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3.2 Looking at the family

Activity 3

2.2 Theories, documents and knowledge

Documentary evidence is often messy and inconsistent, and even where it seems to be ‘factual’ (for example in the form of official records) its precise meaning in terms of wider social processes is far from clear. There is uncertainty about what it means, as well as the representation of uncertainty and diversity in the images. In every case, the meaning of the evidence is dependent on interpretation, that is, the part of the theory we employ to understand what is going on.
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2.1 Photographs as documentary evidence

As the discussion of context makes clear, we can begin to ask many questions about the role that images may play in the social sciences. Photographs are documents and like other documentary records they are a physical trace of an actual event. However, as with all documentary evidence, their meaning is not fixed. Other examples of documents used by the social sciences can demonstrate this point.

Documentary evidence can come from official records such as a marriage certificate, a census
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References

Arber, S. and Ginn, J. (1995) Connecting Gender and Ageing, Buckingham, Open University Press.
Bardasi, E. and Jenkins, S. (2002) Income in Later Life: Work History Matters, Bristol, Policy Press and Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
Blackburn, R. (2002) Banking on Death or, Investing in Life: The History and Future of Pensions, London, Verso.
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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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3.2 The 1908 Pensions Act and the inter-war years: counting age and discounting older workers

The 1908 Pensions Act represented the first time welfare interventions in older age were based on chronological age. It set the pension age at 70 years. Prior to this, although chronological age was often noted in Poor Law records, it did not constitute the basis of eligibility. Rather, age, and older age specifically, was constructed in terms of particular forms of embodiment, with older people being defined as those whose bodies were ‘past’ work, ‘worn out’ by work or ‘too frail
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2.3 Older lives and elder care homes: care and control

The de facto constitution of workhouses as ‘older’ spaces can be viewed as representing a precursor to public elder care homes as these developed later in the twentieth century. Indeed, the numbers of older people in such care homes today remains consistent with the 5 per cent of older people inhabiting workhouses at the end of the nineteenth century (Midwinter, 1997). Constituted as sites of care rather than control, these homes have nonetheless been subject to considerable critical scru
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2.2 Older lives and the shadows of the workhouse: mediating ‘welfare’ through the thre

For much of the nineteenth century, the experience of public welfare by older working-class people was mediated through the local administrations of the 1834 New Poor Law Act (a separate Act was introduced in Scotland in 1845) and the deterrent of the workhouse that provided its spine. The Act enshrined a particular set of social relations underpinned by the dominant liberal political ideology of laissez-faire. Predicated on a philosophy of non-state intervention, this ideology advocat
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3.6 Population policy

The period of fertility decline in Britain coincided with a time when anxieties about population control came to dominate a wide range of debates about social policy. These debates originated in two different theories of population: Malthusian ideas about overpopulation and eugenics – the ‘science’ of selective breeding.

An Essay on the Principle of Population by Reverend Thomas Malthus, published in 1798, argued that populations would inevitably increase more rapidl
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5 Conclusion

The idea of the double whammy brings together the two driving forces behind changes in industrial structure, with which this course opened and now closes. The use of a new technology causes a decline in the costs of production, which in turn encourages a rapid take-up by consumers of products embodying the new technology. This course has explored the factors affecting consumer demand. While the price of the product was found to be of crucial importance, socio-economic influences such as cultu
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Learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • appreciate the importance of technological change, costs of production and consumer preferences to the changing organisation of production

  • understand the relation between the quantity demanded of a good and its price as represented by the demand curve

  • understand economic models of the relation between firms’ costs and output

  • analyse the role of technology and costs in influencing in
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Questions for review and discussion

Question 9

Suppose a firm uses 200 hours of labour per day and produces 4000 mobile phones. It then reduces its labour inputs to 100 hours per day and finds it can produce 3000 phones. Which one of the following is a c
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5 Conclusion

This chapter has enabled you to think about the essential role of technological change in determining economy-wide growth and the growth of firms and industries. We have seen that many issues surrounding the new economy are really issues around the dynamics of technological change: rapid increases in productivity, the emergence of many small firms, new products and new processes, and so on. The main lesson of the course has been to provide a historical perspective to the introduction of new t
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4.7 The future?

In the USA, the automobile reached the 50 per cent household penetration rate in 1923, about 23 years into the industry's development. The PC reached that threshold rate in 1999, also about 23 years into its development. Given the discussion in Section 3, this suggests that the economy-wide effects of the PC have yet to
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4.6 Changes in industry structure

How did the turbulence caused by new firms entering and leaving the industry, radical technological change and falling prices affect the overall industry structure? The term ‘industry structure’ refers mainly to the way in which power is distributed among firms. This can be described by factors such as the number of firms in the industry and the distribution of market shares (the market share of a firm is its share of total industry production expressed as a percentage).

An i
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Introduction

This course will help you understand the expressions social construction and social constructionism. These terms are used in the study of the Social Sciences and, in particular, in relation to Social Policy. The materials are primarily an audio file, originally 28 minutes in length and recorded in 2001.

This OpenLearn course provides a sample of Level 1 study in Author(s): The Open University

Keep on learning

Study another free course

There are more than 800 courses on OpenLearn for you to
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2.3 Activity 1: Discussion

Responding to the way in which the content and style of photographs are so often limited by the production and distribution processes of the mass media, Owen Logan uses digital technology to produce a new way of seeing the oil industry. As you can see, many of his pictures are made by digitally splicing separate photographs together. The effects of these montages are in part about the relationship between what is put together. For example, to me Logan's use of a photograph of an oil platform
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2.3 Activity 1: Flora Macdonald

temp – ground stewardess – office manager – accountant

Figure 1.4

Introduction

The material presented here focuses on the politics of racial violence in Britain. The material is an audio file, originally 30 minutes in length, and examines the issues around this subject. It was recorded in 1995.

This OpenLearn course provides a sample of Level 2 study in Sociology.


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