Category: Opinion

Social innovation in crisis-shaken villages

Villages are rarely seen as centers for innovation. However, empirical research shows evidence of innovative activities taking place even in crisis-shaken rural regions. Anika Noack and Tobias Federwisch consider three initiatives, which aim to overcome local problems with socially innovative ideas. In doing so, the authors reveal external impulses by intermediates as crucial for social innovation. The rural municipality of ‘Kremmen’ (an anonymised name for the municipality involved in the study) was once a flourishing tourist destination in the Eifel...

The Power in Writing a Good Note

Why study bureaucracy? Institutions and practices that we have tended to take for granted have recently been subjected to a new awareness and interest. For instance, Timothy Snyder, in his recent book On Tyranny (2017) argued for the importance of government institutions and their capacity to preserve the rule of law when faced with the rise and coming to power of authoritarian populist parties. Others, including key political scientists such as Francis Fukyama, Bo Rothstein, Paul DuGay add to this and point...

Child’s play? Children and young people’s resistances to domestic violence and abuse

Children’s play is often viewed through adult eyes. We worry if children don’t get to play enough, and are often concerned that they are getting opportunities for the ‘right kind’ of play – they need to play ‘properly’ to grow up into ‘proper’ adults.  In developmental research, play is often described as a kind of stepping stone or building block toward something else. So when a child is throwing a ball to another child, professionals might see this as an...

An Interview with the American Society of Criminology’s 2018 Student Paper Award Winners

The American Society of Criminology (ASC)’s annual Gene Carte Student Paper Competition acknowledges full-time students’ exceptional contributions to the field of criminology, awarding winners with prize money and an opportunity to present their work at the society’s annual conference. Applications for the 2019 contest are now open. Having earned her master’s degree from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Kristina Thompson Garrity is now a doctoral student in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Missouri –...

Assembling wool and grounding globalization

In our recently published paper in Sociologia Ruralis, ‘Unravelling the global wool assemblage: researching place and production networks in the global countryside’ [1] we demonstrated the utility of assemblage thinking for revealing how globalization works through specific grounded relations and connections between places; remaking those places in the process. Despite being the subject of critique from various theoretical angles for decades, globalization is still frequently deployed as a top-down metaconcept to describe many of the processes and tendencies seen in the...

Making Sense of Brexit: Interview with Victor J. Seidler

Victor Jeleniewski Seidler is Emeritus Professor in the Department of Sociology, at Goldsmiths University of London. His research interests include social theory and philosophy; Marxism and critical theory; moral theory; masculinity and sexual politics, and he has written on social theory, ethics and gender, particularly in relation to men and masculinities. In recent years his writing and research have focused on the cultural memory of particular events, including 9/11 and 7/7, and the ways they might challenge traditional social and...

“Essentially it’s just a lot of bedrooms”: care homes and the conundrums of designing for care

My mum will be 90 next month, she lives in a care home, on the top floor which is a secured space dedicated for people living with dementia. The layout of each of the three floors of the home is the same, the design is economical with individual bedrooms off a corridor, a shared dining space, a communal living room at one end of the corridor and a ‘film’ lounge.  Bedrooms reveal a repeat pattern of en-suite shower and toilet,...

Risking safety and rights: online sex work, crimes and ‘blended safety repertoires’

Like all areas of life, the sex industry has been massively affected by the dominance of the internet and digital technologies which now is the main mechanism for advertising, marketing and organizing how sex is sold. In our project, Beyond the Gaze, there has been some intriguing findings which tell sociologists a lot more about the practices of online sex workers. Notably we found, as reported in the British Journal of Sociology, that the internet makes sex work safer. Primarily...

Imagining their Future Selves: Children’s Attitudes to Older People and their Expectations of Life at Age 70

Our recent article ‘Imagining their Future Selves: Children’s Attitudes to Older People and their Expectations of Life at Age 70’ published in the journal Children & Society provided an insight into children’s thoughts about older people, and how they imagine their own lives will be when they are older. So why is this important? Well, we know that the world’s population is ageing.  We also know that there has been scare-mongering about the ‘crisis’ this will cause, especially for the...

BJS Annual Lecture: From “Having” to “Being”: self-worth and the current crisis of American society, by Michèle Lamont

On Thursday 25th October 2018, the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), Department of Sociology hosted its annual British Journal of Sociology  (BJS) public lecture. The lecture, by Professor Michèle Lamont from Harvard University was entitled, From “Having” to “Being”: self-worth and the current crisis of American society. The lecture focused on diagnosing the challenges of neoliberal American society: the pitfalls of the American dream across classes, hardened group boundaries, and the need to invent new narratives of hope.  The lecture...

“Disgruntlement” and Protest Movements in the Trump Era

In their recently published article, “Protest Movements and Citizen Discontent: Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party”[1], Martin et al. seek to explain how and why citizens support broad-based protest movements like the Tea Party or Occupy Wall Street.  Unlike social movements with clear constituents and defined goals, movements like these lead us to wonder why some individuals participate and not others.  Deviating from conventional frameworks that point to the extension or dislocation of political ideologies as social movement catalysts,...

Mirror, mirror on the wall… which one of the healthcare team am I? Understanding healthcare practitioners’ professional identities and what role professional regulation plays

In this article, Policy Adviser Michael Warren outlines some of the themes and challenges that arise from the Professional Standards Authority’s work on understanding professional identity and regulation. The research can be found here. Think of it, someone comes up to you and asks: “who are you?”. Where do you start? It’s a query that calls into question your entire identity. One place to start is your occupation, or ‘professional identity’. You may even have more than one professional identity,...

International Social Security Review: Actuarial and financial reporting of social security obligations

A new special issue of the International Social Security Review discusses social security protection as a strong and vital component of society and national economies, maintaining and developing the human capital of all. To ensure the sustainability of social security protection, the actuarial profession has a responsibility to act in the public interest. In a context of increasing transparency of social security design and financing, this responsibility shapes the important work of the actuarial profession, demanding that it pays constant...

Sociology Lens Editor’s unexpected reflections on the year so far

This time of year always brings me mixed emotions. Autumn is my favourite season and as a once upon a time student of the English Romantic Poets, I’ve always enjoyed the nostalgia of mists and mellow fruitfulness (1). The lowing sun still has its warm but heavy glow, the creeping light winds up the walls a little earlier every day, whilst the coming darkness slides along the street, Rubbing its back upon the window-panes (2)  as we start to curl about the...

What the Greatest Generation Knows about Technology that You Don’t

In 2015, Anthropologist Veronica Kirin took a solo trip of 12,000 miles through 40 states in America to interview our oldest living citizens, ranging from 75 to 106 years old, about the changes they’ve seen during their lifetimes. The resulting book, “Stories of Elders,” documents nearly 8,435 years of life lived and roots our technological evolution in history. In this interview, we discuss her findings and why she was the one to do this research. What were the common themes...

What not to watch: #MeToo and contemporary popular culture

In light of #MeToo, one of issues I have found myself thinking about on a daily basis is how to come to a decision as to whether or not a piece of culture is irredeemably tainted by the involvement of men accused of abuses and if I, as an ethical subject, should continue to consume them. The most significant factor in assessing whether or not to consume a piece work in which so-called ‘bad men’ feature prominently is individual experience....