Sociology

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 Gender and Sociology, Global Migration and Social ChangeSociology of Children and FamiliesSociology of Diversity and Public Sociology.

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.

Sociology

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 556 items for :

  • Research articles x
Clear All

This paper reflects on a pilot study exploring the loneliness experiences of stroke survivors living in remote rural communities in Scotland. Empirical evidence gathered at the time of establishing this study demonstrated that there were no studies published around the subjective experiences of stroke survivors living alone in remote rural Scottish communities. Yet, stroke survivors in rural settings in other parts of the world report a longing for social contact as well as the experience of a reduction in participation in shared activities, suggestive of potential loneliness and isolation. This paper focuses on our experience interviewing one participant recruited in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the pandemic, the study had to be terminated, but we were left with data gathered from this one conversation which revealed a rich narrative centred around past and present occupations. At no point was there any sense of loneliness expressed, despite the context within which this participant lived: alone, in a remote community, experiencing a degree of communication difficulties and unable to leave the house independently. All commonly hallmark ‘warning signs’ of a person at risk of loneliness. In this reflection we offer perspectives on assumptions and expectations of loneliness that are problematically constructed by the dominant narratives and theories at the time.

Open access
Author:

Family life is permanently and irrevocably changed by death, requiring those bereaved to adopt new ways of ‘doing’ family. Drawing on data from a qualitative study of sibling bereavement experiences, this article demonstrates that death can retain a powerful presence for the living, shaping the way that family members relate to one another. It is argued that bereavement can influence the establishment, and enactment, of family practices, thus highlighting that family practices can be subtly couched in the context of bereavement. This article expands Morgan’s concept of family practices in a direction that has yet to be explored. It will conclude that sociologists can learn more about the dynamic intricacies of family life by recognising the potential influence of death and bereavement on the way that relationships are navigated and negotiated over time.

Open access

Predictive analytics is seen as a way of identifying the risk of future problems in families. Integral to such automated predictive analysis is a shift in time frames that redraws the relationship between families and the state, to potentially intervene on an anticipatory basis of ‘what hasn’t happened but might’. In the process, human subjects are reformulated as disembodied objects of data-driven futures. The article explains this process and fills a significant gap in knowledge about parents’ views of this development. We draw on group and individual discussions with parents across Great Britain to consider their understanding of predictive analytics and how comfortable they are with it. Parents’ concerns focused on inaccuracies in the data used for prediction, the unfair risk of false positives and false negatives, the deterministic implications of the past predicting the future, and the disturbing potential of being positioned in what was a pre-problem space. We conclude with policy implications.

Restricted access
Author:

The rapid spread of conversational AI, as well as the potential for personal conversations with chatbots, makes it relevant to examine what norms and values underlie chatbot responses. This article examines the feeling rules for anger implicitly communicated by a recent chatbot (ChatGPT). Querying the chatbot about appropriate and inappropriate anger, the study shows how specific feeling rules are articulated by AI. The chatbot communicates norms of productive, respectful, constructive, controlled and calm expression of anger through talk and, as such, relies on communication as a pervasive cultural repertoire. Based on a rereading of economies of worth focusing on feeling rules, it is argued that different moral repertoires have implications for feeling rules. Using this theoretical framework to analyse the responses of the chatbot, it is evident that it primarily relies on both the industrial and the domestic orders of worth to assess anger. The chatbot articulates the problem of anger as unproductiveness and disrespect. The feeling rules implied in the responses of the chatbot reflect a neoliberal conception of self as individually responsible, productive, self-regulating, emotionally competent and able to find solutions. The seemingly neutral advice of the chatbot potentially depoliticises anger, disciplines people to remain productive and respectful and narrows the scope of anger expressions that are deemed acceptable.

Open access

Unsustainable patterns of consumption in affluent societies are at the heart of global climate and environmental challenges and seemingly highly resistant to change. While decades of research have revealed how consumption is deeply embedded in society, recently calls have been made for (re-)engaging with the systemic conditioning of consumption in studies of everyday practices. In this paper, we analyse the ways in which eco-conscious households in Norway (N=20) perform and negotiate sustainability in everyday life. With theories of practice as a point of departure, we combine Bente Halkier’s work on social interaction with Sherry B. Ortner’s conceptualisation of agency as power (dominance and resistance) and agency through ‘projects’ to study how sustainability is negotiated in the everyday. Through this framework we explore how consumers perform ‘sustainability projects’ and how these are defined through, constrained by and negotiated against everyday normativity and dominant socio-material arrangements. Our findings demonstrate the compromises, trade-offs and negotiations that participants engage in when balancing their sustainability projects against other social roles, expectations and goals, often carried out within socio-material arrangements that are scripted towards less sustainable options. Hence, they provide detailed insight into the boundedness of consumer agency, being both socially and materially negotiated and contextualised. While often undertaken as mundane actions, the challenges our participants experienced is ultimately part of negotiating consumer society, often experienced as a constant pressure towards more consumption as expansive consumption is embedded in, and embodied and habituated through, a wide range of social practices.

