what's love got to do with it? (10/07/2014)
Mainstream agencies dealing with heterosexual victims of Domestic Violence and Abuse (DVA) must do more to support and build trust with victims in same sex relationships, researchers of a new book recommend.
DVA is widely viewed in society as a problem affecting heterosexual relationships, but for the first time 'Domestic Violence and Sexuality – What's Love got To Do With It?' presents comparisons with victims in same sex relationships, based on a large scale national survey with LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) and heterosexual men and women.
Research authors - Catherine Donovan, Professor of Social Relations at the University of Sunderland, and Marianne Hester, Professor of Gender, Violence and International Policy at the University of Bristol - examine in their book how experiences of DVA may be shaped by gender, sexuality and age, including whether and how victims seek help.
Their research recommends mainstream agencies need to address the gap of trust and be more inclusive to those in same sex relationships, as it’s estimated that one in four LGBT people have experienced DVA in their relationship. Read more>
National Sixth Form Sociology Competition - Winner Announced (02/07/2014)
Congratulations to Amy MacKenzie of St. Benedict’s School in Ealing who has been judged the winner of this year's National Sixth Form Sociology Competition, sponsored by Polity Press.
After the success of last year's inaugural competition, this year students were asked the question, 'Changing Society – What is the role of the Sociologist?'. We were delighted to receive a number of excellent essays and creative Youtube presentations showcasing the varied ideas on how we, as sociologists, might change things, including a rather brilliant rap number!
The judges had a difficult decision to make, yet after a long judging process it was Amy's slightly different approach which caught the eye. Putting herself years into the future, she wrote a letter to a young man about to enter adulthood explaining what she thought she, as a sociologist, had done to improve the life chances of his generation. Judges Professor Garry Crawford (BSA Student Engagement Trustee), Pam Law (BSA Treasurer) and Dave Morton (Convenor of BSA Teaching Group) were unanimous in their decision and praised Amy for her range of sources.
Pam Law said: "When the BSA Teaching Group set this title for this year's National Sixth Form Sociology Competition we were hoping for a range of ideas about what sociology could do and how sociologists might aid/abet changes in society. Amy uses a range of sources in a highly integrated fashion, going beyond mere regurgitation of the usual textbook material, to present her key ideas in a lively and highly readable format. Whilst some may not totally agree with her beliefs concerning the power of sociology and sociologists, it remains a thought provoking and excellent piece of work which we think deserves this year's prize. It was a pleasure to read and Amy should be congratulated warmly on her considerable achievement."
Amy wins herself an iPad2 plus an additional £250 for her school. She was presented with her prize at her school this week and we congratulate her again on being this year's winner. This year's competition has once again been an overwhelming success and we thank all those who have entered, especially at such a busy time. The 2015 National Sixth Form Sociology Competition will open later this year with the title to be announced shortly.
BSA/British Library Annual Equality Lecture (19/06/2014)
If you missed this year's BSA/British Library Annual Equality Lecture with researcher and disability rights advocate Dr Tom Shakespeare, you can now watch the full lecture.
Tom is a senior lecturer in medical sociology at the University of East Anglia and in his talk he explores what it takes to achieve equality for disabled people in the era of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and 'welfare reform'. Tom argues that barrier removal and reasonable adjustments make workplaces more accessible, but only if the extra costs which disabled people face are met through state benefits. Because disability is so diverse, ensuring that all disabled people can flourish requires more than simply levelling the playing field, before asking 'Where next for disability equality?'
Tom has worked at the World Health Organization where he was one of the authors and editors of the World Report on Disability (2011). He is also author of Disability Rights and Wrongs Revisited (2013) among other publications, and has been involved in the disability movement since 1986.
New President of the BSA (03/06/2014)
We are delighted to announce that Prof Lynn Jamieson has been elected as the new President of the BSA.
Lynn is Professor of Sociology, Families and Relationships at The University of Edinburgh and is currently involved in the longitudinal study, Growing Up in Scotland and Twenty+ futures, looking at the thoughts and views of young people aged 20-29 on various current issues including recession, climate change, security threats and parenting. She has previously been a trustee on the BSA Council and is also the current Chair of the UK Council of Heads and Professors of Sociology (HaPS).
