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Sociological Research Online 1 (2) 1
Keywords: Multi-Cultural Societies; National Identity; Nationalism; Migrant Minorities
Abstract: It has been suggested that there is a crisis of national identity in the advanced welfare states of Western Europe following post-war immigration. The aim of this paper is, first of all, to clarify the concept of national identity in its application to these states prior to this immigration, secondly to analyze the concept of ethnic identity amongst immigrant ethnic groups, and, finally, to look at the kinds of institutions which have evolved to determine the relation of immigrant groups to the established national societies of settlement. The modern nation state is often thought of as part of a modernizing project in industrial societies. In this project the nation state is not thought of as being based upon a national identity, but is seen as having more universal aims. These include a modern economy, universal and uniform education and the compromise institutions of the welfare state negotiated between different classes and status groups. In some cases, on the other hand, the nation state may be established by a dominant ethnic group with its own values and institutions. In both cases the nation state will develop its own national ideology but will be corrosive of subordinate ethnicities and ethnic identities. New immigrant ethnic minorities have their own separate sense of identity. This should not however be thought of in essentialist terms as unchanging and clearly bounded. A more complex model of ethnic mobilization under conditions of migration is suggested. The response of established societies to the presence of these minorities might take one of three forms. It may involve attempts to assimilate the minorities on equal terms as citizens; it may seek to subordinate them to a dominant ethnic group as second class citizens or denizens; or, it may recognize cultural diversity in the private communal sphere while maintaining a shared public political culture. The new national identity of the host society will depend upon the outcome of processes which follow from the adoption of these different policies.
David Byrne and Tim Rogers
Sociological Research Online 1 (2) 3
Keywords: Cluster Analysis; Education Policy; Secondary Education; Secondary School Performance Tables; Social Division
Abstract: Recent actions by Labour politicians have highlighted the degree of differentiation among UK state secondary schools. This article uses data describing the characteristics of schools and the academic achievements of the children attending them to generate a typology. This is related to recent sociological discussion dealing with the increasing saliency of 'cultural capital' and the way in which families manage educational access as a way of maximizing the lifechances of their own children. The school data set is related to Census derived descriptions of catchment areas and the consequent patterns are examined in order to explore the educational dimension of 'the divided city'. The whole system of schools in space is considered as a far from equilibrium autopoetic system and the language of complexity theory is applied to it in order to see whether a description in terms of specieation and fitness landscapes illuminates our understanding.
Sociological Research Online 1 (3) 1
Keywords: Nationalism, National Identity, Multiculturalism, Welfare State, Citizenship
Abstract: The crisis of national identity in Western Europe is related to the rise of a new nationalism which operates at many different levels, ranging from extreme xenophobic forms to the more moderate forms of cultural nationalism. Underlying the new nationalism in general is more a hostility against immigrants than against other nations; it is motivated less by notions of cultural superiority than by the implications multiculturalism has for the welfare state, which is being attacked by neo-liberal agendas. As a cultural discourse, the new nationalism is a product of social fragmentation. Therefore the most important challenge facing the democratic multi-cultural state in the context of European integration is to find ways of preserving the link between social citizenship and multiculturalism. Without a firm basis in social citizenship, multiculturalism will suffer continued attacks from nationalism, feeding off social insecurity.
Karen Mary Moore
Sociological Research Online 1 (3) 2
Keywords: Survey; Replication; Response Rates; Research Methods; Community; Locality; Liverpool; Inner City; Urban Studies
Abstract: This note describes a study to discover the extent to which it would be possible to follow the respondents in a 1978/79 social survey in inner Liverpool. The follow up would be used to describe the ways in which peoples' circumstances had changed in the intervening 17 years. It would also provide an opportunity to discover how the respondents themselves viewed the changes that had taken place in inner Liverpool (if that was where they still lived) and the extent to which they had realized the aspirations they expressed in 1978/79 (wherever they now lived). An additional benefit of the research was to 'test the water' for forthcoming policy related research in Liverpool. The results of the pilot study are clear and unambiguous: it was not possible to follow up the previous respondents. Reasons for this are believed to include changing attitudes towards giving information and to reservations about collaborating in research projects which in the context of inner city Liverpool are seen to have no benefits to local people. The prognosis for future survey-based research is poor. These findings are consistent with more anecdotal evidence from colleagues working elsewhere in inner city areas and in sharp contrast to similar work undertaken in the very different political climate of the 1970s.
Sociological Research Online 2 (1) 8
Keywords: Culture; Globalism; Identity; Innovation; Multiculturalism; Nation State; Nationalism; Structuralism
Abstract: The article reviews briefly the theory of nationalism, and introduces (yet another) definition of nations and nationalism. Starting from this definition of nationalism as a world order with specific characteristics, oppositions such as core and periphery, globalism/nationalism, and realism/idealism are formally rejected. Nationalism is considered as a purely global structure. Within this, it is suggested, the number of states tends to fall to an equilibrium number which is itself falling, this number of states being the current best approximation to a single world state. Within nationalism variants are associated with different equilibrium numbers: these variants compete. Together, as the nationalist structure, they formally exclude other world orders. Such a structure appears to have the function of blocking change, and it is tentatively suggested that it derives directly from an innate human conservatism. The article attempts to show how characteristics of classic nationalism, and more recent identity politics, are part of nationalist structures. They involve either the exclusion of other forms of state, or of other orders of states, or the intensification of identity as it exists.
Peter Brannen and Lamb
Sociological Research Online 2 (1) brannen_lamb
Keywords: Culture; Globalism; Identity; Innovation; Multiculturalism; Nation State; Nationalism; Structuralism
Abstract: Research Resource: Using Metadata for Cross-National Comparisons
Sociological Research Online 2 (1) cspp
Keywords: Culture; Globalism; Identity; Innovation; Multiculturalism; Nation State; Nationalism; Structuralism
Abstract: Research Resource: The CSPP specializes in comparative public policy research. Since 1991 it has developed a unique programme of cross-national cross-time surveys to monitor the transformation of post-Communist societies. In collaboration with the Paul Lazarsfeld Society, Vienna, more than 80 surveys have been completed and more are being planned.
Sociological Research Online 2 (3) 7
Keywords: Femininity; Gender; Management; Organisational Culture; Performance Appraisal; Sexuality; Women
Abstract: Four decades ago, Whyte (1956), described how a new human expression had become universally evident. This was the notion of the 'Organisation Man', an early corporate culture characterised by the middle ranks of managers in large organisations, who were subject to a 'social ethic'. Under the original conception gender was not an issue. However, in a contemporary view of human resource management (HRM) and corporate culture, it has become crucial to understanding both notions of competitive advantage, and the thesis and influence of commitment in the literature and the workplace. This article deals with some issues of women and the organisation man/corporate culture thesis. Unlike many studies (e.g. Fletcher et al, 1993), there is a need to make a distinction between women and men concerning their perceptions and roles. A need to clarify the changes that have taken place in relation to the corporate culture thesis. The analysis in this paper is based on initial research material. It deals with the above issues in relation to gender in contemporary society, asking as it does, if the notion of corporate culture has changed to one where both men and women are implicated in the project at a full, emotional level.
Sociological Research Online 3 (1) 1
Keywords: Citizenship; Culture; Democracy; Identity; Knowledge; Europe
Abstract: The concept 'society' in social theory has generally presupposed notions of cultural cohesion and social integration associated with national societies and the framework of modernity. This older idea of the social emerged out of the experience with institution-building associated with the rise of the nation-state and the transition from 'tradition' to 'modernity'. The question whether European integration can articulate a conception of the social independent of national society is a major challenge for social theory. This paper explores changing conceptions of the social in recent social theory and applies some of these ideas to European integration. It is argued that we need to rethink our notion of society: instead of a 'transition' the kind of social change we are experiencing today is that of social 'transformation', a concept which suggests less the 'end of the social' than an emerging 'network' society based on knowledge. Thus instead of trying to reproduce on the supranational level a model that has reached its limits on the national level, European integration needs to give expression to the emerging power of knowledge. Rejecting the notion of the demos and the ethnos as inappropriate to European integration, the case is made for a discursive understanding of democracy and knowedge.
Christopher May and Mary Eleanor Buck
Sociological Research Online 3 (2) 5
Keywords: Community Care; Identity; Implementation; Management; Organisation; Power; Professionalism; Resistance; Social Work; Transformation
Abstract: Utilising data drawn from a study of a social service organisation, this article aims to understand the relationship between the rationale of organisational transformations and the professional status of social workers. It contains an examination of the original aims of Community Care legislation, its translation by management into processes of re-structuring and alterations in job specification, as well as the perspectives of those at the front-line of the organisation. This enables a theoretical consideration of organisational transformation and power and their relationship to the identity of social workers.
Eileen Teresa Kennedy
Sociological Research Online 3 (2) 6
Keywords: Capitalism; Capitalist Ascendancy; Globalisation; Marxism; Social Identity
Abstract: This article challenges the prevailing orthodoxy which suggests that contemporary global capitalism is in the ascendancy. In the context of an evaluation of the extensive literature supporting the ascendancy argument and a brief synopsis of empirical evidence supporting a decline thesis, a number of alternative theories of capitalist transition are then assessed. It is argued that each theory, in different ways, offers an inadequate explanation of contemporary capitalist development. On the basis of this assessment, the article then contributes to a theory of capitalist decline by examining and explaining the importance of the Marxist conception of social law, the law of value and the role of gold as world money, to an understanding of contemporary capitalism's transition and decline.
Sociological Research Online 3 (2) 7
Keywords: Identity; Nationalism; Nationalist Sentiment; Norway; Social Transformation; Sweden; Xenophobia
Abstract: This article sets out to compare nationalism or nationalist sentiment in the two neighboring countries of Norway and Sweden, since it has been claimed that nationalism differs both with respect to the degree of nationalism and the connotations it has in these two countries. In spite of the claimed differences between the two countries, this article shows that Norwegians and Swedes have to a similar extent nationalist sentiments and that xenophobia and protectionism follow in the footsteps of such attitudes in both the examined countries, indicating the negative sides of nationalism. Moreover, the two countries also show similar patterns regarding which groups in society that are most inclined to show nationalist sentiments.
Sociological Research Online 3 (4) 7
Keywords: Disability; Ethnicity; Euphemism; Identity; Japan; Marginality; Name; Political Correctness; Sexuality
Abstract: This paper draws on Japanese, British and other material for a comparative analysis of name-calling. Naming the other is a means of identification, helping to establish definitions of self. Definitional power is socially distributed: the power of the mainstream is orchestrated by expert classifications of marginality that disparage others, often in the form of euphemisms. It is argued that the demand for euphemisms is generated by etiquette, modernist ideology and the power of protest. Cases are examined where euphemisms are dispensable or too troublesome, and where conversely it becomes necessary to coin further cultivated euphemisms in an inflationary manner. Euphemisms are disputed in power struggles of linguistic rectitude, involving accusations of political correctness. In terminological conflict, the power of the other to resist, subvert or escape naming must be recognised, yet unequal definitional resources render celebrations of postmodernism premature: dominant designations can effect the containment and denial of being.
John David Goodwin and Katherine Hills
Sociological Research Online 4 (2) goodwin_hills
Keywords: American Imperialism; China; Hong Kong; Kosovo Crisis.; Media; NATO; Par Identity; Sino-West Relations
Abstract: In this article we reflect on our experiences in Hong Kong after the bombing by NATO forces of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade in May 1999. We focus on the responses to this action contained within Hong Kong's English language press and reflect on the emergent themes. The themes are, Business as Usual in a Global Marketplace and Civilised versus Barbaric: Representations of Good and Evil. On a broad level these themes encapsulate the perceptions that China and Western nations have about each other's society and culture. On a deeper level, through these themes, we reveal the inherent contradictions between the ongoing economic interdependence of China and the West on the one hand, and China's quest for political independence through its reaffirmation of what it is to be Chinese on the other.