Restricted access

Sufficiency has gained increased attention within sustainable consumption research in recent years. Often presented in opposition to guiding principles like efficiency, which discuss sustainability issues alongside ideas of economic growth, sufficiency offers alternative sustainability pathways that highlight the need to reduce consumption. This paper discusses the interrelation between sufficiency principles and consumption patterns of low-income groups, exploring how sufficiency could support the needs of vulnerable groups in society. Low-income groups use fewer material resources than high-income groups due to their comparatively limited economic resources. However, low-income groups at risk of relative poverty are also vulnerable to various factors that can significantly impact their health and wellbeing. Studying low-income groups offers possibilities for understanding the work that goes into establishing sufficiency-oriented practices and the potential pitfalls of the sufficiency discourse. Through our qualitative study of low-income groups in Norway based on focus groups and interviews, we identify three different characteristics relating to sufficiency. First, sufficiency as a necessity, pointing to situations where lack of economic resources forces low-income groups to consume frugally; second, sufficiency as opposition, where low-income groups pursue sufficiency goals because they do not identify themselves with mainstream growth narratives and consumption patterns; and, third, sufficiency as reframing sustainability, where sufficiency arguments give value to low-consumption patterns positioned against technology-centred and green consumerist narratives about sustainability.

Restricted access

Loneliness is not simply characterised by a lack of other people in one’s environment or lifeworld, but by a lack of specific forms of relationship, connection or belonging. In this paper I connect the conversation about different types of loneliness with debates happening in the philosophy of intersubjectivity, specifically the phenomenology of intersubjectivity. Philosophers of intersubjectivity tend to characterise experiences of direct encounter as having a second-personal ‘I-thou’ quality. By contrast, experiences of belonging tend to be characterised by first-person plural ‘we’ structures.

In this paper I will compare and contrast some of the different phenomenological qualities that come with the absence or poverty of these two types of intersubjective structure respectively. These different types of loneliness are characterised by different phenomenological properties, but also by (the absence of) specific interpersonal and social structures. I argue that the absence of these different interpersonal structures respectively gives rise to loneliness as the experience of being unseen and loneliness as the experience of not-being-at-home. This is significant for loneliness studies, as understanding and combating loneliness is consequently likely to take variegated rather than homogeneous forms. This is particularly significant for a psychosocial approach to loneliness which seeks to understand, hold together and integrate both the structural features of loneliness (in this case the relevant interpersonal and social structures) and the lived experience of individuals and groups (in this case the phenomenology of loneliness).

Restricted access
Author:

Abundant research in adjacent disciplines shows forgiveness (including forgiving, not forgiving, being forgiven and not being forgiven) to be an ordinary feature of how personal relationships are maintained, repaired and rescinded. Sociologists, however, have scarcely considered forgiveness at all. This article shows why sociologists of personal life should be interested in forgiveness, and how this contributes to sociological interpretations of conflict and repair in relationships. It is argued that sociologists of personal life should be interested in forgiveness because it seems to be part of the ordinary vernacular through which relationships are made sense of. It is also argued that sociologists of personal life can deliver a perspective on forgiveness in relationships that is missing from existing forgiveness research agendas.

Restricted access
Author:

Everyday lives are made of many practices, often more intricately intertwined than recognised. Fundamental practices, like how we eat, move around and live, have profound impacts on the climate and adaptability towards sustainable societies. While the impacts of these practices in isolation may be well understood, the interrelatedness of how these practices foster, constrain or change one another has been scarcely examined. In response, this paper serves a dual purpose. First, to empirically demonstrate a relationship between food-, mobility- and housing-related consumption. It does this by investigating shared practices among young adults living in Denmark. Findings reveal that home location plays a significant role in prefiguring mobility- and food-related practices. Mobility-related practices, like the daily route or mobility mode, adapt to the home’s location, while grocery shopping is conveniently integrated into daily commuting routes. Hence, this study offers empirical evidence of how certain practices not only influence but often prefigure other practices within the context of everyday life. The second purpose of this paper is to reflect on the climate-related consequences of these interdependent practices. The location of the home creates a locked-in situation for various daily practices, such as commuting and grocery shopping, influencing the degree of climate-friendly consumption. For instance, longer commutes resulting from housing relocation may lead to increased greenhouse gas emissions, or the availability of climate-friendly food products is contingent on the grocery stores near the home’s location. This empirical knowledge highlights how policies targeting food, mobility or housing can have far-reaching effects in multiple consumption domains.

Restricted access

In this article, I investigate the social organising of a process leading up to a Somali single parent I call Maryam receiving a letter from the Norwegian child protection services (CPS). Using institutional ethnography, I show how Maryam’s experience is shaped by generalised, objectified understandings that transcend the relations she has at specific points in time; by what Dorothy Smith labels ruling relations. Based on Maryam’s story about the process leading up to the letter from the CPS, but also on documents connected to her case and other interviews with her, I show how she is constructed as a mother lacking knowledge and needing help, and how she is constructed as a suspicious mother when she declines this help – and the role of generalising, objectifying understandings in this process.

Restricted access