In recent years, we have seen a shift towards soft law policy-making within EU gender equality policies, embracing a new rationale of evidence as a promising panacea for the ills of democratic deficit. This shift has been fostered by the establishment of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) and the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), which both promote tools of benchmarking, ranking and good-practice sharing. Focusing on the relative impact of Europeanisation, this case study sheds light on the various processes of negotiating and resisting these indicator-based tools of policy-making by national actors in the field of gender-based violence. Gender-based violence is a normatively divided policy field in which actors struggle for limited resources. By viewing the accounts of the respondents through the framework of usage of Europe, we discuss the practices the actors engage in when employing the work of FRA and EIGE at the national level.
In China, Confucian authoritative familism has long established the tradition of paternal grandparents caring for grandchildren. With urbanisation in progress, many older people choose to settle in cities with their children, mainly to look after their grandchildren, and are known as ‘migrant grandparents’. Through a study of this group in Shanghai, the article reveals four other roles of migrant grandparents in addition to the role of caregivers: namely, workers, leisure seekers, in-laws (qingjia) and spouses. The prioritisation of grandparents’ roles demonstrates their increasing subjectivity in self-determination, transformative social values and personal life expectations. This article argues that Chinese older adults have begun to individualise and that these practices have contributed both to the destruction of the collective single-core family model in traditional and neo-familism and the emergence of independent, dual-core familism between two generations.
This paper outlines and applies a framework for analysing how technologies can contribute to social harms at individual, institutional, and societal levels. This framework – which we term the technology-harm relations approach – synthesises the insights of postphenomenology and critical realism to detail how harms can emerge from direct human-technology relations (first-order harm relations), as well as the results of the results of human-technology relations (second-order harm relations). To apply this framework, we explore how, through first- and second-order harm relations, predictive policing algorithms might magnify harm through conventional law enforcement activity. We explain how first- and second-order harm relations are by-products of a system that currently generates harm through false ideals of objective, neutral, and non-discretionary enforcement, and that aims to promote consistency while at the same time eroding accountability for decisions utilising automated processes.
In this paper, we take the management crisis in the Finnish Immigration Service, Migri, as an example to illustrate ambiguous qualities of automated decision making in the context of the production and alleviation of social harm. The case lies at the crossroads of political and legal discussions on immigration and artificial intelligence (AI) transformation. As a result of the persistent backlog of cases held by Migri for processing, since the ‘refugee crisis’ of 2015, numerous asylum seekers remain in a state of bureaucratic limbo. Automating part of the decision-making process offered a potential solution to the harms caused by prolonged processing; however, it was hampered by features of the Finnish constitutional system. The applicants most likely avoided the potential algorithmic harms of prematurely implemented automated systems. However, possible algorithmic solutions to preexisting analogue harms have also been prevented. Through the analysis of policy and legal documents related to immigration and automation, we show that the disconnect between distinct political priorities leaves a variety of harms unaccounted for and may cause fractures in the Finnish harm reduction regime. Given that the development of algorithmic systems is subject to a constant struggle between contradictory values and expectations placed on these systems in terms of the alleviation of harm(s), we argue that a holistic view of harms and solutions to these harms in digitalised societies may facilitate the harm reduction potential of algorithmic systems.
Criminological studies of social harms extensively document intersections of power and the production of harm, revealing how the actions of the powerful in the public and private sectors expose (typically) less powerful groups to harm, often with impunity. While this scholarship provides much needed insight into the often minimised or dismissed harms of the powerful, attention must also be paid to the agency of the victimised and the outcomes of their active efforts to resist such harms, especially in a digital context where concepts such as ‘power’ and ‘capital’ might take a different meaning. To this end, this paper expands existing criminological scholarship on social harms by providing new insights on how the dynamics of resistance by ordinary citizens, that is, people not generally considered part of the powerful capitalist elite, can nevertheless produce secondary social harms. The paper uses the example of online resistance to the COVID-19 digital tracing ‘track and trace’ app in England and Wales to unravel how ordinary citizens utilise their agency to resist the perceived harms of powerful actors while, at the same time, producing the secondary social harm of information pollution.
Predictive policing lies at the intersection of a diachronic paradox between the innovativeness of algorithmic prediction and its selective application to archetypes of conventional criminology. Centring on the Italian context, I outline a critique of predictive policing, proceeding from its embeddedness in the neoliberal restructuring of security provision and the increasingly blurred boundaries between private and public agencies. Rejecting the narrative of technical neutrality and operational smartness, I retrace the interdependence of a selective understanding of security that has paved the way for predictive policing and the impact of automated predictions on the governance of crime control. I argue that the production of social harm under predictive policing follows three main patterns: firstly, the continuation of a tolerable rate of street crime; secondly, a dramatic acceleration in the marginalising and stigmatising potential of criminal targeting; and thirdly, the impairment of democratic accountability through tautological schemes of self-legitimation.
Origin stories set the stage for the development of a field of study and are integral to the ways they grow and shift. Similar to other reclamation projects, fat studies aims to rewrite the history of ‘fat’ by subverting its violent use for surveillance and control, and positioning it as a natural human characteristic. Its origin story is inextricably linked to the activism and scholarship of white and white-passing women, and is often located in gendered expectations of the ‘appropriate’ feminine body. As a result, the racial origins and functionings of fatphobia become erased and create a normative fat subject that is typically cisgender, female and white, which is reproduced in much of the research emerging from the field. I, along with other fat activists and scholars, propose a fundamental shift towards an intersectional fat studies, with race as an entry point to analysis towards rewriting the field’s history and presence.
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.
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.
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.