R. Ruth Linden
Sociological Research Online 4 (2) linden
Keywords: Ethnic Cleansing; Genocide; Kosovo; Metaphor; Refugees; The Holocaust
Abstract: This article begins a conversation about the consequences of deploying the Holocaust as a metaphor for specific instances of ethnic cleansing and genocide. It explores the rhetorical linkage between the war in Kosovo and the Holocaust, an analogy that looms large in discourse in the United States. I use the term "discursive displacement" to describe the process of signifying events in Kosovo with the metaphor of the Holocaust. This metaphor can both enlarge and constrain the production of knowledge. The use of metaphors is fundamental to the process of making meanings. Nevertheless, by disrupting the "transfer" of meanings from the Holocaust to Kosovo, my aim is to expand our understanding of the persistence and specificity of ethnic cleansing and genocide in our own time.
Sociological Research Online 4 (2) raffel
Keywords: Identity; Moral Frameworks; Principles; Reflection; Role; Role-conflict; Role-Distance; Self
Abstract: This paper looks at some of the major texts in the history of role theory. The question that is asked is whether any of these works have been able to theorize the self adequately. It is suggested that neither Parsons nor Merton has any place for the self in their respective theories. While Goffman does make a space for the self, it is only a negative space. Even ethnomethodological theory cannot imagine a role player capable of self-expression. It is argued that a solution to the problem of how to conceive of self and role can be developed from some ideas present in the work of the philosopher Lawrence Blum. The concept of self as identity that can be extracted from his work can allow social theory to imagine actors who are simultaneously expressing their selves and fulfilling their roles. Affinities between this idea and some key concepts in theories of both (Alan) Blum and Peter McHugh and Charles Taylor are suggested.
Andrew Robert Finlay
Sociological Research Online 4 (3) finlay
Keywords: Conflict; Derry/Londonderry; Ethnic Identity; Inter-Cultural Communication; Northern Ireland; Reflexivity; Sectarianism; Sociology Of Emotion; Trade Unionism.
Abstract: When strangers in Northern Ireland meet, they draw upon a variety of cues in an attempt to ascertain each other's religio-political identity and, depending on the outcome, enter into what Burton (1978) terms 'systematically distorted' or 'pseudo-communication'. After Burton, the process has come to be known as Telling. The article discusses how Telling manifested itself in an interview which the author conducted nearly 15 years ago. This experience is used to suggest that Telling raises issues for ethnographic and interview-based research that go well beyond the familiar problem of 'reactive effects', to stress the importance of reflexivity as a means of dealing with these issues, and to discuss the difficulties of reflexivity in the context of a cultural reticence which has developed as a way of managing the sectarian alienation arising from a national conflict. The article discusses various forms of reflexivity, and concludes that 'analytical reflexivity', based on a politics of location or practice of positioning, offers a potential way forward.
Sociological Research Online 4 (3) lentin
Keywords: Collective Action; Identity; New Social Movements; Structural Transformation; Transnationalisation
Abstract: The theoretical domain developed for the study of New Social Movements (NSMs) in the early 1980s has recently been largely abandoned by its main advocates. Increasingly, the cross-class, 'post-materialist' movements of the 1970s and 1980s, typified by the issues of environment, peace and feminism, cease to pose a radical challenge to contemporary western politics. This paper revisits the theoretical work of three of the European voices central to understandings of the emergence and success of New Social Movements. Claus Offe, Alberto Melucci and Alain Touraine succeed in amalgamating an essential emphasis on structural transformation and an understanding of the importance of identity in bringing about 'new' collective action in the 1970s and 1980s. In response, to the significant decrease in European work on the NSM phenomenon today the paper proposes that the existing body of theory may be insufficient for describing collective action at the turn of the Millennium. The increasing predominance of 'identity' politics (e.g. in the realms of ethnicity and sexuality) in the arenas previously dominated by 'universalist', post-particularist themes; the institutionalisation of elements of NSM action and concerns; and the perceived appropriation by transnational agencies of the issues dominating original state-NSM struggles are cited as reasons for the need to develop a new language to describe contemporary collective action phenomena.
Tim Strangleman, Emma Hollywood, Huw Beynon, Katy Bennett and Ray Hudson
Sociological Research Online 4 (3) strangleman
Keywords: Coal Industry; Ideal Types; Industrial/Social Redevelopment; Miners; Occupational Identity; Stereo Types; Work Ethic.
Abstract: This paper aims to discover how, with the decline and ending of the deep coal mining industry in many parts of the UK its legacy is being re-evaluated by those involved in various aspects of economic and social regeneration. It opens by exploring the way coal mine workers and their communities have been seen within popular and academic accounts, and in particular the way this group has been subject to ideal typification and stereo-typing. The main body of the paper examines the way this legacy is still subject to such interpretation, and that further, the specificity of the coal industry is commodified in a variety of ways. We point out the contradictory nature of this process and argue that it is inevitably damaging to a complex analysis of the deep problems facing former coalfield areas.
Sociological Research Online 5 (1) weber
Keywords: Austria; Auto/biography; Home/Abroad; Identity; National Socialism; Nationalism; Self; Sport
Abstract: This article looks at the possible links between auto/biography and right wing nationalism. It is based on extensive archival and oral history research carried out during the 1990s. The recent shift to the right of Austrian governmental politics is examined by looking at biographical aspects of a key player of that process, the leader of the Austrian Freedom Party Joerg Haider. His current political views should be read as being embedded within the wider historical and political biography of Austria as a nation state. A life story is constructed in exchange with ones own and other people's actions. This construct is constantly in flux. This is true for authors of academic research as much as for their objects of investigation. Consequently, the authors' experiences as an Austrian national, both at home and abroad, form a part of this study. The paper concludes by debating how auto/biographical experiences from the past become a constituting element of a person's present and future.
Jeni Harden, Sue Scott, Kathryn Backett-Milburn and Stevi Jackson
Sociological Research Online 5 (2) harden
Keywords: Childhood; Children; Methodology; Research Methods
Abstract: In this paper we explore some current issues in, what has come to be called, the new sociology of childhood and how these relate to the process of researching children's lives in general, and to our own research in particular. We discuss the developmental model of childhood, before going on to explore ideas about children as, on the one hand, inhabiting a relatively autonomous realm and, on the other as part of the same social world as adults but with different sets of competencies. The implications of these differing positions for researching children will be assessed prior to a discussion of the design of our current research, on children and risk, and the wider implications of our reflections on the research process.
Richard Kiely, David McCrone, Frank Bechhofer and Robert Paul Stewart
Sociological Research Online 5 (2) kiely
Keywords: Berwick-Upon-Tweed; Identity Markers And Rules; Local Identity; National Identity
Abstract: Through a systematic programme of research into national identity we have developed a sound understanding of the processes of identity claim, attribution and receipt. Central to these processes are identity markers and rules. We have always sought contexts where national identity is either salient or problematic as identity construction then becomes most clearly apparent. Berwick-upon-Tweed, a town in England but located close to the Scottish border, provides such a context.One would expect people from Berwick-upon-Tweed ('Berwickers') to claim an English national identity. They live in a town jurisdictionally in England and in the county of Northumberland. Moreover, one might think that, living only 3 miles south of the Scottish border, they would feel a heightened sense of their English national identity. However, our research shows that national identity in Berwick-upon- Tweed is complex and problematic. This is not simply due to close proximity to the border but a combination of unique forces - historical, cultural and demographic - that has led some Berwickers to avoid explicitly articulating a definitive nationality. Instead, they mobilise a specific identity strategy of localism. Context dramatically affects the willingness to claim a national identity.Key findings are presented from 70 household interviews conducted in Berwick-upon-Tweed and 48 divided evenly across Eyemouth, a nearby town in Scotland, and Alnwick, a town slightly further south in England. These data allowed us also to explore how Berwickers' identity claims are received, how national identity is attributed to them by others and how these attributions are in turn received. Two of the aims of our work are to demonstrate the fluid nature of national identity processes and the crucial importance of context to these. Our work in Berwick-Upon-Tweed has done much to meet and further these aims.
Lee F. Monaghan, Michael Bloor, Russell P Dobash and Rebecca Emerson Dobash
Sociological Research Online 5 (2) monaghan
Keywords: Body; Bodybuilding; Drugs; Ephedrine; Nubain; Risk; Risk Boundaries; Social Identity; Steroids
Abstract: The instrumental use of steroids and analogous drugs is a normalised practice in bodybuilding subculture. However, in a society where bodily health and lifestyle are conjoined, such risk- taking carries negative connotations. Bodybuilders using drugs for purposes of physique enhancement are able to resist accusations of opprobrium and maintain competent social identity by drawing a sharp contrast between themselves and 'junkies'. This self-serving differentiation appears untenable, however, when bodybuilders take Ephedrine and Nubain: drugs that may be compared respectively and unfavourably to amphetamines and heroin. Using qualitative data, this paper considers the variable status of Ephedrine and Nubain as risk boundaries among bodybuilders. In operating as risk boundaries, these drugs signify limits beyond which 'sensible' drug-using bodybuilders should not venture. As social constructs, risk boundaries are also contingent. Correspondingly, bodybuilders using Ephedrine and Nubain may redraw lines delimiting (in)appropriate behaviour thereby retaining competent social identity. These ethnographic observations ground theoretical debate about the impact of risk society on body- and identity building in late modernity and highlight some of the limitations of influential cultural theories of risk.
Sociological Research Online 5 (3) mulberg
Keywords: Examinations; GCSE.; Grant; LEA; Performance; Performance-related; Quasi-market; Schools; SSA; Tables
Abstract: One of the reasons that the publication and content of secondary school performance tables in England is such a controversial political issue is the introduction of quasi-market models in public services in the 1980's and 1990's. These models assume that the outcome of the educational process in schools can be separated from the inputs - the background of the pupils - and that schools are able to affect poor performance. Any research that shows that the examination results are associated with parental background attacks the concept of choice that is a major rationale for these models, and confronts the quasi-market approach, since it suggests that the outcomes are exogenous to the educational process. The paper suggests that the present approach to performance indicators is contradictory and confused.The paper offers a comprehensive examination of the association between socio-economic background and school examination results at the local authority level. It uses three measures of socio- economic status derived from local government finance, and shows a strong association between these and the five published indicators of educational performance, in an analysis covering the whole of England for the last three years. The evidence strongly suggests that that the tables reflect the background of pupils rather than the effects of educational professionals and local education authorities. It also offers critiques of the alternative indicators of improvement and 'value-addition', which are currently being developed.Since these performance tables are an element in the new performance-related pay of teachers, the study implies a critique of both UK educational policy and policy on pay. It also suggests the current trend to expand performance indicators to other public sectors is misdirected.
Sociological Research Online 5 (3) oconnor
Keywords: Friendship; Identity; Ireland; Organisation; Paid Work; Patriarchal Dividend; Power; Resistance; Transformation; Whistle Blowing Blowing
Abstract: This paper explores the reality of patriarchal privileging and resistance within a society which has undergone dramatic change over the past twenty-five years. Using Foucault's ideas of power and resistance (1980; 1988; 1989) and Connell's ideas of the patriarchal dividend (1995 a and b) it first explores these key concepts. It then draws together a wide range of empirical evidence to document the ongoing reality of patriarchal privileging in the world of paid work and the family in Ireland. It then however identifies and illustrates fourteen analytically different types of resistance including the creation of an alternative power base in the family; facilitating the emergence of new child rearing structures; naming the 'enemy within'; naming aspects of culture which are not 'woman friendly'; whistle blowing; targeting key structures; negative power etc. It concludes by suggesting (drawing on Acker, 1998) that although the institutional structures reflect the needs and wishes of powerful men, choices can still be made by individual men and women.
Sociological Research Online 5 (3) roseneil
Keywords: Culture Identity; Heterosexuality; Homosexuality; Postmodernity; Queer Theory; Sexuality; Social Change
Abstract: This article aims to extend the theorization of postmodernity to consider social changes in the realm of sexuality. It offers a discussion of recent developments in queer theory, which, it is argued, can contribute significant new theoretical frameworks for the analysis of sexuality. It then traces some of the shifts in the organization of sexuality in the second half of the twentieth century, the emergence of modern sexual identities, and the changing relationships between `the homosexual' and `the heterosexual', as categories, identities and ways of life. The article then outlines what are conceptualized as the `queer tendencies' of postmodernity, which it is suggested characterize the contemporary re-organization of relations of sexuality. These queer tendencies are: queer auto-critique, the decentring of heterorelations, the emergence of hetero- reflexivity, and the cultural valorizing of the queer.