With the support of the BSA Council, we look forward to Lynn continuing the important work of Prof John Holmwood, who will step down as President having made a telling contribution during his two years in the role. John will remain in post until the end of August and a full tribute to John's achievements will feature in the next issue of Network magazine.
Meanwhile, we are also delighted to welcome four new trustees to the BSA Council. Dr John Bone, Prof Linda McKie, Prof Sue Scott and Prof Alan Warde were elected from 12 nominated candidates and we congratulate all our new trustees on their appointments, including Prof Rose Barbour who has been re-elected for a second term of office.
John, Linda, Sue and Alan will be responsible for setting the future direction of the BSA and ensuring the Association is operating within its agreed policies and will work alongside our existing trustees Howard Wollman (Chair), Prof Garry Crawford, Dr Milena Stateva, Prof Eileen Green, Prof Louise Ryan, Magnus Gittins, Dr Caroline Oliver, Pam Law, Prof John Horne and Rampaul Chamba, as well as BSA Chief Executive, Judith Mudd.
In welcoming our new trustees, we would also like to thank our outgoing trustees Sydney Jeffers (Website/IT), Dr David Mellor and Dr Kay Peggs (Membership Services) and former BSA Chair, Prof Judith Burnett who have all made a huge contribution during their time on Council. Their time and commitment has been greatly appreciated and we wish each of them the very best for the future.
An Invitation for UK University Teachers of Sociology to Participate in Study Exploring Current Practices in Social Science Teaching and Learning (20/05/2014)
About the Project:
This message is for those who teach university-level sociology in the UK. Dr Eric Jensen (University of Warwick) and Nicola Buckley (University of Cambridge), invite your participation in a survey for a research project entitled, ‘Engaged Teaching and Learning within the Social Sciences: Embedding Engagement with Civil Society Organisations within the Curriculum and Higher Education Teaching Practice’. This Higher Education Academy-funded project explores current practices in social science teaching and learning. A report based on the results will be published by the Higher Education Academy, along with practical recommendations about the role of public and stakeholder engagement in the UK’s social science curriculum.
You will be contributing to knowledge about how UK social scientists are responding to the public engagement agenda promoted by funders and policymakers in terms of their teaching practices. Results will also contribute to practical discussions about effective practices in social science teaching. Through participating in the online survey you will also be automatically entered into a prize draw where one research participant will be selected at random to win either an iPad mini or £300 worth of book vouchers.
Accessing the survey:
You can access the survey online at: https://jensen.wufoo.com/forms/role-of-engagement-with-nonacademic-organisations/.
The survey should take around five minutes to complete.
If you have questions about the study or your rights as a participant, Dr Jensen will be happy to talk with you. Additionally, if you wish to withdraw from this study (which you are free to do at any point), please contact Dr Jensen at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that any information that could result in your identification will remain confidential unless you explicitly request otherwise.
Memorial Meeting celebrating John Westergaard's Life (16/05/14)
The Vice-Chancellor regrets to announce the death of Emeritus Professor John Westergaard Professor of Sociology in the Department of Sociological Studies, and a member of staff from 1975 to 1986, and Deputy Dean and Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences from 1982 to 1986, Aged 86 which occurred on 3 May 2014.
A memorial meeting to celebrate John's life will be held at Halifax Hall at 3.30pm on 29 May and colleagues and friends are warmly invited to attend. If you will be attending the memorial meeting please inform Adele Blinston by email so that the necessary catering arrangements can be made.
Book of Condolences for Professor John Westergaard (12/05/2014)
The Department of Sociological Studies at the University of Sheffield is very sad to announce the death of Emeritus Professor John Westergaard, on 3 May, aged 87.
John was Professor of Sociology between 1975 and 1986 and served with distinction as Deputy Dean and Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences between 1982 and 1986.
There will be a memorial occasion to celebrate John's life and a full obituary will be posted shortly.
The Department are currently compiling a book of condolences for John's family. If you would like to contribute, please email email@example.com. All tributes received by Friday 30 May 2014 will be included in the condolences book and, with permission, shared on the University of Sheffield's website. Please state in your email if you are happy for your tribute to be shared on the University's website.
