Learning outcomes

After studying this unit you should be able to:

  • understand the main features of the core neoclassical microeconomic theory;

  • give examples of key ideas, theories and debates in microeconomic theory;

  • illustrate a variety of applied economic theories and models to analyse economic problems and events.


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References

Anderson, D. (1991) The Unmentionable Face of Poverty in the Nineties: Domestic Incompetence, Improvidence and Male Irresponsibility in Low Income Families, London, Social Affairs Unit.
Barash, P. (1981) Sociobiology: The Whisperings Within, London, Fontana.
Berger, P. and Luckmann, T. (1967) The Social Construction of Reality, London, Allen Lane.

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7.3 Summary

The idea of discourse alerts us to a number of issues about the social construction of social problems. It suggests that we need to look beyond competing theories or perspectives to look at how knowledge is organised around central themes that allow the different theories to compete. Discourses define what the problem is, and it is because theories share the definition of the problem that they can compete and argue. Perspectives that start somewhere else – or do not share the definition of
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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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3.3 Poverty as the result of poor people

The second cluster of common-sense ideas about poverty centre around the theme that the character and behaviour of some types of people causes them to be poor. Such people are in some way ‘flawed’. There may, of course, be different types of flaw, but poor people are distinguished from the rest of ‘us’ by some characteristic that makes ‘them’ poor. This might be their moral character (they are lazy, shiftless, workshy); it might be their abilities or capacities (they cannot budget
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2.1 Common sense and social problems

This concern with social construction may seem troubling or even a distraction from the real business of studying social problems. However, it is built on one of the starting points of the social scientific approach, namely that in order to study society we must distance ourselves from what we already know about it. We need to become ‘strangers’ in a world that is familiar. The defining characteristic of a ‘stranger’ is that she or he does not know those things which we take for grant
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Integrated safety, health and environmental management: An introduction
Life is full of risk. In this free course, Integrated safety, health and environmental management: An introduction, 'risk' describes the probability and consequences of harm or, at worst, disaster. Risk management involves many stakeholders and integrated management systems help to ensure that safety, quality, environmental and business risks are all managed correctly. The course also looks at emergency preparedness, that is, the management of emergencies and disasters.
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Introduction

Why is the way something looks important? Text, colour, images, moving images and sound all interact to produce a user friendly environment within a user interface. This course will help you understand the effect each software component has on the user and explain how a consistent and thoughtful application of these components can have a significant impact on the ‘look’ of final product.

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

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Introduction

This key skill develops your information technology (IT) skills in your studies, work or other activities over a period of time. To tackle all of this key skill, you will need to plan your work over at least 3–4 months to give yourself enough time to practise and improve your skills, to seek feedback from others, to monitor your progress and evaluate your strategy and present outcomes.

Skills in information technology cover a broad range, from using software unitages to developing a c
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Objectives for Section 5

After studying this section you should be able to do the following.

  • Recognise and use the terminology: binary operation, infix notation, quotient and remainder (associated with integer division).

  • Use the notation for various binary operations introduced in the text, in particular DIV and MOD on integers; and ∧ (and) and ∨ (or) on Boolean values.

  • Suggest appropriate signatures and preconditio
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Processes that can be applied to data

Having looked at some forms of data, we now turn our attention to processes that can be applied to data. Each process that we consider in this section will input data of a specified form, and will result in a corresponding value. For example, one process, which we will call ASC, takes a character as input, and has as its resulting value the integer giving the ASCII code of the input character (as listed in Author(s): The Open University

2.2 Vertical communication

Figure 6 shows the OSI view of adjacent layers. The interface between two layers in the same system is called a service access point (SAP). One of the features of a service access point is that it has an identifier, or an address, which allows each communication between adjacent layers to be uniquely identified. The processes that communicate across the interface are called entities. These are typically software routines, but may also be hardware components. The notation in Figu
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Learning outcomes

After studying this unit you should be able to:

  • evaluate technical descriptions of communication protocols and demonstrate your understanding of their operation;

  • describe the characteristics of circuit-switched and packet-switched networks, and of connectionless and connection-oriented modes in packet-switched networks;

  • describe the role played by primitives in the OSI reference model;

  • explain how ‘vertical’ and ‘horizontal’
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8 Summary

In this unit you have learned about the difference between the analogue world we inhabit and the digital world of the computer.

I've described how features of our world can ‘cross the boundary’ and be represented or modelled in the digital world, and then brought back across the boundary to us.

More excitingly, computer programs that manipulate digital representations of our world enable us to:

  • simulate physical and social processes;
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5.5.4 Loudspeakers

Speakers also produce an analogue output. The audio program inside the boundary converts the digital encoding of the sound to a series of electrical pulses that are sent to the speaker, where they cause a cone of stiffened paper (or some synthetic material) to vibrate in and out. This makes the air vibrate in the characteristic sound wave.


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5.5.3 Plotters

A plotter is a special type of printing device mostly used by architects, engineers and map makers. Here the printed output is produced by moving a pen across the paper. Sometimes several differently coloured pens are available. Plotters are obviously most suitable for line drawings, which is why architects, for instance, use them. I've mentioned them here, however, because – in contrast with monitors and printers – they produce an analogue output directly.


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4.11.1 Digital still cameras and camcorders

These devices are now widely and (fairly) cheaply available. There is no film. You point your camera, take your shot and get a compressed digital image that can be transferred straight onto a computer, where it can be edited or printed. Digital still cameras usually compress their images into JPEG format and store them on a tiny, removable memory card inside the camera; the latest digital camcorders can record in MPEG format, stored on a special tape. Both devices work by means of an electron
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4.2.3 Text capture devices

Practically, how can we take text across the boundary?

SAQ 8

What are the main devices for transforming text into digital form inside the computer?

Answer


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3.9 A few more terms

Just to round off this description of the interior of the digital world, let me introduce and define a few more terms that you will come across again in this course and in any future studies of computers. Specifically, you may have heard the terms bits, bytes and words used in connection with computers. Now that we have taken a look at the binary system that underlies computer arithmetic, you will find there is no mystery in any of these three terms.

The word Bit is
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