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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6.2 ‘No-choice’ dispersal

Dispersal as a strategy aimed at resolving tensions, avoiding ‘concentrations of aliens’ and preserving ‘ethnic balance’ and ‘cultural homogeneity’ is not a new idea, but one proposed for the settlement of successive groups of refugees, and indeed immigrants, since the 1930s, and also used in the 1960s and 1970s in relation to housing and education (Lewis, 1998). The government's asylum dispersal policy of 1999, intended to ‘ease the burden’ of the south-east of England, was b
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6.1 ‘Maybe you can look, but you cannot touch’: asylum and restricting access to welfa

So far we have considered meanings of citizenship in terms of legal status, national identity and belonging. In this section we want to explore it in terms of ‘access to welfare’, recognising that people who flee from their country of origin are likely to require assistance and support when they arrive. There is a long history of the state linking controls on access to welfare and control of migration since the 1905 Aliens Act (Lewis, 2003).

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5.3. 1 What would you include in such a test?

An advisory group which drew up proposals for the new ‘Life in the United Kingdom’ naturalisation test, believed that the ‘two senses of “citizenship”, as legal naturalisation and as participation in public life, should support each other. In what has long been a multicultural society, new citizens should be equipped to be active citizens’ (Home Office Immigration and Nationality Directorate, 2003, Section 2).

Although they claimed that becoming British ‘does not mean assi
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4.2 Feminist perspectives: who counts as a refugee?

The UN Convention has a very narrow definition of a ‘refugee’, which does not ‘accommodate those people who are forced to leave their country of origin because of economic and/or social disruption caused by environmental, political or economic turmoil or war. These are precisely the reasons that propel most refugees from the underdeveloped South’ (Lewis, 2003, p. 327). If we examine this definition further through a feminist theoretical perspective, we can see how social policy operat
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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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1 Migrants and borders

These videos look at the issue of ‘gating’ in the context of border control policies and practices concerning international migrants. You will come across ideas of inclusion and exclusion, and how these relate to internal as well as external borders. The external border on which part of the video focuses is in southern Spain, where the experiences of African migrants are explored and forms of border control identified. These experiences are related to the UK where bordering is explored th
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4 Review: misrecognition, disrespect and the politics of fear

A recurring theme in discussions of poverty is the distinction between ‘the poor’ and ‘the non-poor’. Echoing nineteenth-century ideas of the ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ poor, or 1930s notions of ‘problem estates’, such distinctions continue to permeate representations of poor populations today and also often figure prominently in policy.

Binary classifications such as those highlighted in Author(s): The Open University

3.2 Urban unrest: the case of the French urban periphery

‘France had a rebellion of its underclass’, argued American social scientist Immanuel Wallerstein (2005). He was referring to the ‘unrest’ or ‘riots’ which began on Thursday 28 October 2005 in Clichy-sous-Bois, a large public housing estate, or banlieue, on the outskirts of Paris, and then spread to a number of other areas across urban France. The riots were sparked by the accidental deaths of two young boys fleeing the police. The boys were subsequently referred to by the
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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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Learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • demonstrate a 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

  • Understand 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

  • demonstrate
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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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2.3 What's so difficult?

Morgan's discussion helps us to think about how we can develop research, policies and interventions around ‘family’ when the key term is so problematic. But we also need to explore further just what is so difficult about this endeavour. There are also some clues to this in Morgan's discussion, in which he points out that:

  • there is a close linkage between everyday and academic language of family

  • there is a whole variety of a
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1.4 Structures of power & inequalities

At the same time, such judgements and responses are not just personal matters: they are also embedded in all sorts of wider and interpersonal processes of power and inequality. These processes shape social policies, professional interventions, and representations in the media, as well as underpinning everyday social interactions in family lives and relationships. If we focus on family meanings, we may not always put issues of power, material inequalities, and moral evaluations at the centre o
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Learning outcomes

After studying this course, 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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Introduction

One of the most fascinating and productive ways of using your computer for study is connecting to the internet to access the extensive amount of information available on the web. Such a diverse range of material brings its own challenges.

It's therefore useful to know how to search effectively. Have a look at our Web Guide (accessed 8 November 2006).

The BBC's Webwise online course (accessed 8 November 2006) will also help you become a confident web user.

This
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4.8 Not everyone is participating

It can be annoying if there are some people in your tutor group who don't participate in discussions. You may feel that this is unfair, or that you are doing more than your fair share of the work.

There's often a minority of people who don't join in at all, for a variety of reasons – pressure of personal circumstances, illness, shyness, or deliberate decision. And different people may be at different stages in the course. A benefit of studying online is that you can fit your studying
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4.2 Why online conferencing is useful

Online conferencing can make a big difference by making you feel part of the learning community, connecting to other students and keeping you motivated. It's a help to know that other people are struggling with the same issues as you, and that you can share problems and ideas at any time of day or night.

It's also a good way for students to work together, rather than individually. Group working is becoming an important element of many courses, partly because it is increasingly the way t
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3.1 Introduction

One of the most useful and rewarding things you can do with your computer is use it to communicate with your tutor, other students, and course staff.

If you like exchanging ideas and information, sharing support with other students, asking questions and getting feedback from your tutor, then online communication can add a whole new dimension to your learning:

“Email from another student really kept me going
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