Our growing Sociology list has a global outlook featuring high-quality research across emerging and established areas in the field, such as digital sociology, migration, gender, race and ethnicity, public sociology, and children and families.
Our series include the bestselling 21st Century Standpoints, in collaboration with the British Sociological Association, and the Sociology of Diversity and Public Sociology series.
We publish leading journals in the field, including Emotions and Society in association with the European Sociological Association's (ESA) Research Network on Sociology of Emotions (RN11) as well as Families, Relationships and Societies and the Journal of Gender-Based Violence.
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There has been an increase in the number of individuals who do not have children for various reasons, whether health, choice or circumstance, as well as those who have children later in the lifecourse. Concurrently, there is a moral panic surrounding the decreasing birth rate. A thematic analysis of posts on the parenting forum Mumsnet explores the significance of childless/freeness, in the context of wider relationships. We find that established categories of ‘mother’ and ‘childless/free’ are reductive, and are more porous than usually framed. We consider the impact of such categories on women’s friendships, finding that they undermine potential solidarities. Drawing on Scott (), we conceptualise the absence of children as significant, but not necessarily a deficit, highlighting the potential to understand childless/freeness in the everyday.
Chapter 2 overviews social alternatives. A discussion of alternative education looks at free universities, A.S. Neill’s writings and his school, Summerhill, Paolo Freire’s argument for dialogical education, and Illich’s advocacy of deschooling. Then the focus is on communal alternatives to the family, coupling, and conventional child-rearing. The chapter looks at food counterculture, such as freeganism and skip diving, that create green, decommodified, collective, and egalitarian alternatives. The chapter looks at alternative urban social centres and how they contrast with other forms of alternative society politics. It discusses the abolition of prison, defunding the police, and alternatives of restorative and transformative justice. The chapter looks at political alternatives arguing that the welfare state sets up non-capitalist institutions, signalling the possibility of an alternative society. The chapter discusses concrete utopias, bottom-up social reproduction practices in the Global South that provide post-development and decolonial alternatives to abstract utopias and Global North or Eurocentric models. The chapter outlines John Holloway’s search for prefigurative alternatives in cracks in capitalism, but argues that approaches to alternative societies should not be opposed to party or state politics.
This chapter discusses criticisms of socialism and how it can respond. The ways socialism can respond to criticisms are categorized into several types. The chapter outlines communism and other types of socialism. The case is made for socialism as collective ownership and economic equality. The chapter outlines communism in theory. It says that problems in attempts at communism can be responded to by the development of socialist forms within capitalism and means of change that are non-statist and bottom-up, while with a role for the state too – that is, pluralist socialism. The chapter discusses Right-wing green and feminist criticisms of socialism. It argues that socialism can adapt to the deficiencies exposed by green and feminist criticisms and that expansion of adjusted socialism can help deal with ecological problems and non-class inequality. It is suggested that liberal and neoliberal criticisms require adaptation, expansion to help meet liberal goals, but also self-limitation of socialism. A pluralist socialism is argued for – not pluralism or liberalism with socialism, but a socialism with liberalism and pluralism.
Many of the alternative societies looked at are utopias of one sort or another and Chapter 3 outlines utopianism and criticisms of it. The chapter covers classical and contemporary meanings of utopia, and current, future, macro, and micro utopianism. It discusses the functions of utopia, especially in facilitating change. It outlines how utopia overcomes the problem of aspiring to change without a detailed and tested idea of the objective. The chapter discusses Left-wing utopianism, indicating how some socialist utopianism now is of the current micro sort outlined in chapters 1 and 2. Feminist and anti-racist utopias are set out. The chapter responds to materialist and Marxist criticisms not by rejecting their perspective but by outlining how utopianism can meet their criteria for materialist and conflictual change. It responds to liberal and pluralist criticisms of utopianism as totalitarianism and endist – and so stopping change – not by rejecting liberal and pluralist concerns but by saying utopianism can encompass them and allow for continuing change. The chapter argues that many of the conflations or dichotomies that utopianism is put into by critics are false. This is in tune with the pluralist and multilevel approach of the book that rejects bipolarities and exclusivities.
