Specifications that use this resource:

Contemporary sources for teachers

This resource is a list of contemporary research that teachers may find useful to expand their knowledge of the topics covered in our new AS and A-level Sociology specifications (7191, 7192). There is a synopsis for each source referred to and where possible a link to obtain further information.

Please note that it is not intended as a compulsory reading list. There are textbooks, including AQA endorsed textbooks, which will support the new specification.

3.1.1 Education

The role and functions of the education system, including its relationship to the economy and to class structure.

Functionalism - source description

Sigal Alon and Marta Tienda (2007) Diversity, Opportunity, and the Shifting Meritocracy in Higher Education, American Sociological Review, 72(4), pp. 487–511

Primary quantitative research

This text supports the concept of meritocracy. Alon and Tienda argue that there is a 'shifting meritocracy' which can be linked with diversity in today's (American) society, eg gender, race, religion. They argue that those who are more affluent and have access to the necessary resources gain merit in the form of higher entry test scores and more opportunity in college admission.

Phillip Brown and Stuart Tannock (2009) Education, meritocracy and the global war for talent, Journal of Education Policy, (24)4, pp. 377–392.

Secondary research

This text also supports the concept of meritocracy. Brown and Tannock argue that there is now more focus on the 'global meritocracy' in the wake of globalisation and less emphasis on the national meritocracy which has been previously discussed. However, this still serves to benefit some and leave behind the less able (seen in differentiation).

Marxism - source description

Archer et al. (2003) Higher education and social class. London, Routledge.

Secondary research

Working class groups have historically been excluded from participation in higher education. Though there has been an expansion of the system towards a more inclusive higher education, participation among people from working class groups has remained persistently low. Despite the expansion of higher education, people from the lower social classes and from ethnic minorities are not going into higher education in sufficient numbers. Therefore, class structure through occupation is reinforced.

Differential educational achievement of social groups by social class, gender and ethnicity in contemporary society.

Gender - source description

Gary Wilson (2013) Breaking through barriers to boys achievement: Developing a caring masculinity, 2nd ed.

Primary and secondary, qualitative research

This text attributes the underachievement of boys in education to 28 barriers which they face. These barriers are: a lack of independence prior to starting school, less developed linguistically on entry to school, forced to read and write before being physical or emotionally ready, playtimes tend to be hyperphysical and 'boysterous', many writing activities are perceived as irrelevant and unimportant, difficulties with structuring written work, reticence about spending time on planning and preparation, reading fiction is perceived as a female province, teacher talk and teacher expectations: gender bias, emotional intelligence issues, mismatch of teaching styles to preferred ways of learning, lack of opportunities for reflection, pupil grouping, inappropriate seating arrangement, ineffective group work, peer pressure, inappropriate reward systems and lack of positive achievement culture, the laddish culture, the influence of street culture, mismatch between assessment/examination methods and preferred ways of working, lack of positive male role models, the use of non-performance enhancing drug, low self-esteem and limiting self-beliefs, lack of engagement with the life of the school, homophobic bullying, parents' lack of understanding of the role that they can play, intervention occurring too late, teachers' lack of awareness of the barriers to boys' learning.

Nitya Rao and Caroline Sweetman (2014), Introduction to Gender and Education, Gender and Development, 22:1, pp.1–12 Primary, quantitative, cross-cultural research

This text focuses, in the main, on girls' formal education charting progress on increasing access to education, and exploring the challenges that remain. These include challenging beliefs held by both girls and boys about women's role in society, founded on stereotypes about the gender division of labour and responsibility. While the details of gender relations vary in different cultural settings and play out in different ways in comparatively wealthy and poorer households, underlying them is a common foundation of structural gender inequality. Writers in this issue explore visions of empowering education, and share analytical case studies of work aiming both to increase access to education, and improve its quality, relevance and usefulness to girls and women.

Social class - source description

Stephen J. Ball (2010) New class inequalities in education: Why education policy may be looking in the wrong place! Education policy, civil society and social class, The International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, (30)3/4, pp. 155–166.

Secondary research

Ball argues that considerable amounts of the variation in pupil performance may in fact derive from factors based on variations in parents' ability to buy-in support and enrichment of various kinds for their children. He discusses the concepts of standards/achievements and how education commodifies parents and families as 'consumers' of education and investors in cultural capital.

Ethnicity - source description

Department for Education and Science (DfES) (2005), Ethnicity and Education – The evidence on Minority Ethnic Pupils. Research topic paper RTP01–05.

Quantitative primary research

Report discussing previously published and unpublished statistics. This report found that Indian, Chinese, White/Asian and Irish pupils are more likely to gain five or more A*–C GCSEs compared to other ethnic groups. They also found that Gypsy/Roma pupils, Travellers of Irish Heritage, Black Caribbean and White/Black Caribbean pupils are amongst the lower achieving pupils at Key Stage 4. They suggest that one reason for this could be the economic disadvantage experienced by these groups.

Gender, ethnicity and social class - source description

Diane Reay, Miriam E David and Stephen Ball (2004), Degrees of choice. Stoke- on-Trent, Trentham Books.

Quantitative and qualitative research

Discusses the overlapping effects of social gender, ethnicity and social class when choosing which university to attend. Although gender inequalities have reduced, those of social class have remained and are now reinforced by racial inequalities. This is presented as differing degrees of choice in subject area. For example, IT, business and media studies courses are generally taken by lower-class and ethnic minority groups. This leads to a devaluing of such subjects/degrees in these areas and therefore to lower paid jobs.

Relationships and processes within schools, with particular reference to teacher/ pupil relationships, pupil identities and subcultures, the hidden curriculum, and the organisation of teaching and learning.

Teacher/pupil relationships - source description

Cronsoe, Robert, Kirkpatrick Johnson, Monica and Elder Jr. Glen H, (2004) Intergenerational Bonding in School: The Behavioral and Contextual Correlates of Student-Teacher Relationships, Sociology of Education, Jan 77(1), pp. 60– 81.

Primary qualitative research (US)

This research, based on nationally representative panel data, indicated that stronger intergenerational bonding in school was associated with higher academic achievement, especially for Hispanic American girls, and with a lower likelihood of disciplinary problems, especially for white girls. Moreover, these intra-generational bonds were stronger in schools with several characteristics (private sector, greater racial-ethnic matching between students and the student body, greater perceived safety, and lower socioeconomic status), although these associations also differed by race-ethnicity.

Konishi, Chiaki, Hymel, Shelley, Zumbo, Bruno D., and Li, Zhen. (2010) Do School Bullying and Student–Teacher Relationships Matter for Academic Achievement? A Multilevel Analysis, Canadian Journal of School Psychology, March 25(1), pp. 19–39.

Secondary quantitative research

This study examined the relationship between school bullying, student-teacher (S-T) connectedness, and academic performance. Using data collected in Canada as part of a larger international study conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, participants included 27,217 students aged 15 years and 1,087 school principals. Results of multilevel analyses revealed that math achievement was negatively related to school bullying and positively related to S-T connectedness. For boys, there was a significant interaction between bullying and S-T connectedness, suggesting a buffering effect of S-T connectedness on the relationship between school bullying and math achievement. Similar results were evident for reading achievement.

