Tagged / Sociology & Social Policy

FHSS seminar Prof McKie

linda-mckie-2016Prof. Linda McKie who is professor of Sociology at Durham University gave an excellent paper today in FHSS on Revitalising Spatial and Temporal Frameworks in the Analysis of Unpaid Care and Paid Work.  Her paper highlighted that published data have documented the persistence of the gender pay gap for all women with evidence of a deepening gap following maternity leave. These data generated numerous analyses on segregation and discrimination in education and working life and the many ways in which unpaid care for children, family members and elders remains a dominant factor in everyday gendered inequalities. Often little comment was made on women’s crucial role in reproducing generations many of whom will fund future pensions and services through their taxation. These intergenerational reciprocities are generally ignored in favour of the immediate time considerations for employers, workers and families with the need to generate profit, or income and resources for household or business survival.

In her seminar Prof. McKie revisited the analytical frameworks of ‘caringscapes’ and ‘carescapes’. In earlier work, it was asserted that both offer analytical potential to enhance analyses of the temporal and spatial dynamics of caring and working over the lifecourse in different places. Caring, critical to human flourishing and evident in many aspects of women’s lives, is captured in ‘caringscapes’. The framework of ‘carescapes’ explores the relationship between policies and services as determined by employers, the state and capital. Both frameworks are informed by feminist theorising and spatial and temporal perspectives on identifying and analysing how women perceive, engage with, and reflect on, the demands and pleasures of combining informal caring and paid work. ref-world

Yesterday Prof. McKie led a well-attended workshop for FHSS staff on preparing for the REF.  She offered insight into various REF processes as well advise on strategic planning and the importance of networking.   Prof. McKie has been a sub-panel member of the Research Excellence Framework 2014 (REF) Sub-panel 23: Sociology for the period 2010-2014.

 

Prof.  Edwin van Teijlingen

CMMPH

Successful ESRC Festival of Social Sciences in EBC today

Slide1Slide2This afternoon Prof. Jonathan Parker introduced the final of three session in the Executive Business Centre under the title ‘Enhancing social life through global social research: Part 3. Social science research in diverse communities’.  This session was well attended and coveredwas a wide-range of interesting social science research topics.

Professor of Sociology Ann Brooks started off the session with her presentation on ‘Emotional labour and social change.’   She was followed by Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen who gave an overview of research in Nepal.  FHSS PhD student Andy Harding introduced his thesis research into ‘Information provision and housing choices for older people.’  At this point Prof. Brooks gave her second talk on ‘Risk and the crisis of authenticity in cities’. Social Anthropologist Dr. Stephanie Schwandner-Sievers spoke about her research on ‘Reconciliation and engaged ethnography in the Balkans.’  Dr. Hyun-Joo Lim highlighted her study on ‘North Korean defectors in the UK’ and the session was completed by Dr. Mastoureh Fathi who presented her analysis of parenting books for Muslim parents in the UK.

ESRC banner (2)

This was the last day of the ESRC Festival of Social Science at which Bournemouth University was extremely well presented!

 

Thank you to my colleagues for organising this and the ESRC for funding the events!

 

Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen

(medical sociologist)

Congratulations to Prof. Brooks

BU Professor Ann Brooks has been made a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences (FAcSS).

  Ann Brooks

Ann Brooks is Professor of Sociology at Bournemouth University since January 2015. Ann has held senior positions in universities in Singapore, Australia and New Zealand and has held visiting fellowships and scholarships in Singapore and the USA. She was a Visiting Professor at the Institute of Health and Community at Plymouth University in 2014 and was previously a Senior Visiting Research Fellow at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore and a Visiting Scholar in the Department of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. She is author of Academic Women (Open University Press, 1997); Postfeminisms: Feminism, Cultural Theory and Cultural Forms (Routledge, 1997); Gender and the Restructured University (Open University Press, 2001); Gendered Work in Asian Cities: The New Economy and Changing Labour Markets (Ashgate, 2006); Social Theory in Contemporary Asia (Routledge, 2010); Gender, Emotions and Labour Markets: Asian and Western Perspectives (Routledge, 2011) and Emotions in Transmigration: Transformation, Movement and Identity (Palgrave 2012) (with Ruth Simpson). Recent books include: Consumption, Cities and States: Comparing Singapore with Cities in Asia and the West (Anthem Press, 2014) (with Lionel Wee); Popular Culture, Global Intercultural Perspectives (Palgrave, 2014); and Emotions and Social Change: Historical and Sociological Perspectives (Routledge, New York, 2014) (edited with David Lemmings). Her latest book is: Genealogies of Emotions, Intimacies and Desire: Theories of Changes in Emotional Regimes from Medieval Society to Late Modernity (2016 Routledge, New York).

Further information on this year’s new Fellows can be found here!

 

Congratulations!

Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen

 

BU Social Science Input at Tasik Chini, Malaysia

A very significant aspect of our Fusion Funded Study Leave has been our invitation to spend time as Visiting Professors at the Tasik Chini Research Centre, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.  This Research Centre is primarily a natural science-based one, which is now expanding its remit to embrace social science, and which focuses on Tasik (Lake) Chini in the State of Pahang, about 4 hours drive from Kuala Lumpur. This lake, one of only two freshwater lakes in Peninsular Malaysia, is composed of a very large area of 12,568 acres, and in terms of beauty and grandeur was not dissimilar to England’s Lake District.  Google the lake and a serene vision will appear of placid waters smothered in ravishing pink and white water-lilies in a valley of opulent, teeming rain forest and rimmed by green mountains. A veritable paradise, seemingly, and also the traditional ‘native’ lands of a community of indigenous, ‘first-people’, of Malaysia, the Jakun tribe of the Orang Asli (original people).

 

Hardly surprisingly maybe that this wonderful area received coveted UNESCO Biosphere Reserve status due to its lush diversity of flora and fauna. However, although once a popular eco-tourist destination, very few tourists are spotted now and the trade has virtually died off. The reason being that the lake itself is dying with total and irreversible collapse of the ecological system predicted by 2030.  Unrestrained mining of the mineral-rich soil in the area has led to mass deforestation, while logging, itself, and destruction of the colossal swathes of the forest has made way for Oil Palm plantations. Contaminants from mines in very close proximity to the lake have caused considerable pollution and the replacement of local flora with a pernicious species of aquatic weed and algae.  To add to a catalogue of disasters, and against the wishes of the those Orang Asli communities who managed to hear of it (as they were not formally consulted) and Malaysian environmentalists, an ill conceived dam was placed in 1994 at the juncture of the Tasik Chini and the great Pahang River. This served to prevent the annual ebb and flow of the lake that made boating of tourists difficult at times but was essential to the ecosystem of the area  The lake is now stagnant, polluted and  the fish, upon which the Jakun relied on as fisher folk, frequently unfit to eat, their flesh being tainted and their bodies invaded by parasites.

 

Our role as social scientists invited to work with the Tasik Chini Research Centre is to help to bridge the gap between scientific knowledge of the problems here and the local communities. Our work is to aid amplification of their voices in speaking of their experiences of trying to survive in traditional native lands that have been violated and usurped.  With our fourth intensive field trip to Tasik Chini coming up this week and a packed itinerary of interviews and focus group discussions planned with the local villagers, our ethnographies are rapidly developing. The Orang Asli people have much to be angry about and although too often treated as backward and uneducated in Malaysia itself, they have impressed us considerably with their passion for their lands, their rage and grief at the destruction, their eloquence, their gracious hospitality to us – and their ability to organise their communities and their protests up to the highest levels of Government. Truly they are a great if much abused people and we count it a pronounced honour to be so warmly welcomed by them, and regard this as some, and maybe, the most important work of our careers.

 

We hear much in the UK of the trite, overused and sometimes disingenuous phrase ‘making a difference’ when applied to higher educational endeavour and these experiences have brought into sharp relief the differences between its application to the banal and to the truly tragic. This area is part of the traditional land of the Jakun, and as such should be protected and preserved. But much more than this it is an international site for the earth’s future generations and we must, as academics, plough back what little knowledge we have into securing this heritage.

 

Sara Ashencaen Crabtree and Jonathan Parker

‘all professions are conspiracies against the laity’ George Bernard Shaw, The Doctor’s Dilemma, 1906

British social services, without doubt, represent one of the best systems of social work throughout the world for protecting children, supporting families where circumstances and experience make them vulnerable and ensuring people with mental health problems are appropriately sustained. That notwithstanding, social work services in Britain, and in England in particular, have journeyed towards a more individualistic model of care and treatment promoted primarily in the US, and the roots of community action and practice that are truly ‘social’ have become less visible. This places our social work services, excellent as they are in key areas, on the margins of international understandings of social work.

Perhaps the changes articulated above are understandable given our affaire de Coeur with neoliberal philosophies and our celebration of the cult of the individual derived from Margaret Thatcher’s governments, perpetuated by Tony Blair and continued aggressively by the Coalition government of the day.

These changes have significant impact on people and their communities, reassigning blame from social structure to the individuals themselves. Also, there remains a potentially negative impact on social work globally. Many countries have followed the US and British social work models to develop services, sometimes as a direct result of colonialism, sometimes because of implicit global power relations. There is a legitimate concern that adoption of an individualistic approach reflects a neo-imperialist agenda, with problems resulting for those communities and groups made invisible within this process.

Our new book Professional Social Work (edited by Jonathan Parker BU & Mark Doel Sheffield Hallam) seeks to address some of these challenges. We suggest there is such a thing as ‘professional’ social work, that it must be distinct from ‘unprofessional’ social work. Our thesis is that it is imperative that we reclaim social work and its former radicalism and iconoclastically confront governmental established priorities, emphasising humanity’s social condition rather than its atomisation. In the book, we grapple with the fraught and complex definitions, practices and understandings of ‘professionalism’, exploring how the concept can be used to justify differing perspectives.

Including the work of some of the foremost thinkers in contemporary British social work (Stephen Cowden & Gurnam Singh, Pat Higham, Graham Ixer, Ray Jones, Malcolm Payne, Gillian Ruch, Steven Shardlow, Roger Smith, Neil Thompson, Sue Whist, and Marion Bogo from Canada) we promote professional social work practices that are relational, critical and reflexive, that challenge and help people and their communities to reconstruct themselves in their chosen ways.