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4.3 Summary

If social researchers are to be effective in understanding people, they need to be detached from common sense (the perspective of the person on the street). However, they should not be so detached that they fall into the trap of imposing their own categories upon the object without regard for the experience of those involved (the perspective of the expert).

The standpoint of the ‘stranger’ provides a way of mediating between the detached position of the scientist and the personal ex
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2 Personal lives

We start our exploration of the interrelationship of personal lives and social policy with personal stories.

Activity 1

Read Extracts 1, 2 and 3 below, and make notes on areas of similarity and difference. What questions are raised a
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5.4 Weaknesses of the regionalist project

In normative terms, as with empirical reality, regions are not necessarily more desirable than states, and in some respects could be distinctly worse. Despite the many shortcomings of existing states, it is by no means self-evident that regions would fare better in the face of global forces, and most regions, being significantly weaker than their states, would arguably be significantly less effective in delivering economic welfare, cultural and other rights. Such rights may be decreasing in e
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5.3 Origins of the regionalist project

The origins of the regionalist project can be traced back to Leopold Kohr's The Breakdown of Nations, first published in 1957 (Kohr, 1986). By ‘nations’, Kohr actually meant nation states and in particular big states, for his book was a polemic against the ‘bigness’ of states as the source of modern ills. Indeed he saw excessive size as the main cause of all social problems and his ideas would later be successfully popularised by E.F. Schumacher's slogan and best-seller Smal
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Learning outcomes

After studying this unit you should be able to:

  • recognise the varieties of region and sub-state nations that exist within Europe;

  • explain the growth of regionalism;

  • critically assess the view that what is evolving is a ‘Europe of the Regions’;

  • engage better with debates about the future direction of Europe, and the place of your nation or ‘region’ within it;

  • improve your skills of academic reading and note taki
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10.1 Overview

This unit has presented a variety of units that have been specifically developed to reflect the enormous interest in Scottish culture and society. The collection of units as a whole demonstrates The Open University's commitment to deliver a curriculum that is appropriate for the differing requirements of each of the countries in the United Kingdom.

These units have been collected and developed from across The Open University's catalogue, having been assessed as having particular relevan
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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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4.3 James Clerk Maxwell

James Clerk Maxwell produced a unified theory of the electromagnetic field and used it to show that light is a type of electromagnetic wave. This prediction dates from the early 1860s when Maxwell was at King's College, London. Shortly afterwards Maxwell decided to retire to his family estate in Galloway in order to concentrate on research, unhindered by other duties.

This unit presents Maxwell's greatest triumph – the prediction that electromagnetic waves can propagate vast distances
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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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References

Balibar, E. (2007) ‘Uprisings in the Banlieues’, Constellations, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 47–71.
Bradshaw, L. and Slonsky, L.B. (2005) ‘The real heroes and sheroes of New Orleans’, Socialist Worker (US, 9 September; also available online at http://www.socialistworker.org  (Accessed 5 Ju
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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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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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3.2 Looking at the family

Activity 3

3.1 Photographic content and context

Can we analyse photographs to tell us something valid about gender, ethnicity, class and nationality? As the wedding pictures example begins to suggest, there are traces of social facts embedded in the images, as well as evidence of the social conventions and organisational practices that underpin their production and diffusion or circulation. What will be clear is that there is no simple interpretational tool or reading skill available to us that allows us to reduce the picture to a simple f
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Visual Images in Social Sciences

How do social scientists use visual images?

What does a picture or image tell you? This unit is an introduction to analysing and interpreting photographs as social data. Who controls what the image is saying? You will look at how photographs provide visual evidence and how they can illustrate and support our ideas about society.

This material is from our archive and is an adapted extract from Introducing the social sciences (DD100) which is no longer taught by The
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4.2 Structure and agency in the explanation of the crime problem

The social sciences are both united and divided by the debate over structure and agency. That debate turns on the degree to which people are either free to act as they choose or are constrained by forces beyond their control and possibly beyond their perceptions.

Structural explanations of human behaviour argue that an unrestrained freedom of action is an illusion. Human behaviour is neither random nor purely self-determined. There is always a range of constraints, rules, pressures, es
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3.3 Quantitative and qualitative evidence

The Tables above provide official quantitative evidence: evidence, data or information which is expressed in numerical terms. On the face of it, this clearly shows that recorded crime increased significantly throughout the twentieth century, albeit with some ‘dips’ in recent years. Common sense is confirmed. But there are problems with these data. Remember, we are looking here at crimes recorded by the police. Do you think that all crimes are recorded? There might be different reas
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7.2 The importance of the market and the state: neo-liberalism and neo-Marxism

To begin with neo-liberalism, it is a key premise that the market is the primary means of coordinating economic activity, including the allocation of people to jobs. This assumes that rational actors make judgements about their earnings prospects to decide their best options – training to improve employability, as in Mandy's case, or accepting subsistence-level earnings, as Tamarla Owens did. To neo-liberals, both Mandy and Tamarla Owens would have used information they gleaned in their eve
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