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Soc. Sci., Volume 6, Issue 2 (June 2017)

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Open AccessArticle Reimagining the Hajj
Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(2), 36; doi:10.3390/socsci6020036
Received: 25 February 2017 / Revised: 14 March 2017 / Accepted: 14 March 2017 / Published: 24 March 2017
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Abstract
Throughout the Middle East and the Islamic world, political and religious leaders are being pulled into sharpening debates over rival approaches to reforming the Hajj. For at least two decades, Hajj controversies have deepened with rising death tolls among the pilgrims and with
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Throughout the Middle East and the Islamic world, political and religious leaders are being pulled into sharpening debates over rival approaches to reforming the Hajj. For at least two decades, Hajj controversies have deepened with rising death tolls among the pilgrims and with soaring complaints about corruption and incompetence against pilgrimage managers in Saudi Arabia and dozens of other countries. Demands for Hajj reform are reaching new peaks after Saudi officials recently revealed stunning details of the scope and magnitude of pilgrim fatalities during the last 14 years. The Saudi data leave little doubt that the quality of care for Hajjis varies enormously depending on several key factors which policy makers and religious leaders must address with greater honesty and determination. Year in and year out, the most vulnerable pilgrim populations are poor people, women, and children from across Africa and Asia as well as foreign workers, refugees, and illegal migrants living in Saudi Arabia. Most of the current proposals for Hajj reform ignore these high-risk groups. Saudi planners focus on promoting year-round pilgrimage to boost tourism revenues and high-end infrastructure. In most other countries, government-run Hajj agencies are busy cutting market-sharing deals with private business cartels and their political patrons. The combined effect of these policies is to weaken what remains of already inadequate regulations that are vital to the protection of all Hajjis. Meanwhile, support is also growing for more sweeping proposals to reimagine and reinvent the Hajj instead of fine-tuning the status quo. Some of these reforms are particularly likely to test the ingenuity and influence of leaders from all backgrounds because they challenge longstanding custom. A few of the most unconventional suggestions include lengthening the Hajj season to several months as well as linking the Hajj to pilgrimages and festivals of other world religions throughout the year. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Understanding Muslim Mobilities and Gender)
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Open AccessArticle Enhancing Intersectional Analyses with Polyvocality: Making and Illustrating the Model
Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(2), 37; doi:10.3390/socsci6020037
Received: 28 December 2016 / Revised: 25 February 2017 / Accepted: 15 March 2017 / Published: 23 March 2017
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Abstract
Since the inception of the intersectionality framework by feminists over three decades ago, scholars have advanced the analysis and subsequent understanding of peoples’ social locations, identity constructions, and systems of oppression involving gender, ethnicity, religion, class, and caste, to name a few. Considering
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Since the inception of the intersectionality framework by feminists over three decades ago, scholars have advanced the analysis and subsequent understanding of peoples’ social locations, identity constructions, and systems of oppression involving gender, ethnicity, religion, class, and caste, to name a few. Considering these axes of differentiation as mutually constitutive rather than only as individual factors has been the single most important innovation. However, intersectionality has yet to reach its potential theoretically, methodologically, and practically. For instance, the framework is rarely applied to social phenomena that extend beyond the confines of a given nation-state. In previous publications, we have addressed this shortcoming by arguing for applying intersectionality across multiple social scales (intimate, regional, national, and transnational). We have shown how any given person’s intersectionality can and often does shift according to the scale of analysis. In this article, we address another important way to strengthen intersectionality—bringing in polyvocality. That is, and drawing upon arguments originally made in postmodern critiques of “writing culture”, publications tend to reflect partial and/or limited perspectives, typically those reflecting researchers’ privileged, authoritative accounts. In this article, in contrast, we include different insider (ego) and outsider (ego’s relatives’ and the researchers’) perspectives. The article includes the theoretical and methodological argument for adding polyvocality to intersectionality and then applies the proposed model to an ethnographic case. We illustrate how intersectional constellations shift from voiced interpretation to voiced interpretation and, in so doing, deepen, expand, and problematize these same analyses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gender, Family, and Society: Reciprocal Influences)
Open AccessCommunication A Sex Work Research Symposium: Examining Positionality in Documenting Sex Work and Sex Workers’ Rights
Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(2), 39; doi:10.3390/socsci6020039
Received: 20 February 2017 / Revised: 23 March 2017 / Accepted: 26 March 2017 / Published: 5 April 2017
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Abstract
Historically, academic literature on sex work has documented the changing debates, policies, and cultural discourse surrounding the sex industry, and their impact on the rights of sex workers worldwide. As sex work scholars look to the future of sex workers’ rights, however, we
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Historically, academic literature on sex work has documented the changing debates, policies, and cultural discourse surrounding the sex industry, and their impact on the rights of sex workers worldwide. As sex work scholars look to the future of sex workers’ rights, however, we are also in a critical moment of self-reflection on how sex work scholarship engages with sex worker communities, produces knowledge surrounding sex work, and represents the lived experiences of sex workers’ rights, organizing, and activism. In this short Communication, proceedings from a recent sex work research symposium entitled, Sexual Economies, Politics, and Positionality in Sex Work Research are presented. Held at the Centre for Refugee Studies at York University, this symposium is a response to the need for sex work researchers, sex workers, and sex worker-led organizations to come together and critically examine the future of research on sex work and the politics of documenting sex workers’ rights. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sex Workers’ Rights: Looking toward the Future)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle The Influence of Women Legislators on State Health Care Spending for the Poor
Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(2), 40; doi:10.3390/socsci6020040
Received: 13 February 2017 / Revised: 24 March 2017 / Accepted: 8 April 2017 / Published: 16 April 2017
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Abstract
In the realm of representational politics, research exploring the relationship between descriptive representation and substantive representation is conflicted with some scholars finding policy outcomes influenced by the presence of women in office and others displaying a complicated or null relationship. We enter the
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In the realm of representational politics, research exploring the relationship between descriptive representation and substantive representation is conflicted with some scholars finding policy outcomes influenced by the presence of women in office and others displaying a complicated or null relationship. We enter the discussion by investigating the effect of increased representation of women across state legislatures on state health care spending for poor children, the disabled, and elders, issues which disproportionately affect women. Using a 50-state dataset spanning from 1999 to 2009 we find that spending is indeed more generous when the number of women representatives is substantial, regardless of party. This generosity, however, is conditional upon the presence of considerable aggregate need. The findings suggest that contextual factors must be considered when exploring the influence of women on policy outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women, Gender and Politics: An International Overview)
Open AccessArticle Brexit: The Economic and Political Implications for Asia
Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(2), 41; doi:10.3390/socsci6020041
Received: 6 February 2017 / Revised: 10 April 2017 / Accepted: 13 April 2017 / Published: 17 April 2017
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Abstract
Often trumpeted as a bastion of modern economic and political integration, the European Union (EU) has played an integral role in the development of the United Kingdom’s (UK) economy. However, in recent times, the relationship between the EU and the UK has become
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Often trumpeted as a bastion of modern economic and political integration, the European Union (EU) has played an integral role in the development of the United Kingdom’s (UK) economy. However, in recent times, the relationship between the EU and the UK has become increasingly fragile, particularly on issues of national sovereignty, immigration, and the general bureaucratic reach of Brussels. Tension surrounding these concerns meant that on 23 June 2016, the British public voted, by way of a referendum, to leave the EU. This decision, often referred to as Brexit, has created a watershed moment in the history of the region, with implications that may have a significant impact on not only Europe, but also Asia and the wider global community. In order to make better sense of the issue, this study provides a brief synopsis of Britain’s decision to leave the EU, before providing a detailed analysis of how the Brexit decision will impact the Asian region. As part of this discussion, a series of relevant policy issues are considered. Full article
Open AccessArticle Sex Work and the Politics of Space: Case Studies of Sex Workers in Argentina and Ecuador
Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(2), 42; doi:10.3390/socsci6020042
Received: 21 February 2017 / Revised: 5 April 2017 / Accepted: 11 April 2017 / Published: 19 April 2017
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Abstract
While many studies examine how different legal approaches to prostitution affect sex workers’ living and working conditions, few studies analyze how sex workers’ physical workspaces and the policies regulating these spaces influence sex work conditions. Based on interviews with 109 current or former
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While many studies examine how different legal approaches to prostitution affect sex workers’ living and working conditions, few studies analyze how sex workers’ physical workspaces and the policies regulating these spaces influence sex work conditions. Based on interviews with 109 current or former sex workers, 13 civil society representatives, 12 government officials, and 5 other actors in Ecuador and Argentina, this study describes sex workers’ uses of urban space in the two countries and compares how they experience and respond to government regulation of locations of prostitution. Argentina and Ecuador took different approaches to regulating sex work space, which appear to reflect different political ideologies towards prostitution. Sex workers expressed different individual preferences for spaces, and government limitation of these spaces represented one of their major concerns. The results illuminate how sex workers’ workspaces influence their working conditions and suggest that governments should consider sex worker preferences in establishing policies that affect their workspaces.

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Mientras que muchos estudios examinan cómo las diferentes estrategias legales respecto a la prostitución afectan las condiciones de trabajo y de vida de las y los trabajadores sexuales, pocos estudios analizan cómo los espacios de trabajo físicos de las y los trabajadores sexuales y las políticas que regulan estos espacios influyen en las condiciones del trabajo sexual. Este estudio, basado en entrevistas con 109 trabajadores sexuales actuales o anteriores, 13 representantes de la sociedad civil, 12 funcionarios gubernamentales y otros 5 actores en Ecuador y Argentina, describe los usos del espacio urbano por parte de las y los trabajadores sexuales en los dos países y compara cómo experimentan y responden a la regulación gubernamental de lugares de prostitución. Argentina y Ecuador adoptaron diferentes estrategias para regular los espacios de trabajo sexual, las cuales parecen reflejar diferentes ideologías políticas hacia la prostitución. Las y los trabajadores sexuales expresaron diferentes preferencias individuales por los espacios, y la limitación gubernamental de estos espacios representó una de sus principales preocupaciones. Los resultados ilustran cómo los espacios de trabajo de las y los trabajadores sexuales influyen en sus condiciones de trabajo, y sugieren que los gobiernos deben considerar sus preferencias en el establecimiento de políticas que afectan sus espacios de trabajo. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sex Workers’ Rights: Looking toward the Future)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Why Prostitution Policy (Usually) Fails and What to Do about It?
Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(2), 43; doi:10.3390/socsci6020043
Received: 13 March 2017 / Revised: 13 April 2017 / Accepted: 20 April 2017 / Published: 28 April 2017
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Abstract
This article describes and discusses the results of two comparative studies of prostitution policy in Europe that are complementary in their design and methodology. One is a comparison of 21 countries using a most different systems design; the other an in-depth comparison of
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This article describes and discusses the results of two comparative studies of prostitution policy in Europe that are complementary in their design and methodology. One is a comparison of 21 countries using a most different systems design; the other an in-depth comparison of Austria and The Netherlands, using a most similar systems design. The two studies found a remarkable continuity in the inherent approach to the regulation of prostitution and its effects. Despite differences in political regime, administrative organization, and national cultures, since the middle of the 19th century, the purpose of prostitution policy has been to impose strict controls on sex workers and to a lesser extent their work sites. The effects of this approach have been disappointing: despite rhetorical claims to the contrary the control of sex workers has no discernable effect on the prevalence of prostitution in society. The effects of policies aimed at control are mostly negative in that they corrode the human and labor rights of sex workers. The article discusses several challenges to the regulation of prostitution (such as its deeply moral nature and the lack of precise and reliable data) as well a number of other important outcomes (such as the importance of local policy implementation for the effects of regulation). The article concludes with the empirically substantiated suggestion that a form of collaborative governance in which sex worker advocacy organizations participate in the design and implementation of prostitution policy offers real prospects for an effective and humane prostitution policy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sex Workers’ Rights: Looking toward the Future)
Open AccessArticle “Yeah, and What’s the Problem?” Embodiment, Cultural Practices and Working out in a Dutch Gym
Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(2), 44; doi:10.3390/socsci6020044
Received: 25 January 2017 / Revised: 17 March 2017 / Accepted: 25 April 2017 / Published: 2 May 2017
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Abstract
In this paper, I present empirical data from ethnographic work carried out in a Dutch gym, where people, especially students, from different countries work out, interact and explore ideas and practices related to their cultures and to other people’s cultures. I will analyse
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In this paper, I present empirical data from ethnographic work carried out in a Dutch gym, where people, especially students, from different countries work out, interact and explore ideas and practices related to their cultures and to other people’s cultures. I will analyse and explain four things: first, the social skills required to successfully interact in a multicultural space; second, the cultural and physical skills that people who have worked out in this gym for a long time have embodied; third, the skills and culture that foreigners have to quickly learn; and finally, how this affects the relationships and the activities considered important in this gym. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Gendered Perceptions of Cultural and Skill Alignment in Technology Companies
Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(2), 45; doi:10.3390/socsci6020045
Received: 31 August 2016 / Revised: 11 April 2017 / Accepted: 25 April 2017 / Published: 3 May 2017
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Abstract
Previous research documents how stereotypes discourage young women from choosing and attaining technology jobs. We build off this research and ask whether (and how) stereotypes continue to affect men and women once they enter the technology workforce. Using a novel survey of technical
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Previous research documents how stereotypes discourage young women from choosing and attaining technology jobs. We build off this research and ask whether (and how) stereotypes continue to affect men and women once they enter the technology workforce. Using a novel survey of technical employees from seven Silicon Valley firms and new measures of what we call “cultural” and “skill” alignment, we show that men are more likely than women to believe they possess the stereotypical traits and skills of a successful tech employee. We find that cultural alignment is especially important: because women are less likely than men to believe they match the cultural image of successful tech workers, they are less likely to identify with the tech profession, less likely to report positive supervisor treatment, and more likely to consider switching career fields. This paper is the first to use unique and independent measures of cultural and skill alignment comparing employees’ perceptions of themselves to their perceptions of an ideal successful worker. By allowing cultural and skill alignment to operate separately, we are able to determine which work outcomes are most strongly related to each form of alignment. Our results imply that if we can broaden the cultural image of a successful tech worker, women may be more likely to feel like they belong in technology environments, ultimately increasing their retention in tech jobs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle New Zealand Prostitutes’ Collective—An Example of a Successful Policy Actor
Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(2), 46; doi:10.3390/socsci6020046
Received: 27 February 2017 / Revised: 28 April 2017 / Accepted: 3 May 2017 / Published: 9 May 2017
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Abstract
The New Zealand Prostitutes’ Collective (NZPC) is a unique example of a sex workers’ rights organisation which is an important actor in prostitution policy. The NZPC has had a significant impact on prostitution laws, managing to achieve the decriminalisation of sex work in
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The New Zealand Prostitutes’ Collective (NZPC) is a unique example of a sex workers’ rights organisation which is an important actor in prostitution policy. The NZPC has had a significant impact on prostitution laws, managing to achieve the decriminalisation of sex work in New Zealand, which distinguishes it from many other studied organisations. Indeed, the literature on sex workers’ rights organisations notes their relative failure in terms of their impact on prostitution law and policy, identifying the following hurdles: the lack of a common identity and solidarity among sex workers, their stigmatisation, problems with organisational leadership and membership, lack of resources and challenging relationships with allies. This article analyses the role of the NZPC in prostitution policy in New Zealand, particularly in the adoption of the decriminalisation model, and examines the key factors for its success in light of the literature on sex workers’ rights organisations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sex Workers’ Rights: Looking toward the Future)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Weeded Out? Gendered Responses to Failing Calculus
Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(2), 47; doi:10.3390/socsci6020047
Received: 10 September 2016 / Revised: 6 April 2017 / Accepted: 21 April 2017 / Published: 10 May 2017
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Abstract
Although women graduate from college at higher rates than men, they remain underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. This study examines whether women react to failing a STEM weed-out course by switching to a non-STEM major and graduating with a
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Although women graduate from college at higher rates than men, they remain underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. This study examines whether women react to failing a STEM weed-out course by switching to a non-STEM major and graduating with a bachelor’s degree in a non-STEM field. While competitive courses designed to weed out potential STEM majors are often invoked in discussions around why students exit the STEM pipeline, relatively little is known about how women and men react to failing these courses. We use detailed individual-level data from the National Educational Longitudinal Study (NELS) Postsecondary Transcript Study (PETS): 1988–2000 to show that women who failed an introductory calculus course are substantially less likely to earn a bachelor’s degree in STEM. In doing so, we provide evidence that weed-out course failure might help us to better understand why women are less likely to earn degrees. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Class and Gender Relations in the Welfare State: The Contradictory Dictates of the Norm of Female Autonomy
Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(2), 48; doi:10.3390/socsci6020048
Received: 31 January 2017 / Revised: 27 April 2017 / Accepted: 9 May 2017 / Published: 13 May 2017
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Abstract
One debate among feminist scholars of the welfare state is whether it supports women’s subordination or emancipation. Since the 1980s, the French state apparatus has been experiencing a conflict of values, between feminism and familialism. The research presented here probed how these distinct
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One debate among feminist scholars of the welfare state is whether it supports women’s subordination or emancipation. Since the 1980s, the French state apparatus has been experiencing a conflict of values, between feminism and familialism. The research presented here probed how these distinct institutional-level conceptions of gender might be manifest at the interactional level. Analysis is based on ethnographic research in four social service offices in France. The article explores the childrearing and behavioral norms that female social workers promote for mothers in regular contact with social services. It first shows how central the norm of female autonomy is in these social workers’ thinking, which in turn reveals their gendered expectations of the women they see, beyond their role of mother. It then demonstrates that this conception of female autonomy is closely tied to a class position, as it is a model from the middle classes. The article lastly examines how this unequal situation in terms of social class, but not of gender domination, influences professional practices relative to the working classes. Combining gender and class dimensions in analyzing interactions with the welfare state bureaucracy helps to identify the contradictions in the job of social worker, caught between the goal of emancipation and the mandate of social control. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gender, Family, and Society: Reciprocal Influences)
Open AccessArticle Gender, Migration and Development: Can Advocacy Groups Be More of a Hindrance than a Help?
Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(2), 49; doi:10.3390/socsci6020049
Received: 28 November 2016 / Revised: 26 April 2017 / Accepted: 9 May 2017 / Published: 13 May 2017
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Abstract
The social world is complex and ever changing. However, to function, we need shared common knowledge for social relations and social interaction. We need categories of people, and assumptions about collective identities. While this is necessary to manage social interaction, it also leads
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The social world is complex and ever changing. However, to function, we need shared common knowledge for social relations and social interaction. We need categories of people, and assumptions about collective identities. While this is necessary to manage social interaction, it also leads to debates that question the essentialism of collective attributes and identities. In this article we argue that advocacy groups campaigning for the rights of women and migrants can sometimes reinforce an understanding of these groups as static and unchanging and this impedes their development. The article contends that advocacy groups, can, unintentionally, reinforce stereotypes. Two different data sets, both drawn from Northern Ireland, are used to explore this question. Our case studies raise global questions about the need for critical analysis and reflection on the strategies used by advocacy groups to advance social equality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gender, Environment, and Development)
Open AccessArticle Understanding Mothers’ Infant Feeding Decisions and Practices
Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(2), 50; doi:10.3390/socsci6020050
Received: 13 December 2016 / Revised: 24 April 2017 / Accepted: 27 April 2017 / Published: 17 May 2017
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Abstract
This paper begins with a discussion of social research which seeks to critique the emphasis on breastfeeding in infant feeding health promotion. The key themes of this research center on science, risk, and morality but other factors can also shape mothers’ decisions and
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This paper begins with a discussion of social research which seeks to critique the emphasis on breastfeeding in infant feeding health promotion. The key themes of this research center on science, risk, and morality but other factors can also shape mothers’ decisions and practices regarding infant feeding, and particularly, breastfeeding. The paper explores a range of research studies which together highlight the wide range of social, cultural, and economic factors implicated in infant feeding decisions and practices. The discussions here demonstrate that social and economic factors, familial and social networks, interactions with health professionals, cultural contexts which sexualize women’s bodies, and experiences of public space, can all play a role in shaping how mothers negotiate infant feeding. This broad conceptualization of the factors that shape infant feeding practices offered by social research poses a challenge to the more simplistic accounts of infant feeding decisions implicit in public health promotion. It also demonstrates the profoundly social quality of infant feeding decisions that women make and the particular contributions that social research can make to our understandings of this area. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Economic Impact of SPS Measures on Agricultural Exports to China: An Empirical Analysis Using the PPML Method
Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(2), 51; doi:10.3390/socsci6020051
Received: 26 January 2017 / Revised: 19 April 2017 / Accepted: 11 May 2017 / Published: 18 May 2017
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Abstract
Since China first joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, many countries around the world have sought to capitalize on lower tariff rates and China’s increasing demand for high quality agricultural products. However, as competitive pressures in its agricultural sector have intensified,
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Since China first joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, many countries around the world have sought to capitalize on lower tariff rates and China’s increasing demand for high quality agricultural products. However, as competitive pressures in its agricultural sector have intensified, the Chinese government has implemented other forms of protectionist measures. Known as non-tariff measures (NTMs), these policy initiatives have added another dimension to international trade activities that needs to be better understood. Using a set of variables clearly identified in academic literature, our paper analyzes the effect that sanitary and phytosanitary measures (SPS) have on New Zealand, U.S., Korean, and Japanese agricultural exports to China. To measure the effect that NTMs have on exports, we use an adapted version of the gravity model and the Poisson pseudo maximum likelihood method. The key findings from the empirical projection show that Chinese SPS measures have a negative, albeit insignificant effect on the sample as a whole. However, when looking at the individual countries, the SPS measures were seen to have a negative effect on Japan and the U.S., while from a Korean perspective, their impact was positive and significant. As part of a secondary analysis, it was interesting to note that the SPS measures had a positive effect on New Zealand’s exports before its free trade agreements (FTA) with China came into force. However, in the years since then, they were seen to have a negative impact. Full article
Open AccessArticle “Well, It Should Be Changed for One, Because It’s Our Bodies”: Sex Workers’ Views on Canada’s Punitive Approach towards Sex Work
Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(2), 52; doi:10.3390/socsci6020052
Received: 21 March 2017 / Revised: 17 May 2017 / Accepted: 22 May 2017 / Published: 24 May 2017
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Abstract
Background: The regulation of sex work is contentious in all countries, including for governments, the public, and sex workers themselves. Research shows sex workers’ perspectives are ignored during policy formation in most cases. This is despite the fact they have unique insider knowledge
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Background: The regulation of sex work is contentious in all countries, including for governments, the public, and sex workers themselves. Research shows sex workers’ perspectives are ignored during policy formation in most cases. This is despite the fact they have unique insider knowledge and are directly affected by the policies that are enacted. Methods: We analyzed the accounts of a heterogeneous sample of adult sex workers (N = 218) residing in different urban cities in Canada to find out their views on current laws and their recommendations for reform. The interviews were conducted in 2012–2013 prior to the implementation of the 2014 Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act. The paper thus provides an opportunity to compare the changes desired by Canadian sex workers with changes put into law by the Act. Results: Although the interview questions did not directly ask about the current legal system, 121 expressed an opinion. Three main themes emerged from the qualitative analysis: (1) the challenges that criminalization posed to sex workers; (2) the workers’ suggestions for legal reform; and (3) potential issues with legal reform. Conclusions: We discuss the contributions our qualitative findings make to the scholarship on sex work regulation and call for further research that includes sex workers’ voices in decision-making regarding changes to policies affecting their lives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sex Workers’ Rights: Looking toward the Future)
Open AccessArticle Socioeconomic Factors of Immigrants’ Location Choices. Evidence for the South of Europe
Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(2), 53; doi:10.3390/socsci6020053
Received: 13 March 2017 / Revised: 18 May 2017 / Accepted: 19 May 2017 / Published: 26 May 2017
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Abstract
This paper takes as a reference, empirical analyses conducted in northern European countries and the United States which associate socioeconomic factors to the location patterns of immigrants. It has been suggested that the socioeconomic context of southern Europe could impact immigrants’ location choices.
