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In response to COVID-19, many care homes closed to visitors and new ways for carers and residents to stay in touch were tried. This UK study employed an online survey to explore carer experiences of staying in touch from a distance. The research highlighted: the importance of ongoing connections (through visits and remotely); diverse approaches to maintaining contact; and concerns about safeguarding and well-being. Findings underscore the importance of developing personalised approaches to staying in touch during future care home closures and for those who require an ongoing approach to remote contact due to distance, illness or additional caring responsibilities.

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This article presents a new system for classifying UK charities’ activities according to their charitable purposes. It also outlines our attempts to use keyword search rules to apply these classifications to the various UK charity registers. The classification results and code, which are made freely available online, help to address the limitations of existing classification schemes in the UK context. Depending on the scheme, these include a lack of detail and coverage of important subsectors, a lack of systematic data collection and limits on the number of classifications per charity. We discuss the pros and cons of different approaches and show that the keyword searching method provides a sufficiently accurate and transparent approach. We also present some preliminary results on how commonly each ‘tag’ is matched against UK charities, as well as exploring how the results compare to existing classifications in the register of charities for England and Wales.

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Authors: Sarah Parry and Joseph Murphy

Households are sites where a progressive politics of change towards sustainability can be nourished. Efforts to do so, however, must attend to gender dynamics. Our aim is to improve our understanding of how gender and sustainability intersect at the household level and engage with progressive politics in this context. To do so, we present a collaborative autoethnography focused on gender and sustainability in our household covering five years during which we experienced multiple lifecourse transitions. Building on this we answer two questions. First, how does the encounter between personal experiences and scholarship shape conceptual refinement? Second, how do personal experiences and scholarship combine to shape what we understand as progressive politics? This article not only advances the understanding of gender and sustainability in households and progressive politics in this context but also shows that collaborative autoethnography offers a valuable methodological toolkit for advancing research towards progressive politics.

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This paper presents the findings of longitudinal research conducted in Ethiopia exploring the effects of COVID-19 school closures on children’s holistic learning, including their socio-emotional and academic learning. It draws on data from over 2,000 pupils captured in 2019 and 2021 to compare primary school children’s dropout and learning before and after school closures. The study adapts self-reporting scales used in similar contexts to measure grade 4–6 pupils’ social skills and numeracy. Findings highlight the risk of widening inequality regarding educational access and outcomes, related to pupils’ gender, age, wealth and location. They also highlight a decline in social skills following school closures and identify a positive and significant relationship between pupils’ social skills and numeracy over time. In conclusion, we recommend a need for education systems to promote children’s holistic learning, which is even more vital in the aftermath of the pandemic.

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Author: Sarah Teo

The book’s concluding chapter underscores its contribution towards two bodies of literature, first, on middle power theory more broadly, and second, on middle powers in Asia Pacific multilateralism. In contrast to views that non-major powers do not matter in international politics, the book has demonstrated the value of an alternative structural perspective – specifically one based on differentiation – in the study of middle power behaviour, and highlighted how the differentiated structure may interact with power politics to generate middle power behaviour in multilateralism. Based on the book’s findings, the chapter also highlights key areas for further research.

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Author: Sarah Teo

This chapter presents a comparative analysis of the middle power behaviour of Australia, Indonesia and South Korea in the formation of APEC and the EAS. It traces the empirical developments back to the differentiated structure of regional politics and the relational, relative and social power politics characterizing the respective contexts. The specifics of such negotiations of power politics would vary across the three middle powers not just due to differences in their material and ideational attributes, but also in terms of the social relations they were embedded in. The discussion further reinforces the importance of context, by briefly highlighting two other scenarios of Asia Pacific multilateralism – namely, in the establishment of the ASEAN Regional Forum and the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus – where middle power initiative was apparently absent.

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Author: Sarah Teo

This chapter examines the circumstances that led to APEC’s creation in 1989 and its early years. Amid declining Cold War tensions and the collapse of global bipolarity, Asia’s economic rise, as well as the anxieties over extra-regional trade blocs, the behaviour of Australia, Indonesia and South Korea contributed towards diluting major-power stratificatory forces and enabling them to assume functionally differentiated roles. The actions of the three middle powers helped to shape a more inclusive and equal decision making in the region, and demonstrated the functions of middle powers – building on their material and ideational attributes – as initiators of or mediators within the new platform.

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Author: Sarah Teo

This chapter introduces the argument, research design and contributions of the book. Drawing from insights offered by differentiation theory and power politics, this book establishes a new framework to study middle power behaviour in Asia Pacific multilateralism. The key argument is that middle powers pursue a dilution of major-power stratificatory forces as well as functionally differentiated roles for themselves in multilateral diplomacy. The book seeks to contribute theoretically to the middle power literature, as well as empirically to the knowledge of why and how middle powers shape Asia Pacific multilateralism. The chapter also offers an overview of the subsequent chapters.

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A Differential Framework
Author: Sarah Teo

Drawing on insights from differentiation theory, this book examines the participation of middle powers in multilateralism.

Taking Australia, Indonesia and South Korea as examples, the book examines these countries’ roles in regional organizations, and particularly their creation of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and East Asia Summit. Through its analysis, the book argues that middle powers pursue a weakening of ‘stratificatory differentiation’, targeted in particular at major powers, and a strengthening of ‘functional differentiation’ in which middle powers can assume key roles.

The book sets out a valuable new framework to explain and understand the behaviour of middle powers in multilateralism.

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Author: Sarah Teo

This chapter examines the circumstances surrounding the formative days of the EAS that was first conceptualized in 2001 and through its expansion in 2011. Against the backdrop of the Asian financial crisis, US counterterrorism strategy post-9/11, Sino-Japanese rivalry and proliferation of ASEAN-centred multilateralism, the behaviour of Australia, Indonesia and South Korea contributed towards diluting major-power stratificatory forces and enabling them to assume functionally differentiated roles. Through the EAS and its associated processes, all three countries sought to moderate the overwhelming influence of major powers in the region. The functions of middle powers as initiators of or facilitators within regional multilateralism were also reflected in the approaches of Australia, Indonesia and South Korea towards the EAS.

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