Post Conference Reflections by Judith Mudd, BSA CEO (08/05/2014)
I hope that you have all recovered from this year's annual conference. We were delighted to see so many familiar and new faces at what became our second largest conference since the BSA 60th Anniversary Conference in 2011. As many members commented, it was a very vibrant and friendly conference with a breadth of exciting papers and discussions. I would like to thank all those involved in making it such a success and in particular our current President, John Holmwood, who spent a great deal of time and energy hosting events and presenting BSA prizes, as well as meeting and greeting speakers and BSA members.
The good news continues post conference in the form of an unprecedented number of BSA Trustee nominations. We have five vacancies and twelve nominations, which is excellent news and demonstrates the high level of engagement among members of a thriving organisation. Don’t forget to send in your votes by midnight on 22nd May.
Finally, next year's annual conference, on the theme 'Sociology in the Community', will be held at Glasgow Caledonian University (14–17 April). Save the date and we look forward to receiving your paper abstracts in due course!
Western Europe faces a demographic crisis caused by the growth of part-time and temporary work (25/04/2014)
Western Europe faces a demographic crisis caused by the growth of part-time and temporary work, the British Sociological Association in Leeds heard today [Friday 25 April].
Professor Andranik Tangian said that if current trends continued, by 2030 a “critical” situation would develop, with growing economic inequality and fewer births.
At the root of this was the growth of the number of people in ‘atypical employment’ – defined as those with no permanent full-time contract, including part-timers, temporary workers, agency workers and the self-employed.
The proportion of atypical employment had grown from 24% in 2000 to 45% of the workforce in 2010 in the 15 EU countries, including the UK, that were studied by Professor Tangian, of the Hans Böckler Foundation, Düsseldorf, Germany. Read more>>
Students being told to look at websites rather than being given face-to-face careers advice (25/04/2014)
School students are being told to look at careers websites rather than being given proper face-to-face vocational advice, the British Sociological Association annual conference in Leeds heard today. [Friday 25 April 2014]
Professor Melanie Simms, of the University of Leicester, said that changes to the careers advice system had created a service with “profound gaps” that puts English school-leavers at a disadvantage in the national and international jobs market.
She said that some schools were directing their students to websites to do all their own research because they knew that providing good careers advice was not crucial to pass Ofsted inspections.
Professor Simms, Dr Sophie Gamwell, of Middlesex University, and Dr Ben Hopkins, Aberystwyth University, interviewed 36 young people, 23 careers advice professionals and 33 managers from 11 companies in England for their research. Read more>>
Many couples need just one conversation to decide not to have children (25/04/2014)
Many couples agree not to have children after only one discussion, and sometimes none at all, the British Sociological Association’s annual conference in Leeds heard today. [Friday 25 April 2014]
Edina Kurdi, of Middlesex University, said that 40% of the childless women she surveyed for a study had either not talked about having children, or had only discussed this once early in their relationship.
Miss Kurdi carried out an online survey which included responses from 75 UK women aged 35 and above who were childless. She interviewed nine of them face-to-face.
The survey asked about discussions the woman had had with her current partner about not having children. She found that 23 of the 63 who responded to the question had decided not to have children after one conversation. Three others mentioned they had not talked about the issue at all. Read more>>
Girls achieve high status in criminal street gangs because of their people skills, research shows (25/04/2014)
Girls and young women can achieve influence and high status in criminal street gangs because of their people skills, the British Sociological Association annual conference in Leeds heard today. [Friday 25 April 2014]
Dr Simon Harding, of Middlesex University, spoke to members of gangs in South London and found that girls’ superior social skills could often give them an advantage over less streetwise male members.
The girls made use of these skills to carry out trusted tasks such as money laundering or banking, alongside more practical tasks for gangs such as smuggling weapons in their prams or hiding drug stashes, he said.
