Societies2014, 4(4), 640-653; doi:10.3390/soc4040640 - published 13 November 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: In this study, we examine the relation between social network site (SNS) usage and the personal networks of immigrants, using a unique dataset composed of a representative sample of immigrants living in the Netherlands. In theory, SNSs can be a helpful tool for immigrants, because they may help establish social ties in the destination country and help maintain ties with people in the country of origin. We examine whether this is also true in practice by analyzing whether the frequency of using two SNSs—Facebook and Hyves (a Dutch SNS)—is associated with the number of ingroup and outgroup ties, as well as the quality of social relations. In addition, we test whether general emotional disclosure boosts the effect of SNS usage on the quality of relationships. We find that SNS usage is associated with more outgroup ties, but not with more ingroup ties. Our analyses also show that SNS usage is associated with greater quality social relationships among migrants. Contrary to our expectations, we found no interaction between general emotional disclosure and SNS usage on satisfaction with social relations. The implications of these findings are discussed.
Societies2014, 4(4), 623-639; doi:10.3390/soc4040623 - published 5 November 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This article reports upon research on vegan transition, which I bring into dialogue with Sara Ahmed’s figure of the killjoy. Ahmed’s work on affect and the feminist killjoy is found to be apt for considering contemporary vegans and their transgression of normative scripts of happiness and commensality in a dominant meat and dairy consuming culture. The decentring of joy and happiness is also found to be integral to the critical deconstructive work of the vegan killjoy. Ahmed’s ideas further complement the frame of practice theory that I draw upon to understand the process of transition especially in the sense of opposing the meanings of dominant practices. Although food and veganism are not commented upon by Ahmed, the vegan subject constitutes, I argue, a potent further example of what she terms an “affect alien” who must willfully struggle against a dominant affective order and community. Drawing upon interviews with 40 vegans based in the UK, I illustrate examples of contestation and negotiation by vegans and those close to them. The article finds in the figure of the killjoy not only a frame by which to partly understand the negotiation of relationships between vegans and non-vegans but also an opportunity for further intersectional labour between veganism and feminism.
Societies2014, 4(4), 606-622; doi:10.3390/soc4040606 - published 29 October 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Although over 100,000 health and medical mobile apps have been placed on the market, few critical social analyses have been yet undertaken of the role of these apps in healthcare, preventive health and health promotion. In this article I present an argument for approaching the study of mobile apps as sociocultural artefacts, focusing specifically on those that have been developed on health and medical topics. This perspective acknowledges that apps are digital objects that are the products of human decision-making, underpinned by tacit assumptions, norms and discourses already circulating in the social and cultural contexts in which they are generated, marketed and used. First, I provide the context, by discussing the gradual digitisation of health and medical information since the advent of the Internet and the emergence of health and medical apps as one of the latest developments. Second, I discuss how a critical perspective may be employed to analyse the social, cultural and political dimensions of health and medical apps. Finally I illustrate how such an approach may be applied by giving a case study of an analysis of the top 10 ranked health and medical apps on the Apple App Store on one day, outlining some major themes and discourses that emerge.
Societies2014, 4(4), 587-605; doi:10.3390/soc4040587 - published 23 October 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This paper addresses sex integration in martial arts and combat sports, discussing the implications of mixed-sex training for challenging orthodox Western constructions of gender. Drawing on qualitative interviews with 37 long-term martial arts practitioners from around the English East Midlands between 2007–2011, the paper argues that restrictive, essentialist and hierarchal conceptions of sex difference can be challenged through integrated training practices. The paper advocates the “undoing” of gender in this regard as helping to build a more progressive, inclusive and liberal form of physical culture, seen as a key potential of sex-integrated training. To that end, the paper makes a number of proposals for instructors and practitioners interested in developing such inclusive environments in their own clubs and training settings.
Societies2014, 4(4), 561-586; doi:10.3390/soc4040561 - published 23 October 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: New information and communication technologies (ICTs) challenge existing beliefs regarding the exchange of social resources within a network. The present study examines individuals’ perceived access to social, emotional, and instrumental resources by analyzing relational and Facebook-specific characteristics of dyadic relationships. Results suggest that the social and technical affordances of the site—including visibility of content and connections, as well as streamlined processes for interacting with a large audience—may augment existing perceptions of resource access for some ties while providing a major (or sole) outlet to interact and exchange resources with others. Specifically, weaker ties appear to benefit more than strong ties from engagement in directed communication and relationship maintenance strategies, while additional variations were observed across relationship category, dyad composition, and geographic proximity. In summary, these findings provide new evidence for how positive relational gains may be derived from site use.
Societies2014, 4(4), 549-560; doi:10.3390/soc4040549 - published 22 October 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Bullying behaviors occur across the lifespan and have increasingly migrated to online platforms where they are known as cyberbullying. The purpose of this study was to explore the phenomenon of cyberbullying among college students. Participants were recruited for focus groups through purposeful sampling, including recruitment from groups traditionally at risk for bullying. Focus groups discussed views and perceptions of cyberbullying on campuses. Groups were led by a trained facilitator and were audio recorded and manually transcribed. The constant comparative approach was used to identify themes and representative quotations. The 42 participants had an average age of 19.2 (SD = 1.2), 55% were female, 83% were Caucasian. Three themes emerged from the data: (1) lack of agreement on a definition of cyberbullying, but consensus on three representative scenarios: hacking, dirty laundry and mocking; (2) concerns with translating definitions of traditional bullying to cyberbullying; (3) opinions that cyberbullying may manifest differently in college compared to younger adolescents, including increased potential for long-term effects. College students were not in agreement about a theoretical definition, but they could agree upon specific representative instances of cyberbullying. Future studies could consider using common case examples or vignettes of cyberbullying, or creation of developmentally representative definitions by age group.