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This paper takes as a reference, empirical analyses conducted in northern European countries and the United States which associate socioeconomic factors to the location patterns of immigrants. It has been suggested that the socioeconomic context of southern Europe could impact immigrants’ location choices. We analyze data on the location of immigrants in municipalities of the Andalusian region in southern Spain with respect to the factors that most influence immigrants’ location preferences as discussed in the literature: a pre-existing immigrant community, economic dynamism, population size and other scarcely investigated factors such as the territorial characteristics of the municipality and its productive structure. We conclude that immigrant location patterns in Andalusia are very similar to those found in geographical areas outside Spain, with the exception of specific characteristics related to the social and labor model of the region. Full article
Open AccessArticle Sexual Orientation Change Efforts, Conservative Christianity and Resistance to Sexual Justice
Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(2), 54; doi:10.3390/socsci6020054
Received: 1 January 2017 / Revised: 4 May 2017 / Accepted: 18 May 2017 / Published: 27 May 2017
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Abstract
In this article, I situate the practice of sexual orientation conversion efforts (SOCE), sometimes known as conversion or reparative therapy, within historical, cultural, religious and political attitudes to non-heterosexuality. Using documentary analysis, I investigate the contemporary resistance of two socially conservative organizations: National
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In this article, I situate the practice of sexual orientation conversion efforts (SOCE), sometimes known as conversion or reparative therapy, within historical, cultural, religious and political attitudes to non-heterosexuality. Using documentary analysis, I investigate the contemporary resistance of two socially conservative organizations: National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) (US) and Core Issues Trust (UK), to legal and professional regulation of the sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) which they advocate. A number of themes emerged from the various documentation. The most convincing of these themes is a claim that to provide SOCE is to respect client’s autonomy rights to diminish unwanted sexual attraction, and to live in accordance with the moral principles that they value. I demonstrate that neither NARTH nor Core Issues Trust are consistent in their regard for client autonomy. I suggest that the most plausible reason for these organizations’ emphasis on autonomy and other secular tropes, such as scientific proof and progressive language, is that they provide a smokescreen for conservative Christian values. If we value a world of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans) rights and recognition, we must counter this backlash against sexual and social justice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Backlash: Contemporary Obstructions to Social Justice)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Science Possible Selves and the Desire to be a Scientist: Mindsets, Gender Bias, and Confidence during Early Adolescence
Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(2), 55; doi:10.3390/socsci6020055
Received: 31 August 2016 / Revised: 25 April 2017 / Accepted: 24 May 2017 / Published: 31 May 2017
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Abstract
In the United States, gender gaps in science interest widen during the middle school years. Recent research on adults shows that gender gaps in some academic fields are associated with mindsets about ability and gender-science biases. In a sample of 529 students in
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In the United States, gender gaps in science interest widen during the middle school years. Recent research on adults shows that gender gaps in some academic fields are associated with mindsets about ability and gender-science biases. In a sample of 529 students in a U.S. middle school, we assess how explicit boy-science bias, science confidence, science possible self (belief in being able to become a scientist), and desire to be a scientist vary by gender. Guided by theories and prior research, we use a series of multivariate logistic regression models to examine the relationships between mindsets about ability and these variables. We control for self-reported science grades, social capital, and race/ethnic minority status. Results show that seeing academic ability as innate (“fixed mindsets”) is associated with boy-science bias, and that younger girls have less boy-science bias than older girls. Fixed mindsets and boy-science bias are both negatively associated with a science possible self; science confidence is positively associated with a science possible self. In the final model, high science confident and having a science possible self are positively associated with a desire to be a scientist. Facilitating growth mindsets and countering boy-science bias in middle school may be fruitful interventions for widening participation in science careers. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Depression Risks and Correlates among Different Generations of Chinese Americans: The Effects of Relationships with Friends and Relatives
Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(2), 56; doi:10.3390/socsci6020056
Received: 10 March 2017 / Revised: 21 May 2017 / Accepted: 26 May 2017 / Published: 3 June 2017
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Abstract
An increasing body of literature has suggested that the public portrayal of Chinese Americans as a high-achieving, well-adjusting “model minority” might not reflect the entire reality of their mental health conditions. This study examined depression risks and correlates among different generations of Chinese
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An increasing body of literature has suggested that the public portrayal of Chinese Americans as a high-achieving, well-adjusting “model minority” might not reflect the entire reality of their mental health conditions. This study examined depression risks and correlates among different generations of Chinese Americans, using non-Hispanic whites as a comparison group. A nationally representative sample of Chinese Americans (n = 600) from the Comprehensive Psychiatric Epidemiological Survey was used. Results of the study indicate that Chinese Americans in general have a lower risk of depression than non-Hispanic whites. Moreover, the prevalence and correlates of depression do not show a linear trend of difference from first to second to third-or-higher generation Chinese Americans, and then to non-Hispanic whites; rather, the risk of depression and its association with social relational factors presents in distinctive patterns for first and second generation Chinese Americans, compared to third-or-higher generation Chinese Americans and non-Hispanic whites. Specifically, friend network and relative group play different roles in influencing depression for different generations of Chinese Americans. The findings contributed to the growing body of literature on acculturation and mental health among immigrants, shedding lights on the complicated sociocultural contexts that could influence the mental well-being of individuals. Mental health service providers need to be aware of the complex and nuanced association between social relational factors and depression in their prevention, management, and treatment efforts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Networks and Mental Health)
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Open AccessArticle Departmental Structure, Cooperative Scholarship, and Productivity: A Fuzzy Set Qualitative-Comparative Analysis of Selected Sociology Departments
Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(2), 57; doi:10.3390/socsci6020057
Received: 19 February 2017 / Revised: 23 May 2017 / Accepted: 26 May 2017 / Published: 2 June 2017
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Abstract
Previous studies of scholarly productivity have neglected the impact of departmental and institutional structure on the outcome. This study examines the relationships between departmental and institutional structure, cooperative scholarship, and individualistic scholarship with productivity in 31 highly ranked sociology departments in the United
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Previous studies of scholarly productivity have neglected the impact of departmental and institutional structure on the outcome. This study examines the relationships between departmental and institutional structure, cooperative scholarship, and individualistic scholarship with productivity in 31 highly ranked sociology departments in the United States. We measure scholarly productivity by the number of peer reviewed articles that were published either jointly or individually by faculty members during 2009–2010. By applying fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis, we conclude that a combination of four conditions are associated with higher levels of scholarly productivity. These are: type of institution (public vs. private), proportion of tenured professors, individualistic scholarship, and cooperative scholarship. The results reveal that the conditions (independent variables) combine in different ways (pathways) to be sufficient for the outcome. Further, we conclude that cooperative scholarship and productivity are more complex constructs than suggested by previous literature and that there are multiple pathways by which departments may facilitate scholarly productivity. We address implications and recommendations for future research. Full article
Open AccessArticle Masculinity and the Occupational Experience of Male Independent Escorts Who Seek Male Clients
Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(2), 58; doi:10.3390/socsci6020058
Received: 27 January 2017 / Revised: 17 May 2017 / Accepted: 31 May 2017 / Published: 5 June 2017
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Abstract
While male sex work (MSW) is a highly gendered practice involving the commodification of the male body, masculinity has rarely been examined to understand this new occupational environment. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with twenty male independent internet-based escorts in Brisbane, Australia. Masculinity was
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While male sex work (MSW) is a highly gendered practice involving the commodification of the male body, masculinity has rarely been examined to understand this new occupational environment. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with twenty male independent internet-based escorts in Brisbane, Australia. Masculinity was used as a conceptual tool to understand the nuances of the escorting experience, resulting in two themes: Endurance and Technical Skill. These themes were aligned with hegemonic expressions of masculinity, a system that orders masculinity into a hierarchy and potentially marginalises escorts. Participants thus used features of a system that subordinated them to attain primacy in the same framework, avoiding stigma. These themes described were far removed from dialogues of deviance oft-repeated by past sex work research, and instead bolster the view that male escorting is moving toward a paradigm of normalisation. We thus argue that masculinity is a critical conceptual tool in understanding the contemporary dynamics of the male escorting experience as it becomes increasingly normalised. Full article
Open AccessArticle Pedagogy as Possibility: Health Interventions as Digital Openness
Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(2), 59; doi:10.3390/socsci6020059
Received: 27 April 2017 / Revised: 28 May 2017 / Accepted: 1 June 2017 / Published: 6 June 2017
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Abstract
In this article we propose an approach to digital health tracking technologies that draws on design anthropology. This entails re-thinking the pedagogical importance of personal data as lying in how they participate in the constitution of new possibilities that enable people to learn
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In this article we propose an approach to digital health tracking technologies that draws on design anthropology. This entails re-thinking the pedagogical importance of personal data as lying in how they participate in the constitution of new possibilities that enable people to learn about, and configure, their everyday health in new ways. There have been two dominant strands in traditional debates in the field of pedagogy: one that refers to processes of teaching people to do things in particular ways; and another that seeks to enable learning. The first of these corresponds with existing understandings of self-tracking technologies as either unsuccessful behavioural change devices, or as providing solutions to problems that do not necessarily exist. When seen as such, self-tracking technologies inevitably fail as forms of intervention towards better health. In this article we investigate what happens when we take the second strand—the notion of enabling learning as an incremental and emergent process—seriously as a mode of intervention towards health through self-tracking technologies. We show how such a shift in pedagogical understanding of the routes to knowing these technologies offer creates opportunities to move beyond simplistic ideas of behavioural change as the main application of digital body monitoring in everyday life. In what follows, we first demonstrate how the disjunctures that arise from this context emerge. We then outline a critical response to how learning through life-tracking has been conceptualised in research in health and human-computer interaction research. We offer an alternative response by drawing on a processual theory of learning and recent and emerging research in sociology, media studies, anthropology, and cognate disciplines. Then, drawing on ethnographic research, we argue for understanding learning through the production of personal data as involving emplaced and non-representational routes to knowing. This, we propose, requires a corresponding rethinking of the epistemological status of personal data and what kind of knowledge it can be claimed to produce. Finally, we take up the implications of this and advance the discussion through a design anthropological approach, through which we refigure the interventional potential of such technologies as lying in their capacity to create possibilities for experiential, and often unspoken, ways of embodied and emplaced knowing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pedagogies of Health: The Role of Technology)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle The Strategies, Complexities, and Realities of Zero Prison Population Growth
Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(2), 60; doi:10.3390/socsci6020060
Received: 6 February 2017 / Revised: 30 May 2017 / Accepted: 5 June 2017 / Published: 8 June 2017
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Abstract
Although there is general consensus that growth in the prison population should be reversed, there is little agreement on how to achieve this goal. In this paper, I apply classic demographic methods to answer questions that assess the strategies, complexities, and realities of
