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4.1 A situated practice

In the previous sections we considered the challenges facing the contemporary social sciences and the issues raised by thinking of social research as a situated practice. You will already have identified the ways in which the social sciences are complicated by the problem of researchers attempting to know and understand the social world they inhabit. At this point it is useful to develop a checklist of the ways that this has affected social research practice.


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3 Social policy and citizenship

Immigration law and policy do not traditionally appear under the heading of ‘social policy’. We argue here for a broader definition that includes these, since the laws, policies and procedures concerned with the rights of people to enter the UK and to claim refuge can have a profound effect on personal lives, as our personal stories have already shown.

Immigration and asylum is a rapidly changing area of social policy. Four major pieces of legislation were enacted between 1993 and 2
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References

Balibar, E. (2007) ‘Uprisings in the Banlieues’, Constellations, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 47–71.
Bradshaw, L. and Slonsky, L.B. (2005) ‘The real heroes and sheroes of New Orleans’, Socialist Worker (US, 9 September; also available online at http://www.socialistworker.org (Access
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Conclusion

This free course provided an introduction to studying sociology. It took you through a series of exercises designed to develop your approach to study and learning at a distance and helped to improve your confidence as an independent learner.


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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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References

Christiansen, K.O. (1977) ‘A review of studies of criminality among twins’ in Mednick, S.A. and Christiansen, K.O. (eds) Bisocial Bases of Criminal Behaviour, New York, Gardner Press, pp. 45–88.
Clarke, R.V. and Coleman, D. (1980) Designing Out Crime, London, HMSO.
Cohen, S. (1973) Folk Devils and Moral Panics, London, Paladin.
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Learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • understand how arguments may be presented in the Social Sciences.


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Keep on learning

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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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3.2 Counting the crime problem

What kind of evidence would support the claims of the common-sense narrative? Where would it come from and where would you find it? Most social scientists would start with the people who actually spend their time counting these things – governments. Government agencies of all kinds spend a great deal of time and money producing official statistics, recording crime rates, conviction rates, the size of prison populations, and so on.

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Learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • appreciate different understandings of the new economy

  • understand claims about the benefits and costs of the new economy.


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Introduction

This course considers four ways in which some social scientists have claimed that there might be a ‘new economy’ coming in to being: the switch from manufacturing to services, globalisation, new technology and flexible labour markets. The good and bad points of economic change, its benefits and costs, are discussed. For example, what does it mean for people trying desparately to balnace the urgent demands of work and life?

This OpenLearn course provides a sample of Level 1 study in
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Acknowledgements

This course is subject to Creative Commons licence (attribution, non commercial, non derivative). For copyright reasons any third party materials must not be used in isolation from the course or for any other purpose. Acknowledgements must always accompany use of course. Any adverts contained in this course are for the purposes of academic analysis only and d
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Keep on learning

Study another free course

There are more than 800 courses on OpenLearn for you to
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Introduction

What value does art have in the school curriculum? This unit, primarily aimed at colleagues teaching art in schools, explores the justification for including art in the school curriculum together with some of the current criticisms commonly heard.

Find out more about studying with The Open University by visiting our online prospect
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4 The celebrity persona and the celebrity text

It has been emphasised that we can only know stars through media texts (Dyer, 1998) and this can be extended to seeing celebrities themselves as texts, though for celebrities of any longevity we would certainly have to consider them as large, complex and modulating ones. This section will look at how we might go about reading such a text. There is a distinction between the ‘real’ person and a persona presented in the public arena. One pervasive feature of the ‘large celebrity text’ is
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Learning to learn: Exploring learning
In this free course, Learning to learn: Exploring learning, we encourage you to consider two additional perspectives that can illuminate your learning. The first is the perspective that other people you know can provide; the second is the perspective that can be provided by academic theories about learning. We think that these two perspectives can help you prepare for personal change. PLEASE NOTE: this course is currently being reviewed. An updated and improved version of the course can be found
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Except for third party materials and otherwise stated (see http://www.open.ac.uk/conditions terms and conditions), this content is made available under a http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2

1 The purpose, efficacy and regulation of CCTV

John Muncie presents a series of opposing views about the purpose, efficacy and regulation of CCTV. The audio programme was recorded in 1994.

Participants in the audio programme were:

  • John Muncie Professor of Criminology at The Open University;

  • Bob Patison Superintendent with the Newcastle Police force;

  • Andrew Puddephat General Secretary of Liberty (civil rights organisation);


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1 The problem with crime: Glasgow

Sean Damer examines the problem of crime in relation to Glasgow. The audio programme was recorded in 2001.

Participants in the audio programme were:

  • Sean Damer Staff Tutor in Politics for The Open University, Scotland and is based in the University of Glasgow;

  • Moira Burgess a pre-eminent bibliographer of Glasgow and analyst of Glasgow in fiction;

  • Jimmy Boyle a graduate of Barlinnie Prison's
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Introduction

The material presented here raises general themes of order and disorder, the way they are represented or signified, and the place of crime in these representations. The material is based upon an audio file, originally 29 minutes in length, and examines the problem of crime in relation to the city of Glasgow. It was recorded in 1999.

This OpenLearn course provides a sample of Level 2 study in Author(s): The Open University

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