Sociological Research Online 6 (1) bloch
Keywords: Asylum Policy.; Asylum Seekers; Integration; Refugees; Social And Economic Rights; Temporary Protection
Abstract: Convention status accords refugees social and economic rights and security of residence in European countries of asylum. However, the trend in Europe has been to prevent asylum seekers reaching its borders, to reduce the rights of asylum seekers in countries of asylum and to use temporary protection as a means of circumventing the responsibility of long-term resettlement. This paper will provide a case study of the United Kingdom. It will examine the social and economic rights afforded to different statuses in the areas of social security, housing, employment and family reunion. It will explore the interaction of social and economic rights and security of residence on the experiences of those seeking protection. Drawing on responses to the crisis in Kosovo and on data from a survey of 180 refugees and asylum seekers in London it will show the importance of Convention status and the rights and security the status brings.
William Housley and Richard Fitzgerald
Sociological Research Online 6 (2) housley
Keywords: Categorization; Devolution; Identity; Interaction; Narrative; Wales
Abstract: Within this paper we examine the use of extended story turns, within the accomplished context of a radio news debate, that display various accounts of national identity in relation to a proposal for devolved democratic institutions within the United Kingdom. In this sense, they display a 'world view'. These various positions are displayed through the use of various categories, inferences and connections in order to lend support to and promote positions of For and Against the proposal of the establishment of a devolved democratic assembly for Wales. In this sense the topics of national identity and political re-organisation are omni-relevant topics (Sacks 1992). However, our particular focus and interest is upon the various detailed ways such positions routinely rely on methods of categorisation and moral assessment in their construction, configuration and promotion of arguments. Furthermore, the analysis of such category work contributes to our understanding of the moral organisation of Welsh identity in relation to devolved forms of political organisation and representation.
Sociological Research Online 7 (1) stevenson
Keywords: Citizenship; Cosmopolitanism; Cultural Identity; Difference; Multiculturalism; National Identity
Abstract: This paper argues that the study of citizenship needs to engage with both cosmopolitan and multicultural questions. Despite their difference social and political theory needs to find new ways to bring these concerns together. In particular it is argued that such a venture is only possible if cosmopolitanism opens questions of cultural identity, and multiculturalism decouples itself from specifically national concerns. These moves are likely to bring these approaches into a fruitful dialogue taking their arguments beyond mainstream liberalism, but maintaining a dialectic between universalism and difference. The paper ends by considering the challenge played by fundamentalism.
Fiona Gill and Catherine Maclean
Sociological Research Online 7 (2) gill
Keywords: Ethnogaphy; Gender; Identity Of Researchers And Research Context; Reflexivity
Abstract: Female ethnographers often appear to be more aware of their sexual status and its impact on fieldwork and relationships than their male colleagues (Okely 1992: 19, Coffey 1999: 79). Similarly, the behaviour of female fieldworkers is often more closely scrutinised than that of male fieldworkers (Mascarenhas- Keyes 1987: 187), and many female ethnographers' accounts detail gender-specific issues and challenges that arose during their research (e.g. Moreno 1995: 220, Whitehead 1976, Middleton 1986). This paper draws on the authors? experiences in two different rural British communities, conducting research using a combination of methods including participant observation and tape-recorded interviews. Catherine Maclean's research examined migration and social change in 'Beulach', a remote rural parish in the north of Scotland, while Fiona Gill's research focused on issues of identity in 'Bordertown', a small town near the border between Scotland and England. In both cases, while gender was not initially a focus of the research, it became increasingly salient during the fieldwork period. The paper discusses the similarities and differences between the authors' research experiences, and the factors that account for these. The authors' research is set in the wider context of ethnographic community studies. The paper explores the emotional impact of the fieldwork on the authors, and the consequences of this for the research. It concludes that although female researchers have to consider and deal with gender-related research problems not faced by their male colleagues, this also has positive consequences as the experiences of female ethnographers encourage a reflexive and self-aware approach.
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.
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.
Brian Heaphy and Andrew K. T. Yip
Sociological Research Online 8 (4) heaphy
Keywords: Ageing Identity; Community; Detraditionalisation; Gay; Late Modernity.; Lesbian; Non-heterosexual; Relationships; Social Change
Abstract: The article draws from focus group data generated for a UK study of the life circumstances of lesbians, gay men and bisexuals aged 50 and above, to consider some key elements of the conceptual framework we are developing for understanding the issue of non-heterosexual ageing. The article considers ways in which non-heterosexual ways of living have been positively evaluated as 'prime' experiments in late modern ways of living, and identifies three core areas (identity, relationships and community) where it has been argued that lesbian and gay lifestyles can be viewed as indicators of the implications of social change. Employing the data to discuss the notion of 'do-it-yourself' biographies, we identify a number of factors that work to enable and limit an empowered sense of self amongst older lesbians and gay. In doing so, we also highlight the uneven possibilities that exist for self-creation in detraditionalised settings. Non-heterosexual couples and friendships can offer distinct possibilities for 'negotiated' and 'chosen' relationships. These are not, however, uniformly adopted or created by older non-heterosexuals. Finally, our data indicates that while non-heterosexual communities can provide crucial supports and resources for their members, some older lesbians and gay men experience these communities as exclusionary. This raises a number of questions about the dynamics that facilitate inclusion or exclusion in reflexive or critical communities. While the article highlights that non-heterosexual ageing cannot be understood without reference the creative possibilities open to non-heterosexuals, and late modern individuals generally, we caution against celebratory accounts of both non- heterosexual and late modern ways of living, and of social and cultural constraints transformed, that is inherent within them.
Sociological Research Online 9 (1) taylor
Keywords: Class; Identity; Sexuality; Space; Stigma
Abstract: This article draws upon my research on working-class lesbians, which explores the relationship between class, sexuality and social exclusion. Research participants were drawn mainly from Scotland (Glasgow, Edinburgh and the Highlands), with smaller samples in Yorkshire and Manchester; in total fifty-three women took part, most being interviewed individually, others as part of three focus groups, and a couple in ÎpairedÌ interviews. The significance of sexuality and class position is highlighted across various social sites from family background and schooling to work experiences and leisure activities. The women's own identifications, understandings and vivid descriptions point to the continued salience of class as a factor in shaping life experiences. This article focuses primarily on the women's 'sense of place' and their relations to the often devalued territories that they inhabit. The relationship between sexual identity and class has received little academic attention - here the 'gaps' in the literature pertaining to 'lesbian and gay' space, and to (de-sexualised) class space, will be identified. By including empirical data I offer a picture of the ways in which classed spaces is sexualised and sexualised space is classed and suggest that space is constitutive of identity in terms of where it places people, both materially and emotionally.
Andrew K. T. Yip and Michael Keenan
Sociological Research Online 9 (1) yip
Keywords: Anglican; Belief; Christian; Church; Gay; Homosexuality; Identity; Lesbian; Priest
Abstract: The current controversies in relation to homosexuality - which emanated from the western quarters but quickly engulfed the entire Anglican Communion - highlight two significant issues. In our view, the first issue, regarding the 'religious citizenship' of lesbian and gay Christians, is generally a western concern. The second issue pertaining to the prospect of the disintegration of the Anglican Communion, however, needs to be examined within a global context. On the first issue, we argue that, since the contemporary western religious landscape (and society in general) prioritizes the authority of the self rather than that of religious institution/tradition, the traditional religious discourse that marginalizes lesbian and gay Christians is undermined by an increasingly sophisticated reverse discourse. This reverse discourse, equipped with lesbian and gay affirming theology and documentation of lived experiences, also converges with contemporary cultural (secular) discourse of human rights and personal liberty, which values social diversity, including sexual difference. We believe that the social and political currency of the reverse discourse will proliferate, thus eclipsing the traditional discourse that appears increasingly out of step with contemporary western socio-cultural reality. On the second issue, we welcome the heightened significance and relevance of (local) culture and Christianity in the debate. We argue that the decentralization (i.e. de-westernization) of the Anglican Communion should be welcomed, for there are various versions of Christianity, the conception and practice of which are closely informed by local cultures. Thus, to force the production of a unified Anglican response to moral or social issues that are differently defined across cultures may prove counter-productive.
Sociological Research Online 9 (2) bloch
Keywords: Dispersal.; Employment; Job Seeking; Migration; Minority Ethnic Groups; Refugees; Self-employment; Social Networks; Terms And Conditions Of Employment
Abstract: This paper draws on data from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) and from a survey of 400 refugees in Britain in order to present an up to data comparison of the labour market experiences of minority ethnic groups and refugees. It will show that refugees experience lower rates of employment than their ethnic minority counterparts and that those refugees in employment are more likely to be in temporary and part-time work with poorer terms and conditions of employment and with lower wages. The reasons why refugees experience greater disadvantage in the labour market than others include structural barriers due to policies such as dispersal that can leave refugees isolated from social and community networks that provide information and advice and informal routes into employment but also leave refugees in areas with higher levels of unemployment. Migration patterns are also influential with refugees for the most part arriving more recently in Britain than people from minority ethnic groups. Refugees are also increasingly reliant on agents and smugglers to plan their route and destination and so asylum seekers can find themselves in countries where they have no social networks. Social networks and community organisations play an important role in the early stages of settlement. Finally, the circumstances of exile, attitudes to the country of origin and the insecurity of having temporary status in Britain all prevent economic activity.
Sociological Research Online 9 (3) hollands
Keywords: Canada; Culture; Hybridity; Identity; Leisure; Media; Mohawk; Native; Youth
Abstract: This study of Canadian Mohawk youth examines the complex construction of hybrid identities, by looking at the interaction between their consumption of western media/ culture and local Native traditions and customs. The article poses the question, to what extent does western youth culture as expressed in TV, film, music and sport get taken up and moulded around a more contemporary Native youth identity? Utilising theoretical notions of hybridity and hegemony, and a mixed methodology of questionnaire data and focus group interviews, the study argues that young Mohawks actively consume global youth and popular media cultures strategically in ways that both reinforce and extend their Native and youthful identities. Particularly popular is the appropriation of a range of black cultural forms drawn from the Afro-American experience, such as the adoption of rap music for instance. At the same time, issues of power reflected through gender relations, inequality and racism, and the domination of American over Canadian culture, also impact on the formation of Mohawk youth identities and pose challenges to building bridges between traditional customs and the modern world.
Sociological Research Online 9 (4) kotchetkova
Keywords: Post-Communism, Transformation of Identity, Russian Intelligentsia, Discourse Analysis
Abstract: This paper seeks to make sense of the transformation of identity in post-Soviet Russia by exploring the debates surrounding the social category 'intelligentsia'. I argue that the concept of intelligentsia should be seen as both a source of collective identity and a rhetorical resource in the struggle for power and domination. Here then, the usage of the category intelligentsia becomes a means for understanding broader post-Communist cultural change and some of its underlying tensions and conflicts. The paper examines two competing discourses about the intelligentsia currently vying for supremacy in Russia and their associated rival interests: one discourse is affirmative, the other negative. In relation to each discourse, several discursive practices are identified and observed on political and academic territories. The analysis of the discursive struggle over definitions contributes to understanding the transformation of power relations in modern Russia. Importantly the paper speculates on the present and future implications of these different tendencies.
Sociological Research Online 9 (4) queniart
Keywords: Fatherhood, Young Fathers, Representation, Paternal Identity, Qualitative Research
Abstract: Have things changed all that much in terms of how fatherhood is conceptualized and exercised in daily life? That is the question underlying this article. The author compares the findings of a recent analysis on certain aspects of the lived experiences of young fathers (under 25 years of age) with the results of studies undertaken over the past ten years, and replies in the affirmative. First of all, when considering the representations held of fathers or mothers, most of these young fathers believe that their role is a multi-faceted one, and that it is often identical to that of their spouse. According to young fathers, fatherhood is a dual experience that requires them to be present on a daily basis while also casting their eye on the future. This is an experience that is constructed out of affectionate moments, child-care duties, education in the literal sense, and especially out of shared experiences with their spouse. In addition, they question the degree to which involvement in a career should take precedence over involvement in their child's life. In other words, the former 'competes' with their ability to be present in their child's daily life, which denotes a change from the attitudes of previous generations.