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Although there is general consensus that growth in the prison population should be reversed, there is little agreement on how to achieve this goal. In this paper, I apply classic demographic methods to answer questions that assess the strategies, complexities, and realities of routes to zero and negative prison population growth. Modified admissions policies have had the greatest impact on halting growth, whereas decreasing the length of sentences has had only a modest, short-term influence on the prison population size. As state and federal policy-makers consider reducing sentences for selective classes of nonviolent offenders, it is important that they have a holistic understanding of the implications of such policies. Traditionally, this type of modification has been coupled with more punitive policies for violent offenders, a pattern that reinforces the appearance of having “tough on crime” policies. Model estimates show that such strategies countervail the overall goal of decreasing the size of the prison population. Regardless of underlying reasons to halt growth of the prison populations, integration of the formal demography enable a means to assess the short- and long-term consequences of current and future policy. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Making STEM “Family Friendly”: The Impact of Perceiving Science Careers as Family-Compatible
Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(2), 61; doi:10.3390/socsci6020061
Received: 1 September 2016 / Revised: 26 May 2017 / Accepted: 3 June 2017 / Published: 11 June 2017
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Abstract
Two studies extended the communal goal congruity perspective to examine perceived incongruity between science careers and family caregiving goals. Study 1 examined beliefs about science careers among young adolescents, older adolescents, and young adults. Science careers were perceived as unlikely to afford family
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Two studies extended the communal goal congruity perspective to examine perceived incongruity between science careers and family caregiving goals. Study 1 examined beliefs about science careers among young adolescents, older adolescents, and young adults. Science careers were perceived as unlikely to afford family goals, and this belief emerged more strongly with age cohort. Study 1 also documented that the perception that science affords family goals predicts interest in pursuing science. Study 2 then employed an experimental methodology to investigate the impact of framing a science career as integrated with family life or not. For family-oriented women, the family-friendly framing of science produced greater personal favorability toward pursuing a science career. In addition, perceived fulfilment of the scientist described predicted personal favorability toward a science career path. We discuss the implications of these findings for research and for policy. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Toronto Empathy Questionnaire: Reliability and Validity in a Nationwide Sample of Greek Teachers
Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(2), 62; doi:10.3390/socsci6020062
Received: 25 November 2016 / Revised: 10 May 2017 / Accepted: 7 June 2017 / Published: 12 June 2017
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Abstract
The present study examined the Toronto Empathy Questionnaire’s (TEQ) validity and reliability in a sample of 3955 Greek teachers. In order to test the internal consistency reliability, the Cronbach’s alpha coefficient was used and was found satisfactory at 0.72. The sample was randomly
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The present study examined the Toronto Empathy Questionnaire’s (TEQ) validity and reliability in a sample of 3955 Greek teachers. In order to test the internal consistency reliability, the Cronbach’s alpha coefficient was used and was found satisfactory at 0.72. The sample was randomly split and an exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was conducted in the even subsample, justifying the one-factor solution, with the only discrepancy of the low loading of an item. In the odd subsample a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was performed to confirm the one-factor model identified by the EFA. The chi square test (χ2) of the model was significant (p < 0.05), while the root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA), the comparative fit index (CFI) and the goodness of fit index (GFI) values were 0.078, 0.969 and 0.960, respectively, further supporting the model’s fit. Student’s t-tests and analysis of variance (ANOVA) showed that women, teachers with children of their own, those working full-time in public schools, those with students who needed special education, and those who had received mental health promotion training, scored higher. Additionally, multiple linear regression analysis revealed that sex, working status, having students who needed special education, and having attended mental health training courses were independently associated with TEQ score. The analyses confirmed that the Greek version of TEQ could be used for researches in Greek educators as a valid and reliable measure of teachers’ empathy. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle A Process Review of the Indashyikirwa Couples Curriculum to Prevent Intimate Partner Violence and Support Healthy, Equitable Relationships in Rwanda
Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(2), 63; doi:10.3390/socsci6020063
Received: 29 April 2017 / Revised: 6 June 2017 / Accepted: 8 June 2017 / Published: 13 June 2017
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Abstract
Indashyikirwa is a Rwandan intimate partner violence (IPV) prevention program being implemented by CARE International Rwanda, Rwanda Women’s Network (RWN), and Rwanda Men’s Resource Centre (RWAMREC). A central aspect of the programme is a 20-session curriculum for heterosexual couples designed to support healthy,
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Indashyikirwa is a Rwandan intimate partner violence (IPV) prevention program being implemented by CARE International Rwanda, Rwanda Women’s Network (RWN), and Rwanda Men’s Resource Centre (RWAMREC). A central aspect of the programme is a 20-session curriculum for heterosexual couples designed to support healthy, non-violent relationships. This paper draws on qualitative interviews with 15 couples (before and after the curriculum) and 9 field staff to assess couples’ impressions, comprehension of, and engagement with this innovative training. Thematic analysis was conducted to compare key findings from both data sources. Couples and staff offered positive assessments of the curriculum including the contextual relevance, the participatory approach, and a high level of dedication to the training was shown by the majority of couples. Many couples appreciated being trained together, and although some men dominated the first few sessions, participation gradually became more gender-balanced, and facilitators emphasized creating a safe environment for equal participation. Curriculum content that was initially resisted or difficult reportedly became easier through couples learning and trying new skills and experiencing relationship benefits first-hand, which emphasizes the value of the skills building component and take home exercises. Important insights for couples-based, educational approaches to IPV prevention are identified from this process review. Full article
Open AccessArticle Survivors’ Sociocultural Status in Mwenga: A Comparison of the Issue before and after Rape
Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(2), 64; doi:10.3390/socsci6020064
Received: 30 April 2017 / Revised: 6 June 2017 / Accepted: 12 June 2017 / Published: 15 June 2017
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Abstract
This article discusses psychosocial challenges faced by women survivors of rape in their families and communities based on the interpretation of rape as a sexual taboo and held beliefs that automatic transgression of taboo, through unwanted sexual contact, defiles and endangers survivors and
