Category: Opinion

Us too! Why it’s time to give female death by suicide some serious sociological attention!

The #MeToo campaign has had many consequences, one of which is a welcome and long overdue look at the devastating consequences of female sexual assault on the lives of women. One recent study has highlighted the long term consequences of these events on the victims by demonstrating that around 80% of women who are assaulted go on to suffer from mental health problems (see The Guardian). There are many other distressing aspects to the recent revelations but one that I...

Looking after farmers as well as the land: research with farmers in North Yorkshire’s Cornfield Flowers Project

Do farmers derive any personal benefit and well-being from their Agricultural Environmental Schemes (AES) work? Being a volunteer grower and seed guardian for North Yorkshire’s Cornfield Flowers Project (CFP) made me aware of how this project functioned differently from other, mainstream AES. The CFP capitalises upon farmers’ personal interest in arable flowers [1] Participating farmers are not paid for the work, do not sign contracts, and are not obliged to adhere to prescriptive cultivations methods imposed by an external agency. Unlike...

Highlights from the ISA World Congress of Sociology, Toronto, 15-21 July 2018

The XIX International Sociological Association World Congress of Sociology is taking place this week, 15-21 July 2018. The Conference theme is Power, Violence and Justice, a topic that could not be more relevant for the global landscape in 2018. With over 5,000 delegates attending from across the globe, the congress opened with a vibrant and rousing performance by the Red Urban Project, Wasauking First Nation dancers and musicians. Professor Myrna Dawson, President-Elect of the Canadian Sociological Association began the addresses...

Interview: Ruth McAreavey on Rural Sociology

Dr Ruth McAreavey is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Newcastle University. Ruth’s research focuses on migration, particularly to regional and rural areas, and inequalities faced by migrants in the labour market and in other parts of everyday life. Ruth has published extensively on rural development, and her most recent book on New Immigration Destinations was published by Routledge in July 2017. Ruth will Chair the Scientific Committee at the next European Society for Rural Sociology (ESRS) Congress in Trondheim, Norway,...

THE NHS: TO PROVIDE ALL PEOPLE

This article by Dr Catherine Will is originally published on the Cost of Living, a site is for all people interested in the politics, economics and sociology of health and health care. The ‘Cost of Living’ aims to provide a vibrant mix of topical comment pieces, analytical features, and contemporary reviews, related to health, medicine and health care. I offer a very contemporary comment this week, having come across this recent BBC programme for the 70th anniversary of the NHS, by...

Interview: Professor Diane Richardson on Sexuality and Citizenship

Diane Richardson is a Professor of Sociology at Newcastle University. Diane is internationally recognised for her work in the area of feminist and sociological study of sexuality and gender, including recent publication, Sexuality and Citizenship (Polity 2018). A central concern of this research is to understand how models of citizenship are constructed and deployed by marginalised groups as new democratic moments emerge. Diane’s research addresses interlinked themes including the relation between cultural and material aspects of recognition, as well as...

The digitalisation of cities and housing: what will the future bring?

There is a lot of talk at the moment about the how digital technologies are or will impact on a variety of aspects of our lives, ranging from the nature of our work relations to urban life and housing. The ramifications of the impacts of digitalisation on our cities and in particular on housing have been the topic of a recent Housing Europe conference in Tallinn, Estonia. This article will draw out some of the broader themes discussed during this...

A Safer and More Just Society: Policy and Projections of the 1967 President’s Crime Commission Report

The past year marked the 50th anniversary of the report by the U.S. President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice. The Commission, chaired by Nicholas Katzenbach, included 19 commissioners and featured now-famous criminologists Lloyd Ohlin (who served as an associate director of the Commission’s staff) and Alfred Blumstein, the staff-director of science and technology. The Commission’s goal was seemingly straightforward: to create recommendations for federal, state, and local governments that could lead to “a safer and more just...

Interview: Lisa Garforth on Green Utopias: Environmental Hope Before and After Nature

Lisa Garforth is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Newcastle University. Her work explores green future visions, especially in fiction. Her recent book Green Utopias: Environmental Hope Before and After Nature (Polity 2018) examines the changing content and socio-cultural contexts of green utopias from post-war environmentalism to the challenge of the Anthropocene. What lead you to write your book, Green Utopias, and what are the major themes? I wanted to rethink environmental utopianism, not so much from the perspective of practical...

True cowmen and commercial farmers: differing opinions on what it means to be a ‘good’ dairy farmer

Farming is both an art and a science. Dairy farming in the UK is poised between being a traditional backbone of the rural economy and a high-tech industry. We need to understand what farmers and other stakeholders value within this sector in order to understand how they make decisions. The idea of the ‘good farmer’ is a useful concept within rural sociology for understanding farmer decision making12. Farmers make decisions that are in line with the ideal of being a...

Sociology of Cancer: A Decade of Research

Our recent review article, which is free to read in the journal Sociology of Health & Illness reviewed sociological research on cancer over the last decade to identify the contribution of sociology to cancer research and care. The largest proportion of articles focused on living with and beyond cancer. This research showed how cancer can be disruptive, prompting changes in people’s sense of who they are.  However, people have a range of experiences which do not fit neatly into common...

The Digital Nudge in Social Security Administration

This is an abridged version of our full research paper, published in the journal International Social Security Review, which can be read in full for free here. There are significant trends occurring across three major pillars of public administration, namely social investment (policy), nudge (process) and predictive analytics (technology). The European Commission defines social investment as policies designed to strengthen people’s skills and capacities, supporting them to participate fully in employment and social life (EC, 2015). Key policy areas include education,...

Early Career Researcher Focus: Interview with Eva Cheuk-Yin Li on Gender Performance in East Asia

At the 2018 British Sociological Association Conference, we had the pleasure of speaking to sociology researchers across the breadth of the discipline, and at all career levels. Eva Cheuk-Yin Li has just completed her PhD on gender and sexuality studies and pop culture in East Asia, at King’s College London, and spoke to Sociology Lens about her research into gender performance in the context of pop culture and fandom in Chinese societies. Tell us about your research background I am...

Why Observations about the Effectiveness of Active Labour Market Policies are Mixed

It is heavily debated how active labour market policies affect the labour market. Some argue that activation programmes help the disadvantaged, such as the low educated or people who possess obsolete skills, to improve their labour market opportunities. This is for example achieved through learning new skills through training or work programmes, making them more attractive on the labour market. Other frequently used measures are hiring and wage subsidies to make it more financially attractive for employers to hire disadvantaged...

The body positivity movement: advancing ‘fat’ activism

Apart from the fight against fat shaming, other approaches to body positivity range from anti-shaving decisions, to unretouched campaigns by which certain media channels reject photoshopped pictures, to accepting body changes during and post-pregnancy, to celebrities’ body positivity advice (Money, 2017). Arguments are made that body image is no longer essential for an individual’s self-definition (Murray, 2007) and yet contradictory comments in body positivity forums show fluctuations between individual options and social pressures. An analytical overview of social media cues...

Forward March: The Next Destination for Feminism

An estimated five million people around the world marched on 21 of January 2017 to protest the sexist behaviour of the incoming US President, Donald Trump. Even as these marches took place, the scope seemed to expand and something shifted in the way that everyone, and especially women, were thinking and talking about feminism. This is an abridged version of the editorial from the most recent issue of the IPPR Progressive Review, which is free to read until the end...