7 FAQs

These questions represent general issues about ‘getting started’, but they have a particular focus on special requirements, whether it’s about volunteering for particular age groups or virtual volunteering for those with a lack of regular time to commit, or problems with mobility.

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9.5 Social work and the law in Scotland

In this unit you will be asked to reflect on the meanings of both social work and law. You will find that these concepts are open to a range of possible definitions, and that the functions of social work and law can change depending on the practice context. Their meaning is also affected by the perspective from which they are viewed, for example, the service user's experience of social work and law will not always match the expectations of the professional, or the perceptions of the general p
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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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4.2 Introducing surveillance

The videos in this section will introduce you to surveillance as an idea and a practice. The main theme of these videos is how surveillance can be viewed as double-edged: it has both protective and disciplinary aspects to it. This double-edged nature of surveillance is explored through a case study of a shopping mall – the White Rose Centre on the outskirts of Leeds. You will come across a range of different evidence, including interviews with an academic, a policymaker and different users
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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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4.5 Summary

So far, then, we have seen that family meanings matter for individuals, for social policy and professional practices, and for family studies – both for the ways in which family studies are undertaken, and for the ways in which such academic work impinges upon wider understandings and social processes. Each area of family meanings may thus also shape each of the other areas.


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4.3 Family meanings matter in social policies and professional practices

In the studies by Walkover and Ribbens we can see individuals caught between a generalised cultural ideal and the messiness and ambivalences of everyday lives. This tension between the generality of ‘family’ as an idealised model, and the fluidity of individual lives in everyday contexts, is also a key difficulty for the development of social policies, and for the procedures and administrative structures of professional practices. This takes us back to Bernardes' question: how is it possi
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4.2 Family meanings matter to people in their individual lives and relationships

Survey research in the UK, reported by Jacqui Scott (1997), shows the extent to which families matter when people are asked about the key events in their lives over the previous year. While there were some differences by gender and age, the overall pattern was clear: events concerning family lives were considered to be the most significant. And, in the intricacies of personal lives and relationships, family meanings can be complex and powerful.

As an example of how powerful these meanin
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4.1 Family and meanings?

We have considered the difficulties of pinning down family definitions and meanings. We now ask whether it is indeed important to explore and unravel these complexities. Do the varieties of family meanings – or the meaning of ‘family’ itself – matter, or do they just provide a minor intellectual diversion? You may like to pause here for a moment to consider how you would answer this question for yourself. Do you think they matter, and if so, in what ways?

We consider this questi
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2.3 Realist and conventionalist approaches

In most modern, urban, industrial societies, still images surround people for much of their daily lives: at home, at work, during leisure, while travelling. Does the evidence they offer differ fundamentally from that which comes from facts and figures printed on a page? It may be presented differently but we can derive socially relevant information as readily from a photograph as we can from written or numerical data. In some ways, it can be argued that the information that we can acqu
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4.5 Structural explanations III: cultures

An early and influential body of research by the Chicago School of sociology explained criminal behaviour in terms of cultural structures. The school studied American male juvenile delinquents – or young offenders – in inter-war American cities (Shaw and McKay, 1969). Here we use the term culture to describe the web of meanings and values that individuals live their life within. (Recall from Section 1.1 how important every-day norms and conventions were in defining the meaning of c
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4.4 Structural explanations II: families

Our second example of structural explanations of criminal behaviour takes a different starting point. It looks at pathological or problem families and the transmission of criminal careers within them. This work is most closely associated with the social-psychological research of David Farrington (1994).

Farrington's argument has two core components. First, he argues that criminal offending is part of a larger syndrome of anti-social behaviour. A syndrome is a medica
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2.4 Summary

  • While social scientists think about crime analytically, most of the time individuals think about crime in terms of narratives or stories. Narratives which describe and explain their lives.

  • Societies also construct narratives about themselves. The dominant common-sense story about the crime problem in the contemporary UK is that a long wave of rising crime has created a society that is frightened, that feels both individual safety and the wi
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Acknowledgements

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The content ackno
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3.2 Summary

  • Modern sport is characterised by stories and heroes.

  • There is enormous interest in the lives of sports celebrities, who become the heroes of the sports stories that the media present.

  • Sports stars may be more ‘real’ than film stars because they actually do what they are famous for (i.e. they really perform athletic feats, they don’t act out parts).


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3.2 Technology and costs in the short run

Advertising leaflets are dropping through letter boxes around the UK, as we are writing this chapter, from cable suppliers trying to attract new customers for their services. They promise to provide a telephone line, a bundle of television channels, an Internet connection, home shopping and movies-on-demand, all at a ‘bargain price’. These leaflets raise some interesting questions. How does expanding output of cable services by selling to new customers make it possible to offer them for s
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2.1 Industrial revolutions and technological change

In this section I shall look at the way that technological innovations in previous eras, such as the invention of electricity in the early 1900s, radically affected the way society organised production and at how these changes spurred general economic growth. In many instances, the changes were so large that they defined an entire period, just as the rise of information technologies has led some to call the current era the ‘information age’.

The way that technological change can fun
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Learning outcomes

After studying this unit you should be able to:

  • understand the relationship between technological change and industrial revolutions;

  • appreciate the pervasive effect that new technologies can have on the economy and, in particular, on productivity;

  • understand how industry dynamics can be analysed using the ‘industrial life cycle’ model;

  • use data and historical examples to support economic arguments.


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Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • identify criteria to evaluate whether prison works.


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Acknowledgements

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