Latest articles from sociology lens

Sexed up online: Instagram influencers, harassment, and the changing nature of work

Kylie Jenner is estimated to earn $1 million per sponsored online post. Scrolling through her Instagram feed shows plenty of examples of how lucrative – and sexualized – the online attention economy has become. From poolside parties and bikinis, to fast cars and crop tops, and from motherhood to makeup tips, branded products are peppered among the mix of idealized selfies, professional headshots, and candid (or made to seem candid) snaps. Jenner is touted as the highest paid influencer on...

Politics of Categorization: Race and Blood

In a recent article for The New York Times, British journalist Rose George makes the case that the Red Cross needs to reassess its policy of desegregating blood based on race and ethnicity. She also argues that blood collection services need to develop initiatives to attract a more diverse pool of blood given the dearth of minority donors. George draws on the sympathetic case of a young child, Zainab, whose cancer treatment requires a rare form of blood common amongst...

Football is for hope, for joy, for peace, and for … trafficking?

Football gives hope to people across the globe, both young and old. Aspirations of being a professional football player signals an opportunity to change the socio-economic circumstances of not just an individual, but potentially a community for generations to come. Football gives joy to those who watch it and play an active role in following their favourite teams through the numerous ups and downs of professional sport. Football has also been used to bring peace to countries on the verge...

Marketing Children: Overcoding Indigenous Children with Colonial Happiness in the Child Welfare System

In 1964, the Today’s Child column began in the Toronto Telegram, written by Helen Allen at the behest of then-Deputy Minister of Welfare in Ontario, Dr. James Band. In 1972, the column moved to the Toronto Star. The Today’s Child ran weekly until 1982 and featured over 4,000 daily advertisements of children who were available for adoption. Each column would feature a photo of the child or multiple children and offer descriptions of each child’s appearance and disposition. A television...

Radical Happiness: Moments of Collective Joy

Happy Friday everyone! Actually, when was the last time that you experienced pure happiness? Real unrestrained joy? Many of us, sadly, are feeling increasingly isolated and lonely. During Mental Health Awareness Week recently, leading figures including Alastair Campbell bravely discussed their experiences of depression; raising awareness, with a view to generating a collective understanding of, and sympathy for, those experiencing mental health issues. So, the new book by Lynne Segal, Radical Happiness: Moments of Collective Joy representing ‘a passionate call...

Sociologists should stop talking about social class

Once upon a time it meant something when we talked about social class.  The concept was useful in describing social inequalities, or predicting outcomes such as illness and premature death.  But the turn towards cultural and symbolic approaches to class in recent sociology has made ‘social class’ increasingly meaningless and empirically unhelpful.   For most of its history, sociology has explored the stratifications and inequalities it has observed among members of societies, most notably in terms of gender, race and...

Agency and structure: the impact of ethnic identity and racism on the health of ethnic minority people

Powerful people have a significant impact on our lives. Not only can their decisions affect our access to wealth, and consequent well-being, but their influence affects our very self-definition and expression. Understandings about who we are and what that means develop in light of the ways in which certain categories are understood in and responded to by wider society: what we’re told about what ‘being one of those sorts of people’ means. But while academic studies acknowledge the societal or...

The Importance of Trans Positive Research in a Time of Great Criticism

  ‘Two in five trans [1] people (41 per cent) and three in ten non-binary people (31 per cent) have experienced a hate crime or incident because of their gender identity in the last 12 months.’ (Stonewall Trans Report 2018). If you add to this the levels of criticism and “debate” present on social media ranging from Piers Morgan [2] to Paula Radcliff [3] about the trans community it makes for a pretty dire situation. I contend that a way to improve this...

Developing a Coercive Control Defence

Each year as part of its annual conference, the Socio-Legal Studies Association (SLSA) runs a postgraduate academic poster competition. In April of this year I was pleased to learn that my poster ‘Developing a Coercive Control Defence’ had been shortlisted. Since then, as well as being delighted that my poster was so well received by the competition judges, I’ve also found myself thinking about the value of participating in such a well-attended event where academic posters are viewed as an...

First People Lost: New Statistics Show Alarming Patterns in Indigenous Death Rates in Canada

  The Canadian National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls has wrapped up its hearings and is scheduled to deliver its final report early next month. The Inquiry examines some of the most extreme outcomes of violence and marginalization of Indigenous women and girls, however the factors affecting their livelihood and life expectancy extends beyond these extreme outcomes and recent research suggests there may not be cause for optimism unless there is systemic change. A research study...

Creationism, anti-intellectualism and education

For decades academics, educators, and policy makers have butt heads with creationists (i.e. people who believe in intelligent design over evolution).  Evolution is incompatible with strict religious beliefs that God created the universe.  Religious families have historically contested education on evolution in classrooms, believing that their children are being fed false information that infringes on their religious practice. Longest and Uecker [1] have recently added to this conversation by illuminating the salience and importance of these beliefs.  The authors argue that...

Are Hope and Possibility Achievable in Prison?

  Following the publication of original article, Are Hope and Possibility Achievable in Prison?  lead author, Professor Alison Liebling, discussed her motivations for conducting the research, the findings and the ideas underpinning her approach.  This conversation with the Howard Journal of Crime and Justice’s Editor-in-Chief, Professor Ian Loader and the Governor of HMP Wayland, Sonja Walsh is available to watch in the above video. “Hope is everywhere … From the minute you get off the bus. They shake your hand and give you...

Infant feeding and the need for sociology

Discussion of how mothers feed their babies is rarely out of the news. Ellie Lee, Director of the Centre for Parenting Culture Studies at the University of Kent reflects on the issues.  As we teach our students, the sociological imagination helps us to see the relatedness of private problems and public issues. Sociological work about feeding babies stands as an excellent example of the application of this point. Research about the public struggles over how babies are fed, and the struggles women...

Inequality and the Arts

There are currently 685 all-party parliamentary groups (APPGs) registered in the UK Parliament on topics from Afghanistan to Zoroastrianism.[1] As the name suggests, they include representatives from the main political parties, and they span the House of Commons and the House of Lords. These groups meet informally to pursue their particular areas of interest, and they vary in their levels of activity. The APPG on Arts, Health and Wellbeing was set up by Lord Howarth of Newport in 2014, to...

Won’t somebody think of the children? Social democratic and neoliberal responses to ‘troubled families’ since 1945

When then Prime Minister David Cameron launched the Troubled Families Programme (TFP) in 2011 he claimed that ‘we’ve known for years that a relatively small number of families are the source of a large proportion of the problems in society’. He then outlined how his government would, in a radical new policy, ‘turn around’ the lives of the 120,000 so-called ‘troubles families’ by the end of the Parliamentary term. It did not work. In its official evaluation, the TFP was...

Children’s Lunchboxes and Social Class

As children’s lunchboxes travel between home to school and back again, so might concerns about good and bad parenting, and healthy and unhealthy diets. The way in which parents discuss lunchboxes in research studies can reveal a lot about parenting, social class and ways of feeding children outside the home. Government and school health initiatives that attempt to regulate lunch boxes are underpinned by particular norms of healthy eating and one of their unintended consequences is that children and their...