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Archive for March, 2017

Left Realism

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

A relatively easy way for students to get a handle on Left Realism is through three simple visualisations that can then be used to build-up a picture of this general approach to both explaining crime and deviance and suggesting solutions to the problem of crime. These visualisations involve:

  • A three-cornered approach to deviance
  • The criminogenic triangle
  • The square of crime.
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    A PowerPoint version of the above is also available for download.

    We can explore these ideas in more detail in a number of ways.

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    Commitments to Cohabitation

    Saturday, March 18th, 2017

    When thinking about differences and similarities between marriage and cohabitation one thing that tends to get overlooked is that, in terms of people’s reasons for making these commitments, neither is homogeneous; just as there are many and varied reasons for deciding to get married, the same is largely true of decisions about whether to cohabit.

    Smart and Stevens’ (2000) explored some of these reasons and identified two broadly different (ideal) types of cohabitative commitment through their interviews with 40 separated parents. This research identified a number of broad reasons for cohabitation:

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    Interpretivism: Emergent (Exploratory) Research

    Friday, March 17th, 2017

    Although the Hypothetico-deductive model describes an important way of doing research, by way of contrast (since not all sociologists believe the same things or do things in exactly the same way) we can look at an alternative “emergent (exploratory) research” model that can be closely associated with Interpretivist methodology.

    In general, this type of model follows the same basic flow identified by Oberg (1999) – albeit with some significant design modifications – in that it involves:

    1. Planning:

    A research issue is identified and a “research question” or “problem” takes shape. This may flow from background reading on the topic or the researcher may want to “come fresh” to the research to avoid being influenced by what others have said or written.

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    The ACT of Post-Feminism

    Monday, March 6th, 2017

    This is a feminist perspective that covers a wide range of different viewpoints, but at its core it refers to two broad ideas:

    Firstly, a belief that gender equality – in contemporary Western societies such as Britain and America at least – has been broadly achieved.

    Secondly, the claim that the 2nd wave feminism that brought both radical and Marxist feminist to the fore of the women’s movement from the 1960’s onwards has not only outlived its usefulness to women but is actually now responsible for making women frustrated, guilty and unhappy about their family and gender relationships.

    As you might expect both of the above are contested claims, both politically and sociologically (McRobbie (2007), for example, suggests the concept of post-feminism refers to “an active process by which feminist gains of the 1970s and 80s come to be undermined”) – but it’s nevertheless worth outlining three of the key ideas of this general approach, something we can do with the help of a simple mnemonic:

    We can flesh-out this simple idea in the following way:

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    Neo-Functionalism: More Millennial Family Functions

    Saturday, March 4th, 2017

    Another dimension to Neo-Functionalist thinking about contemporary families is to look more-closely at what happens within family groups and to use these insights to explain how and why families play such pivotal structural roles. Horwitz (2005), for example, has argued Neo-Functionalist perspectives contribute to our understanding of family functions in terms of the family group representing a Micro-Macro Bridge.

    In this respect the family is considered an institution that connects the micro world of the individual with the macro world of wider society (the “anonymous social institutions” such as work, government, education and so forth that develop in complex, large-scale, contemporary societies). The linkage between, on the one hand, social structures (the macro world) and on the other social actions (the micro world) is significant because it represents a way for Neo-Functionalism to explain the relationship between the individual and social structure, in terms of, for example, the family’s role in the primary socialisation process.

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    Updating Crime & Deviance

    Thursday, March 2nd, 2017

    Day Workshop with renowned sociologist and film-maker, Dr Steve Taylor

    Strain, Labelling, Realism etc. are still important because they underpin a lot of research in the contemporary study of Crime and Deviance. But supposing your students could demonstrate this with new concepts & 21st. Century research examples?

    This Workshop consolidates the key theories and concepts and then illustrates their application with clear, easy to understand up to date research.  For example, students read about moral panics, but how much more impressive could an answer be if they were able to bring in the recent concept of ‘amoral panics’?

    Content: 

    • Crime, Deviance, Order and Control: clarifying sociological approaches.
    • Globalisation & Crime: filling the gaps by linking to familiar sociological approaches
    • Researching Crime: methods clarified, evaluated & illustrated with new ideas & interactive Q & A practice.
    • Theory & Method: this challenging topic laid bare, simplified and illustrated.

    Free Crime and Deviance films provided!

    Additional Sessions on Family, Youth Culture & Research Methods, if required.

    What Teachers say 

    “Delivered with a real affection for the subject with pace and professionalism   Partly as a consequence of working with Steve we had an excellent set of results”: Stephen Base Verulam College

    “Excellent day. He brings in contemporary evidence and great links to exam skills”: Ann-Marie Taylor Coleg Cambria

    “Brilliant exam focused training”: Mandy Gordon, Highfield School

    “Our students loved it, Steve got them to think outside the box”: Pauline Kendal, Bedford Sixth Form

    What Students Say

    ‘He was even better than in the videos. Loved it.’

    ‘Makes the theories come alive by linking them to the studies’.

    ‘Liked learning about the new studies, especially the gang ones.’

    ‘I feel so much more confident after Steve’s class.’

    ‘I could never understand theory and methods and now I do.’

    Cost: inclusive & regardless of number of schools attending

    Day: £500

    Half day: £300

    For more information, contact:

    Email: steve@shortcutstv.com

    Tel: 07771-561521

    Seven Functions of Culture

    Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

    As you may have noticed I’m quite attached to the idea of lists, so this second “list post” (did you see what I did there?) should come as no surprise. Nor should it be surprising that the list focuses on functions. Again. I can’t really explain why there’s so many Functionalist lists – perhaps they just really like them?

    Anyway, if you’re looking at the concept of culture – what Fisher (1997) calls “shared behaviour…that systematises the way people do things, thus avoiding confusion and allowing cooperation so that groups of people can accomplish what no single individual could do alone” – Mazrui (1996) has identified seven functions culture performs for both societies and individuals.

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