Category: Opinion

Readiness for independent living of youth in residential childcare: A comparative study

Transition to adulthood has become an increasingly extended and complex period for young people, which is not usually completed until the late twenties in most European countries. However, for people who have been placed in alternative care during their childhood or adolescence after being separated from their families of origin, this process is especially difficult. In addition to their early adverse experiences (such as neglect, abuse, abandonment, etc.), they are usually forced to face a much more abrupt and compressed...

We don’t remember the O-Platz migrant protest camp for the sake of it

  Nearly 10 years ago, dozens of refugees set up a protest camp on Oranienplatz, in Berlin Kreuzberg. The protest camp gave rise to the O-Platz refugee movement, which is still nowadays very much remembered by activists in Berlin. This article complements my recent publication in Sociology Compass.  I learnt for the first time about O-Platz in early 2014. I was then travelling around Germany to research racist hate crimes. The protest camp had often been the target of racist...

A look beyond poverty – what role does economic support play in (re-)producing inequalities?

In countries of the global South, social relationships often function as channels for support essential for making a living. Studies that created a comprehensive overview of all forms of welfare benefits people have access to (for example Bevan 2004), acknowledged these forms of support as informal social protection. Informal as they do not follow a formal, written script and thus differ from the well-defined welfare provisions of governments. Instead, informal support is embedded in social relationships and can thus take...

Youth on the sidelines – What keeps protest sympathizers from joining social movements?

Youth activism seen around the globe shows that young people are interested in politics and push for social and political change. Recent studies contradict speculations about apolitical, disengaged, and politically uninterested youth. Instead, young people are interested in particular political issues and prefer participation in less hierarchically organized activism than previous generations (Miranda et al., 2020). At the same time, social media and online platforms have made the mobilization and documentation of protests much easier. Protest contents are streamed in...

Undoing Residential Segregation: Is Housing Access Enough?

More than fifty years after passage of the Fair Housing Act, many Americans continue to live in neighborhoods that are segregated by race/ethnicity and class (Loh et al. 2020). How does this spatial separation come about, and what would it take to meaningfully integrate neighborhoods? Is providing affordable housing enough, or do we need to think about other dimensions of belonging within a community, such as shared opportunities for recreation, consumption, or making friends? Questions like these are of central...

College Inequalities: The Best Four Years for Whom?

Going to college is a revered part of young adulthood in U.S. society. It is often said that the four years spent in college are “the best four years of your life,” riddled with expectations that everyone in college is having fun, learning endlessly, and “finding themselves.” However, this pervasive societal encouragement of attaining a college education can easily feel like an anxiety-ridden pressure campaign. Many U.S. teens grow up hearing from parents, relatives, friends, or guidance counselors that their...

What happened to Crime during the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Since the announcement of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, there has been a drastic change in people’s daily lives with emerging news reports suggesting that criminal and violent behaviors have also been affected.[i], [ii] Specifically, in the U.S. and across other countries, different types of crime (i.e., theft, robbery, assault) were found to decline since the onset of containment measures and lockdown orders.[iii], [iv] However, studies found increases in other crimes such as non-residential burglary and motor vehicle theft.[v], [vi]...

How Digital Platforms Cause Mental Disorders in Platform Workers

The recently released films The Equalizer and Sorry, We Missed You drew attention for featuring an Uber driver and a delivery driver as the main characters, respectively. These films vividly capture the lives of platform workers. Specifically, the films show how platform workers function by receiving customer ratings through apps and transmitting their movements on the streets to customers with real-time location-tracking systems. Platform labour is not only done on the streets. The territory of platform labour is expanding into...

The post-war generation remembers

The children are busy with the finishing touch when I enter their classroom. “Lest we forget”, is written in the middle of the poster that they just made. Around, multiple hands are drawn in which every child has written why commemorating World War Two (WWII) is important to him or her. I’m joining this primary school class today to ‘their’ monument, a Jewish graveyard with a WWII memorial. At the graveyard, all children place a painted stone in front of...

What’s Sociological About Self-Injury?

Sam was 12 when she began cutting herself.[i] She had been grounded by her parents after she pierced her ears without their permission. ‘I don’t know if it was revenge’ she explains, ‘[but] I felt like “you’re not letting me be who I want to be. I’m an individual, I should be able to do what I want to do.” You know? . . . I felt so upset that no one was listening to me.’ Her frustration led her...

Good for Business, Bad for Asian Americans? Affirmative Action and the Lawsuit against Harvard University

Human heterogeneity in culture, race, gender, sexuality, and any other characteristics – commonly referred to as “diversity” – is often lauded in organizations across the U.S. for its various positive outcomes. While hiring or recruiting a diverse pool of people is arguably an ethical imperative, much of the narrative around diversity instead revolves around how it’s “good for business”. For example, a recent Forbes article argues that “diversity and inclusion are essential to business success”, and Amazon’s website claims that...

The State and My Happiness: Youth Mental Health, Citizenship Education, and Discursive Contestations in Contemporary Indonesia

In 2015 we all sighed a sigh of relief when mental health was eventually included in the Sustainable Development Goals – Goal 3 to be precise. Conveniently, the World Health Organisation also offered a concise definition: The World Health Organization (WHO) defines mental health as ‘a state of well-being in which the individual realizes their own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or...

Can you hear me? Two researchers’ perspectives on children’s rights, participation and voice

The Topic We have recently published an article in Children & Society journal exploring parent and professional views on the child’s voice in multi-agency meetings, considering how meaningful and impactful this was, or if there was voice present at all. An online survey combined with educational documents, subject to thematic and documentary analysis, presented some interesting findings. The findings highlight the importance of professional beliefs around child capacity and their understanding of what constitutes a competent view. In turn, they...

Young children at street protests

When we see reports from protests, some of us feel uneasy about seeing children taking part. The reasons for this anxiety may vary. But it is interesting to ask ourselves what exactly triggers our reactions. Of course, photos and videos capture a fragment of reality in a specific composition, while the experiences of the participants are more integrated and general. The pictures of children protesting [1] raise in many people the fear that they may have fallen victim to manipulation....

LGBTQIA+ youth in out-of-home care: The rain and the rainbow

Let’s get things straight. Nowadays, in almost all regions of the world, society discriminates against individuals who don’t fit into the imposed sexuality norms. Individuals who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual/Aromantic/Agender and other sexualities and identities (LGBTQIA+) are subject to systemic violations of their human rights. This is not news; it is a historical reality. LGBTQIA+ individuals are living under pervasive violence that comes in many forms: discrimination, harassment, criminalization, stigma, denial of services, invisibility… However,...