Student identities - source description

Archer, Louise., and Francis, Becky (2006) Challenging Classes? Exploring the Role of Social Class within the Identities and Achievement of British Chinese Pupils, Sociology, February 40(1), pp. 29–49.

Secondary research

This article explores the utility of Bourdieuian-influenced theories of social class as a lens through which to examine the identities, educational experiences and achievement of British-Chinese pupils. In so doing, it aims to extend existing class theories through a more detailed consideration of the racialised context of class. It suggests that British-Chinese families can be read as employing particular forms of family capital (cultural, social and economic), together with a diasporic discourse of 'Chinese valuing of education', to promote educational achievement. However, structural inequalities/injustices remain key concerns.

The Hidden Curriculum - source description

Jay, Michelle. (2003) Critical Race Theory, Multicultural Education, and the Hidden Curriculum of Hegemony, Multicultural Perspectives, 5(4), pp. 3–9.

Secondary research

Embracing a critical race theory perspective, the researcher argues for a revisiting of the role of the hidden curriculum in education, particularly as it pertains to multicultural education. Using the concept of hegemony as a tool for analysis, the author explicates the ways in which the hidden curriculum enables educational institutions to argue in support of multicultural initiatives while simultaneously suppressing multicultural education's transformative possibilities. Through its failure to appreciate the challenges posed by the hidden curriculum, multicultural education gets appropriated as a 'hegemonic device' that secures a continued position of power and leadership for the dominant groups in society. The author calls on those who conduct research on multicultural education to turn their attention to the ways in which the hidden curriculum keeps multicultural education stagnant.

The significance of educational policies including policies of selection, marketisation, privatisation, and policies to achieve greater equality of opportunity or outcome, for an understanding of the structure, role, impact and experience of and access to education; the impact of globalisation on educational policy.

Privatisation and Marketisation of education - source description

Whitty, Geoff (2000) 'Privatisation and Marketisation in Education Policy', Papier présenté à la conférence 'Involving the Private Sector in Education: Value Added or High Risk.

Secondary research

This article argues that in involving the private sector in education, it must be made sure the potential long-term costs as well as any immediate benefits are factored in. It argues that we shouldn't defend the public sector status quo as such, but to remember and celebrate its positive features in a context where it is too often just assumed by politicians and the media that private is by definition best. In the longer term, untried private solutions to present problems might actually do more harm than good.

Whitty, Geoff and Power, Sally. (2000) Marketization and Privatization in mass education systems, International Journal of Educational Development, March 20(2), pp. 93–107.

Secondary research

This study discusses recent education reform in many countries that has sought to dismantle centralized educational bureaucracies to create systems that emphasise parental choice and competition between schools, thereby creating quasi-markets in educational services. In addition to this widespread marketisation of public education systems, publicly financed and provided education services have been privatised. It found that it has not created more equal opportunity to disadvantaged pupils but served to widen the gaps.

Globalisation and education - source description

Hallak Jacques. (2000) Globalisation and its impact on education. Oxford, Symposium Books.

Secondary research

This article discusses five areas of concern for education policymakers (the goals of education, the structure of the system, the educators, the assessment of outcomes, and the role of government and other stakeholders) and proposes some strategies for dealing with these issues.

3.2.1 Research Methods

Quantitative and qualitative methods of research; research design.

Qualitative - source description

David Silverman (2013) Doing Qualitative Research: A Practical Handbook, 3rd ed. London, Sage.

This book provides a step-by-step guide to planning and conducting qualitative research. Using real examples from real postgraduate students, the book makes it easy to link theory to methods and shows how to move from understanding the principles of qualitative research to doing it yourself.

Bruce L. Berg and Howard Lune (2011), Qualitative Research Methods for the Social Sciences, 8th ed.Essex, Pearson. 

This text shows readers how to design, collect, and analyse qualitative data and then present their results to the scientific community. It discusses the use of interviewing, ethnographic field strategies, focus group interviewing, and action research. It provides a discussion of historical research methods, content analysis and writing research papers. On top of this it considers the ethical issues when undertaking qualitative research.

Quantitative - source description

Mark Balnaves and Peter Caputi (2001) Introduction to quantitative research

This textbook gives a student-friendly introduction to quantitative research methods and basic statistics. The book also demonstrates how quantitative methods are used to investigate and solve real-life problems.

Quantitative and qualitative - source description

W. Laurence Newman (2014) Social Research Methods: Pearson New International Edition, 7th ed. Essex, Pearson.

A book that is a highly regarded text that presents a comprehensive and balanced introduction to both qualitative and quantitative approaches to social research with an emphasis on the benefits of combining various approaches.

Sources of data, including questionnaires, interviews, participant and non- participant observation, experiments, documents and official statistics.

Questionnaires/surveys - source description

Ronald F. Czaja, Johnny Blair and Edward Blair (2013), Designing Surveys: A Guide to Decisions and Procedures. London, Sage.

This book is a comprehensive guide to the whole survey research process. It provides a timeline and follows the steps of research including preparing for, designing, and implementing survey research, and includes a section on survey ethics. It provides the advantages and disadvantages to differing surveys (telephone, mail, internet, face-to-face).

The distinction between primary and secondary data, and between quantitative and qualitative data.

Source description

W. Laurence Newman (2014) Social Research Methods: Pearson New International Edition, 7th ed. Essex, Pearson.

A book that is a highly regarded text that presents a comprehensive and balanced introduction to both qualitative and quantitative approaches to social research with an emphasis on the benefits of combining various approaches.

Bryman, Alan. (2012) Social Research Methods, 4th ed. Oxford, Oxford University Press.

A book which discusses the benefits and drawbacks of secondary vs primary data, and quantitative and qualitative data.

The relationship between positivism, interpretivism and sociological methods; the nature of 'social facts'.

Source description

Roth, Wendy D., and Mehta, Jal D. (2002) The Rashomon Effect. Combining Positivist and Interpretivist Approaches in the Analysis of Contested Events, Sociological Methods Research, November, 31(2)pp. 131–173.

Primary research

Positivist and interpretivist analytical approaches are frequently believed to be incompatible as research strategies and ways of understanding the world. This article argues that not only many versions of positivism and interpretivism be combined in the analysis of contested events, but this combination can further the goals of both approaches by contributing information that may have been missed by adopting only one perspective. The authors illustrate this using two case studies of lethal school shootings near Paducah, Kentucky, and Jonesboro, Arkansas, and introduce methodological strategies to manage potential biases that may lead to contradictory testimony. However, these same contradictions act as distinct data points from the interpretivist perspective, offering insight into the cultural understandings of a community. The authors develop new forms of triangulation that are tailored to these research goals and illustrate how, just as positivist analysis may be used to aid interpretivism, an interpretive understanding of a community may be necessary to develop causal theories of contested events such as school shootings.

Williams, Malcolm. (2000) Interpretivism and Generalisation, Sociology, May 34(2), pp. 209–224.

Secondary research

This article is concerned with the status of generalisation in interpretive sociology. The case made is that generalisation is inevitable, desirable and possible. It is held that interpretivism must employ a special kind of generalisation, characterised here as moderatum. However, an acknowledgement that such generalisations can be made must bring us to specify the limits of generalisation in interpretive research. These limits are the limit of interpretivism itself and the paper concludes that this implies the adoption of methodological pluralism in order to realise the full potential of the method.