Dr Harding said his research challenged the traditional view of girls as powerless hangers-on who had to suffer rape or other abuse as the price of belonging to the gang. Read more>>
Children living with a step-parent or a lone parent are as happy as those living with two biological parents (24/04/2014)
Children living with a step-parent or a lone parent are as happy as those living with two biological parents, the British Sociological Association’s annual conference in Leeds heard today [Thursday 24 April].
In a major UK study on wellbeing, researchers from NatCen Social Research analysed data from the Millennium Cohort Study on 12,877 children aged seven in 2008 and found no significant difference in their reported happiness.
Whether the children lived with two biological parents, with a step-parent and biological parent, or in a single parent family, made no difference: 64% said they were happy ‘sometimes or never’, and 36% said they were ‘happy all the time’. Read more>>
Researchers discover what makes us feel European - and it’s food (24/04/2014)
Eating at a French bistro or listening to Portuguese fado are more reliable signs of feeling European than having lived abroad, the British Sociological Association’s annual conference in Leeds heard today. [Thursday 24 April 2014]
Dr Laurie Hanquinet and Professor Mike Savage analysed survey data on 6,016 people in the UK, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Romania and Spain to find out the characteristics of people who agreed with the statement ‘I feel European’.
Dr Hanquinet, of the University of York, and Professor Savage, of the London School of Economics, found that characteristics most closely linked to feeling European were regularly buying items from other European countries, listening to European folk music, and eating European cuisine. Read more>>
Change ‘authoritarian’ football culture to produce future stars, says research (23/04/2014)
Premier League soccer stars are subjecting their club’s junior players to regular insults and practical jokes in a humiliating rite of passage, the British Sociological Association’s annual conference in Leeds heard today. [Wednesday 23 April 2014]
This was part of an “authoritarian” treatment of youth team players which undermined attempts to change the culture of clubs and produce better footballers, Dr Chris Platts, of Sheffield Hallam University’s Academy of Sport and Physical Activity, said.
Dr Platts interviewed 303 junior players aged 16 to 18 and 13 coaches at 21 professional soccer clubs in England which operate an Academy training system.
One Premier League team youth player told Dr Platts that first-team footballers in his club once forced another youth player into a laundry basket and then dragged this into the showers. “If you bite (fight) back, they’ll just keep doing it,” another player said. Read more>>
Migrating to the Mediterranean makes Britons unhappier, says research (23/04/2014)
Migrating to the Mediterranean in search of a better lifestyle makes people unhappier than if they stayed at home, the British Sociological Association’s annual conference in Leeds heard today [Wednesday 23 April].
Dr David Bartram, of the University of Leicester, said that migrants from the UK and five other northern European countries who went to Spain, Portugal, Greece and Cyprus were less happy than people who stayed behind.
Dr Bartram analysed survey data on 265 migrants from Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Netherlands, France, and 73 from the UK, who resettled in the Mediterranean countries.
When asked how happy they were on a scale of 0-10, the migrants scored 7.3 on average, compared with the average of 7.5 for 56,000 people studied who had remained in the northern countries. Read more>>
Couples living in separate homes wish at heart for traditional marriage (23/04/2014)
Many of the millions of couples who live in separate homes – the modern phenomenon known as ‘living apart together’– wish at heart for more traditional cohabitation and marriage, research says.
The British Sociological Association's annual conference in Leeds heard today [Wednesday 23 April] that around 5 million people are now conducting relationships where they live in different homes from their partner.
Professor Simon Duncan, of the University of Bradford, said this was partly due to financial or work constraints. But even where women had made a strategic decision to live apart, they often felt guilty about it or considered living together.
Professor Duncan analysed survey data on 572 people who were ‘living apart together’ - 81% had been together for six months or more and 41% for three years or more, and most lived within five miles of each other. He also interviewed 29 women and 21 men.
Of the 572 survey respondents, 30% preferred having separate homes, 32% said they lived apart because it was too early in the relationship, and 30% said outside constraints such as financial issues prevented them living together. Read more>>
Taste-makers for the nation: Britain’s fine-dining revolution (10/04/2014)
Frequently derided as stuck-up and exclusive, haute cuisine has dropped its posh image and is appealing to a wider range of customers than ever before, transforming the way we think about food in the process, according to new research.