We are living in a flexitarian age, in which reduced meat eating and vegetarianism are normalising, while simultaneously meat eating is still the norm in Dutch society. A resulting individualisation of diets begs the question whether and how omnivores and veg*ns living together maintain commensality. Based on interviews with 119 young people living in shared households – made up of both veg*ns and omnivores – we investigate how these young adults shape and manage their shared meals. Our results show that veg*ns and meat eaters maintain commensality by, first, using a number of practical strategies that result in meals that are suitable to those different diets, and, second, creating a new norm that defines the diet as an individual choice so as to manage potential conflicts around clashing norms. This results in an active upkeep of tolerance in which veg*nism, meat eating and associated ethical-moral considerations are not discussed. The acceptance of (specifically) vegetarianism, the limited social tensions between meat lovers, meat reducers and meat avoiders, and our finding that people find ways to eat – apart – together, hints at optimism for the future.
The number of people living alone is increasing in Finland (; ), in Europe () and globally. Individualisation is growing, and many public institutions are adjusting to the rising number of single clientele. At the same time, the couple norm persists, and monogamous partnering is still often seen as the most appropriate way to organise intimate adult life. In this study, we analysed the written stories of 19 single men aged 29–64 and found that the couple norm was predominant in their stories. Internalisation of the norm caused feelings of inadequacy, a lack of self-appreciation and uncertainty about the future. Many men attributed their singlehood to events in their past and felt a lack of agency at present.
This article examines how people’s life course and cultural backgrounds impact their consumption practices, particularly in the use, disposal and treatment of water in bathroom cleaning. We explore this through 12 oral histories from Brazilian and English residents, including locals, migrants and cross-national couples. Our findings provide an account of cleaning routines in two cultural contexts, offering insights for those addressing sustainability, consumer behaviour and water governance. Our research suggests that culture, upbringing, expectations of cleanliness, and social and material contexts all shape how people clean bathrooms, and when contexts change, material elements become particularly influential.
Under what technoscientific conditions might the scarcity of food be understood as contingent on heterogeneous actors? And how might the possibilities of food abundance be approached as a reparative project of valuing their manifold relations? Blockchain promises to be an infrastructure that presents both productive imaginaries and also challenges to such restorative and sustainable work. In a series of workshops, we critically experimented with these possibilities and challenges. Working with diverse participants including community growers, organizers, artists and technologists we used a variety of playful methods to act out fictional scenarios set in 2025, when all of London had been transformed into a city farm. For organizations and participants, reparation meant working in the aftermath of social and environmental collapse to bring into being more-than-human-value systems that radically decentred human knowledge and experience.
Building in a relationship between scientific artifacts and affect, we reflect on the possibilities of a crossing inspiration among sciences to inspire alternative forms of ecological repair. Colombian páramos are considered strategic ecosystems for water supply, pushing policies that have focused on partially prohibiting agriculture. Environmental authorities, supported by natural scientists, developed maps to delimit paramo, while social scientists studied the intimate relations between páramo and campesinos to inform the consequences of restrictions. We argue that the conservation of páramos requires repairing relationships beyond the páramo as "nature." The biodiversity sciences would benefit from participating in sophisticated conjunctions with other disciplines and campesino’s knowledge, which we imagine as ecologies of affections that feed sciences that risk novel articulations. One first step in this direction would be to learn to be affected by ‘inexact materials’; as landscape drawings that offer clues about affective worlds beyond those of science and the state.
With the 2019 Chilean estallido social we write-think-feel the myriad images that actors of the outburst covered the walls of Santiago streets. We read those images as an archive written from the wounds that colonialism-capitalism inflicted on bodies and territories that are together. Albeit ephemeral (authorities can delete them), the images expose mutilations of bodies-territories that are never to be erased, always to be cared for. Composed of presences both unimaginable (the dead, walls, dogs) and imaginable (music, people, images), the outbursts are those wounds. Their presence haunts usual politics: without teleology or leadership – let alone representation – outbursts do not disappear for their mission is to pursue life against destruction. Pursuing life, they roam the streets like mutts, and very specifically like the Chilean kiltro dogs – their decision to negotiate independence and accompaniment as way of life may be an inspiration of another politics: a kiltro politics.