Sociological Research Online 10 (1) leavy
Keywords: Collective Memory, Film, Hollywood, National Identity, Pearl Harbor, Social Memory
Abstract: In this paper I examine the fusing of collective memory, history and popular culture by analyzing current trends in American-made commercial films with historical events as subject matter that have also been distributed to a global audience. Pearl Harbor is the primary case study. Analysis shows that dominant historical narratives are reified by the use of what I term an 'anticipatory-driven' film experience where audience members engage in an interaction with pre-existing mainstream collective memory while their anticipation for impending climactic trauma is systematically heightened. Comparisons are made to other widely released US films about national and international events and 'non-events.' Questions are also raised about the increasing global importance of the memory-history-popular culture nexus post 9-11, and, how US produced films about 9-11 may or may not engage in the practices detailed in this analysis. In this vein the paper concludes with a discussion of how Pearl Harbor was marketed, edited and received in Japan, the second largest audience for Hollywood films and what this implies about social memory construction in a global commercial context.
Sociological Research Online 10 (2) davetian1
Keywords: Social Theory, Sociology of Emotions, Self, Identity, Micro, Macro, Postmodernism.
Abstract: This article attempts to contribute to the on-going discussion regarding the 'future of sociology and social theory' by suggesting that classical and contemporary social theories have yet to provide satisfactory accounts of the emotional components of human society. Following a discussion of how emotions have been downplayed in classical and contemporary theory, evidence is presented in support of a sociology that would include the study of emotions as part of broader studies of the social. A central proposition of this article is that the harmonization of studies of 'micro' and 'macro' realities would facilitate the development of a systems theory that neither excludes diversity nor minimizes the immutable emotional needs of individuals and their social systems. In support of the above argument, the author presents some new evidence pointing to the primacy of the human emotions across cultural boundaries.
Sociological Research Online 10 (3) madriaga
Keywords: American-Ness, American Dream, American Identity, Community, Ethnicity, Latino, \'race\', Social Identity, Social Categorization, \'whiteness\'
Abstract: This article examines the impact the category of 'whiteness' has on individual interpretations of the American Dream. Via twenty-five life-history interviews, this article presents how US military male Veterans have varying interpretations of the collective idea according to their ethnic and racial background. The evidence presented in this article shows that the idea of the American Dream has racial dimensions or aspects. It suggests that 'whiteness' is taken-for-granted in this symbolic idea. For most ethnic minority respondents, this association between American Dream and 'whiteness' places them in a position to straddle the boundaries of American-ness and Otherness. This has implications in their everyday lives and sense of belonging. This article highlights a wider question regarding the extent 'race' shapes the boundaries of American national identity.
Sociological Research Online 10 (3) moriarty
Keywords: Ireland, Narrative, Practice, Identity, Race, Immigration, Gender, Urban Legend.
Abstract: During the last decade, the emergence of what has been coined 'the celtic tiger economy', the Good Friday Agreement on Northern Ireland and net immigration following decades of emigration, represent critical moments in Irish history that have opened up the question of identity in Irish public culture. This paper examines the processes involved in mediating who belongs and who doesn't belong in early 21st century Irish society by examining the creation and circulation of an urban legend in Dublin in 2004. I consider how such a story gains legitimacy, bestows meaning and constructs reality, to explore what it says about 21st century Ireland. To develop this argument, I firstly posit identity construction as processual rather than fixed (Hall, 1996), and examine the forms of knowledge through which the story is constituted and elaborated into objects, concepts and theories. Secondly, I use fragments of the story to examine the construction of self/other and us/them dichotomies through the interaction between narrator and listener, and the construction of threatened Irish identities and invading 'non-national' identities. Thirdly, I locate this story in global regimes of representation which are highlighting the paradoxical positioning of the nation state as subject to significant global changes such as population movement but also enabled by such phenomena in the shaping of belonging. In order to examine how these patterns of enacted conduct become routinised in the context of the nation state, I examine the context of the debates around immigration and racism in Ireland, highlighting the remarkable continuities over time in the images and discourses circulating about the Other, particularly migrant women. Ultimately, I argue that a dialectical approach is required to understand the current debate in Ireland around immigration and racism through considering the interrelationships of discourses, narratives and the constitution of identities.
Sociological Research Online 11 (1) kirk
Keywords: Working Class; Experience; Structure of Feeling; Recognition; Language; Identity
Abstract: This article welcomes the recent renewed interest in the topic of class within sociology and cultural studies. This comes after a long period – from around the middle part of the 1980s and into the 1990s – during which social class was dismissed as a mode of understanding socio-economic and cultural conditions on the part of both academics and mainstream political organisations alike. Working-class formations in particular came under scrutiny, increasingly seen to be in terminal decline and fragmentation through the impact of post-industrialisation processes set in train in western economies from the turn of the 1980s onwards. The demise of heavy industry – steel, coal, textiles, for instance – profoundly altered working-class communities, transforming the material world and cultural life of the British working class, powerful developments reinforcing the 'end of class' debate. Allied to this, the emergence within the academy of new theoretical frameworks associated with postmodern thought claimed to undermine traditional understandings around class. This article insists on the continuing significance of class and does so by focussing on an important recent response to the class debate, Andrew Sayer's The Moral Significance of Class (2005). This book stakes a lucid claim for the importance of recognising class as a powerful determining factor of subjectivity. While drawing upon aspects of Sayer's theoretical framework and argument to examine class experience, it is also the intention of the article to supplement Sayer's work by developing related theoretical propositions derived from the writing of Raymond Williams and the Russian linguist and cultural critic Volosinov/Bakhtin.
Sociological Research Online 11 (1) wahidin
Keywords: Older Offenders, Identity, Time, Prisons
Abstract: Throughout the literature on time there has been an omission of the qualitative dimension of time in relation to the experience of time in different locales. This paper will explore the nature and role of time-use in prison. Based on intensive fieldwork in 8 male and female prison establishments, this article will explore the experiences of women and men aged 50 years and above serving a custodial sentence and their relationship with time. The data draws from 90 semi-structured interviews. The aim of this paper is firstly to landscape time use in prison. Secondly, to show how time in prison is negotiated by the prisoners and finally, examine how outside time becomes more real as the transition from a closed to an open prison becomes more imminent.
Nigel Fielding and Maria Macintyre
Sociological Research Online 11 (2) fielding
Keywords: Social Research Methods, Interview Methods, New Technologies for Social Research, Access Grid Nodes, Interview Communication, Witnesses at Court
Abstract: This article reports fieldwork with an Access Grid Node ('AGN') device, analogous to video teleconferencing but based on grid computational technology. The device enables research respondents to be interviewed at remote sites, with potential savings in travelling to conduct fieldwork. Practical, methodological and analytic aspects of the experimental fieldwork are reported. Findings include some distinctive features of AGN interviews relative to co-present interviews; overall, there were some benefits and some disadvantages to communication. The article concludes that this new research interview mode shows potential, particularly once the difficulties associated with a new research technology are resolved.
Sociological Research Online 11 (3) macvarish
Keywords: Single Woman, Singleness, One-Person Households, Identity, Social Construction, Interpersonal Relationships, Family, Childless
Abstract: Over the past 30 years there has been a considerable increase in the number of people living alone; in the UK, the proportion of one-person households almost doubled between 1971 and 2000, rising from 17% to 31% of households (ONS, 2002). The research drawn on here explores the experience and representation of a rapidly growing sub-group of one-person households identified by Hall et al (1999) as female, metropolitan, managerial/professional, educated and mobile. The paper concentrates on questions surrounding the identity of those who have been termed the 'new single women' (Whitehead, 2003). In much of the specific 'single women' literature, the 'problem' of the single woman has been understood as residing in her social construction; her stigmatisation and marginalisation as an 'other', relative to the norms of heterosexual partnership and motherhood. It is argued here that significant contextual changes in the landscape of interpersonal relationships demand a reconsideration of the way in which singleness is understood sociologically. The paper draws on semi-structured, in-depth interviews conducted in London and the South-East with a small sample of women (15) fitting the characteristics identified by Hall et al. They were aged 34-50, never-married , currently lived alone, were not in a relationship and had never had children. All who volunteered for interview were heterosexual. The women were recruited using a snowball method with the reasoning that 'word-of-mouth' would recruit a more varied range of individuals than might respond to a public call for those who self-identified as 'single' to come forward. Part of the interview schedule was constructed to elicit information concerning how the women negotiated their identity and the way in which they related themselves to the category of 'single woman'. The women were asked how they defined themselves, what they thought of the term spinster, and when they felt their singleness mattered (to themselves and to other people). They were also asked about their relationship and employment history, their daily lives and their future plans.
Sociological Research Online 11 (3) reynolds
Keywords: Single Women, Narrative, Discursive, Identity, Relationships
Abstract: This article explores some ways in which women not living with an intimate partner talk about their relationships with men. Data are considered in relation to social theorising on the changing nature of intimate relationships. The analysis makes use of traditions in narrative analysis and critical discursive psychology to identify some patterns in the telling, including common cultural resources that are drawn on by speakers. Patterned ways of portraying relationships identified in the data discussed here include a self-blame approach in describing extreme behaviour from the man concerned, and a repudiation of any intention of commitment through talk of the positive features of relationships with unavailable men. A further way of talking introduces a 'new realism' in which relationships are depicted as right for a time but dispensable when their time is up. The analysis suggests that concepts of individualisation and impermanence in relationships provide new cultural resources that women can draw on in providing a self-narrative. The data demonstrate the detailed rhetorical work involved in producing a positive account of the self as a single woman.
Gabriella Lazaridis, A Findlay and F Zanoon
Sociological Research Online 11 (4) lazaridis
Keywords: Older People, Demographic Ageing, Single Person Households, Residential Environment, Social Care, Refugees, Palestine
Abstract: In most societies there has been a progressive transfer of responsibility for caring for the older people from the family to the state. The political context of the Palestinian population of the occupied territories has made this impossible. The paper reports on a large scale survey of the problems of caring for older people in Palestine. It shows significant variations in the problems faced by older people, with those living alone outside refugee camps who are unable to access family support networks more vulnerable than others. The greatest need for intervention is for older people living alone in urban areas. Following a classification of older people, policy options for social care for the most vulnerable groups are explored.
Sociological Research Online 11 (4) mann
Keywords: English/British, Complicity, Discourse, Interviewer, Interviewing, National Identity, Reflexivity
Abstract: This article focuses on the reflexive dynamics of interviewing in the context of a recent qualitative investigation of ethnic majority views of national identity in England. There is now an established literature which specifies the routine mobilisations of national identity through the course of everyday social interaction. Discourse studies also have been centrally concerned with the interview-as-topic and there is considerable work here on ethnic and racial categorizations within the interview context. Taking such work as its departure point, this article will illustrate how and why the interviewer also matters in talking about national identity. While the role of the interviewer is increasingly acknowledged in qualitative research, there has been little attempt to consider this particular methodological dilemma in nationalism research. In highlighting this problem, this article argues in favour of a more reflexive approach to the study of nationalism and national identity, one which brings to bear the researchers' own unwitting assumptions and involvement.
Satnam Virdee, Christopher Kyriakides and Tariq Modood
Sociological Research Online 11 (4) virdee
Keywords: Race, Racism, Nation, Scotland, Identity Formation
Abstract: This qualitative study investigates the relationship between race and nation in an ethnically mixed neighbourhood in Glasgow, Scotland. It finds that Scottishness has a historically founded racialised referent at the level of the neighbourhood but that this referent is undermined in everyday life by syncretic codes of cultural belonging represented by signifiers such as accent, dress and mannerisms. However, these cultural signifiers that contest the racialised referent are, on occasions, themselves challenged by negative ascriptions such as terrorist and extremist which reinforce, though never completely, the original racialised referent of Scottishness as whiteness. We conclude that whiteness is an unstable identifier of Scottishness, and Scottishness is an unstable identifier of whiteness, such that a negative view of Islam as antithetical to imagined conceptions of Scottishness, cannot easily be sustained in areas of relatively high racialised minority settlement.