The theoretical, practical and ethical considerations influencing choice of topic, choice of method (s) and the conduct of research.

Source description

Israel, Mark., and Hay, Iain. (2006) Research Ethics for Social Scientists. London, Sage Publications.

Secondary research

This book discusses the importance of and ways ensuring social research is ethical. It draws upon the reasoning of taking ethics seriously and spending time to consider the effects of research. It discusses why regulatory processes have emerged and the relationships between researchers and regulators. Lastly, it proposes strategies to resolve issues surrounding regulatory and ethical practices.

3.2.2 Topics in Sociology

3.2.2.1 Culture and Identity

Different conceptions of culture, including subculture, mass culture, folk culture, high and low culture, popular culture and global culture.

Source description

Hodkinson, Paul. (2002) Goth: Identity, Style and Subculture. London, Berg Publishers.

Primary quantitative research

Based on extensive research by an 'insider', this is the first. Immersing us in the potent mix of identities, practices and values that make up the Goth scene, the author takes us behind the facade of the Goth mystique. From dress and musical tastes to social habits and the use of the internet, Hodkinson details the inner workings of this intriguing group. Defying postmodern theories that claim media and commerce break down substantive cultural groupings, Hodkinson shows how both have been used by Goths to retain, and even strengthen, their group identity. Hodkinson provides a comprehensive reworking of subcultural theory.

Koch, Jerome R., Roberts, Alden E., Armstrong, Myrna L., and Owen, Donna C. (2010) Body Art, Deviance and American college students, The Social Science Journal, January 47(1), pp.151–161.

Primary quantitative

This study uses sub-cultural identity theory to propose that individuals with increasing evidence of body art procurement will also report higher levels of deviant behaviour in order to maintain and/or increase social distance from the mainstream. It tested this proposition by surveying 1,753 American college students, asking them to report their level of body art acquisition and their history of deviance. Results indicate that respondents with four or more tattoos, seven or more body piercings, or piercings located in their nipples or genitals, were substantively and significantly more likely to report regular marijuana use, occasional use of other illegal drugs, and have a history of being arrested for a crime. Less pronounced, but still significant in many cases, was an increased propensity for those with higher incidence of body art to cheat on college work, binge drink, and report having had multiple sex partners in the course of their lifetime.

The socialisation process and the role of the agencies of socialisation.

Source description

Berns, Roberta. (2012) Child, Family, School, Community: Socialization and Support, 9th ed. Belmont CA, Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Secondary research

This book examines how the school, family, and community influence children's socialisation. It addresses complex issues in a clear, comprehensive fashion and provides a sensitive presentation of diversity issues includes matters related to culture, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and special needs.

The self, identity and difference as both socially caused and socially constructed.

Source description

Archer, Louise, Hollingworth, Sumi., and Halsall, Anna. (2007) 'University's not for Me – I'm a Nike Person': Urban, Working-Class Young People's Negotiations of 'Style', Identity and Educational Engagement, Sociology, April 41(2), pp. 219–237.

Primary research

This article explores how urban working-class young people's performances of embodied identities -as enacted through practices of 'taste' and style- are played out within the educational field. The article considers how such practices may contribute to shaping young people's post-16 'choices' and their views of higher education as 'not for me'. Drawing on data from longitudinal tracking inter views with 53 individual young people and discussion groups with a further 36 pupils, the article discusses the double-bind experienced by these young people as a result of their performances of style. It is argued that whilst the young people seek to generate worth and value through their investments in style, these practices may also play into oppressive social relations and contribute to fixing the young people within marginalised and disadvantaged social positions.

The relationship of identity to age, disability, ethnicity, gender, nationality, sexuality and social class in contemporary society.

Source description

Andy Bennett (2005) Culture and Everyday Life. London, Sage.

Secondary research

According to Bennett, identity is socially constructed through culture. He discusses how 'way of life' determines behaviour and identity. He particularly emphasis links between social class, lifestyle and identity. He argues that wealth, achievement and status send out messages and in turn build one's identity.

Crane, Diana. (2000) Fashion and its social agendas: Class, Gender and Identity in Clothing. Chicago, University of Chicago Press.

Secondary research

This book examines fashion and clothing choices and 19th-century industrial and contemporary post-industrial societies and argues that certain values, goals and gender values can be clearly identified. Distinctions in fashion based on lifestyle, age, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity and social class can also be seen and transformations in these social groups can be traced through changing fashion.

The relationship of identity to production, consumption and globalisation.

Source description

Andy Bennett (2005) Culture and Everyday Life. London, Sage.

Secondary research

Bennett argues that modern consumerism allows individuals to negotiate their identity in society; that members of society can construct their identity through consumer lifestyle choices.

3.2.2.2 Families and Households

The relationship of the family to the social structure and social change, with particular reference to the economy and to state policies.

Source description

Nickie Charles (2012) Families, communities and social change: then and now, The Sociological Review, (60) 3, pp. 438–456.

Primary/secondary, quantitative/qualitative research

This study draws direct comparisons with Rosser and Harris' (1965) Swansea Study of Extended Family Networks. This research conducted 1,000 household surveys and some participant observations which assessed how social changes impacted on the extended family network, with particular reference to race/ethnicity, gender, and social class. The study argues that the most significant changes in society since the 1965 study are the use of technology, the treatment of social class and gender, changes in socio-economic and cultural contexts and women's participation in the workforce. The findings of the study were that there is less familial change than was expected despite changes in society. They also found that support in extended family networks is still strong despite growing geographical barriers. They found family is quite often rooted in location and this was more prevalent in some groups than others. For example, women were less geographically mobile than men, as were the lower classes in comparison with higher class individuals. Moreover, they found that ethnic minority families were more rooted in place and close knit but were extending across long distances.

Julie Evans and Joan Chandler (2006) To Buy or Not to Buy: Family Dynamics and Children's Consumption, Sociological Research Online, (11)2.

Primary, qualitative research

This study discusses children living in families with either low or high levels of household income and outlines the intra-familial dynamics that surround young children's relationships to contemporary consumer culture. The motivation for parents to provide their children with particular commodities, how parents prioritised children's requests and the rationale they used to buy or not to buy certain items were much more complex than parents simply 'giving in' to pester power. In the main, parents were making very considered judgments based on a range of factors. Wider social changes were seen as being contributory to new forms of consumption and thus new experiences of childhood which meant parents having to deal with an aspect of their children's lives that was much more problematic than they had experienced in their own childhoods.

Changing patterns of marriage, cohabitation, separation, divorce, childbearing and the life course, including the sociology of personal life, and the diversity of contemporary family and household structures.

Source description

Amy B. Becker and Maureen E. Todd (2013) A New American Family? Public Opinion Toward Family Status and Perceptions of the Challenges Faced by Children of Same- Sex Parents, Journal of GLBT Family Studies, (9)5, pp. 425–448.

Secondary qualitative research

This study analyses data from the Pew Research Centre's October 2010 Changing American Family Survey. The results suggest that demographics, predispositions, and importantly, views on the state and purpose of marriage, explain the greatest amount of variation in opinions. Furthermore, despite more liberal orientations toward marriage and family, Americans still feel that the children of gay and lesbian couples face more challenges on average than children from other types of family arrangements.

Bianchi, Suzanne M., Robinson, John P., and Milkie, Melissa A., (2006) Changing Rhythms of American Family Life. New York, Russell Sage Foundation.

