2.4 Summary

  • ‘Regions’ and ‘regionalism’ in Western Europe display great diversity in economic, social, cultural and political terms, varying not only between states but also within particular states (as exemplified by the UK and Spain).

  • Regions vary widely in their size, population, levels of economic development, historical origins, contemporary identity, cultural distinctiveness and political activism (or in some cases the lack of distinctive
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9.5 Social work and the law in Scotland

In this unit you will be asked to reflect on the meanings of both social work and law. You will find that these concepts are open to a range of possible definitions, and that the functions of social work and law can change depending on the practice context. Their meaning is also affected by the perspective from which they are viewed, for example, the service user's experience of social work and law will not always match the expectations of the professional, or the perceptions of the general p
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5.7 Health, disease and society: Scottish influence in the 19th century

This unit examines the roles of Scots who contributed to the comprehensive transformation of medicine in the nineteenth century. It begins by observing how laboratory practices led to improved techniques of medical diagnosis. This is followed by assessing how Scots contributed to the emerging collective identity of medical practitioners, as well as the improvements in licensing that led to reform of the medical professions. Many new developments in medical education also enabled women to qual
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4.3 James Clerk Maxwell

James Clerk Maxwell produced a unified theory of the electromagnetic field and used it to show that light is a type of electromagnetic wave. This prediction dates from the early 1860s when Maxwell was at King's College, London. Shortly afterwards Maxwell decided to retire to his family estate in Galloway in order to concentrate on research, unhindered by other duties.

This unit presents Maxwell's greatest triumph – the prediction that electromagnetic waves can propagate vast distances
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2 Note taking from an audio visual text

The first important point to make is that note taking is more than a process of summarising everything that you see; it must be an active process of engaging with the material and thinking it through for yourself. In the videos, the multidimensional nature of the visual images and the stories they convey means that you will not be able to take in everything on first viewing. The videos allow us to present visual as well as audio information and in a form that makes it easier for you to revisi
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4.2 Family meanings matter to people in their individual lives and relationships

Survey research in the UK, reported by Jacqui Scott (1997), shows the extent to which families matter when people are asked about the key events in their lives over the previous year. While there were some differences by gender and age, the overall pattern was clear: events concerning family lives were considered to be the most significant. And, in the intricacies of personal lives and relationships, family meanings can be complex and powerful.

As an example of how powerful these meanin
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4.1 Family and meanings?

We have considered the difficulties of pinning down family definitions and meanings. We now ask whether it is indeed important to explore and unravel these complexities. Do the varieties of family meanings – or the meaning of ‘family’ itself – matter, or do they just provide a minor intellectual diversion? You may like to pause here for a moment to consider how you would answer this question for yourself. Do you think they matter, and if so, in what ways?

We consider this questi
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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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4.5 Structural explanations III: cultures

An early and influential body of research by the Chicago School of sociology explained criminal behaviour in terms of cultural structures. The school studied American male juvenile delinquents – or young offenders – in inter-war American cities (Shaw and McKay, 1969). Here we use the term culture to describe the web of meanings and values that individuals live their life within. (Recall from Section 1.1 how important every-day norms and conventions were in defining the meaning of c
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3.4 Interpreting the crime problem

The Whole City, My Lord, is alarm'd and uneasy. Wickedness has got such a Head, and the Robbers and Insolence of the Night are such that the citizens are no longer secure within their own Walls or safe even in passing their Streets, but are robbed, insulted, and abused, even at their own Doors … The citizens are oppressed by Rapin and Violence.

(Defoe, 1730, quoted in Reiner, 1996, p.2)

S
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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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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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1 The politics of racial violence in Britain

Paul Gordon presents a series of views about the politics of racial violence in Britain. The audio programme was recorded in 1995.

Participants in the audio programme were:

  • Paul Gordon member of The Runnymede Trust (race relations organisation);

  • Satnam Virdee researcher at the Policy Studies Institute;

  • Suresh Grover;

  • Barnor Hesse.

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Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • identify criteria to evaluate the politics of racial violence.


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1.5.8 Bibliographic software

If you are considering taking your studies further you might like to consider using bibliographic software. Bibliographic software can be used to sort references, annotate them, manage quotations or create reading lists.

There are several software packages on the market. Some are listed below.

1.4.5 M is for Method

Method is about the way in which a piece of information is produced. This is quite a complex area as different types of information are produced in different ways. These are a few suggestions to look out for:

Opinions - A lot of information is based on the opinion of individuals. They may or not be experts in their field (see P for Provenance) but the key message is to be clear that it is just an opinion and must be valued as such.

Research - You don’t have to be
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1.4.4 O is for Objectivity

One of the characteristics of ‘good’ information is that it should be balanced and present both sides of an argument or issue. This way the reader is left to weigh up the evidence and make a decision. In reality, we recognise that no information is truly objective.

This means that the onus is on you, the reader, to develop a critical awareness of the positions represented in what you read, and to take account of this when you interpret the information. In some cases, authors may be
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1.4.3 R is for Relevance

Relevance is an important factor to consider when you are evaluating information. It isn’t so much a property of the information itself but of the relationship it has with your question or your ‘information need’. For example,if you are writing an essay about the geography of Chile, a book or website about Chilean political history would not be relevant. So there are a number of ways in which a piece of information may not be relevant to your query:


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1.3.4 Databases

At a basic level, a database is a collection of information which can be searched. It is a way of storing, indexing, organising and retrieving information. You may have created one yourself to keep track of your references – or your friends' names and addresses. They are useful for finding articles on a topic, and can be used to search for many different types of information.

You may find some of the following databases useful for your topic. They contain different types of informatio
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1.3.2 Search engines and subject gateways

Although both search engines and subject gateways will help you find the resources that you need, the types of information that you find will differ.

Search engines such as Google  and Yahoo! search the internet for keywords or phrases, and then show you the results. These results are not mediated by the search engines, and th
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