Sociological Research Online 12 (1) gill
Keywords: Normal, Identity, Gender, Sexuality, Performance
Abstract: This paper examines the management of feminine identities in a women's rugby team in a rural British community. In so doing, the issue of new, and potentially problematic, forms of femininity are explored, with their attendant social consequences. The team, known as the Jesters, is situated in a social context which is dominantly masculine and heterosexist, with rigidly enforced gender roles. Due to their participation in rugby, a 'man's game', the Jesters are threatened with marginalisation for their apparent failure to conform to, and potential disruption of, established gender norms. This threat is managed through the performance of certain 'inauthentic' feminine identities (hyper-femininity and heterosexuality) on the part of the entire team. It is this 'team identity' which lies at the heart of this paper. This paper therefore examines the group dynamics of identity performance and negotiation. In negotiating 'normal' the Jesters are forced to confront changing gender norms and social contexts within the team itself. This paper also examines the difficulties faced by individuals when their own interests are opposed to the interests of the group of which they are a part. Although largely uncaring about the private lives of team members, the heterosexual members of the Jesters refuse to tolerate the performance of alternative versions of femininity when it may result in the exclusion of the team as a whole. This paper therefore examines the differing interests of heterosexual and lesbian femininities within a potentially marginalised group and some of the coping mechanisms adopted by both groups to develop a coherent team image.
Stephen Whittle and Lewis Turner
Sociological Research Online 12 (1) whittle
Keywords: Transgender; Transsexual; Sex; Gender; Sex Change; Gender Identity; Legal Identities
Abstract: Gender transformations are normatively understood as somatic, based on surgical reassignment, where the sexed body is aligned with the gender identity of the individual through genital surgery – hence the common lexicon 'sex change surgery'. We suggest that the UK Gender Recognition Act 2004 challenges what constitutes a 'sex change' through the Act's definitions and also the conditions within which legal 'recognition' is permitted. The sex/gender distinction, (where sex normatively refers to the sexed body, and gender, to social identity) is demobilised both literally and legally. This paper discusses the history of medico-socio-legal definitions of sex have been developed through decision making processes when courts have been faced with people with gender variance and , in particular, the implications of the Gender Recognition Act for our contemporary legal understanding of sex. We ask, and attempt to answer, has 'sex' changed?
Sara Ferlander and Duncan Timms
Sociological Research Online 12 (5) 8
Keywords: Disadvantaged Area, IT-Café, Local Community, Local Identity, Local Net, Social Capital, Social Networks, Sweden, the Internet, Trust
Abstract: The rapid diffusion of the Internet has considerable potential for enhancing the way people connect with each other, the root of social capital. However, the more the Internet is used for building social capital the greater will the impact be on those whose access and/or usage is curtailed. It is therefore important to investigate the impacts of Internet on groups at risk of digital and social exclusion. The aim of this article is to examine how the use of the Internet influences social capital and community building in a disadvantaged area. Quantitative and qualitative data from a case study in a suburban area of Stockholm are used to evaluate the social impacts of two community-based Internet projects: a Local Net and an IT-Café. Each of the projects was aimed at enhancing digital inclusion and social capital in a disadvantaged local community. The paper examines the extent to which use of the Internet is associated with an enhancement of social participation, social trust and local identity in the area. The Local Net appears to have had limited success in meeting its goals; the IT-Café was more successful. Visitors to the IT-Café had more local friends, expressed less social distrust, perceived less tension between different groups in the area and felt a much stronger sense of local identity than non-visitors. Visitors praised the IT-Café as providing a meeting-place both online and offline. The Internet was used for networking, exchange of support and information seeking. Although it is difficult to establish causal priorities, the evidence suggests that an IT-Café, supporting both virtual and physical meetings, may be especially well suited to build social capital and a sense of local community in a disadvantaged area. The importance of social, rather than solely technological, factors in determining the impact of the Internet on social capital in disadvantaged local communities is stressed.
Sociological Research Online 13 (1) 11
Keywords: Research Methods, Quantitative, Queer, Lesbian, Gay, Gender, LGBT
Abstract: Sexualities research is increasingly gaining prominence within, and outside, of academia. This paper will use queer understandings to explore the contingent (re)formation of quantitative data, particularly those that seek to gain insights into Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans populations and lifestyles. I use queer critiques to explore the creation and normalising impulses of quantitative sexualities research and argue that research that addresses 'deviant'/other/(homo)sexualities brings categories (mainly lesbian and gay) into being. Using three key research events from a large scale quantitative research study of 7,212 respondents, 'Do it with Pride', the paper examines the (re)formation of quantitative research between researchers, respondents and the questionnaire. In particular the paper: reveals the contingency of research design by discussing the exclusion of the term 'queer' from the research design, and then questions categories of sexualities as fixed variables by examining; the piloting a non-normative gender question, and the re-coding of sexuality categories in the analysis phase. This points to the (re)creation of research categories, that are not simply instruments of measurements but are actively engaged in the (re)construction of sexualities (including but not limited to sexualities research) within normative frames. The paper finishes by taking this queer critique in a different direction juxtaposing the apparently stable products of quantitative research (questionnaires and reports) with an examination of the transgressive potentials of queer moments in (re)making such research.
Sociological Research Online 13 (1) 16
Keywords: Working-Class; Identity; Oral Testimony; Commitment; Structure of Feeling; Habitus
Abstract: This article examines a teacher identity through the context of class background and habitus. It considers the significance of class transition, probing how a teacher's working-class history informs and helps define the emergence and consolidation of a teacher identity – to shape what is called here a particular 'teacherly self.' It explores some of the difficulties the working-class actor may experience on entering a largely middle-class profession. This transitional experience has generally gone by the term upward mobility, but the word mobility, with its largely favourable connotations of positive movement, is substituted for the notion of transition, which suggests a more complex and complicated process. The article shows how a working-class background informs class practice; in particular, how a class structure of feeling shapes attitudes and approaches to working-class pupils and their needs. By using oral history methods and aspects of narrative theory, the article seeks to underline how the continued significance of class finds complex expression in British culture.
Sociological Research Online 13 (1) 17
Keywords: Identity, Self/Other, Discourse, Terrorism, Conflict, Security
Abstract: Research into terrorism has traditionally examined the relationship between terrorist activity and a variety of economic, religious, and geopolitical issues associated with modernity and globalisation, in an attempt to understand and explain this global phenomenon. This paper extends this inquiry further by exploring the extent to which the construction of Self and Other dichotomies are used as instruments for domination, self actualisation, and mobilisation within discourses of terrorism and security. The paper proposes that issues of Otherness are a vital and often missing component in understanding terrorism and counter-terrorist activity. In doing so, it argues that the construction of 'polarised collective identities' which accentuate perceived (cultural) differences between terrorists and their intended targets (and their respective host nations) play an integral role in shaping how we identify and respond to emerging threats. Furthermore, it is suggested that the construction and maintenance of these identities not only has a tendency to homogenise populations, but also creates antagonistic and conflict-orientated relationships resistant to resolution.
Andrew K. T. Yip
Sociological Research Online 13 (1) 5
Keywords: Lesbian; Gay; Bisexual; Christian; Muslim; Identity; Methodology; Sampling; Hidden Population
Abstract: This paper highlights some thematic reflections primarily based on two empirical research projects on lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) Christians and Muslims. It begins by discussing reflexivity by way of contextualising the subsequent exploration of specific themes. This is followed by a discussion of the plight of LGB Christians and Muslims which renders research on this population highly sensitive. The paper then explores the theme of researching meanings and lived experiences sensitively, focusing on the importance of being theoretically and culturally sensitive; and the relevance of methodological pragmatism and pluralism. It then proceeds to a detailed discussion of accessing 'hidden' populations and trust building; and the dynamics of the insider/outsider status. The paper concludes with a call for LGB research to take seriously intersectionality of contemporary LGB identity (e.g. sexual, religious, cultural, ethnic), and the role of religion/spirituality in LGB lives and politics.
Erene Kaptani and Nira Yuval-Davis
Sociological Research Online 13 (5) 2
Keywords: Playback Theatre; Forum Theatre, Refugees, Performance, Research Methods, Identity
Abstract: The paper is based on the ESRC research project: 'Identity, Performance and Social Action: Community Theatre Among Refugees' which is part of the research programme on 'Identities and Social Action.' After describing the project, the paper examines the methodological specificities and different stages of Playback and Forum Theatre. The latter includes image work, character building, scenes and interventions. It argues that overall participatory theatre techniques as sociological research methods provide different kinds of data and information than other methods – embodied, dialogical and illustrative. The paper ends by examining in which circumstances the use of these techniques as research methodology will be beneficial and calls for an overall wider use of them in sociological research, especially for studying narratives of identity of marginalized groups as well as for illustrating perceptions and experiences of social positionings and power relations in and outside community groupings. Using participatory theatre as a research tool, therefore, can be considered as one form of action research.
Sociological Research Online 13 (5) 6
Keywords: Asylum; Refugees; Racism; Multiculturalism; Health and Social Care; Belonging
Abstract: This paper explores the changing postcolonial and racialised politics of belonging in East London. In particular it draws on research with multi-sector professionals and 15-18 year old young separated migrants. Separated from parents, these teenagers include those who had applied for asylum and were living under social services care as 'unaccompanied' and those living with their extended family. It also includes separated migrants wanting sanctuary, but who had insecure immigration status because their asylum claim had failed, or because they had not yet applied for asylum and had no other visa status. The research focuses on healthcare issues and the broader life-situations of young separated migrants as a way to examine the changing politics of belonging in East London. Features of this politics include a rise in popularity of the Far Right, the impact of immigration and healthcare legislation and practice, and racial hostility. As well as looking at this, there is an exploration of resistance to this racialised political context by teenagers and certain professionals, and the struggle for a convivial multiculture that is a feature of their resistance. The argument here is that the changing racialised politics of belonging in East London: (1) show how underdevelopment, geo-political and postcolonial forces contribute to shaping local experiences of racism; (2) sometimes involves, rather than aggressively targets, British citizens from NCWP (New Commonwealth and Pakistani) backgrounds and their descendants, as skin colour becomes less of an articulated symbol of 'otherness' than immigration status, (3) therefore excludes 'new migrants' and especially those seeking sanctuary, such as the young people in this paper, from belonging (4) faces local resistance. However resistance to this politics might be better informed by a greater understanding of how postcolonialism shapes local racism and militates against a convivial multiculture, with sociology playing a role in accomplishing this.
Sociological Research Online 14 (1) 3
Keywords: Human, Identity Politics, Nonhuman, Oppressed, Performative, Primacy, Radical, Social Construction
Abstract: In a recent issue of this journal Mike Homfray asserted that social constructionism challenges emancipatory politics based in essential conceptualisations of identity. Thus for Homfray the concept of identity as associated with the pre-deconstructed subject is central for the emancipatory goal of oppressed groups like the lesbian and gay movements. In this paper I offer a distinction between radical identity politics that seeks to liberate oppressed groups, and what I have called primacy identity politics in which primacy identity is used to preserve the subjugation of those who are oppressed. In so doing I put forward a challenge to Homfray's somewhat wholesale rejection of the capacity for a critique of identity to work for emancipatory politics by focussing on primacy identity politics rather than on radical identity politics. In making an argument for the deconstruction of identities for emancipatory purposes I refer to my work on the human oppression of nonhuman animals. In this work I turn my attention away from those who are oppressed to the oppressors because this transfer of attention shows how useful the deconstruction of identity could be for the emancipation of oppressed groups. My examination of discourses used by the pro nonhuman animal experimentation lobby group Pro-Test shows how primacy identity politics can effectively be challenged by a social constructionist critique of essential identities and thus, contra Homfrey, I conclude that the deconstruction of identities can strengthen emancipatory causes.