Primary research

This book discusses the changing patterns of the family in America. It argues that changing norms about childhood, fatherhood and motherhood, alongside demographic shifts and the issue of gender and its relationship to changing expectations and behaviours within the family, have altered the contemporary 'American family'.

The nature of childhood, and changes in the status of children in the family and society.

Source description

Libby Brooks (2006) The Story of Childhood: Growing up in Modern Britain. London, Bloomsbury.

Children today are the focus of much of society's anxieties: about behaviour, nutrition, sexuality, consumerism, achievement, responsibility, about what exactly is the proper shape of a life. But, how does it really feel to be growing up today, from the inside? This extraordinary book tracks ten very different children between the ages of two and sixteen, each chosen for how they illuminate a particular archetype of childhood experience, or an especial locus of adult anxiety.

Peter Uhlenberg (2009) Children in an Aging Society, Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological sciences and Social sciences, (64)4 July, pp. 489–496.

Secondary, quantitative research

This text argues that in recent decades, there has been a graying of the federal budget and programs for children have received a declining proportion of domestic spending. These trends will be exaggerated between 2010 and 2030 unless structural changes occur. Grandparents may provide increasing resources for their grandchildren. Age segregation results in relatively few older people being directly involved with children not related to them by kinship. The implications of an ageing population for children are relevant primarily for disadvantaged children. Disadvantaged children have grandparents with fewest resources and are most in need of public spending. As costs of supporting the older population increase, intentional social changes will be needed to prevent growing inequality among children.

Claudio Violato (ed) Elizabeth Oddone-Paolucci (ed) and Mark Genius (ed) (2000) The Changing Family and Child Development. Surrey, Ashgate.

Secondary research

Based on selected papers from an international congress of the same name in July 1997, this text looks at the context of families; family adjustment and transitions; and child and adolescent development and attachment. There are a number of conclusions reached by different authors but some of the main ones are: causal impact of early childhood experiences and family dynamics influence on development; a number of protective factors contribute to children's resiliency; the pattern of family size and dynamics are changing and will continue to change; there are a number of changing roles for girls, women and mothers that influence family dynamics and structure; and finally, the negative impact on children from extensive non-maternal care.

Demographic trends in the United Kingdom since 1900: birth rates, death rates, family size, life expectancy, ageing population, and migration and globalisation.

Source description

Jessica Chamberlain, Baljit Gill (2005) Fertility and Mortality. In: Roma Chappell (ed) Focus on People and Migration. Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan. Chapter 5

Secondary quantitative research

Throughout the last century there have been large changes in fertility and mortality in the UK. Fertility trends have been more variable than mortality trends. There have been several periods of high fertility (baby booms) but also of low fertility. The last 30 years have seen low fertility rates and notable changes in childbearing behaviour. These include a decrease in average completed family size; an increase in childlessness; postponement of childbearing to older ages; and an increase in the percentage of births occurring outside marriage. Migration has also played an increasingly important role in fertility. The percentage of births occurring to women born outside the UK has grown, reflecting the rise in the number of women of childbearing age born overseas and their higher fertility rates. There has been an increase in longevity, with falls in mortality at every age. As a result, mortality has become concentrated at (ever) older ages. Infant mortality has declined steeply and is now at a very low level. Childhood mortality has also fallen, and continues to do so, while the decline in young adult mortality has levelled off. Since the 1950s there have been improvements in survival to pensionable age and to very old ages. The shift to mortality at older ages combined with the decline in fertility has caused the UK population to age. This has led to rises in the median age of the population and in the proportion of the population aged 65 or over, as noted in Chapter 4.

Currently, population momentum means that there are still more births than deaths each year and so natural increase occurs. But it is likely that current and future fertility and mortality trends will result in the UK experiencing natural decrease in the 21st century.

Joe Hicks and Grahame Allen (1999) A Century of Change: Trends in UK statistics since 1900, Social and General Statistics Section of Commons Library, Research Paper 99/ 111.

Secondary quantitative research

This paper discusses the trends in Population, Health, Education, Housing, Crime, Defence, Transport, Energy, Elections, Economy and Leisure.

More specifically, it analyses data ranging from 1900–1999 on topics such as birth and death rates. It argues that between 1901 and 1991 the UK population increased by 51%. England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have all experienced different percentage increases in population during this period: 57%, 14%, and 30%5, respectively. The UK population is growing older. In 1901 the proportion of the population over 50 was around 15%, in 1951 it had risen to 25% and 31% by 1991. It also argues that since 1901, more people have emigrated from the UK than immigrated. By 1997, a net exodus from the UK of 15,600,000 had occurred. They discuss life expectancy and say that the life expectancy of new born children in 1999 is 75 years for boys and 80 years for girls. In 1901 baby boys were expected to live for 45 years and girls 49 years.

The study provides in depth yet easily accessible data on many other demographic trends in the UK between 1990 and 1992.

3.2.2.3 Health

The social construction of health, illness, disability and the body, and models of health and illness.

Source description

Courtenay, Will H. (2000) Engendering health: A social constructionist examination of men's health beliefs and behaviors, Psychology of Men and Masculinities, January 1(1), pp. 4–15.

Secondary research

Men in the US suffer more severe conditions, have consistently higher death rates, and die nearly 7 years younger than women. Health-related beliefs and behaviours contribute significantly to these gender differences. To explain why women and men adopt the health beliefs and behaviours that they do, this article reviews research examining gender differences in social experiences, cultural representations of gender, and additional social and institutional structures, such as the media and the health care system. This review reveals that North Americans collectively work diligently to reinforce stereotypically feminine or masculine behaviour in themselves and others and that the beliefs and behaviours fostered in men and boys, the resources available to demonstrate masculinity, and the resources boys and men use to enact gender are largely unhealthy. It illuminates how cultural dictates, everyday interactions, and social and institutional structures help to sustain and reproduce men's risks, and how the health beliefs and behaviours that people adopt are means for demonstrating femininities and masculinities.

Kawachi, Ichiro., and Berkman, Lisa. F. (2001) Social Ties and Mental Health, Journal of Urban Health, September 78(3), pp. 458–467.

Secondary research

This article argues that social ties and social relations play a beneficial role in psychological health and well-being. It argues that factors such as gender, social class, among other things, also contribute to the prevalence of mental illness.

Goggin, Gerard., and Newell, Christopher. (2003) Digital Disability: The Social Construction of Disability in New Media. Oxford, Rowan and Littleford Publishers.

Secondary research

This study discusses media and how it serves to develop and entrench ideas of disability. It argues that media has at times deepened individuals' physical and social disabilities, for example, the first mobile phones interfered with hearing aids and therefore made it impossible for individuals with hearing impairments to use such technology.

The unequal social distribution of health chances in the United Kingdom by social class, gender, ethnicity and region.

Source description

Graham, Hilary. (2007) Unequal Lives: Health and Socioeconomic Inequalities. Berkshire, Open University Press.

Secondary research

This research discusses the ongoing inequality in the health between different socioeconomic groups. It shows that despite the overall improvement of health and the fact that all in society are living longer, a marked difference between the poor and the rich's health still exists.

Budrys, Grace. (2010) Unequal Health: How Inequality Contributes to Health or Illness. Plymouth, Rowan and Littlefield Publishers.

