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3.1 The idea of problematic places

Katrina offers us a rich case study through which we have begun to explore some of the concerns surroundng problem places or populations. In reflecting on the controversies that emerged in the aftermath of Katrina, we can see that for some commentators it was a ‘problem place’ long before the hurricane struck in 2005. The idea that different places can be seen as problematic is a recurring theme that emerges in the context of ongoing debates around poverty and inequality, and the relation
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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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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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Module team

Prepared for the course team by Peter Hamilton and Kath Woodward


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Family meal photographs: 1930s and 1990s

Activity 5

4.2 Nation and identity

Yet even if photographs are an ‘evidential trace’ of the reality they depict, they are far from perfect in this respect. Because a photograph could always have been made differently it cannot be ‘the whole truth’ about something (Becker, 1985, p. 101). If we think about photographs designed to inform (i.e. rather than art photographs in which questions of truth or reality are really not at issue) it will be obvious that the photographer's choices have determined what sort of ‘eviden
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3.1 Photographic content and context

Can we analyse photographs to tell us something valid about gender, ethnicity, class and nationality? As the wedding pictures example begins to suggest, there are traces of social facts embedded in the images, as well as evidence of the social conventions and organisational practices that underpin their production and diffusion or circulation. What will be clear is that there is no simple interpretational tool or reading skill available to us that allows us to reduce the picture to a simple f
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The 1990s wedding photograph

Figure 3
Figure 3: Wedding group in 1997.

Now let us look at the 1990s image. This too depicts a wedding. What makes it different from that of
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3.6 Summary

  • The common-sense narratives of the crime problem in the UK can be broken down into a series of distinct claims that make assessing them easier.

  • Those claims can be tested against quantitative and qualitative evidence. Both types of evidence suggest that the narrative of change from a secure to an insecure society is at best partial, overestimating the tranquillity of the past, and the uncertainty and riskiness of the present.


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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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3.1 Claims about crime

Definitions beg questions. So do social narratives and stories. Again, we need, as social scientists, to begin with an analytical task. What are the key claims that are being made in the common-sense story of the problem of crime? What are the core arguments that hold the whole thing together? There are a number of these, but two seem to be particularly important.

Claim 1: UK society in the immediate
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Learning outcomes

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

  • give a definition of crime (in terms of society);

  • state the steps and factors that lead from a crime to conviction;

  • illustrate how society views crime ‘with fear and fascination’;

  • give examples of the relationship between crime rates and the evidence to support these claims.


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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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5 Conclusion

As we have seen, pensions are both inherently personal and political. Pensions and other social policies are heavily implicated in shaping the way older people experience their personal lives, and the way in which these personal lives have become constructed as ‘other’. Providing a means by which older lives could be ‘divided up’ and divided out of the domain of paid employment, and reconstituted through the arena of public and private welfare, this process is also informed by differe
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2.1 Introduction

In this section, we explore how experiences of being an older person in the nineteenth century were constituted through the operation of the 1834 New Poor Law Act and the processes of industrial change that ran parallel to it. We examine the way this constructed the lives of older people as ‘other’ to the emergent ‘normal’ (adult, relatively youthful, male paid worker) and trace its legacy to reveal points of continuity and change.


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4.3.2 Network externalities and increasing returns to scale

The reader should ask herself the following question: Would I subscribe to a telephone service knowing that nobody else subscribes to a telephone service?

The answer should be: Of course not! What use will anyone have from having a telephone when there is no one to talk to?

(Shy, 2001, p. 3)

The uncertainty surrounding production in the introductory phase, which places such importance on
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