Andrew Smith and Linda McKie
Sociological Research Online 14 (4) 1
Keywords: Care, Carescapes, Employing Organisations, Organisation Carescapes, Research Methods, Work
Abstract: In this research note we critically consider the concept of 'care' both inside and around the workplace. Care, we assert, is ever-present in the workplace and evident in friendships and wider social relations. Moreover, many organisational policies and practices provide a framework within which caring may take place or be denied. 'Organisation carescapes' is introduced as a conceptual framework, which we argue can aid the identification and analysis of 'care' in employing organisations. Drawing on exploratory interviews, we discuss the implications these had on future stages of the research project in terms of our use of language and ways of conceptualising care at work. We explain how we operationalised the concept of care at work through the development of a questionnaire, which sought to map the care policies and services offered by a range of employing organisations. Furthermore, we discuss the appropriateness of the critical incident interview technique in uncovering the cultures and practices of care both in and around the workplace. Hence, through our conceptual and empirical research, we seek to bridge the sociologies of work and care.
Sociological Research Online 14 (5) 8
Keywords: Membership Categorization Analysis, Identity, Moral Discrepancy, Victim-Perpetrator, Subversion
Abstract: This paper seeks to build on previous work on the doing of politics as a members' practice. More specifically, it seeks to add to the growing work on perpetrator-victim identities by explicating how perpetrator identity is projected from individuals to the morally self-organized group 'the government', and so, in this way, subversion is achieved. Using membership categorization analysis (MCA) as a research methodology and data of naturally-occurring talk-in-interaction taken from recordings of the negotiations between the FBI and David Koresh during the Waco siege, this paper explicates how Koresh invokes perpetrator-victim identities to 'do' subversion. Findings indicate that this is achieved through his self-avowal of victim identity and consequent ascription of perpetrator identity to the FBI agents. Through this category work, Koresh is able to set up a moral discrepancy between the de jure rights and responsibilities of law enforcement officers and de facto actions of the FBI agents. This identity work is then transferred to the government which becomes an integral, rather than incidental, part of the interaction. In this way, Koresh does subversion and is able to turn the world upside down by proposing a revolutionary theocratic, rather than democratic, moral order.
John Martyn Chamberlain
Sociological Research Online 15 (1) 8
Keywords: Annual Appraisal, Audit Society,, Governmentality, Medical Autonomy, Medical Regulation, Paperwork Compliance, Performance Appraisal, Revalidation
Abstract: This paper discusses the findings of research exploring the conduct of portfolio-based performance appraisal within medicine. Portfolios are now used throughout medical school and junior doctor training, in later specialist training, as well as to support the implementation of annual NHS appraisal of doctors as part of their employment contract. They will also play a role in the new medical governance quality assurance process known as revalidation, when it is implemented in 2010. The paper discusses how the growth of portfolio-based performance appraisal within medicine is bound up with the growth of managerial systems of surveillance and control within western health care systems. Theoretically, it draws upon a Governmentality perspective to analyse doctor's accounts of the appraisal process. This views appraisal as an information panopticon that to better enable social control seeks to construct appraisees as calculable and administrable subjects. However, the paper highlights how the doctors interviewed used the tacit dimensions of their expertise to engage in creative game-playing toward appraisal, adopting a stance of paperwork compliance toward it. Paperwork compliance leaves a paper trail that makes it appear doctors have complied with the technical requirements of performance appraisal when in fact they have not. The paper concludes that current reforms to medical governance introduced to ensure the general public is protected from medical error and malpractice, provide sociologists with an invaluable opportunity to undertake a dedicated research program into the performance management of medical work.
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.
Frank Bechhofer and David McCrone
Sociological Research Online 15 (3) 3
Keywords: National Identity Choice; Devolution; Moreno; England; Scotland; United Kingdom
Abstract: This paper examines national identity in England and Scotland, arguing that it is necessary to understand how people construe it instead of simply assuming that it is constructed from above by the state. It adds to qualitative data on this issue by discussing recent survey data, from the British and Scottish Social Attitudes surveys 2006, in which for the first time people are asked about their reasons for making a specific choice of national identity. In so doing it fleshes out the responses given to a well known survey question (the so-called 'Moreno' question) providing a greater understanding of what a large sample of people are saying when they make these territorial identity choices. The English and the Scots handle 'national' and 'state' identities differently, but the paper shows there is considerable similarity as regards reasons for choosing national identity. Both English and Scottish 'nationals', those placing greater weight on their 'national' as opposed to their 'state' identities, choose to do so mainly for cultural and institutional reasons. They are not making a 'political' statement about the break-up of Britain. At the British end of the scale, there are patterns in the English data which throw into doubt easy assertions about 'being British'. Simply assuming, as some politicians and commentators do, that 'British' has singular meanings is unfounded. The future of the United Kingdom as presently constituted may lie in the hands of those who describe themselves as equally national (English or Scottish) and British. Devolution influences which national identity people choose in all three sets of national identity categories but these effects are sociologically most interesting in this group. Devolution seems to have encouraged them to stress the equality of the two nations in the British state, recognising that they are equal partners, that one can be equally proud of a national and a British identity, and that it is not necessary to choose one over the other.
Sociological Research Online 15 (4) 4
Keywords: Parenting, Psychology, Neuroscience, Scientific Authority, Maternal Identity
Abstract: Based on research in London with mothers from a breastfeeding support organisation this paper explores the narratives of women who breastfeed 'to full term' (typically for a period of several years) as part of a philosophy of 'attachment parenting', an approach to parenting which validates long term proximity between child and care-taker. In line with wider cultural trends, one of the most prominent 'accountability strategies' used by this group of mothers to explain their long-term breastfeeding is recourse to scientific evidence, both about the nutritional benefits of breastfeeding and about the broader cognitive and developmental benefits of attachment parenting more broadly. Women's accounts internalize and reflect popular literature around attachment parenting, which is explored here in-depth as a means of contextualizing shifting patterns of 'scientisation'. What follows is a reflection on how 'scientific evidence' is given credence in narratives of mothering, and what the implications of this are for individuals in their experience of parenting, and for society more broadly. As a form of 'Authoritative Knowledge' (Jordan 1997) women utilise 'science' when they talk about their decisions to breastfeed long-term, since it has the effect of placing these non-conventional practices beyond debate (they are simply what is 'healthiest'). The article therefore makes a contribution to wider sociological debates around the ways in which society and behaviour are regulated, and the ways in which 'science' is interpreted, internalized and mobilized by individuals in the course of their 'identity work'.
Sociological Research Online 16 (2) 8
Keywords: Food, Diet, Nutrition, Discourse, Nostalgia, Tradition, Cultural Identity, Obesity
Abstract: Low-carbohydrate diets, notably the Atkins Diet, were particularly popular in Britain and North America in the late 1990s and early 2000s. This paper approaches the low-carbohydrate trend as one response to the twin obesity and diabetes epidemics, drawing firstly on a discourse analysis of bestselling low-carbohydrate diet books, especially The South Beach Diet (Agatston 2003). I explore and critique nostalgia in the low-carbohydrate movement as a response to a perceived contemporary health crisis caused by modern Western food habits and lifestyle. The low-carbohydrate literature demonstrates a powerful discursive combination of nostalgia for pre-industrial Western foodways, and valorisation of 'authentic ethnic' (non-Western) culinary traditions. Together, these tropes construct a generalised notion of traditional diet which contrasts positively with a putative 'modern Western diet'. The binary opposition set up between modern Western food habits and a traditional ideal leads to generalisations and factual inaccuracies, as any diet or cuisine that is not modern, and/or not Western, must be adjusted discursively to fit the low-carbohydrate model. Further, in an interview study with low-carbohydrate dieters, dieters' descriptions of their experiences did not match the nostalgic rhetoric of popular low-carbohydrate manuals. Instead, I found that the requirement to eliminate staple carbohydrate foods severs dieters both practically and symbolically from culinary tradition, whether their own or that of an ethnic Other. I conclude that there is a disjuncture between the romantic 'nutritional nostalgia' (Beardsworth 2002) of the diet books, and dieters' own food practices.
Sociological Research Online 16 (4) 5
Keywords: British Asians; Community; Cricket; Identity; Racism; Symbolic Boundaries
Abstract: People in sport tend to possess rather jaded perceptions of its colour-blindness and thus, they are reluctant to confront the fact that, quite often racism is endemic. Yorkshire cricket in particular, has faced frequent accusations from minority ethnic communities of inveterate and institutionalised racism and territorial defensiveness. Drawing upon semi-structured interviews conducted with amateur white and British Asian cricketers, this paper examines the construction of regional identities in Yorkshire at a time when traditional myths and invented traditions of Yorkshire and 'Yorkshireness' are being deconstructed. This is conceptualised through a reading of John Clarke's 'magical recovery of community'. Although cricket has been multiracial for decades, I argue that some people's position as insiders is more straightforward than others. I present evidence to suggest that, regardless of being committed to Yorkshire and their 'Yorkshireness', white Yorkshire people may never fully accept British Asians as 'one of us'. Ideologically and practically, white Yorkshire people are engaged in constructing British Asians as anathema to Yorkshire culture. The paper concludes by advocating that, for sports cultures to be truly egalitarian, the ideology of sport itself has to change. True equality will only ever be achieved within a de-racialised discourse that not only accepts difference, but embraces it.
Robert Ford, James Tilley and Anthony Heath
Sociological Research Online 16 (4) 8
Keywords: National Identity, Comparative, Survey, Generational Change
Abstract: We investigate the reasons why some people, and some countries, place greater or lesser emphasis on the idea that membership of a nation is tied to ancestry. We test the influence of two key factors - economic development and ethnic division. Economic development is strongly associated with support for the ancestry criterion of national membership. Those who are more economically secure, who grew up in wealthier nations, or live in a wealthier nation currently, are less likely to emphasise ancestry as an important factor in national identity. Those who have grown up since mass immigration to a country begun are also less likely to emphasise ancestry. However, we find no evidence that historical conditions are correlated with current national identity beliefs.
Sociological Research Online 17 (2) 19
Keywords: Photo-Elicitation; Visual Methods; Erotic Dance; Aesthetic Labour; Emotional Labour; Performance; Self
Abstract: This article analyses a range of different meanings attached to images of erotic dance, with a particular focus on the 'impression management' (Goffman 1959) enacted by dancers. It presents a visual analysis of the work of a female erotic performer in a lesbian erotic dance venue in the UK. Still photographs, along with observational data and interviews, convey the complexity and skill of an erotic dancer's diverse gendered and sexualised performances. The visual data highlights the extensive 'aesthetic labour' (Nickson et al. 2001) and 'emotional labour' (Hochschild 1983) the dancer must put in to constructing her work 'self'. However, a more ambitious use of the visual is identified: the dancer's own use of images of her work. This use of the visual by dancers themselves highlights a more complex 'impression management' strategy undertaken by a dancer and brings into question the separation of 'real' and 'work' 'selves' in erotic dance.
Sociological Research Online 17 (2) 22
Keywords: Identity, Space, Objects, Visual, Identityscape, Time, Photography, Photomontage, Hairdressers
Abstract: This article considers how one group of workers, hairdressers, use aspects of their material landscape of work as important resources in the production and re-production of their work identities. It shows how the participants of the study use the spaces, objects and things in their workplaces to form a visual narrative of who they are. The article also considers the significance of visual methods in such identity research. It argues for encouraging participants using participant-led photography to choose how to view and arrange their photographs. Participants' preference for paper analogue prints rather than on-screen digital images allowed them to work with multiple images simultaneously, rather than consecutively, and enabled them to create richer accounts of career development by incorporating time and movement in their stories. The participants' construction of these 'identityscapes', it is argued, can be usefully understood in relation to the concept of 'photomontages' developed by the British artist David Hockney.
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.
Sarah Irwin and Mandy Winterton
Sociological Research Online 17 (2) 4
Keywords: Qualitative Research Methods, Secondary Analysis, Re-Use, Gender, Time Pressure
Abstract: The current paper takes as a focus some issues relating to the possibility for, and effective conduct of, qualitative secondary data analysis. We consider some challenges for the re-use of qualitative research data, relating to researcher distance from the production of primary data, and related constraints on knowledge of the proximate contexts of data production. With others we argue that distance and partial knowledge of proximate contexts may constrain secondary analysis but that its success is contingent on its objectives. So long as data analysis is fit for purpose then secondary analysis is no poor relation to primary analysis. We argue that a set of middle range issues has been relatively neglected in debates about secondary analysis, and that there is much that can be gained from more critical reflection on how salient contexts are conceptualised, and how they are accessed, and assumed, within methodologies and extant data sets. We also argue for more critical reflection on how effective knowledge claims are built. We develop these arguments through a consideration of ESRC Timescapes qualitative data sets with reference to an illustrative analysis of gender, time pressure and work/family commitments. We work across disparate data sets and consider strategies for translating evidence, and engendering meaningful analytic conversation, between them.