Secondary research

This text discuss the relationships between age, sex (gender) and health inequalities. It argues that men experience fatal chronic conditions earlier than women, which explains their higher rate of mortality at an earlier age. Also, it argues that women experience non-fatal chronic conditions earlier than men, which explains their higher rate of morbidity. The fact that women's earlier morbidity is chronic rather than fatal explains the difference in life expectancy.

Inequalities in the provision of, and access to, health care in contemporary society.

Source description

Shim, Janet. K. (2010) Cultural Health Capital: A Theoretical Approach to Understanding Health Care Interactions and the Dynamics of Unequal Treatment, Journal of Health and Social Behaviour, March 51(1), pp. 1–15.

Secondary research

This article proposes and defines the new concept of cultural health capital, based on cultural capital theories, to help account for how patient-provider interactions unfold in ways that may generate disparities in health care. It defines cultural health capital as the repertoire of cultural skills, verbal and nonverbal competencies, attitudes and behaviors, and interactional styles, cultivated by patients and clinicians alike, that, when deployed, may result in more optimal health care relationships. It considers cultural health capital alongside existing frameworks for understanding clinical interactions, and argues that the concept of cultural health capital offers theoretical traction to help account for several dynamics of unequal treatment.

Malat, Jennifer. (2006) Expanding research on the racial disparity in medical treatment with ideas from Sociology, Health (London), July 10(3), pp. 303–321.

This article argues that while hundreds of studies document racial differences in the use of medical procedures in the United States, by comparison little is known about the causes of these differences. This gap in knowledge should serve as a call to sociologists who, drawing on their disciplinary tradition of studying inequality, could improve understanding of the disparity. This article offers suggestions about how medical sociologists in the USA might bring sociology to the study of racial disparities in medical treatment. The article begins by reviewing the existing approaches to understanding the racial disparity in medical treatment. After considering the extant research and its limits, the article goes on to describe how a few specific concepts from sociology-cultural capital, social networks, self-presentation and social distance, all framed in a race-critical framework-and more diverse methodological approaches can advance studies of the racial disparity in medical treatment.

The nature and social distribution of mental illness.

Source description

Fryers, Tom., Melzer, David., Jenkins, Rachel., and Brugha, Traolach. (2005) The distribution of the common mental disorders: social inequalities in Europe, Clinical Practice and Epidemiology in Mental Health, September 1(14).

Secondary research

This article argues that people of lower socio-economic status, however measured, are disadvantaged, and this includes higher frequencies of the conditions now called the 'common mental disorders' (mostly non-psychotic depression and anxiety, either separately or together). In European and similar developed populations, relatively high frequencies are associated with poor education, material disadvantage and unemployment.

Mays, Vickie M., and Cochran, Susan, D. (2001), Mental Health Correlates of Perceived Discrimination Among Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Adults in the United States, American Journal of Public Health, November 91(11), pp. 1869–1876.

Primary research

This research found that higher levels of discrimination may underlie recent observations of greater psychiatric morbidity risk among lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals.

The role of medicine, the health professions and the globalised health industry.

Source description

Busfield, Joan. (2006) Pills, Power, People: Sociological Understandings of the Pharmaceutical Industry, Sociology, April 40(2), pp. 297–314.

Secondary research

This article examines how sociology can contribute to an understanding of the work, power and impact of the pharmaceutical industry. Drawing in particular on Latour's theoretical and empirical analysis of science, in conjunction with a more explicit consideration of power, it examines the scientific 'fact making' involved in the clinical trials of drugs designed to assess their safety and effectiveness, assessments that are the basis for securing approval for their release onto the market. It also examines post-approval drug assessments and the fuller evaluation of a drug that emerges with time. It shows how the industry's control over this science, especially in the pre-approval stage, has helped to encourage extensive, and often excessive, use of pharmaceuticals.

Turner, Leigh. (2007) First World Health Care at Third World Prices': Globalization, Bioethics and Medical Tourism, BioSocieties, 2, pp.303–325.

Secondary research

This article argues that destination nations regard medical tourism as a resource for economic development. However, attracting patients to countries such as India and Thailand could increase regional economic inequalities and undermine health equity. International medical travel might also have unintended, undesired outcomes for patients seeking affordable health care. With globalisation, increasing numbers of patients are leaving their home communities in search of orthopaedic surgery, ophthalmologic care, dental surgery, cardiac surgery and other medical interventions. Reductions in health benefits offered by states and employers will be likely to increase the number of individuals looking for affordable medical care in a global market of privatised, commercial health care delivery.

3.2.2.4 Work, Poverty and Welfare

The nature, existence and persistence of poverty in contemporary society.

Source description

Leon, D.A., and Walt, G. (2001) Poverty, inequality, and health: an international perspective. Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Secondary research

This book explores new and critical issues on poverty and health inequalities from an international perspective. Different chapters discuss various aspects of the relationship between poverty and health inequality, ranging from the micro to the macro-level, and from aetiology to intervention. Topics covered include: (1) inequalities in physical and mental health in Developing Countries; (2) health impact of macro-level social and economic change; (3) links between inequalities in mortality between and within countries; (4) contribution of a life-course approach to understanding health inequalities; (5) role of health systems and interventions in generating and minimising health inequalities; (6) poverty, self-esteem and child neglect in Developing Countries; (7) positive and negative health effects of social capital; (8) methodological issues in measuring inequalities in health worldwide; (9) poverty alleviation programmes and health; and, (10) policies and interventions to reduce inequalities in health, mortality and injuries.

Albrecht, Don E., and Albrecht, Stan L. (2009) Poverty in Nonmetropolitan America: Impacts of Industrial, Employment, and Family Structure Variables, Rural Sociology, March 65(1), pp. 87–103.

This research argues that poverty is more extensive and more severe in non-metropolitan areas than in metropolitan areas. Here we maintain that the extensive industrial and economic transformations occurring in rural areas have resulted in patterns contributing to these high poverty levels. These transformations, which include an increase in service-sector employment, in many ways mirror the economic changes that have occurred in the inner city. We maintain that Wilson's model of the inner-city underclass can be useful in understanding some poverty trends in non-metropolitan areas. To test the Wilson model, we analyse 1990 census data. The data generally support the model and indicate that the industrial transformation of rural areas leads to changes in the gender structure of the labour force, and to a more unbalanced sex ratio. These changes, in turn, result in adjustments to family structure, including an increase in the percentage of female-headed households. This process results in higher poverty levels.

The distribution of poverty, wealth and income between different social groups.

Source description

Platt, Lucinda (2007) Poverty and ethnicity in the UK. Bristol, Policy Press.

Secondary research

Poverty rates vary dramatically across the UK's ethnic groups – an issue of concern both for poverty-reduction policies and for social justice. This book provides a comprehensive account of these variations and explores the reasons why they occur. Drawing on a wealth of research conducted since 1991, and with a particular focus on the most recent evidence, the report reviews what we know about poverty and ethnicity and provides a detailed and considered insight into the factors contributing to the differing rates of poverty. In addition to outlining the policy implications of existing research, the author also reflects on the limitations to our knowledge and understanding of the issues, which serves as a useful framework for a future research agenda. The book is valuable both as a comprehensive assessment of the topic and as an up-to-date and searchable resource on relevant research writings. It is essential reading for all those wishing to know more about ethnic differences in poverty experience and the contributing factors. It provides a sophisticated reading of the literature for students and researchers and a policy-informed take on the research for policy-makers.

