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1.8.1 What happens next?

The next ten years are likely to be momentous for the history of Europe. However, in the same way that no social scientist was able to predict the collapse of the Soviet order, it is pointless to speculate on possible but improbable scenarios. At this point it is only possible to project toward the future on the basis of the existing parameters; the more accurate and detailed our knowledge of the present trends is, the more likely our forecasts are to have some success.

Europe is at a c
Author(s): The Open University

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1.10 Voice and the speaking subject

Discursive practices, as we have seen, order the shape of written and spoken discourse; they order the features which appear and the selection of words and phrases. But these properties are only a small subset of those which govern meaning-making. In this and in the next section we will be more concerned with patterns in the content of discourse and the psychological and sociological implications of those patterns. This will help elaborate further on the notion that language is constru
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1.6 Discursive practices

Some of the thinking behind the claim that discourse is social action has now been unpacked. But what explains the order and pattern in this social action? One source of regularity is the discursive practices which people collectively draw on to organize their conduct. Take a look back again at Extract 1. Even this short piece of discourse reveals many complex layers of these practices. It reveals that there is such a thing as an interaction order to use a concept developed by
Author(s): The Open University

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3.2 What does it mean for knowledge to be situated?

Scientific knowledge has been frequently portrayed as universally true. If this were the case then there would be no fundamental disagreements, for what counts as true would never change. However, what has been considered scientific in the past is now often seen as archaic or simply odd. The opposite approach would be to say that truth is relative – no one view is superior to any other. Both of these positions are simplistic. Contemporary defenders of science would argue that science is imp
Author(s): The Open University

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Learning outcomes

By the end of this unit you should understand:

  • changing constructions of ‘refugees’ and ‘asylum seekers’ over the last century;

  • ways in which the study of refugees and asylum seekers raises profound questions about the basis and legitimacy of claims for ‘citizenship’;

  • how the personal lives of refugees and asylum seekers have been shaped by social policy that constructs them as ‘other’;

  • how refugees and asylum seekers
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3.6 Summary

  • Since the heyday of the centralised nation state in the 1930s and 1940s, most of Europe's regions have grown increasingly more important in economic, political and/or cultural terms.

  • This growth has been largely in response to regional inequalities in economic development, threats to traditional regional cultures, and the political federalisation of states, whether to reduce their centralised power or to contain regional separatisms.


    Author(s): The Open University

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3.1 Introduction

Regionalism has grown remarkably since the high point of state centralism in the Second World War period. A succession of factors have come into play – uneven economic development, threats to regional cultures and languages, the decentralisation of some states, and more recently the impact of globalisation and European integration. The effects have been cumulative, with old factors continuing to operate while new ones were added, including, as we shall see
Author(s): The Open University

9.4 Working together with children: Stirling

This unit explores a wide range of children's experiences, a number of different services and interviews with a number of key practitioners. It features voluntary as well as statutory work with children and tries to capture some of the details of everyday life for children, parents and practitioners.

The associated video material features children, practitioners and practice in the Plus organisation based in Stirling, Scotland. Looking at the overview of the Plus organisation will give
Author(s): The Open University

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8.3 The politics of devolution

This unit examines ‘Scotland’. Having enjoyed political independence until 1707, the survival of many of Scotland's institutions – notably its systems of law, religion and education – after Union with England contributed to the preservation of its singular identity. The different way in which Scotland was incorporated into the UK, through a monarchical take-over rather than by conquest (as was the case in Wales and Ireland), may account for the lesser impact the development of the UK
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4.5 David Hume

This unit examines David Hume's reasons for being complacent in the face of death, as these are laid out in his suppressed essay of 1755, ‘Of the immortality of the soul’. More generally, they examine some of the shifts in attitude concerning death and religious belief which were taking place in Europe at the end of the eighteenth century, through examination of this and other short essays.

Hume was a pivotal figure in the Scottish Enlightenment and his death in 1776 was widely anti
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Learning outcomes

After studying this unit you should be able to:

  • provide a definition of identity;

  • recognise how gender and socio-economic categories such as class can be used as a source of identity;

  • discuss social structures in terms of gender, class and nation.


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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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5 Additional learning resources

Video resource

If you enjoyed the theme of the videos in this unit watch the video below to find out more about the OU course DD208 Welfare, crime and society.

Download this video clip.
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2 Note taking from an audio visual text

The first important point to make is that note taking is more than a process of summarising everything that you see; it must be an active process of engaging with the material and thinking it through for yourself. In the videos, the multidimensional nature of the visual images and the stories they convey means that you will not be able to take in everything on first viewing. The videos allow us to present visual as well as audio information and in a form that makes it easier for you to revisi
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References

Bernardes, J. (1987) ‘“Doing things with words”: Sociology and “Family Policy” debates’, Sociological Review, vol. 35, no. 4, pp. 679–702.
Bernardes, J. (1993) ‘Responsibilities in studying postmodern families’, Journal of Family Therapy, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 35–49.
Bernardes, J. (2003[1985]) ‘Do we really know what “the family” is?’
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Introduction

In this unit you will encounter many different voices and views of ‘family’, and sometimes you will also be invited to reflect on your own views and assumptions. So, we welcome you to the fascinating study of family meanings. By putting ‘meanings’ at centre stage, and using this as a framework to examine families and relationships, this unit will give you an opportunity to explore the shifting and subtle ways in which people themselves, researchers, policy-makers and professionals mak
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4.2 Nation and identity

Yet even if photographs are an ‘evidential trace’ of the reality they depict, they are far from perfect in this respect. Because a photograph could always have been made differently it cannot be ‘the whole truth’ about something (Becker, 1985, p. 101). If we think about photographs designed to inform (i.e. rather than art photographs in which questions of truth or reality are really not at issue) it will be obvious that the photographer's choices have determined what sort of ‘eviden
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1.2 The immediacy of the still photograph

Let's begin with an example that links an historical event to a photograph. Take a moment to think about the pictures you keep in your ‘mind's eye’. Now think about the Vietnam War for a few seconds. Try to recall what images you associate with that period. It may be that you are too young to recall anything about the time; you may remember it all too vividly. It really does not matter too much for this exercise. Just see what images come into your mind when you think about that time in r
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4.3 Structural explanations I: biology

There is a long and uneven tradition of claims that the origins of crime and deviance are biological. In the nineteenth century it was claimed, for example, that brain sizes and skull shapes could explain criminal behaviour. This kind of crude biological determinism has long been discredited, but it gave way to a more subtle and notionally scientific model of genetic determinism.

In the early twentieth century advocates of eugenics claimed to have created the science of improving
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