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This article discusses psychosocial challenges faced by women survivors of rape in their families and communities based on the interpretation of rape as a sexual taboo and held beliefs that automatic transgression of taboo, through unwanted sexual contact, defiles and endangers survivors and those who associate with them. This article raises awareness on these challenges and provides contextualized useful knowledge for professionals in helping the relationship with survivors and for gender relations policy makers. Built on results from a doctoral qualitative, grounded theory-based research, the article presents survivors’ stories from women who suffered rape and therapists who provided multidisciplinary services to them. Researchers have found that rape is widely believed to be a sexual taboo in Mwenga and other rural areas from the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The results suggest that efforts to support healing and social integration of survivors can be well supported by taking into consideration the contextual belief system around sexual defilement as this plays a significant role in post rape relations for survivors in their families and communities. Full article
Open AccessArticle “Strength of Weak Ties,” Neighborhood Ethnic Heterogeneity, and Depressive Symptoms among Adults: A Multilevel Analysis of Korean General Social Survey (KGSS) 2012
Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(2), 65; doi:10.3390/socsci6020065
Received: 27 April 2017 / Revised: 6 June 2017 / Accepted: 17 June 2017 / Published: 20 June 2017
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Abstract
A substantial body of research, based largely on North American and European contexts, demonstrates that social networks play a critical role in protecting and promoting mental, as well as physical, health. The purpose of this study is to examine how “weak” and “strong”
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A substantial body of research, based largely on North American and European contexts, demonstrates that social networks play a critical role in protecting and promoting mental, as well as physical, health. The purpose of this study is to examine how “weak” and “strong” network relations are differentially related to individual mental health (depressive symptoms) based on a nationally representative sample of South Korean adults. Using multilevel analysis, the current research also investigates the extent to which contextual or neighborhood-level factors moderate the associations between depression and social network. Findings show that regular interaction with weaker ties (acquaintances, neighbors, coworkers, etc.) are associated with better mental health. The number of strong ties (family members and friends), on the other hand, is not a significant predictor of psychological distress. In addition, a cross-level interaction term is observed: The negative relationship between weak ties and depressive symptoms is diminished in neighborhoods with more foreign-born residents or immigrants. General implications beyond the empirical case under investigation are discussed, as to why weak ties can be “strong” in relation to mental health and how this phenomenon can vary according to residential characteristics such as ethnic heterogeneity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Networks and Mental Health)
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Open AccessArticle Challenges Confronting Rural Dwellers in Accessing Health Information in Ghana: Shai Osudoku District in Perspective
Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(2), 66; doi:10.3390/socsci6020066
Received: 29 April 2017 / Revised: 14 June 2017 / Accepted: 19 June 2017 / Published: 21 June 2017
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Abstract
The focus of the study was to investigate health information seeking behavior as well as the barriers to health information seeking among rural dwellers in Ghana using Shai Osudoku District as a case study. The convenient and purposive sampling technique was used to
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The focus of the study was to investigate health information seeking behavior as well as the barriers to health information seeking among rural dwellers in Ghana using Shai Osudoku District as a case study. The convenient and purposive sampling technique was used to sample 210 community members within Shai Osudoku District. The Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 21.0 was employed to process the quantitative data. The data was processed into statistical tables and charts for interpretation and discussion. The outcome of the study revealed that the most common sources of health information seeking among rural community members in the district of investigation are posters, health care providers and families/friends, with radio being the most used platform. It was also revealed that those respondents with higher level of education are more likely to use the Internet and television in accessing health information (p = 0.001 and 0.000 respectively). Similarly, respondents with primary education or informal education were more likely to contact family members for health information (p = 0.001) The outcome of the study also shows that many rural communities in Ghana, particularly rural dwellers of Shai Osudoku District, face numerous challenges in accessing health information. Notable among them are language barrier, location of the villages and inaccessibility to emerging technologies such as mobile phones and television sets. We conclude that, policies for improving health information access and reducing barriers to health information seeking in rural communities should be designed and implemented by Ghana health service. Also, education on how to access health-related information with easily accessible sources either free or at low-priced could be a way to help people in rural settings in Ghana with limited health information. Full article
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Jump to: Research

Open AccessEssay Frozen in Time: How Disney Gender-Stereotypes Its Most Powerful Princess
Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(2), 38; doi:10.3390/socsci6020038
Received: 10 September 2016 / Revised: 16 February 2017 / Accepted: 24 March 2017 / Published: 26 March 2017
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Abstract
Disney’s animated feature Frozen (2013) received acclaim for presenting a powerful heroine, Elsa, who is independent of men. Elsa’s avoidance of male suitors, however, could be a result of her protective father’s admonition not to “let them in” in order for her to
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Disney’s animated feature Frozen (2013) received acclaim for presenting a powerful heroine, Elsa, who is independent of men. Elsa’s avoidance of male suitors, however, could be a result of her protective father’s admonition not to “let them in” in order for her to be a “good girl.” In addition, Elsa’s power threatens emasculation of any potential suitor suggesting that power and romance are mutually exclusive. While some might consider a princess’s focus on power to be refreshing, it is significant that the audience does not see a woman attaining a balance between exercising authority and a relationship. Instead, power is a substitute for romance. Furthermore, despite Elsa’s seemingly triumphant liberation celebrated in Let It Go, selfless love rather than independence is the key to others’ approval of her as queen. Regardless of the need for novel female characters, Elsa is just a variation on the archetypal power-hungry female villain whose lust for power replaces lust for any person, and who threatens the patriarchal status quo. The only twist is that she finds redemption through gender-stereotypical compassion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gender, Family, and Society: Reciprocal Influences)
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