Filmer, Deon. (2005) Gender and wealth disparities in schooling: Evidence from 44 countries, International Journal of Educational Research, 43(6), pp. 351–369.

Primary research

This paper uses internationally comparable household data sets (Demographic and Health Surveys) to investigate how gender and wealth interact to generate within-country inequalities in educational enrolment and attainment. The paper highlights that girls are at a great educational disadvantage in particular regions: South Asia and North, Western, and Central Africa. There are two main new findings. First, while gender gaps are large in a subset of countries, wealth gaps are large in almost all of the countries studied—and typically larger than corresponding gender gaps. Second, and of special concern, is the finding that in particular countries where there is a large female disadvantage in enrolment, wealth interacts with gender to exacerbate the gap in educational outcomes.

Responses and solution to poverty by the state and by private, voluntary, and informal welfare providers in contemporary society.

Source description

Bradshaw, Ted K. (2007) Theories of Poverty and Anti-Poverty Programs in Community Development, Community Development, 38(1), pp. 7–25. 

This paper explores how five competing theories of poverty shape anti-poverty strategies. Since most rural community development efforts aim to relieve causes or symptoms of poverty, it makes a difference which theory of poverty is believed to be responsible for the problem being addressed. In this paper five theories of poverty are distilled from the literature. It will be shown that these theories of poverty place its origin from (1) individual deficiencies, (2) cultural belief systems that support subcultures in poverty, (3) political-economic distortions, (4) geographical disparities, or (5) cumulative and circumstantial origins. Then, it is shown how each theory of poverty finds expression in common policy discussion and community development programs aimed to address the causes of poverty. Building a full understanding of each of these competing theories of poverty shows how they shape different community development approaches. Although no one theory explains all instances of poverty, this paper aims to show how community development practices that address the complex and overlapping sources of poverty more effectively reduce poverty compared to programs that address a single theory.

Hickey, Sam., and Brakcing Sarah. (2005) Exploring the Politics of Chronic Poverty: From Representation to a Politics of Justice?, World Development, June 33(6), pp. 851–865.

Chronic poverty is an inherently political problem. Its persistence over time reflects its institutionalisation within social and political norms and systems, its legitimation within political discourse and by political elites, and the failure of the poorest groups to gain political representation therein. The different ways in which extreme forms of poverty and the poorest are politically 'represented' contributes significantly to understanding the ways in which politics both reproduces and reduces poverty. However, gaining voice and material progress for the poorest groups may require more than a politics of representation, and we advocate here for poverty reduction to be relocated within a broader political project of justice.

Organisation and control of the labour process, including the division of labour, the role of technology, skill and de-skilling.

Source description

Thompson, Paul. (2003) Fantasy Island: a Labour Process critique of the 'age of surveillance', Surveillance and Society, 1(2), pp. 138–151.

While surveillance has long been recognised as part of the armoury of managerial practices in the workplace, there has been increasing claims that electronic or panoptic surveillance is a new and successful model of control. This paper explores and challenges these claims by examining in detail 'hard' and 'soft' versions of the story through the work of Sewell and Zuboff respectively, before looking briefly at recent debates on call centres. It concludes by arguing that through there has been some shift towards surveillance practices, there is insufficient evidence that a combination of electronic panopticon and peer pressure is effective and distinctive enough to constitute a credible new model of control of the labour process. In addition, social scientists must be careful not to assume that developments in workplace surveillance are transferable to the broader social terrain, or vice versa.

The significance of work and worklessness for people's lives and life chance, including the effects of globalisation.

Source description

Department for Education (DfE) (2012) Intergenerational transmission of worklessness: Evidence from the Millennium Cohort and the Longitudinal Study of Young People In England. London, Department for Education.

This project investigated the extent of parental worklessness in families with young and teenage children, and determined how parental worklessness impacts on children's cognitive ability, education attainment, behaviours, attitude to school, academic aspirations and experience of the transition from school to work.

We found that parental worklessness was significantly associated with:

  • poorer academic attainment and behavioural adjustment of young children (at age 7)
  • poorer academic attainment (GCSE point scores) of young people (at Key Stage 4 (KS4)).

4.2.5 Beliefs in Society

Ideology, science and religion, including both Christian and non-Christian religious traditions.

Source description

Roberts, Keith A., and Yamane, David. (2012) Religion in Sociological Perspective, 5th ed. London, Sage publications.

An interesting book which discusses conceptions of religion and how social scientists discuss it as a discipline. It discusses the study of religion, the theoretical explanations of the role and functions of religion, religion and how it affects lives at different ages/religion and identity, discussion on people's choices of religion and individuals who convert to different religions, organised religion, religion and social inequality (social stratification, race, gender, sexuality, inequality and social activism). It discusses secularisation and asks, 'is religion in decline?' It also notes upon religion and the media and religion and globalisation.

Religious organisations, including cults, sects, denominations, churches and New Age movements, and their relationship to religious and spiritual belief and practice.

Source description

Lannaccone, Laurence. R., and Berman, Eli. (2006) Religious extremism: The good, the bad, and the deadly, Public Choice, 128(1-2), pp.109–129.

This paper challenges conventional views of violent religious extremism, particularly those that emphasise militant theology. We offer an alternative analysis that helps explain the persistent demand for religion, the different types of religions that naturally arise, and the special attributes of the 'sectarian' type. Sects are adept at producing club goods which are both spiritual and material. Where governments and economies function poorly, sects often become major suppliers of social services, political action, and coercive force. Their success as providers is much more due to the advantages of their organisational structure than it is to their theology. Religious militancy is most effectively controlled through a combination of policies that raise the direct costs of violence, foster religious competition, improve social services, and encourage private enterprise.

Development, underdevelopment and global inequality.

Source description

Weiss, Anja. (2005) The Transnationalization of Social Inequality: Conceptualizing Social Positions on a World Scale, Current Sociology, July 53(4), pp. 707–728.

Secondary research

This article argues that The topic of inequality has become one of the main issues of the nation state. It also argues that only national solidarity ensures that social actors recognise each other as equals and only the state is able to organise redistribution. As a result of globalisation processes, we can now see changing patterns of inequality, which are influenced by the national welfare state – but also by its absence.

Pieterse, Jan Nederveen. (2002) Global inequality: Bringing politics back in, Third World Quarterly, 23(6), pp. 1023–1046.

Secondary research

Data on contemporary global inequality are dramatic, widely known and a new conventional backdrop. In research and policy, economists lead the way and the emphasis is on global poverty rather than inequality. Within nations poverty is a challenge, while inequality is not; on a world scale, arguably it is the other way round. The international policy focus on poverty alleviation co-exists with neoliberal policies that widen inequality domestically and internationally. A strategic question is where the data depart from the conventional wisdom. Thus a general assumption is that inequality within countries is largest in poor countries; the widest inequality, however, is found within the USA and UK. The conventional assumption is that neoliberal policies and free trade lift all tides; those countries and periods, however, where this policy has been most consistently implemented show the steepest increase in inequality. Global inequality helps sustain domestic privilege. The belief that the risks that global inequality poses can be contained in the global margins is contradicted by the cross-border effects of environmental degradation, migration, transnational crime and terrorism. In explaining global inequality, economic accounts ignore inequal relations of power. The combined policies of developmental discipline, global integration, and marginalisation and containment may be viewed as part of a single process of hierarchical integration, which has turbulence built in.