Murray Stewart Leith and Duncan Sim
Sociological Research Online 17 (3) 11
Keywords: Scottish, Diaspora, National Identity, England, Symbolic Ethnicity
Abstract: Scotland has often had an almost absent relationship with its diaspora, with expatriate Scots often viewed from the 'homeland' as being 'more Scottish than the Scots'. Expatriate Scottish identities are not only strong, but may be rooted in an overly romantic view of Scotland. Most research into the Scottish diaspora, however, has focused on North America and Australasia, although a diaspora exists much nearer home, elsewhere in the UK. Limited previous work suggests that the Scottish diaspora in England does not adopt the overly romantic view of Scotland characteristic of North American Scots and indeed, there is evidence that feelings of Scottish identity begin to fade within a generation of emigration to England. There is also evidence that Scottish organisations within England are declining. This paper therefore explores the continuing sense of a Scottish identity within the Scottish diaspora in England, through a series of interviews exploring the identities of second-generation 'Scots' - the offspring of Scottish migrants. The findings suggest that Scottish identity does indeed appear to weaken quite quickly in contrast to the overseas experience, perhaps because proximity to Scotland means that the preservation of an expatriate identity is considered to be relatively unimportant.
Maria Zubair, Wendy Martin and Christina Victor
Sociological Research Online 17 (3) 21
Keywords: Age; Ethnicity; Gender; Power; Body; Dress; Fieldwork; Identity; Researcher; Reflexivity
Abstract: In recent years, there has been an increasing interest in researching people growing older in the South Asian ethnic minority communities in the UK. However, these populations have received comparatively little attention in wide-ranging discussions on culturally and socially appropriate research methodologies. In this paper, we draw on the experiences of a young female Pakistani Muslim researcher researching older Pakistani Muslim women and men, to explore the significance of gender, age and ethnicity to fieldwork processes and 'field' relationships. In particular, we highlight the significance of dress and specific presentations of the embodied self within the research process. We do so by focusing upon three key issues: (1) Insider/Outsider boundaries and how these boundaries are continuously and actively negotiated in the field through the use of dress and specific presentations of the embodied 'self'; (2) The links between gender, age and space - more specifically, how the researcher's use of traditional Pakistani dress, and her differing research relationships, are influenced by the older Pakistani Muslim participants' gendered use of public and private space; and (3) The opportunities and vulnerabilities experienced by the researcher in the field, reinforced by her use (or otherwise) of the traditional and feminine Pakistani Muslim dress. Our research therefore highlights the role of different presentations of the embodied 'self' to fieldwork processes and relationships, and illustrates how age, gender and status intersect to produce fluctuating insider/outsider boundaries as well as different opportunities and experiences of power and vulnerability within research relationships.
Sociological Research Online 17 (3) 3
Keywords: Secondary Education, Identity, Antiracism, Multiculturalism, Whiteness, Citizenship
Abstract: This paper is drawn from ethnographic participant-observation data and interview materials collected between September 2004 and July 2005 in 'Kingsland', an inner-city, multiethnic comprehensive secondary school in the South West of England. It explores the complex and often contradictory ways in which young people negotiate and reflect on notions of identity and difference in relation to social and pedagogical vocabularies of belonging, friendship and fairness which operate within their school. The paper pays particular attention to experiences and perspectives outlined by Kingsland's 'white British' or 'ethnic majority' students in order to highlight and critically examine some of the tensions within, and limitations to, both national policy frameworks for citizenship education and local, institutional discourses which powerfully construct the school as a strongly antiracist multicultural community.
Sociological Research Online 17 (4) 2
Keywords: Hairstyling, Hairdressing, Customer Service, Emotion Work, Expert Status, Identity, Service Work
Abstract: This paper contributes to a growing body of scholarship concerned with hairstyling as an occupation and, more broadly, to sociological discussions concerning contemporary forms of service work. As an occupation hairstyling is largely under-researched, with the majority of existing studies restricting their focus to small low-profile salons situated in the 'backstreets' of rural areas or small towns. Hairstyling in larger high-profile salon environments, such as those in city centres, has only recently begun to be examined and critical discussion of existing knowledge in light of these environments has yet to be fully developed. The aim of this paper is to stimulate discussion by exploring, in the context of high profile salon environments in the UK, how the work practices and service interactions of hair stylists impact upon their status and identities in relation to clients. Research undertaken in low profile salon settings has found that the service-oriented and commercial features of the work position stylists as subservient to clients and undermines their 'expert' status. Drawing on empirical qualitative research this paper explores how, in contemporary high-profile salon environments, stylist-client dynamics are differently configured. It highlights how service orientated norms and practices underpinning the work of stylists are informed by discourses of customer service 'excellence' which promote employee proactivity and discourage customer deference. Discussion of the data shows how within these settings stylists are empowered to be directive in their service interactions with clients and engage in range of work practices which facilitate, rather than undermine, the establishment of their expert status. The relevance of the research findings to understandings of status and identity construction in similar service work jobs is also highlighted in the paper.
Samantha Murphy and Hilary Thomas
Sociological Research Online 18 (1) 16
Keywords: Stillbirth, Identity, Qualitative Research, Parenting
Abstract: This paper explores how parents respond to their memories of their stillborn child over the years following their loss. When people die after living for several years or more, their family and friends have the residual traces of a life lived as a basis for an identity that may be remembered over a sustained period of time. For the parent of a stillborn child there is no such basis and the claim for a continuing social identity for their son or daughter is precarious. Drawing on interviews with the parents of 22 stillborn children, this paper explores the identity work performed by parents concerned to create a lasting and meaningful identity for their child and to include him or her in their families after death. The paper draws on Finch's (2007) concept of family display and Walter's (1999) thesis that links continue to exist between the living and the dead over a continued period. The paper argues that evidence from the experience of stillbirth suggests that there is scope for development for both theoretical frameworks.
Jenny Hockey, Rachel Dilley, Victoria Robinson and Alexandra Sherlock
Sociological Research Online 18 (1) 20
Keywords: Footwear, Shoes, Identity, Memory, Embodiment
Abstract: This article raises questions about the role of footwear within contemporary processes of identity formation and presents ongoing research into perceptions, experiences and memories of shoes among men and women in the North of England. In a series of linked theoretical discussions it argues that a focus on women, fashion and shoe consumption as a feature of a modern, western 'project of the self' obscures a more revealing line of inquiry where footwear can be used to explore the way men and women live out their identities as fluid, embodied processes. In a bid to deepen theoretical understanding of such processes, it takes account of historical and contemporary representations of shoes as a symbolically efficacious vehicle for personal transformation, asking how the idea and experience of transformation informs everyday and life course experiences of transition, as individuals put on and take off particular pairs of shoes. In so doing, the article addresses the methodological and analytic challenges of accessing experience that is both fluid and embodied.
Sociological Research Online 18 (3) 2
Keywords: White Working-Class Boys; Social Class; Habitus; Reflexivity; Identity
Abstract: The article primarily explores the social class identification of 15 white working-class boys at a high performing school in a socially marginalized area of South London where academic performance was routinely depicted as crucial to economic and social well-being. The research aims to consider the influence of a high performing school on the boys’ identity and the relationship between their identity and their engagement with education. First, a brief background on white working-class boys ‘underachievement’ will provide the context. Second, Bourdieu’s conceptual tools of habitus, institutional habitus and capitals are examined. Bourdieu’s class analysis provides a useful conceptual framework to address (divided) working-class masculinities in a high attaining academic institution. Third, semi-structured interviews focused on academic self-concept, social class-identification and subsequent rationales, as well as participants’ identification of who they considered to be a student they admire, provide valuable insight into understanding habitus disjunctures and learner identities.
Sociological Research Online 18 (3) 4
Keywords: Englishness, Britishness, 'Race', National Identity, Nationalism
Abstract: Analysing data from qualitative interviews, this article demonstrates how white people's constructions of national identity in England destabilise but ultimately reaffirm essentialist, exclusionary boundaries. The first set of findings presented demonstrate the ways in which normalised associations between whiteness and Englishness are regularly, temporarily unsettled through empirical, experiential and ethical processes of reflection, only to be finally regulated back towards dominant, racialised understandings. The second set of findings presented demonstrate that for a minority of white participants who construct the nation in ways that more effectively challenge and destabilise racialised understandings, they nevertheless still normalise difference in relation to the nation-state boundaries of Britain. While racialised boundaries of the nation are often, to varying degrees, problematised by many white people in England, essentialist nation-state boundaries remain virtually unchallenged in discussions of national membership.
Sociological Research Online 18 (4) 13
Keywords: 1958, Cohort, Generation, Identity, Baby Boomers
Abstract: This paper explores the meaning of the concept of generational identity for a specific cohort of individuals born in Britain in the late 1950s - now in their fifties. It draws on qualitative biographical interviews that have been carried out with a subsample of 170 members of the 1958 British Birth Cohort Study. These interviews included questions about cohort members' sense of identity and specifically asked 'Do you think of yourself as belonging to a particular generation?' Cohort members' understandings of the multi-faceted concept of 'generation' are explored and the strategies that individuals used to answer this question are discussed. Although they were born at a time of continued high fertility in Britain, following the Second World War, it is clear that this cohort do not see themselves as properly part of the 'baby boom'. Analysis suggests that this group derive a sense of generational location more from cultural than from structural factors, or from historical/political events. Indeed the majority of them do not have a strong generational identity and might be thought of as a 'passive generation'.
Sociological Research Online 19 (2) 1
Keywords: Happiness, Homo Sociologicus, Role-Identity Theory, Social Capital, Subjective Well-Being
Abstract: This article examines what can be the contribution of Sociology to the 'new science of happiness', and what can such happiness studies contribute to Sociology? It does so by presenting the example of a quantitative analysis of European Social Survey data for the UK on social capital and life satisfaction by age. It reveals heterogeneity in the relationship between social capital and SWB by age with, for instance, socialising being more strongly associated with SWB among younger and older people compared to a mid-age group. Using this analysis as a case study, the first aim is to illustrate how sociological theory can crucially enrich research on SWB by relating the under-theorised field to broader narratives. While a range of empirical findings on the correlates of subjectively reported happiness have been dutifully collected over decades, solid theory building has often been neglected. It is crucial, however, to draw the various pieces of evidence together in order to formulate viable theoretical frameworks. Sociology is a science rich in useful approaches for the study of well-being. Role-identity theory as well as socialisation theory allow us in this paper to develop testable hypotheses for well-being data and give the research field a much-needed grounding. At the same time, it is demonstrated in this article how analysing data on life satisfaction can deliver much needed empirical tests of and new perspectives on long-standing sociological theories. For instance, the unresolved debate about homo sociologicus and homo economicus as competing conceptions of man can gain new perspectives from data on SWB.
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.
Sociological Research Online 19 (4) 13
Keywords: Outsider Research, Research Ethics, Ethnography, Derection Tourism, Industrial Ruins, Research Methods
Abstract: Dereliction tourism is the act of seeking out abandoned industrial sites as sites of aesthetic pleasure, leisure or adventure. Drawing on research in areas of industrial ruination in Russia, the UK and North America, this article examines the role of the 'dereliction tourist' as a way of critically reflecting on the ethics of 'outsider' research. Ethical problems are associated with both dereliction tourism and ethnographic research in areas of industrial decline, including voyeurism, romanticization, and the reproduction of negative stereotypes about marginal people and places. However, both dereliction tourism and ethnographic research also share more positive ethical possibilities through offering alternative ways of imagining places and raising social justice awareness of issues related to deprivation and blight. Through considering the ambivalent figure of the dereliction tourist in relation to ethnography, this article advances a way of being in the research field through intrinsic ethical reflection and practice.