Michelin-starred chefs are not posh and the culture of their restaurants is no longer elitist. Britain still suffers from an inverted snobbery about the whole thing
According to a new study, however, Britain’s top restaurants have jettisoned their pretentious image and are attracting a wider range of diners than ever before – revolutionising the way the nation thinks about food in the process. Read more>>
Employers ‘routinely discriminating against stammerers’ (04/03/2014)
Employers are routinely discriminating against people who stammer, rejecting them because of concerns about possible negative reactions from customers or team members, new research suggests.
A study by Dr Clare Butler, of Newcastle University Business School, published in the journalWork, Employment and Societysays that people who stammer experience widespread prejudice in the jobs market.
Thirty-six men from England and Wales, ranging in age from 21 to 65 years, were interviewed and all reported routine discrimination. Some had been immediately rejected at interviews because of their stammer and others could only find jobs where they were over-qualified. Find out more about the study>>
Women's jobs are poorer paid, less flexible and more stressful (04/03/2014)
Women's jobs are poorer paid, less flexible, more stressful, and offer fewer promotion opportunities than men's, a large international study has found.
Researchers say that the results disprove the theory that women have voluntarily traded less high-powered jobs in order to have more flexibility for their responsibilities at home.
Professor Haya Stier, of Tel Aviv University, and Professor Meir Yaish, University of Haifa, analysed survey data on the working lives of 8,500 men and 9,000 women in 27 industrialised countries, including the UK. Find out more about the study>>
Parents are not more likely to split up if mothers earn more than fathers (18/02/2014)
Couples with young children are as likely to stay together if the mother is the main breadwinner rather than the father, new research shows.
A paper published in the journalSociologytoday [Tuesday 18 February 2014] says the relationships of parents are in some cases more stable if the mother earns more than the father.
Dr Shireen Kanji, of the University of Leicester School of Management, and Dr Pia Schober, of the German Institute for Economic Research, Berlin, examined survey data on 3,944 British couples as their first child aged from eight months to seven years. Read more>>
Alternative Attitudes to Complementary Medicine (10/02/2014)
What are the worrying health implications from research suggesting that some people who trust modern pharmaceuticals are also willing to use complementary and alternative medicine?
It is easy to assume that people who use complementary and alternative medicines will hold anti-scientific views. After all, the scientific community is largely united in opposition to treatments such as homeopathy, reiki and faith healing, so why would the reverse not also be true? Surely the population is divided into two camps with opposing, incompatible views on which form of medicine works?
Little research had been done to test this assumption until Dr Paul Stoneman and colleagues decided to look into the extent to which people's attitudes toward science actually relate to their usage of alternative medicines. Their conclusions are somewhat surprising.
They found that the population is actually split into three main groups, rather than two. There are the groups we’d expect to find: one set of people who trust science while having no belief in complementary and alternative medicine (or CAM for short), and another group who do not trust conventional medicine or their GP or the pharmaceutical industry but do believe strongly in CAM (especially homeopathy). So far, so predictable. Read more>>
David Willetts MP to announce £14 million funding boost for Data Research Centres (06/02/2014)
The Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts MP, has announced the release of £14 million to fund the second phase of the ESRC's investment in Big Data. At a speech at the High Performance Computing and Big Data Conference Mr Willetts outlined what steps are being taken to strengthen the UK’s competitive advantage in Big Data
This latest funding, part of a pot of £64 million announced in October 2013, will be used to support the establishment of the ESRC Business and Local Government Data Research Centre’s at Essex, Glasgow, University College London (UCL) and Leeds Universities.
The Data Research Centres will make data, routinely collected by business and local government organisations, accessible for academics in order to undertake outstanding research in the social sciences in ways that safeguard individuals’ identities. That research will provide a sound evidence-base to inform policy development, implementation and evaluation. This requires not just the development of a safe, secure and efficient system for linking, managing and analysing such data, founded on secure technologies, but also trust between data owners, researchers and other interested parties including the public. Read more>>
British medical tourists seeking treatment overseas without sufficient information and advice (05/02/2014)
A team of researchers has found that British people travelling abroad for medical treatment are often unaware of the potential health and financial consequences they could face.
