Before the introduction of the household benefit cap in the UK in 2013 the previous mechanism there limited the income of social assistance recipients was the wage stop, operating for four decades between 1935 and 1975. Similar to the benefit cap, the wage stop reflected and reproduced concerns with incentivising unemployed people to labour. This raises questions about why the wage stop was abolished in the mid-1970s when worries about unemployment continued, particularly its intersections with out-of-work benefits. It is widely argued that the abolition of the wage stop was a consequence of lobbying by the Child Poverty Action Group. Drawing upon records held at the UK’s National Archives, this article argues that this is an over-simplified explanation that, first, ignores concerns with the wage stop that pre-dated the Child Poverty Action Group’s criticism of it, including concerns within the assistance boards with its administration. And, second, while by the mid-1970s there was (albeit ambiguous) concern with the impacts of the wage stop, there was a shift in approach that emphasised the supplementation of low wages with social security benefits, rather than forcing social assistance below the assessed needs of households, as being a preferable means of ensuring the incentive to take wage-labour.
Understanding how policymakers define research and differentiate it from other sources of data is critical for scientists to improve how they conduct and communicate research to policy audiences. Yet, few studies have explicitly asked policymakers – particularly state legislators in the USA – how they define research evidence.
We sought to fill this gap via in-depth interviews with 168 policymakers from two Midwestern states; 32 of whom were nominated by their colleagues as exemplar research users. Findings were triangulated via interviews with experienced key informants from both states. In-depth interviews were the preferred methodology for our research question, as they offered legislators the chance to describe research in their own words and elaborate on examples when needed.
For many legislators, definitions of research largely aligned with how the scientific community might define research; both Republicans and Democrats defined research as peer-reviewed studies with specific qualities that distinguish research evidence from other types of information. However, some legislators defined research with a broader lens, including different types of information (for example, anecdotes) and qualities of information (for example, accessibility, relevance, credibility, and unbiased) as part of their definition.
Discussion and conclusions:
Researchers may better engage policy audiences by referring to the types and qualities legislators mentioned because policymakers prefer evidence from rigorous studies to those that are poorly executed or politically motivated. Legislators called this ‘bogus’ research, ‘party’ research or ‘pseudoscience’. Researchers can signal their credibility by being transparent regarding funding sources and reasons or motivation for conducting studies.
The choosing consumer has been a prominent figure within consumption research, alternatively celebrated as enabling the expression of lifestyles and tastes or criticised for overlooking consumers as embedded in interconnected mundane practices. While sociologically oriented consumption research has explored the multiplicity of consumer roles beyond ‘chooser’, the figure of the choosing consumer persists in many research streams and in our shared cultural imagination. This article joins previous research on the ethics of consumption that has explored tensions between choosing and relational consumers. It does so by introducing the logic of choice and the logic of care to consumption research. Developed by Annemarie , these logics can be seen as ideal types representing contrasting styles of navigating decision-making, ethics, and questions of the good life. The logic of care emphasises attentive doings that aim to improve conditions in specific situations, seeking moderation rather than control, whereas the logic of choice starts out from sovereign individuals making clear-cut decisions. Using examples from a research project on everyday meat consumption practices, we develop a conceptualisation of the central dimensions of these logics within food consumption. The logics of choice and care enact particular worlds and ways of being in them, bringing forth the ontological politics of consumption. Consequently, we advocate for cultivating care in the world of consumption currently dominated by choice, since it enacts a more merciful framing of ethical consumption, emphasising our shared responsibility for ‘as well as possible’ relations without tipping over into guilt.
This commentary reinforces a central commitment of life course research: to make visible how social change matters in human lives. This paper captures a moderated conversation with four senior scholars about how they came to study the intersection between social change and life experience, why this intersection is so important to life course studies, and theoretical and methodological imperatives and challenges that come with it.