Sociological Research Online 20 (3) 16
Keywords: Intersectionality, Citizenship, Britishness, Whiteness, Feminism, National Identity
Abstract: This article critically engages with the concept of intersectionality, beginning with an account of its roots in Black feminist’ theorizing and critical legal studies. The article argues that it is important to understand the origin and roots of the term in order to track its radical potential. Whilst intersectionality as a concept has been perhaps one of feminism’s most successful exports, the article also considers some of the potential pitfalls in the widespread usage of the language. It asks: has intersectionality lost something in its travelling and re-interpretation? The article argues that there is a risk that intersectionality has, in some contexts of its usage, lost its critical, anti-racist and feminist edge. Considering the campaigns against changes in the spousal visa regulations in Britain, the article tracks the production of whiteness and of citizens and non-citizens in Britain. This example is used to argue for the maintenance of a more flexible and complex range of vocabularies with which to examine exclusion and oppression.
Yasmin Hussain and Paul Bagguley
Sociological Research Online 20 (3) 18
Keywords: Ethnicity, Reflexivity, Identity, 7/7 Bombings, Migration
Abstract: This paper we presents an analysis of how people reflexively relate to their ethnicity in the context of cultural and political crisis after the 7/7 bombings in London in 2005. Introducing a differentiated conception of reflexivity following Archer and Lash, the paper shows how cognitive, hermeneutic and aesthetic reflexivity (Lash) are expressed autonomously, communicatively and autonomously (Archer) variably across and within ethnicities. Differentiated reflexive expressions of ethnicity are rooted in the politics and histories of ethnicities in relation to dominant discourses of whiteness and Britishness. The data is from a qualitative interview study of how different ethnic groups in West Yorkshire were affected by the 7/7 London bombings, with people of African-Caribbean, Black- African, Bangladeshi, Indian Pakistani and White backgrounds. The increased reflexivity of identity that this demands, is seen to be rooted in the political crises generated by Britain’s role in and response to the war on terror, but also biographical experiences of contextual continuities, discontinuities and incongruities of migration.
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.
Sociological Research Online 21 (1) 4
Keywords: Work, Tokenism, Gender, Identity, Firefighting, Women
Abstract: Despite the increasing percentage of women entering masculinized workplaces, certain organizations consistently see little change in the gender makeup of their staff. Contemporary scholarship suggests that women in rigidly gendered organizations are often assigned a token status and are victimized due to their gender. This study relocates the conversations of women as tokens towards a fresh conversation of women’s agency in masculinized workplaces. This paper uses ten qualitative interviews and ethnographic fieldwork to discuss how female firefighters navigate their gender at work. This article draws on reflexive accounts of everyday gendered negotiations to look at how the female firefighters ‘do gender’ within a specific fire service in Australia. I argue that emergency services, such as firefighting, create a contradictory field where women are located in (1) a paradoxical environment where the ‘female body’ is problematized (2) a work environment where they have to repeatedly prove their cultural competence in order to confirm their professional identity. The findings suggest that while female firefighters do have agency, tokenism locates many of them in a ‘never quite there’ bind that challenges their ability to progress into leadership roles within the service. This article concludes that the nuanced difference between, and at times, within the women’s narratives problematizes the bounds of personal agency and cultural change. This consequently results in resistance to policies by some women that may benefit like-situated women, such as affirmative action.
Valeria Lo Iacono, Paul Symonds and David H.K. Brown
Sociological Research Online 21 (2) 12
Keywords: Qualitative Interviews, Skype and VoIP, Internet Research Methods, Intangible Heritage Research, Wayfinding Research, Dance Research
Abstract: Internet based methods of communication are becoming increasingly important and influencing researchers’ options. VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technologies (such as Skype and FaceTime) provide us with the ability to interview research participants using voice and video across the internet via a synchronous (real-time) connection. This paper highlights the advantages of using Skype to conduct qualitative interviews and weighs these advantages against any limitations and issues that using this tool may raise. This paper argues that Skype opens up new possibilities by allowing us to contact participants worldwide in a time efficient and financially affordable manner, thus increasing the variety of our samples. At the same time, the use of Skype affects the areas of rapport, non-verbal cues and ethics by creating limitations but also new opportunities. The observations in this paper stem from two different researches, carried out by the authors, on dance (as a form of trans/cultural heritage) and wayfinding (the experience of getting from A to B in various settings). These studies lent themselves to using Skype for qualitative interviews, because of the need to reach an international, varied and purposeful sample. The researchers’ experiences, combined with feedback from participants in Skype interviews, are used in this paper. The conclusion is that, although VoIP mediated interviews cannot completely replace face to face interaction, they work well as a viable alternative or complimentary data collection tool for qualitative researchers. This paper argues that VoIP based interviews offer new opportunities for researchers and should be embraced with confidence.
Adam Pattison Rathbone and Kimberly Jamie
Sociological Research Online 21 (2) 4
Keywords: Identity, Sociological, Ethics, Pharmacist, Clinical Researcher, Healthcare Professional
Abstract: Researcher identity can present methodological and practical, as well as epistemological and ethical tensions, in sociological research. Identity management, such as the presentation of the self during a research interview, can have significant effects on the research encounter and data collected. 'White coat syndrome', the disjointed interaction between clinicians and patients arising from unequal power and expertise, can occur in research encounters. For clinicians engaged in social science research, identity management can be particularly challenging given the added potential for 'white coat syndrome'. Drawing on the experiences of a registered pharmacist undertaking qualitative research, we discuss the epistemological transition many clinicians go through when embarking on sociological research. We suggest that identity management is not just a matter of optimising data collection but also has ethical tensions. Drawing on Goffman’s social role theory, we discuss the epistemic tensions between researchers’ dual identities through positivist and constructivist frames, discussing the professional and legal implications, as well as the methodological practicalities of identity negotiation. We discuss conflicting professional and regulatory ethical frameworks, and ethics committees’ negotiation of intervention and elicitation during research encounters and the conflict in managing professional, legal and clinical responsibilities whilst adhering to expected social research conventions.
Sociological Research Online 21 (4) 6
Keywords: Household Work, Identity, Motherhood, Narrative, Personal Life, Relationality
Abstract: Household work literature has highlighted the importance of mothers to their daughters’ accounts of their household work practice, arguing that women can both aim to emulate and avoid particular practices in their own household work. This paper further explores this topic, drawing on a small-scale qualitative study to explore the self-narratives that two generations of mothers construct around the theme of household work. It looks particularly at how accounts of household work practices are incorporated into broader stories of growing up and taking responsibility, and the relevance of discourses of individualisation, and the notion of reflexive biographies to these explanations. This article also draws on theories of connectedness to show how self-narratives around the theme of household work reflect different forms of relationality, and to argue that a concept of relational selves is useful for making sense of these narratives.
Sociological Research Online 22 (1) 1
Keywords: Policing, Male Rape, Gender Hierarchy, Gender Expectations, Identity
Abstract: This paper adopts the theoretical framework of hegemonic masculinity to elucidate and make sense of male sexual victimisation. Critically evaluating the empirical data, which comprises of police officers and practitioners in voluntary agencies (N = 70), that this paper offers, I argue that gender expectations, hegemonic masculinities and sexism prevail in societies, state and voluntary agencies. It has been found that, because male rape victims embody subordinate masculinities, they are marginalised as ‘abnormal’ and ‘deviant’. They are, in other words, classified as the ‘other’ for challenging and contradicting hegemonic masculinity, disrupting the gender order of men. Consequently, male sexual victimisation is not taken seriously in services, policy and practice, whilst the victims of this crime type are relegated in the gender hierarchy. As a result, male rape victims suffer a ‘masculinity crisis’ in the context of male rape. This paper attempts to open up a dialogue regarding male rape and male sexual assault, to challenge hegemonic masculinity, and to bring male rape ‘out of the closet’.
Sociological Research Online 22 (1) 11
Keywords: Social Class, Bourdieu, Identity, Evangelical Christianity, Religion, Habitus
Abstract: This article explores the lived experience of class in relation to English evangelical Christianity. It examines how the subjective, affective impacts of class are felt, navigated and negotiated by working-class evangelical church leaders in the context of everyday ministry. Recent class analysis (Abrahams and Ingram 2013; Friedman 2016; Reay 2015) has mobilized and developed the Bourdieusian concept of ‘cleft’ or divided habitus (Bourdieu 2000) in empirical study of the emotional impact of movement across class fields. Examining data produced in interviews with evangelical leaders, this article draws on this work, exploring how working-class evangelical leaders experience cleft habitus as they engage with different class fields in the course of their work in ministry. It is argued that, whilst often overlooked in research on classed subjectivities, religious identity plays a critical role in provoking distinctive responses to the everyday experience of class. The accounts suggest that, in the negotiation of feelings of cleft habitus, interviewees’ Christian subjectivity prompts a proactive seeking of an integrated identity that is both evangelical and working-class.
Michaela Rogers and Anya Ahmed
Sociological Research Online 22 (1) 4
Keywords: Trans/transgender, Gender Diversity, Translocational Positionality, Identity, Sexuality, Sexual Orientation
Abstract: This article explores the confluence of trans identity and sexuality drawing on the concept of translocational positionality. In this discussion, a broad spectrum of gendered positionalities incorporates trans identity which, in turn, acknowledges normative male and female identities as well as non-binary ones. It is also recognised, however, that trans identity overlaps with other positionalities (pertaining to sexuality, for example) to shape social location. In seeking to understand subject positions, a translocational lens acknowledges the contextuality and temporality of social categories to offer an analysis which recognises the overlaps and differentials of co-existing positionalities. This approach enables an analysis which explores how macro, or structural, contexts shape agency (at the micro-level) and also how both are mediated by trans people's multiple and shifting positionalities. In this framing, positionality represents a meso layer between structure and agency. Four case studies are presented using data from a qualitative study which explored trans people's experiences of family, intimacy and domestic abuse. We offer an original contribution to the emerging knowledge-base on trans sexuality by presenting data from four case studies. We do so whilst innovatively applying the conceptual lens of translocational positionality to an analysis which considers macro, meso and micro levels of influence.
Caroline Barratt and Gill Green
Sociological Research Online 22 (1) 9
Keywords: House in Multiple Occupation (HMO), Private Rented Sector, Identity, Wellbeing, Mental Health, Home
Abstract: Housing research and sociological research on ‘home’ has under-explored Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) as a form of specific and relatively marginalised housing tenure. In this paper we utilise data collected through participant photography and interviews with vulnerable HMO residents in a seaside town to explore their experiences of homemaking in HMOs. Drawing on literatures on home, identity and wellbeing we explore how HMO residents create a home in the space in which they live and how where they live simultaneously moulds their sense of identity. Our analysis is based upon interviews with, and photographs taken by, HMO residents. We highlight how home is created and experienced in a setting where basic levels of privacy can be hard to maintain, where space is constrained, and where residents would often prefer to live elsewhere. The meaning of ‘home’ in an HMO is influenced by personal histories and circumstances, by the normative attitudes towards housing in the UK, as well as by the space itself. The impact that living in a HMO might have on a tenant’s identity and as a consequence their wellbeing is therefore highly contextual – not solely due to the characteristics of the property itself and the stigma some associate with this housing type but as an outcome of how the tenants relate to the property given their own preferences, conditioning and previous housing experience. There was variation in the extent to which respondents wanted their room to reflect, project or build their identity.
Gareth M. Thomas
Sociological Research Online 22 (2) 14
Keywords: Emotions, Ethnography, Gender, Identity, Male Researcher, Reflexivity
Abstract: Very little attention has been afforded to how male researchers actively position their gender in their studies, particularly in ethnographic research located within settings populated largely by women. In this article, I reflect on my own gender work during an ethnography of prenatal clinics and how this was articulated with other aspects of my researcher self. By reporting on the successes and failures of this performance, I argue that my gender constituted an essential element in the everyday negotiations between myself and female participants. In so doing, I suggest that reflexive commentaries of how researchers perform gender should not be viewed as a form of egotistic self-indulgence. Rather, they should be read as valuable statements for rendering the researcher visible and, here, for revealing how issues of doing gender play out during fieldwork.