Globalisation and its influence on the cultural, political and economic relationships between societies.

Source description

Weiss, Anja. (2005) The Transnationalization of Social Inequality: Conceptualizing Social Positions on a World Scale, Current Sociology, July 53(4), pp. 707–728.

Secondary research

This article argues that the topic of inequality has become one of the main issues of the nation state. It also argues that only national solidarity ensures that social actors recognise each other as equals and only the state is able to organise redistribution. As a result of globalization processes, we can now see changing patterns of inequality, which are influenced by the national welfare-state but also by its absence.

Ambirajan, S. (2000) Globalisation, Media and Culture, Economic and Political Weekly, June 35(25), pp. 2141–2147.

Secondary research

This article argues that market and media act symbiotically to produce culture. Also, it argues that economic globalisation means a global culture and that there is a movement towards uniformity and regimentation. Therefore, cultures of minorities are lost and the trivial gains at the cost of the serious.

4.2.7 The Media

Media representations of age, social class, ethnicity, gender, sexuality and disability.

Source description

Dill, Karen. E., and Thill, Kathryn, P. (2007) Video Game Characters and the Socialization of Gender Roles: Young People's Perceptions Mirror Sexist Media Depictions, Sex Roles, 57(11–12), pp. 851–864.

Video game characters are icons in youth popular culture, but research on their role in gender socialisation is rare. A content analysis of images of video game characters from top-selling American gaming magazines showed male characters (83%) are more likely than female characters (62%) to be portrayed as aggressive. Female characters are more likely than male characters to be portrayed as sexualised (60% versus 1%), scantily clad (39% versus 8%) and as showing a mix of sex and aggression (39 versus 1%). A survey of teens confirmed that stereotypes of male characters as aggressive and female characters as sexually objectified physical specimens are held even by non-gamers. Studies are discussed in terms of the role media plays in socialising sexism.

Lauzen, Martha. M., and Dozier, David. M. (2005) Maintaining the Double Standard: Portrayals of Age and Gender in Popular Films, Sex Roles, 52(7–8), pp. 437–446.

An analysis of the top 100 domestic grossing films of 2002 found evidence of a lingering double standard for ageing female and male characters. Overall, major male characters outnumbered major female characters (73% vs. 27%); the majority of male characters were in their 30s and 40s, and the majority of female characters were in their 20s and 30s. Both women and men in their 60s and older were dramatically under represented compared to their representation in the US population. For male characters, leadership and occupational power increased with age. Men in their 40s, 50s, and 60s were more likely to play leadership roles and wield occupational power than were their female counterparts. As female characters aged, they were less likely to have goals.

4.3.1 Crime and Deviance

Crime, deviance, social order and social control.

Source description

Baron, Stephen. W. (2006) 'Street youth, strain theory and crime', Journal of Criminal Justice, 34(2), pp. 209–223.

Utilising a sample of homeless street youth, the study examined a more complete model of the classic strain perspective whereby relative deprivation, monetary dissatisfaction, monetary goals, and objective structural factors lead to crime. It also explored the interactions between these factors and the conditioning effects of peers, beliefs, and attributions. The results revealed that relative deprivation, monetary dissatisfaction, monetary goals, homelessness, and unemployment were related to crime. Further, monetary dissatisfaction and relative deprivation were conditioned by objective economic situations in their relationship with a number of illegal behaviours and interactions between monetary goals and monetary expectations and achievements were associated with crime. The results are discussed in light of the classic strain theories and suggestions are offered for future researching a sample of homeless street youth, the study examined a more complete model of the classic strain perspective whereby relative deprivation, monetary dissatisfaction, monetary goals, and objective structural factors lead to crime. It also explored the interactions between these factors and the conditioning effects of peers, beliefs, and attributions. The results revealed that relative deprivation, monetary dissatisfaction, monetary goals, homelessness and unemployment were related to crime. Further, monetary dissatisfaction and relative deprivation were conditioned by objective economic situations in their relationship with a number of illegal behaviours and interactions between monetary goals and monetary expectations and achievements were associated with crime. The results are discussed in light of the classic strain theories and suggestions are offered for future research.

The social distribution of crime and deviance by ethnicity, gender and social class, including recent patterns and trends in crime.

Source description

Webster, C. (2008) Marginalized white ethnicity, race and crime, Theoretical Criminology, 12(3), pp. 293– 312.

Serving mostly as a default comparator to describe visible minority experiences of crime and criminal justice processes, white ethnicity is seen as unproblematic as an ethnicity except as a potential source of racism. This article draws on aspects of 'whiteness studies' in the USA and UK, focusing on marginalised white ethnicities, to explore racialised 'white' ethnicity, both historically and today. Designations such as white 'underclass', 'new' migrants, 'white trash' are offered to show that some whites are seen as 'less white' than others within a hierarchy of 'whiteness'. The article concludes that racism and classism towards marginalised white working-class ethnicities have criminalised these groups in ways not too dissimilar from the criminalisation of visible working-class minorities.

Globalisation and crime in contemporary society; the media and crime; green crime; human rights and state crimes.

Source description

Edwards, A., and Gill, P. (2002) The Politics of 'Transnational Organized Crime': Discourse, Reflexivity and the Narration of 'threat', The British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 4(2), pp. 245–270.

Over the past decade the perceived 'threat' of transnational organised crime (TOC) to the security of western political economies has become a principal issue on the agendas of key international forums such as the United Nations, G7/8 elite industrial countries and the Council of Europe. The intense policy activity around this threat is indicative of a key trend in post-Cold War international relations, that is, the reorientation of western security, intelligence and defence agencies toward crime control. Risk assessments and research evidence provided by international relations departments in higher education institutions, especially in the USA, have been particularly influential in providing the rationale for this reorientation. It is argued here, however, that there is a danger of intellectuals being drawn into the legitimisation of policies, the terms of which are defined for them rather than by them. This jeopardises the critical contribution which academic research can make to policy change and learning, in particular it precludes a more reflexive approach to 'evidence-based' government. The paper draws upon discourse analysis and the study of 'governmentality' to develop a more reflexive interrogation of the assumptions underpinning this policy-shift in post-Cold War international relations. This is exemplified through an analysis of the two principal competing discourses on the threat of TOC and these are distinguished in terms of their focus on 'criminologies of the other' and 'criminologies of the self'. The former narrates threats to security in terms of external, nationally and ethnically defined, pressures. The later perceive threats more in terms of the internal challenges now facing 'sovereign' governments struggling to command highly diverse, dynamic and complex social-political problems like organised crime. The ways in which these competing discourses constrain and enable alternative policy responses to TOC are examined.

Garland, D. (2008) On the Concept of Moral Panic, Crime Media Culture, 4(1), pp. 9–30.

The article develops a critical analysis of the concept of moral panic and its sociological uses. Arguing that some of the concept's subtlety and power has been lost as the term has become popular; the article foregrounds its Freudian and Durkheimian aspects and explicates the epistemological and ethical issues involved in its use. Contrasting the dynamics of moral panics to the dynamics of culture wars, the author shows that both phenomena involve group relations and status competition, though each displays a characteristically different structure. The piece concludes by situating 'moral panics' within a larger typology of concepts utilized in the sociology of social reaction.