The researchers say this can, in some cases, have catastrophic effects for individual patients.
At least 63,000 UK residents travel abroad for medical treatment each year. However, the study led by the University of York, and involving the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Royal Holloway University, the University of Birmingham and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, concludes that many people are embarking on medical tourism without understanding the risks involved.
These include a lack of redress in many countries should things go wrong, and the costs of non-emergency care at home to rectify poor outcomes of treatments received overseas. Many people, the researchers say, are unaware that under current NHS eligibility and commissioning rules, individuals may be personally liable for these costs. Read more>>
UK failing to promote human rights for asylum seekers (04/02/2014)
Thousands of asylum seekers are living in destitution for years in the UK due to failures in local and central governments to address the problem in the support system, a report has found.
A report by the University of Sunderland analysed people living in destitute conditions highlights that this is a long-term problem, instead of a short-term phase of homelessness. In 2005 it was estimated that 283,500 people in the UK who came into the asylum process were living in poverty, some for more than six years and it is believed the number has continued to increase.
The report, Between Destitution and a Hard Place: Finding Strength to Survive Refusal From the Asylum System, said those fleeing persecution in their home country live in constant fear and anxiety about their situation. Several of those featured in the report were themselves or knew of people becoming depressed or mentally ill. Some were even relieved when they were diagnosed with illnesses such as tuberculosis because it meant they would receive help and treated like a human.
In the report, which has been sent to MPs and charities throughout the UK, it found one of the main difficulties experienced by those refused asylum was that destitution was accepted as the only way, with no other option because of the dangers they faced back in their home countries. Read more>>
SRO Rapid Response Call: Representations of the Poor and the Politics of Welfare Reform: ‘Benefits Street’ and Beyond (04/02/2014)
Recent public debate in the UK surrounding Channel 4’s ‘Benefits Street’ documentary has highlighted an apparent proliferation of media representations of unemployed and/or working class lives that emphasise themes such as dependency, laziness, anti-social behaviour and criminality. At the same time, welfare reform has become increasingly central to public debate and policy making in many countries across the world. This rapid response call invites sociological consideration of the relationships between contemporary cultural representations of the poor and political/ideological developments with respect to welfare and social security.
Rapid Response articles should be up to 3,000 words in length. Please indicate your article is in response to this call on your submission.
Authors are encouraged to submit articles as soon as possible after the call and papers are reviewed and published (if accepted) as they come in. The final deadline is 30 April 2014.
Sociological Research Online publishes high quality, fully peer-reviewed articles across the spectrum of current sociology. An innovative, online-only journal affiliated to the BSA, we reach a wide international readership, have fast turnaround times and encourage integration of audio, video and images, as well as welcoming text-only contributions. We also publish special sections and rapid response articles which address current issues in sociology and the public arena. Submit now>>
Resilient nature of privacy online examined in book (29/01/2014)
Online privacy is still alive and thriving, according to a new book co-authored by a University of Greenwich economic sociologist.
Dr Paola Tubaro, programme leader for PhD and research degrees in the Faculty of Business, and senior lecturer in the Department of International Business & Economics, helps challenge the received wisdom that the large-scale sharing of content and personal details on social media – and the resulting mass surveillance by government – inevitably means the end of privacy as we know it.
In Against the Hypothesis of the End of Privacy, published by Springer, Dr Tubaro and her fellow researchers argue that privacy has not declined, but has become cyclical. Read more>>
European LGBT communities face barriers and bullying (29/01/2014)
A European study by Sheffield Hallam University into the barriers and bullying faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) young people in education and employment has been launched at the European Parliament in Brussels by MEP Michael Cashman.
The West Midlands MEP - Labour's human rights spokesman in Brussels - said more needs to be done to end bullying at the launch of the new Sheffield Hallam-authored report from the International LGBTQ Youth and Student Organisation in partnership with the Intergroup on LGBT Rights and the Intergroup on Youth.
The study of LGBT people aged 15 to 38 from Croatia, Denmark, the Republic of Ireland, Italy and Poland found 73 per cent had experienced name-calling whilst at school and one in three had considered suicide as a result of homophobia in schools. Read more>>
Show us the money, say Scottish voters (23/01/2014)
Never mind issues such as welfare, currency or Europe. What matters is the economy, Scots say in an independence survey.
