Category: Research Brief

UK Secondary Education Social Mobility and Links to the PATA Theory

Financial disadvantage for children and families in the UK is a historical, persistent, and increasing issue, which affects young people’s long-term future well-being and life chances (The Equality Trust, 2022; Social Mobility Commission, 2014). For students in secondary education the achievement gap between those from low socio-economic (SES) households and their more affluent peers continues to increase, amplifying inequalities and disrupting opportunities for progression (HM Government, 2015; 2017, 2021).  Social mobility in an educational context focuses on how best to...

What is Medical AI Good For?

The use of artificial intelligence has grown rapidly, especially in the field of medicine, with the promise of offering advances ranging from more efficient diagnoses to safer treatments. Yet, this promise overlooks the fact that artificial intelligence still faces some pretty serious limitations, you know, the kind of limitations that prevent the machine from operating like we see in television and movies. Simply stated, artificial intelligence is still not yet that intelligent. Yes, artificial intelligence can do well at particular...

Black man raising fist in protest amidst crowd

Tweeting Abolition in an Age of Mass Incarceration and Social Unrest, Part II: From the Margins to the Mainstream

Abolition, from police abolition to prison abolition, is largely thought about as being a pretty radical theory. Even amongst critical criminologists who argue against mass incarceration, the torture of solitary confinement, or the racist nature of the over surveillance, policing, and sentencing of Black and Latinx folks, abolition is often seen as an extremist or unrealistic response to a broken system. Identifying concrete ways of fixing problematic aspects of the system is for many preferable than wanting to tear the...

Tweeting Abolition in an Age of Mass Incarceration and Social Unrest, Part I: What is Abolition?

For many people in the United States and the world over, 2020 was a pivotal year for learning about and engaging in radical protests against extrajudicial killings of Black and Latinx people by police officers. It was a year that brought a lot of attention to the now common slogan “defund the police,” especially after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd. As the world had also come to a screeching halt because of the global Coronavirus pandemic, with...

School teachers’ perceptions of the bystanders’ role in school bullying

This particular piece of research was conducted with teachers employed in Finnish primary/lower and upper secondary schools. Ten in number were asked to unfold their perceptions of what role the bystanders play in school bullying. This text draws from their expertise to address a problem with several facets as, for example, it fuels other school problems as absenteeism. Many children choose absenteeism to avoid school because they are bullied there. Considering the long-lasting effects of bullying on victims, it is...

Well-being is a characteristic of companies – not just individual workers

Work-related well-being has garnered significant public attention since the onset of COVID-19. Discussions of remote work, flexible work, and the importance of work/life balance have received heightened consideration as people and organizations across the globe adapt to an unprecedented historical moment and begin reassessing how they want to work (and live). While simply discussing work-related well-being is a step in the right direction, popular and academic understandings of well-being in the workplace have room for improvement. This is because well-being...

Trans Children & Pathologisation in the UK

What happens when a society, backed by powerful institutions, media and majority culture designates a minority population as inherently disordered? When that categorisation and stigma is weaponised to legitimise abuse and discrimination? A new study highlights the legacy of one example of such pathologisation, focusing on transgender children in the UK. Introduction Across the globe, growing numbers of transgender (trans) children are being supported to live authentically in childhood. Global healthcare consensus now recognises trans identities, including in childhood, as...

Approaching normative coherence in development from different perspectives

We all have certain principles, values or norms in our lives that we follow. But what about those principles in politics? Especially since the launch of the 2030 Agenda and its set of sustainable development goals (SGDs), norms should be represented in policies ranging from the global to the local. The 2030 Agenda provides normative standards for development policies as well as sectors where the Agenda might not seem relevant at first glance. One policy can have (intended or unintended)...

If you want to prevent accidents at work – then think about social, cultural or organizational aspects – before the individual.

Accidents at work are estimated to kill more than 380,000 workers worldwide every year (Concha-Barrientos et al., 2005; EU-OSHA, 2017). Although the risks of accidents at work have been reduced over the last about 30 years, the increased complexity and multidimensional characteristics of risk to workers have challenged the existing approaches to accident prevention. In recent years social, cultural and organizational aspects have become important additional perspectives included in accident prevention programs at work, and referred to as the “third...

What Are Challenges from COVID-19 to Internationalization of HE and Global Responses?

The COVID-19 pandemic has posed challenges to many aspects of higher education (HE), with a particularly obvious and profound impact on the internationalization of HE These challenges range from the restrictive cross-border movement of students and academics to various forms of international collaboration in teaching and research [i]. Moreover, earlier studies suggested that, the pandemic of 2020 would affect some countries and systems more radically than others [ii] [iii] [iv]. For example, the challenge from the pandemic to countries such...

Put to the test: For a new sociology of testing

A test can be defined as an orchestrated attempt to reveal an entity’s potentially unknown properties or capacities. A drug trial, a pregnancy test, and a planetary probe are all procedures designed to ascertain the properties of some entity. However, while tests and testing are well‐established social forms, their role in culture, economy, politics, and everyday life seems to be expanding. With smart city experimentation, randomized controlled trials in economic development, and apps to test your personality and the performance...

Pregnancy and childbirth in prison

“I’ve got baggy tops, so I just always have to hide my bump, and like most people couldn’t recognise that I’m pregnant, so that’s a good thing”. With a prison population of approximately 9000 women in England, it is estimated that approximately 600 pregnancies and 100 births occur annually.  Despite there being an extensive literature on the sociology of reproduction, pregnancy and childbirth, there has been scarce qualitative research looking specifically at pregnant prisoners. Our recently published open access paper:...

The impact of care farms on quality of life, depression and anxiety among different population groups: A systematic review

This is a plain language summary for a new Systematic Review published in Campbell Systematic Reviews, aimed at understanding the impact of care farming on quality of life, depression and anxiety, on a range of service user groups. Care farming is the therapeutic use of agricultural and farming practices. People value the farms, but the evidence on their effectiveness is limited. What is this review about? Care farming (also called social farming) is the therapeutic use of agricultural and farming...

Digital Health: Sociological Perspectives

Digital technologies are increasingly being developed, implemented and used in the delivery of health and care, contributing to potentially disruptive changes in how healthcare is practised and experienced by health professionals, patients and those within their wider care networks. The following extract is from the introduction to a new special issue of Sociology of Health and Illness, edited by Flis Henwood and Benjamin Marent, now free to access until the end of 2019: ‘Digital health’ is both easy and hard...

Solid Foundations? Towards a Historical Sociology of Prison Building Programmes in England and Wales, 1959–2015

Between 1959 and 2015 the UK government embarked upon five major phases of prison building in England and Wales. Drawing upon detailed archival research, this article offers a historical sociology of prison building programmes. It traces the evolution of prison building as a public policy concern and documents how this key site of penal policy making was interpreted, and contested, by policy actors who were themselves embedded within deep institutional structures of power and meaning. It argues that prison building...

Effects of trauma‐informed approaches in schools: A systematic review

This is a Plain Language Summary of an Open Access Systematic Review published in Campbell Systematic Reviews originally published on 17 July 2019 The review in brief Despite growing support and increased rate of which trauma‐informed approaches are being promoted and implemented in schools, evidence to support this approach is lacking. What is this review about? Exposure to different types of trauma have been associated with varying types and complexity of adverse outcomes, including adverse effects on cognitive functioning, attention,...