Crime control, surveillance, prevention and punishment, victims, and the role of the criminal justice system and other agencies.

Source description

Bellair, Paul E. (2006) Informal surveillance and street crime: A complex relationship, Criminology, 38(1), pp. 137–700.

The systemic crime model predicts that informal surveillance of space reduces street crime. Conversely, community decline theory posits that street crime reduces informal surveillance by increasing residents' perception of risk and fear. Moreover, 'functions of crime' theory suggests that some types of crime may increase surveillance. Using data for 100 urban neighbourhoods, the analysis examines these predictions and disentangles reciprocal effects. Baseline recursive equations indicate that informal surveillance is inversely associated with robbery/stranger assault, and that robbery/stranger assault is inversely associated with informal surveillance. In contrast, burglary rates are not affected by informal surveillance, but burglary has a positive effect on surveillance when robbery/stranger assault is controlled. Simultaneous equations indicate that robbery/stranger assault has a moderately strong inverse effect on informal surveillance, and that it is mediated by residents' perceptions of risk. When risk perception is controlled, informal surveillance has an inverse effect on robbery/stranger assault. The latter analysis also indicates that burglary increases surveillance, suggesting that some types of crime serve positive functions. The results, therefore, lend support to systemic, community decline, and functions of crime theory, and they suggest that the relationship between informal surveillance and crime is complex. Implications for community crime research are discussed.

Wood, David. (2003) Foucault and Panopticism Revisited, Surveillance and Society, 1(3), pp. 234–239.

This paper introduces Foucault's Panopticon (interpretation of 18th-century design for the ideal reformatory and argued that individuals self-monitor and police their behaviour when they know, there is the possibility that they are being observed). It goes on to introduce the 'urban Panopticon' where Mitchell Gray discusses facial recognition systems/CCTV. He argues that these systems are becoming even more intrusive of privacy as they recognise 'micro-expressions' and thus thoughts.

Conversely, Majid Ray critiques Foucault's Panopticon as dated and that society and consumer demand has shifted us into an 'unintended control'.

Markowitz, Fred. E., Bellair, Paul. E., Liska, Allen. E., and Jianhong, Liu. (2001) Extending Social Disorganization Theory: Modeling the Relationships between cohesion, disorder and fear, Criminology, 39(2), pp. 293–391.

This study builds on social disorganisation research, estimating models of the relationships between disorder, burglary, cohesion, and fear of crime using a sample of neighbourhoods from three waves of the British Crime Survey. The results indicate that disorder has an indirect effect on burglary through fear and neighbourhood cohesion. Although cohesion reduces disorder, nonrecursive models show that disorder also reduces cohesion. Part of the effect of disorder on cohesion is mediated by fear. Similar results are obtained in nonrecursive burglary models. Together, the results suggest a feedback loop in which decreases in neighbourhood cohesion increase crime and disorder, increasing fear, in turn, further decreasing cohesion.

4.3.2 Theory and Methods (in relation to studying Crime and Deviance)

Quantitative and qualitative methods of research; research design.

Qualitative - source description

David Silverman (2013) Doing Qualitative Research: A Practical Handbook, 3rd ed. London, Sage.

This book provides a step-by-step guide to planning and conducting qualitative research. Using real examples from real postgraduate students, the book makes it easy to link theory to methods and shows how to move from understanding the principles of qualitative research to doing it yourself.

Bruce L. Berg and Howard Lune (2011), Qualitative Research Methods for the Social Sciences, 8th ed.Essex, Pearson. 

This text shows readers how to design, collect, and analyse qualitative data and then present their results to the scientific community. It discusses the use of interviewing, ethnographic field strategies, focus group interviewing, and action research. It provides a discussion of historical research methods, content analysis and writing research papers. On top of this it considers the ethical issues when undertaking qualitative research.

Quantitative - source description

Mark Balnaves and Peter Caputi (2001) Introduction to quantitative research methods: An investigative approach. London, Sage.

This textbook gives a student-friendly introduction to quantitative research methods and basic statistics. The book also demonstrates how quantitative methods are used to investigate and solve real-life problems.

Quantitative and qualitative - source description

W. Laurence Newman (2014) Social Research Methods: Pearson New International Edition, 7th ed. Essex, Pearson.

This book presents a comprehensive and balanced introduction to both qualitative and quantitative approaches to social research with an emphasis on the benefits of combining various approaches.

Sources of data, including questionnaires, interviews, participant and non- participant observation, experiments, documents and official statistics.

Questionnaires/surveys - source description

Ronald F. Czaja, Johnny Blair and Edward Blair (2013), Designing Surveys: A Guide to Decisions and Procedures. London, Sage.

This book is a comprehensive guide to the whole survey research process. It provides a timeline and follows the steps of research including preparing for, designing, and implementing survey research, and includes a section on survey ethics. It provides the advantages and disadvantages to differing surveys (telephone, mail, internet, face-to-face).

The distinction between primary and secondary data, and between quantitative and qualitative data.

Source description

W. Laurence Newman (2014) Social Research Methods: Pearson New International Edition, 7th ed. Essex, Pearson.

This book presents a comprehensive and balanced introduction to both qualitative and quantitative approaches to social research with an emphasis on the benefits of combining various approaches.

Bryman, Alan. (2012) Social Research Methods, 4th ed. Oxford, Oxford University Press.

A book which discusses the benefits and drawbacks of secondary vs primary data, and quantitative and qualitative data.

The relationship between positivism, interpretivism and sociological methods; the nature of 'social facts'.

Source description

Roth, Wendy D., and Mehta, Jal D. (2002) The Rashomon Effect. Combining Positivist and Interpretivist Approaches in the Analysis of Contested Events, Sociological Methods Research, November, 31(2)pp. 131–173.

Primary research

Positivist and interpretivist analytical approaches are frequently believed to be incompatible as research strategies and ways of understanding the world. This article argues that not only many versions of positivism and interpretivism be combined in the analysis of contested events, but this combination can further the goals of both approaches by contributing information that may have been missed by adopting only one perspective. The authors illustrate this by using two case studies of lethal school shootings near Paducah, Kentucky, and Jonesboro, Arkansas, and introduce methodological strategies to manage potential biases that may lead to contradictory testimony. However, these same contradictions act as distinct data points from the interpretivist perspective, offering insight into the cultural understandings of a community. The authors develop new forms of triangulation that are tailored to these research goals and illustrate how, just as positivist analysis may be used to aid interpretivism, an interpretive understanding of a community may be necessary to develop causal theories of contested events such as school shootings.

Williams, Malcolm. (2000) Interpretivism and Generalisation, Sociology, May 34(2), pp. 209–224.

Secondary research

This article is concerned with the status of generalisation in interpretive sociology. The case made is that generalisation is inevitable, desirable and possible. It is held that interpretivism must employ a special kind of generalisation, characterised here as moderatum. However, an acknowledgement that such generalisations can be made must bring us to specify the limits of generalisation in interpretive research. These limits are the limit of interpretivism itself and the paper concludes that this implies the adoption of methodological pluralism in order to realise the full potential of the method.

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