Adult arrest records were examined for a cohort of 150 public high school males named as friends by classmates 28 years earlier. The overall adult arrest rate was 35.3%. The arrest rate for males with at least one disciplinary referral was 59.2%. Friendship data were divided into offender–offender, offender–non-offender and non-offender–non-offender dyads. The proportion of offender–offender dyads was four times greater than offender–non-offender dyads, both for those with and without disciplinary referrals. These results are interpreted as indications of the possible influence of high school friends on adult offences. Arrests were disproportionally for violent offences against females among those who shared high school friendships. An interpretation that negative attitudes, emotions and behaviour toward females formed during activities with friends in high school, leading to a trajectory of violence towards women, is presented. Recommendations are made for interventions for adolescent male anger towards females to prevent adult domestic and intimate partner violence. Suggested interventions include anger management, school violence prevention, dating violence prevention and youth mentoring programmes. Also recommended is to change punitive school policies that bring students with behaviour problems together to opportunities for positive experiences, such as through organised activities, volunteer service in the community and restorative justice practices.
Stories of the lived experience of suffering or injustice can be powerful vehicles for building empathy and insight into the stigma, shame, pain and indignity of others. Stories can create a foundation on which experiential learning builds. But just as stories can draw us into proximity with each other, they can also cast a spell of mystique or exoticism. When stories evoke discomfort, or challenge our sense of how things should be, they can create distance between ‘us’ (listeners) and ‘them’ (story-holders). Stories about the lived experience of having been locked up, incarcerated, punished – for doing the wrong thing – can be such a place where imagination and indignation collide. This chapter explores this rocky narrative terrain between empathy and antipathy in the context of teaching undergraduate criminology students about the harms of imprisonment and the challenges and possibilities of penal abolition.
Working on a creative research narrative of your own family is challenging, especially if it includes memories of war, forced migration, grief and resilience. How do you illustrate a multifaceted representation of your parents when your short story is about one life-threatening event? How do you ask interview questions, knowing it always affects your loved ones? This chapter explores two challenges involved in developing the author’s creative graphic narrative book. These include the impact of telling untellable stories and the dilemma of ‘ethical’ data collection with family members.
Based on the author’s experiences writing a graphic novel about the effect of events of 1971, when East Pakistan became Bangladesh and her Urdu-speaking family migrated to West Pakistan, this chapter draws upon Marianne Hirsch’s discussion around post-memory, and Ananya Jahanara Kabir’s approach towards post-amnesia to discuss complex memory work. The chapter also discusses the toll of emotional labour, intergenerational trauma, and strength through reflections on this creative project.
Narrative Research Now addresses timely concerns about the politics of representation and the ethics of storytelling; topics that are crucial to narrative research and to broader audiences interested in the power of stories. In a time of contested realities and a renewed focus on the power of personal stories, narrative research is as relevant as ever. But ironically it is sometimes seen as a naive approach that champions people’s testimonies at all costs. The idea that stories and storytelling matter is widely accepted, yet critical engagement with such stories remains rare. In part, this is because narrative research has not always been up to the task of unpacking issues of power and representation. Indeed, while narrative has been praised for ‘giving voice’ and highlighting how individuals make sense of the social world, critics are starting to question which voices are being heard, or allowed to speak, and which experiences are made to count. Narrative Research Now picks up on these questions as it seeks to scrutinise the continued value of narrative and suggest a new agenda for narrative research in contemporary times. The book is arranged into three cross-cutting themes that reflect significant points of tension in the field – institutional authority and counter-stories; tellable and untellable stories; and the ethics of representation. With these themes, the chapters take on important concerns such as an attention to the ethics, power dynamics, and the politics of storytelling in a social world.
This chapter draws on the case study of an oral history life narrative of an elderly woman to consider the ethical responsibilities of oral historians recording the stories of people with dementia. Using a pseudonym, Joan’s story raises important questions about how we respect a narrator’s wish to be heard at a time when they are often regarded as ‘unreliable narrators’ by the people closest to them. Joan’s memories of a traumatic event do not accord with the people who now have authority to speak on her behalf. Do they have the right to stop her from speaking out? If people find the courage to tell ‘untellable stories’ later in life, who are we, who follow them, to deny them their truth?