The current debate on Scottish independence has focused on issues such as welfare and equality, keeping the pound or remaining in the EU - but may have missed the mark. New results from the Scottish Social Attitudes survey, funded by the ESRC and carried out by ScotCen Social Research, suggest it's the economic consequences that matters the most to people.
The survey was conducted between June and October 2013, with the researchers interviewing a sample of 1,497 adults face-to-face between 25 June and 23 October 2013. The survey finds that:
- If independence meant that voters would be £500 a year better off, 52 per cent would support independence and only 30 per cent oppose it. However, if they stood to lose £500 instead, 15 per cent would support independence and 72 per cent would be opposed.
- 71 per cent of those who think Scotland's economy would be 'better' under independence are likely to vote 'Yes'. In contrast, 86 per cent of those who think the economy would be 'worse' are inclined to vote 'No'.
- However, over half of the respondents (52 per cent) feel independence won’t make any difference for the economy.
Many other prominent arguments and questions in the referendum debate apparently make little difference to how most voters are inclined to vote, with people agreeing across the divide. Read more>>
Dr Mark Monaghan (Leeds) comments on the recent upsurge of mainstream media stories reporting drug use (23/01/2014)
Lecturer in Sociology, Social Policy and Crime, Dr Mark Monaghan, comments on the recent ‘tabloid sensation’ emerging over the last week that has reported a number of drug use allegations by powerful members of society and celebrities.
Dr Monaghan highlights the recent news stories concerning drug use allegations by the TV cook and personality Nigella Lawson and former head of the Co-op Bank, Paul Flowers. Dr Monaghan considers these cases in the wider social context of drug consumption in the over-50s.
Drug use evidence suggests that its usage has steadily declined since 2005, although this past month is perhaps an indicator of more recent trends.
Dr Monaghan concludes however that “there is no suggestion that we are about to witness an epidemic of drug use for those in or approaching retirement age”. Read more>>
British Academy launches series of public debates discussing the biggest issues of our time (22/01/2014)
New for 2014, the British Academy is launching a series of free debates to encourage the public to discuss some of the most important challenges of our time and show the role academic research plays in helping us understand and address them.
The British Academy Debates will look in turn at some of today's toughest questions and illuminate the crucial issues involved, with the aim of helping individuals, communities and politicians make better informed decisions in key areas that affect their lives.
British Academy President Lord Nicholas Stern says: "We are not driving to answers for these questions, but putting on the table serious analysis from across the spectrum of the humanities and social sciences. We want to get beyond the usual cut-and-thrust sloganising in which these subjects are discussed."
The British Academy Debates will focus in turn on issues surrounding Ageing, Immigration and Well-being. In the first series, leading academics and public figures will debate the challenges – and the opportunities – posed by our steadily ageing population, with debates in London, Sheffield and Edinburgh, chaired in turn by journalist Evan Davis, classicist Mary Beard and actor Simon Callow. Read more>>
Labour government would “restore the dignity of social science,” says Byrne (22/01/2014)
A Labour government would “restore the dignity of social science within government,” the Shadow Minister for Universities, Science and Skills, Liam Byrne MP, said.
Speaking at a Campaign for Social Science meeting, Mr Byrne said he was “pretty attracted” to reinstating the post of Chief Social Scientist within government, abolished in 2010, as part of this. “We need to hire more social scientists [for government],” he said.
He said that social scientists could produce the research that told government how to get the best return on investment for its spending. They were also vital for ensuring that civil servants had the skills needed for their work – “making sure that policymakers are well-versed in techniques of research is incredibly important.” Read more>>
Winning hearts and minds (22/01/2014)
CEOs need to speak from the heart to win gender diversity battle, according to research by King’s and KPMG.
An ability to talk about the business case for diversity is not sufficient for CEOs to really drive the kinds of behavioural change needed to increase the number of women at senior levels, according to new research by King’s College London and KPMG. Instead CEOs need to be brave, and talk from their hearts as well as their heads.
