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7.2 Understanding the limits of rationality

An important first step in making more effective decisions is to understand the limits of human rationality. Because of these limits we have developed formal processes for reasoning: statistics; probability theory; modelling methods; and so on. We have also developed technologies such as computers to support us in processing information. These are certainly useful, but it is always important to remember they are used by humans and can be easily subverted. For example:

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6.4 Prospect theory

Kahneman and Tversky (1979) developed ‘prospect theory’ to describe this combination of risk and loss aversion. This suggests that whether an individual is risk seeking or risk averse will depend on where they are in relation to a personal reference point. The reference point divides the area where they feel as if they are in loss from the area where they feel they are in gain. This point is not usually zero, and will change over time. For example, a professional financial trader who is p
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6.2 A rational-economic perspective on risk

A rational-economic perspective generally represents risk as a combination of the expected magnitude of a gain or loss, combined with some probability distribution of anticipated outcomes. Economic ideas of risk behaviour are founded largely on expected utility theory. Expected utility theory predicts that investors will always be risk averse. The shape of the utility curve (utility plotted against increasing wealth) is such that utility increases with wealth, but at a declining rate. This is
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5.6 A way of dealing with social pressures: decoupling

Organisations often deal with these social pressures by decoupling responses to these different pressures. The need to appear legitimate in the eyes of important constituencies is met by actions and practices which have a purely ceremonial character: they are done for the sake of appearances and not with any real engagement. The example in Author(s): The Open University

1.4.2 Unification and the EU

With the development of the EU an arena for collective action has appeared. But, as we shall see in SubSection 1.4.3, it is rather limited and it cannot be compared to the public sphere of the member states. Although collective actors have reacted to the emergence of new European-based institutions, due to internal constraints not all are in t
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1.4.1 Historical background

European unification was begun by the social democratic and Christian democratic leaders of the Western European states who had fought each other during the Second World War. The idea was to create a community of states that would guarantee peace and prosperity. The process turned out to be long and arduous, particularly after the federalist failures of the Congress of the Hague (1949) and the European Defence Community (1953). The main emphasis was on economic co-operation, and the project w
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1.3.2 Summary

  • The shifting character of European geographical boundaries is illustrated by Turkey and the other twelve countries from Central and Eastern Europe which are currently negotiating access to the EU.

  • The boundaries of Europe change depending on whether Europe is defined in terms of institutional structures, historical geography or observed patterns of social, economic and political interaction.


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References

Barber, L. (1998) Demon Barber, London, Viking.
Barthes, R. (1977) Image-Music-Text (ed. and trans. S. Heath), London, Fontana.
Bonner, F. (2003) Ordinary Television, London, Sage.
Boorstin, D.J. (1961) The Image: Or What Happened to the American Dream, Harmondsworth, Penguin.
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6 Conclusion

As you moved through the various techniques we can use to analyse media texts in Sections 2 to Section 4, you should have discovered how rich even the simplest text can be in its drawing on political, social and cultural meanings discernible by close attention. Textual analysis enables you to register and negotiate the polysemy of texts and to see how the preferred reading is not the only one available. The preferred reading may be given prominence, however, by anchoring or by the genre chose
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1.1 A contentious issue

This course discusses a contentious issue in economics: why particular groups, such as women or minority ethnic groups, are disadvantaged in the labour market. It compares different theoretical and empirical explanations for why such systematic labour market disadvantage is experienced by some groups in society.

Click on 'View document' below to read 'The neoclassical school of thought and its rivals'

Further reading

Berger and Luckmann (1967) is a classic text in the development of the social constructionist perspective within the sociological tradition. Burr (1995) offers a very thorough review of the social constructionist perspective, clearly outlining the methods of discourse analysis. Although the book draws significantly on debates within social psychology, it is of wide relevance to the social sciences more generally.


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7.2 The institutionalisation of discourses

We can see discourses as ways of organising knowledge. They define what the problem is; they say what is worth knowing and what can be said. They produce the ‘norms’ against which deviation or abnormality is marked (the norm of ‘not being poor’, for example). But discourses are not just about words. Discourses shape and become institutionalised in social policies and the organisations through which they are carried out. This is not just a matter of the big policy ideas – the pressur
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7.1 Ideologies and discourses

Some social scientists, following the French writer Michel Foucault (1972, 1976, 1979), have argued that the view of ideology developed in Section 6 is too narrow because of the link that it creates between sets of ideas and the interests of specific social groups – for example, in identifying a capitalist ideology as if ideas go around with number plates on their back which allow us to see whose ideas they are. They suggest that we need a more complex view of how social knowledges are orga
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6.2 Contesting ideologies

Much social science analysis has been devoted to exploring the variants and consequences of this simple view of ideology, including capitalist ideology, which legitimates the interests of owners of capital against the working class; patriarchal ideology, which legitimates the interests of men against women; and racist ideology, which legitimates the interests of dominant ethnic groups against others – most evidently in the ideology of apartheid in South Africa. However, this simple and func
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2.1.2 Dictionaries

One way to tackle the challenge of unfamiliar words is to use a dictionary. You could use a traditional printed dictionary, or an online dictionary, or both. A printed dictionary is easy to keep beside you wherever you happen to be reading. But an online dictionary holds the advantage when it comes looking up words quickly as you can look up a word in three or four online dictionaries simultaneously, to compare the definitions they offer.

You also have a choice between using a genera
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Learning outcomes

After studying this course you should be able to:

  • ask questions to encourage analysis of personal reading material

  • think about what the key concepts and issues are

  • detach from disagreements with the author's views.


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3.3 Drawing on course material

Unless you are taking a course in creative writing, essays are generally meant to help you consolidate what you have been studying. You are not asked to answer the question in the title ‘off the top of your head’ nor on the basis of some prior knowledge. You are expected to take the essay as an opportunity to scan back over what you have been reading or doing and select relevant material from that. The tutor who marks your essay will already have in mind a range of course material that co
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Acknowledgements

The content acknowledged below is Proprietary (see terms and conditions) and is used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence.

Grateful acknowledgement is made to the following sources:

Text:
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Introduction

This unit considers working with people in group care and residential settings. Social workers play a critical role in supporting service users in moves to and from residential care, and they should be capable of assessing needs and the quality of care provision. The activities in the unit focus on the lives of three people living in a nursing and residential home for elderly and disabled people. Although many of the practice examples relate to work with older people, the values and principle
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Waarom lijkt de maan niet altijd even groot als we ze waarnemen? : Wetenschap verklaart
Maan.jpg

Dit artikel fungeert als wetenschapsweetje, met de bedoeling de nieuwsgierigheid en leergierigheid voor STEM aan te wakkeren bij leerlingen.
Zulke weetjes worden onder andere in de kijker geplaatst op de projectsite van KlasCement ' …


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