2.2 The challenge of methods

The methodological challenges facing the social sciences are best outlined in the form of a series of questions about how we should engage in research and what kind of research attitude is appropriate.

  • Should social scientists look to the assumptions and methods developed in the natural sciences or develop their own assumptions and methods?

  • Do the objects which we study in the social sciences, such as the self, society, the economy, i
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10 Further resources

A very useful overview of ‘migration’ can be found in Lewis (2003). A special issue of Critical Social Policy (2002, vol.22, no.3) on ‘Asylum and welfare’ focuses on refugees, asylum seekers and migration. Kushner's The Holocaust and the Liberal Imagination (1994) and London's Whitehall and the Jew (2000) provide comprehensive analyses of UK approaches to refugees in the 1930s.

In such a rapidly changing area of social policy, up-to-date information and anal
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7.1 Summary of Sections 1–3

In summary, this unit has endeavoured to substantiate a variety of related points which epitomise current trends and problems in governing European diversity.

‘Regions’ and ‘regionalism’ in Western Europe display great diversity in economic, social and cultural terms, within particular states as well as between states; regions vary widely in size, population, levels of development, history, identity and politics (or lack thereof). But since the heyday of the centralised nation s
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5.1 Introduction

The significance of regionalism hinges on empirical questions about the probable future of the EU and normative questions about the (un)desirability of different models for the future. A return to the traditional ‘Europe of Nations’ (that is, nation states) model is improbable precisely because of the growth of regionalism, as well as the firm establishment of the central institutions of the EU. On the other hand, because of the continuing power of states and their major say in European i
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4.5 Summary

  • The EU as presently constituted is itself a product of globalisation, and here the impact of globalisation has been heightened by the central institutions of the EU directly encouraging regionalism and cross-border cooperation between regions to further its own political and economic integration.

  • Regionalism has also been indirectly boosted by other EU policies, particularly the development of the Single European Market since the late 1980s
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4.4 The Committee of the Regions

The regions, however, have a privileged place in EU integration, and the Committee of the Regions has the status of an ‘expert’ which must be consulted on issues of cross-border cooperation. This Committee epitomises both the growth of EU regionalism and the obstacles it faces from diversity and from conflicts of interest with state governments. Strong regions, particularly German Länder, played a key role in establishing this ‘advisory committee of representatives of regional a
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7.3 What is poetry?

Have you always wanted to try to write poetry but never quite managed to start? This unit is designed to illustrate the techniques behind both the traditional forms of poetry and free verse. You will learn how you can use your own experiences to develop ideas and how to harness your imagination.

The unit introduces common techniques underlying free verse and traditional forms of poetry, and how it is necessary to use these techniques in order to harness what T.S. Eliot called the ‘log
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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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5.4 Dundee, jute and empire

This unit focuses on the economics of empire, and, in particular, of the British Empire in the second half of the nineteenth century. The theme of producers and consumers is central.

The unit starts by introducing some of the debates surrounding the economics of British imperialism. It then goes on to explore how empire and imperial trade shaped economic structures and urban society in late nineteenth-century Britain.

To access this material click on the unit link below. It leads
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5.3 Heritage case studies: Scotland

These case studies introduce various typologies of heritage and the methods used to study them. They help draw attention to the fact that the heritage traditions in England, Scotland and Wales are not the same and are enshrined in slightly different legislation. Every study of heritage requires an understanding of the legal context and the traditions and history governing the object of heritage.

The first case study, by Mary-Catherine Garden, involves public memories of two significant
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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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2.2 Gender categories

Young children's gender categories are highly stereotyped. This can lead to assured predictions of an individual's preferences based upon knowledge of their gender, and the kinds of activities that they may typically engage in. Children develop such rigid gender categories in their search for certainty about gender. These categories are essentialist, having a simple in-group and out-group distinction that children use for understanding masculinity and femininity, and for defining their own ge
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1.2 Who am I?

Let us start with an example of an individual and his identity which illustrates the link between the personal and the social. The social scientist Madan Sarup uses the example of his passport, which gives information about his identity in an official sense. Our passports name, describe and place us. A passport describes an individual; it names one person. It also states to which group, in particular which nation, that person belongs:

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Learning outcomes

As with DD208_1, this unit provides a further opportunity to develop your ability to

  • understand what we mean by the entanglements of social welfare and crime control, by exploring the tensions and relations between ‘watching over’ and watching out for’;

  • understand policy responses and their relevance to the course;

  • identify different kinds of evidence – in particular, visual evidence and interview evidence;

  • develop your ICT sk
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3.3 Bringing it all back home: the ‘problem estate’

It would be mistaken to deduce from the discussion thus far that problem populations and problem places only occur elsewhere. The focus of this section is to consider how such understandings also emerge in the UK. Our case study here is formed around a specific type of place which in recent decades has increasingly come to be perceived as a ‘problem’ – the deprived council estate.

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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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2.3 The impact of Katrina on New Orleans

Activity 1

Below are four extracts from different commentators reflecting on the impact of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans.

  • In what ways do they offer contrasting interpretations of the events
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2.2 Welfare and law enforcement

The conservative focus on, and allegations of, widespread crime and social disorder were contradicted by other eyewitness accounts. In the extract that follows, two white paramedics from San Francisco talk about their experiences in trying to escape from the flooding in New Orleans across a bridge connecting the mainly black New Orleans City to the largely white suburbs of Jefferson Parish.

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Learning outcomes

By the end of this unit you should have been able to:

  • develop knowledge and understanding of the complex and different ways in which questions of social justice and inequality come to be seen in terms of the deficient behaviour of different populations. In particular, how certain groups of people and places come to be identified as ‘problematic’ and how social welfare and crime concerns intersect in the management of these populations;

  • develop knowledge and un
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Introduction

Some commentators argue that social justice as an idea and an ideal is interwoven with issues of inequality, poverty and social exclusion. It is a comparatively straightforward task in the era of World Wide Web access (though by no means everywhere or for everyone) to locate sources of information illustrating the extent of poverty and inequality, though much of the latter, particularly in relation to the ownership and distribution of wealth, or undocumented labour or unpaid care, remains con
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