Category: Opinion

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,...

Has the Pandemic Changed the Cities Forever? Everyday Urbanisms and Covid-19 from an Indian Context

With regards to Covid-19, India is the second most affected country in the world. The urban dimension of Covid-19 in Indian cities reflected the urbanisms, geographies, culture and patterns of life that varied across different intensities and forms. The pandemic has brought to the fore the issue of urban vulnerability, how cities are affected by pandemics and how there is a need to develop pandemic resilience and reimagine cities in the post-pandemic world. The Pandemics of Urban Cities The World Economic...

The Psychiatrization of Society: Why we should care

Some years ago, I started my residency as a psychiatrist in a hospital close to Berlin. I was prepared for my job also to encompass meeting people who were not very pleased about meeting me. As one of the downsides of my career choice, I expected to inevitably become a part of the disciplinary institution that Foucault and others had famously described (Foucault 1965; Goffman 1961; Szasz 1974), being obliged to play a main role in cases of compulsory treatment...

If You Plant It, They Will Come: Anti-GM Protest in Aotearoa New Zealand and the United Kingdom

On 13 October 2003 Friends of the Earth led a group of 1000 people on a march through London to Downing Street to present a petition opposing the continued development of genetically modified crops in the UK (Brown, 2003). A week later in Wellington, Greenpeace erected a billboard on the grounds of Parliament asking why the Prime Minister was not listening to the peoples’ concerns over genetic engineering (New Zealand Press Association, 2003). Both these events came in the latter...

Local Contexts, Global Movements: How Place Shapes Online Social Movements

These days, it is almost impossible to imagine what our daily lives would look like without social media. Platforms like Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, and Instagram have all come to shape our society in fundamental ways – not least in the ways in which we communicate. On the most fundamental level, social media usage has introduced new words to our language that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago (for example, Merriam Webster now lists a Twitter-specific definition for...

Emotional Labor, Social Movements, and Being a Bad Feminist

Since Arlie Hochschild’s groundbreaking book The Managed Heart: Commercialization of Human Feeling (1983), the concept of “emotional labor” has become increasingly popularized. Writing about jobs in the service industry, Hochschild defines emotional labor as the work that “requires one to induce or suppress feeling in order to sustain the outward countenance that produces the proper state of mind in others” (20). In other words, many (if not most) jobs require us to manage and negotiate our own feelings and the...

The fluid nature of rural ethnic identity: encounters between non-Roma and Roma people in a Central-Eastern European context

In the early 2010s, France repatriated a large number of Roma back to Romania, following a series of highly controversial reforms by Nicholas Sarkozy’s government (BBC, 2010). Campaigners for human rights, free movement, and workers’ rights hotly contested those harsh actions of forced repatriation, which were widely discussed in international media. A Romanian article called ‘Back to the life of Gypsy in Romania’ (Micu, 2010) suggested that most of the transnational worker Roma went back to their homelands in the...

Transitions from care to adulthood: exploring historical narratives

Outcomes for care leavers The evidence has been well publicised: young people who have spent their formative years in public care are less likely than their peers to be in gainful employment, and more likely to become homeless, to become involved in crime or prostitution or to become long-term dependent on the state.  A closer inspection of the data tends to reveal a much more nuanced picture: a small group of care leavers are ‘movers on’ who achieve educational, employment...