Category: Social Movements / Social Change

Where are future generations in newspaper coverage of climate change?

Climate change is accelerating – and will impact most on children and those yet to be born.  The failure to halt the relentless rise in global temperatures is an act of intergenerational injustice in which the UK is centrally implicated.  It is among the top national contributors to global fossil fuel emissions and, as the first industrialising country, has made the largest per person contribution to climate change.   While today’s children and tomorrow’s generations will be hardest hit, they...

Re-homing hens during Covid-19: A rethinking of urban space?

Through the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown, humans have been exposed to the threat that the exploitation and eating of animals poses to humanity and public health. It has also become obvious that animals want to and are willing to take up more space (Taylor, 2020). In the relative absence of humans during lockdown, animal populations have spread out and some have actually entered cities and towns for the first time. Where conversations are taking place on the human abandonments and...

Identity Theory, Emotions, and the “Victim”—“Survivor” Binary

Sociological identity theory concerns itself with the concept of the self: what it is, how societal structures influence it, and how we navigate it. According to the symbolic interactionist tradition, heavily influenced by the work of George Herbert Mead, one’s sense of self or identity is built in and through social interactions with others. As such, there is a reciprocal relationship between the self and the external social world; society impacts the self, and in turn, the self impacts our...

No Time for Blind Optimism

The world is facing the most serious health catastrophe since 1918.  A global pandemic—one that many medical authorities warned would happen sooner or later—is here.  The coronavirus travels quietly, widely, and can have deadly consequences.  At this writing, well over 1.5 million people have been infected and close to 90,000 have died.  Compare this to the SARS epidemic of 2002-2003 which infected 8,098 people and killed 774 or the 2014 outbreak of the Ebola virus which infected 18,000 people and...

How do refugee organizations communicate about forcibly displaced people?

© DFID – UK Department for International Development published under Creative Commons License (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) http://bit.ly/33MnkXX  70.8 million. That is the enormous number of people who were forcibly displaced worldwide at the end of 2018. Many of them are confronted with hostility, xenophobia and/or increasingly popular far-right movements.[1] While states have the basic legal responsibility to protect and assist these displaced people,[2] in recent decades, several states worldwide have implemented increasingly restrictive asylum policies.[3] In protecting refugees’ rights and...

Rethinking Old Authoritarianisms

Following World War II, sociologists became particularly interested in collective behavior, or what was sometimes referred to as the “psychology of the crowd”.  Fueled by their disbelief of the spread of Nazism and authoritarianism, these scholars sought to understand how collectives could come to widely uphold authoritarian tendencies-even if they had never previously engaged in similar political activity.  These early studies largely focused on individual psychology, comparing crowd behavior to a contagion that spreads and possesses otherwise harmless people.  This...

How to understand social change and stability through discourse and communication?

This is a summary of a paper, published in the British Journal of Social Psychology, that presents a theoretical proposal for integrating two (historically estranged but often combined in practice) social psychological frameworks, as well as a methodological strategy for analysing discourse and communication, developed from this integration. The goals pursued with it are those of advancing a more socially relevant Social Psychology, more capable of comprehending how meanings are constructed and transformed in discourse and communication, as a way...

The British Journal of Sociology: New Design Volume 70

As an editorial team we are keenly aware of the momentous changes that are taking place in the world of journal publishing, and fully intend to keep our own practices as a journal and as editors – everything from what we publish to how we review, and how quickly – under constant scrutiny in order to ensure that we stay as up to date and as relevant as we can be. So, it is with great pleasure that we announce...

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,...

Sociology Research Led a US State to Abolish the Death Penalty

The Chronicle of Higher Education this week reported that when the Washington State Supreme Court abolished the death penalty this month, it was primarily because of the work of sociologist, Professor Katherine Beckett. On Thursday, 11th October 2018 the Washington State Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the death penalty violates the Washington State constitution‘s prohibition on ‘cruel punishment.’ In its ruling, the Court cited research by University of Washington Center for Human Rights Faculty Associate Prof. Katherine Beckett, and Lecturer Heather Evans, who conducted the...

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 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....

‘Hokianga Says No to Deep Sea Oil’: Revisiting Environmental Protest in New Zealand

In August 2015, around 120 people gathered outside New Zealand’s Northland Regional Council. They protested against closed-door briefings by Statoil on proposals to drill for oil, displaying placards and banners (such as ‘Hokianga Says No to Deep Sea Oil’), singing songs and chanting their call for exploration licenses to be revoked. This action was one of a number that took place around New Zealand after 2011, when the National Party led government (2008-2017) pursued offshore oil exploration within its drive...

Highlights from the American Sociological Association Conference, ‘Feeling Race’, Philadelphia, 11-14 August 2018

This year’s American Sociological Association (ASA) conference was held in Philadelphia, on the theme ‘Feeling Race’. I attended in my role as Research Editor for the journal Sociology of Health & Illness (SHI), to network with Medical Sociologists and encourage awareness of SHI as a place to publish their work. I was excited to visit this city and had been told to do two things (work activities aside!) whilst I was there: run up the ‘Rocky Steps’ and eat a Philly...

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...