In one of the first major studies on the role of the CEO in driving change on diversity and inclusion, Dr Elisabeth Kelan from the Department of Management at King’s analysed how CEOs of global organisations explain the need for action on gender to themselves and to others, and the kinds of leadership behaviours they use to help make change happen. Read more>>
'The long and short of it': Sustainable food supply chain Commission (21/01/2014)
The Industry and Parliament Trust (IPT), Food Ethics Council and the University of Warwick have set up a Commission to explore the challenges of maintaining a sustainable supply chain.
The Commission will give parliamentarians, industry and academics the opportunity to discuss issues food companies face in ensuring the sustainability of supply chains and explore upcoming policy developments that seek to tackle them.
Among the topics discussed will be employment conditions; distribution of profit; how to best tackle resource depletion and climate change. Following the conclusion of the Commission, a 15-20 page report will be published outlining its findings and adding to the dialogue between parliament, industry and academia on this important issue. Read more>>
Research finds many too poor to die (21/01/2014)
A new report, launched today by the University of Bath's Institute for Policy Research, will argue that the current system of state support for funeral costs requires urgent review.
Launched at an event in Westminster, co-organised and hosted by the International Longevity Centre-UK (ILC-UK), the report challenges government to rethink its DWP-administered Social Fund Funeral Payment, which is highlighted as ‘outdated’, ‘overly complex’ and ‘insufficient’ at meeting the needs of the poorest in society.
With the average cost of dying having risen by 7.1% in the past year now standing at £7,622 (funeral, burial/cremation, plus estate administration) the report’s authors estimate that over 100,000 people will struggle to pay for a funeral this year alone.
In spite of the lowest ever recorded mortality rates for England and Wales, the cost of dying has steadily increased over recent years. The average cost of a funeral in fact rose by a massive 80% between 2004 and 2013, and the costs of dying are expected to continue to increase over the next 5 years. Read more>>
Football Fans get FFITer and Lose Weight (21/01/2014)
An initiative that helps male football fans feel better and live a healthier lifestyle by losing weight, taking more exercise, and improving their diet has been a resounding success, according to new research published in The Lancet and BMC Public Health.
The Football Fans in Training programme* (FFIT) has run for three seasons at Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) clubs. The research, led by a team at the University of Glasgow and involving the University of Aberdeen and other institutions, shows that FFIT has proved extremely popular with men, and its effectiveness and value for money have now been clearly demonstrated in one of the world’s first randomised control trial (RCT) of a health programme delivered through professional sports clubs.
Professor Sally Wyke, one of the two Principal Investigators from the University of Glasgow said: “We now have ‘gold standard’ evidence that the FFIT programme can help men lose weight and keep it off. After 12 months, the difference in weight loss between men who did the programme and men in a comparison group, who did not do the programme, was 4·94kg.” Read more>>
Feminist and Women’s Studies Association Book Prize 2014 - nominations open (09/01/2014)
The Feminist and Women’s Studies Association (UK & Ireland) is delighted to announce the FWSA Book Prize 2014, a competition for books published in fields of feminist, gender and women’s studies. The deadline for nominations is 31 January 2014. Find out more>>
ESA seeks Editor-in-Chief, Assistant Editor and Book Reviews Editor for European Societies (08/01/2014)
The European Sociological Association (ESA) is seeking applicants for the positions of Editor-in-Chief, Assistant Editor and Book Reviews Editor for European Societies. Closing Date: 31 March 2014. Find out more>>
Rachel Tanur Memorial Prize for Visual Sociology (16/12/2013)
The Social Science Research Council announces a twenty-year program of biannual grants from the Mark Family Fund for the Rachel Tanur Memorial Prize for Visual Sociology.
The prize recognizes students in the social sciences who incorporate visual analysis in their work. It is named for Rachel Dorothy Tanur (1958–2002), an urban planner and lawyer who cared deeply about people and their lives and was an acute observer of living conditions and human relationships.
The 2014 competition for the Rachel Tanur Memorial Prize for Visual Sociology is now open. Applications will be judged by members of the Visual Sociology group of the International Sociological Association (ISA).
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