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8.4 A Europe of the regions?

What role will the ‘regions’ play in the emerging governance structures of the European Union? This unit examines the rise of the regions and regionalism in Western Europe. You will look at the possible development pathways for Europe: will it become a Federal super-state or a decentralised ‘Europe of the Regions’?

The unit discusses the future of Europe, and it looks particularly closely at what may happen to the smaller political units presently existing below the level of the
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5.2 The origins of the wars of the three kingdoms

From Catholic rebellion to Civil War, what happened during the latter years of the reign of Charles I that caused people to take up arms against their fellow citizens? This unit looks at the background of the wars between England, Scotland and Ireland and how the King's actions led to the rift between royalists and parliamentarians.

To access this material click on the unit link below. It leads to a separate OpenLearn unit and will open in a new window.


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1.1 What is identity?

This unit is about questions of identity. Identity itself seems to be about a question, ‘who am I?’ We are going to focus on three key questions in this section:

  • How are identities formed?

  • How much control do we have in shaping our own identities?

  • Are there particular uncertainties about identity in the contemporary UK?

First, we need to think a bit more about what we mean by identity.

If id
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3.4 Council estates: a symbol of failure?

From the earlier extract it is clear that Lynsey Hanley sees estates as a symbol of failure for everyone but particularly for those who live in them. Estate life forms a ‘wall in the head’ (Hanley, 2007, pp. 148–9), a particular state of mind producing a distinctive set of aspirations. These social psychological claims strongly parallel ideas that council estates generate their own subcultures that signal such places as different from others. This is also replicated by some journalists:
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1 Aims of the unit

The aims of this unit are to:

  • Explore some of the many complex and different ways in which questions of social justice and of inequality come to be seen in terms of the deficient behaviour of different problem populations. In particular, it explores how particular groups of people and particular places come to be identified as ‘problem populations’ and how social welfare and crime concerns intersect in the management of these populations.

  • <
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Acknowledgements

Grateful acknowledgement is made to the following sources for permission to reproduce material in this unit:

The content acknowledged below is Proprietary and used under licence (not subject to Creative Commons licence). See Terms and Conditions.

Figures

Figure 2 Co
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3.1 Studying families

However, if the concept is so tremendously complex, how then can we study family?

Activity 3

Please read the following piece from Jaber Gubrium and James Holstein (1990), where you are introduced to Borg, the extraterrestrial cyborg.
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2.2 Responding to the problems

Consequently, some academics have increasingly voiced concerns about whether it is possible to define family satisfactorily at all – or, indeed, whether it serves any useful purpose even to try. The extract you will look at in the following activity is taken from an Introduction to a four-volume collection of readings on Family: Critical Concepts in Sociology. In this Introduction, the author seeks to find a way of defining family that will work across the four volumes of readings on
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1.3 Exploring values and assumptions

As you progress through this unit, we would like you to consider how values and moral assumptions are deeply embedded in family meanings. A central argument of the book is that ‘family’ is a notion which is suffused with values, desires and fears. This results in ‘family’ being a powerful ideal to which we may all react strongly, with regard to both our own lives and the lives of others. It is therefore very rare for people to discuss families without making judgements. Sometimes such
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Learning outcomes

After studying this unit you should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of the concept of ’ (knowledge and understanding);

  • Engage with and review debates about selected key concepts relevant to the study of families and personal relationships;

  • Identify connections between concepts and the themes they raise for research and for social policy;

  • Understand some of the social processes underlying research around family issue
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1.3 Nick Ut's 1972 Vietnam war photograph

Figure 1 Huynh Cong (Nick) Ut, 1972.
Figure 1: Huynh Cong (Nick) Ut, 1972: ‘Phan Thi Kim Phuc, centre, her burning cl
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4.6 Agency explanations: rational choice theory

The work of the Chicago School, despite the potential pitfalls of participant observation, does demonstrate that if you want to know why people commit crimes it makes sense to ask them. In his memoir of a criminal career in the early twentieth century entitled Jail Journey, Jim Phelan wrote:

The robber is a tradesman who, from economics or other motivation, chooses a trade with greater rewards and dangers th
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4.3 Structural explanations I: biology

There is a long and uneven tradition of claims that the origins of crime and deviance are biological. In the nineteenth century it was claimed, for example, that brain sizes and skull shapes could explain criminal behaviour. This kind of crude biological determinism has long been discredited, but it gave way to a more subtle and notionally scientific model of genetic determinism.

In the early twentieth century advocates of eugenics claimed to have created the science of improving
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3.3 Quantitative and qualitative evidence

The Tables above provide official quantitative evidence: evidence, data or information which is expressed in numerical terms. On the face of it, this clearly shows that recorded crime increased significantly throughout the twentieth century, albeit with some ‘dips’ in recent years. Common sense is confirmed. But there are problems with these data. Remember, we are looking here at crimes recorded by the police. Do you think that all crimes are recorded? There might be different reas
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Introduction

‘Tough on the causes of crime.’ A famous phrase, but what is crime? This unit examines how we as a ‘society’ define crime. You will look at the fear that is generated within communities and what evidence is available to support claims that are made about crime rates.

This material is from our archive and is an adapted extract from Introducing the social sciences (DD100) which is no longer taught by The Open University. If you want to study formally with us, you may wish t
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1.3 Summary

  • Modern sport and the media are closely linked in a variety of ways.

  • One area of connection is through big events and sports celebrities.

  • The media also provide routine coverage, scores, results, venue and scheduling details and everyday information, often at speed; for example, through the internet, and satellite and mobile phone technologies.

  • This type of coverage is illustrated by the example of English p
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Introduction

The media play a huge part in sport; we find out what's happening, how our team is doing and it creates great sporting moments and sports celebrities and stars. This unit looks at the role played by the media in sport and how this has changed with the development of internet and satellite TV. Who calls the shots – athletes, teams or the media moguls? How do social scientists explain this relationship between sport and the media?

This material is from our archive and is an adapted extr
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7.4 Conclusion

Despite their very considerable differences, and the very different kinds of evidence they draw upon, it is clear from these brief exchanges between theoretical frameworks that ‘the personal’ and social policies meet and remake one another in multiple and complex ways. Making welfare directly conditional upon work represents an unusually focused response to particular perceptions of personal lives, and the material circumstances and social conducts associated with them. And as policies be
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6 A short biography of Mandy: comparing theories about work and welfare

Figure 7
Figure 7: Exclusion from welfare: the price of resistance?

Mandy's biography has some
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4.2 Neo-liberal interpretations of welfare to work

Neo-liberalism begins from an emphasis on the free market, individual freedom and responsibility. Neo-liberal approaches use the ‘less eligibility’ principle. Welfare is thought to distort ‘free’ markets, because it either removes incentives to work, or drives up entry-level pay to rates that are not economical for employers. Neo-liberals tend to advocate what Peck (2001) terms the ‘hard’ Labour Force Attachment model of working for welfare, which places claimants directly
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