Open AccessEditorial
Looking Backward While Gazing Ahead: An Historian of Aging Reflects on Time’s Borders
Societies 2017, 7(2), 9; doi:10.3390/soc7020009 -
Abstract
Looking backward for a usable past has long been an instructive way to gaze into the vagaries of an uncertain future. I learned the merits of this approach training to be an historian. And as an historian interested in gerontology, I grew to
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Looking backward for a usable past has long been an instructive way to gaze into the vagaries of an uncertain future. I learned the merits of this approach training to be an historian. And as an historian interested in gerontology, I grew to appreciate the value of studying continuities and changes in human development set into motion before late life. This essay begins in the present with my imminent retirement. It then looks retrospectively at my academic career with the hope that emerging scholars can profit from the journey. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Examining Supportive Evidence for Psychosocial Theories of Aging within the Oral History Narratives of Centenarians
Societies 2017, 7(2), 8; doi:10.3390/soc7020008 -
Abstract
Oral history provides researchers opportunities to assess narratives and compare them to existing theories of aging. Oftentimes the discussion of psychosocial theories of aging does not include the oldest-old. The purpose of this study was to assess evidence of psychosocial theories of aging
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Oral history provides researchers opportunities to assess narratives and compare them to existing theories of aging. Oftentimes the discussion of psychosocial theories of aging does not include the oldest-old. The purpose of this study was to assess evidence of psychosocial theories of aging within oral history narratives from a subsample of 20 centenarians from the Oklahoma 100 Year Life Oral History Project. Analysis utilized seven theories: Activity Theory, Continuity Theory, Disengagement Theory, Theory of Gerotranscendence, Modernization Theory, Selective Optimization with Compensation (SOC) Theory, and Socioemotional Selectivity Theory (SST). Researchers used content analysis to assess each oral history narrative and noted Activity Theory and Gerotranscendence had the most evidence. Most centenarians described how they were extremely active well into older adulthood. Common themes across oral history narratives indicated that centenarians maintained a preference for activity such as formal work. Centenarians also reported a readiness for death and little fear of it. In addition, increased time spent reflecting on spirituality and religion indicated changes in self-discovery. Identification of Disengagement and Socioemotional Selectivity were sparse in the transcripts. It is possible that to reach such longevity, centenarians relied on their communities and support networks to achieve this status. It is also possible that centenarians outlived individuals in their social networks who were emotionally fulfilling. Further qualitative work should assess evidence of psychosocial theories among other long-lived older adults. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Older People, Mobile Communication and Risks
Societies 2017, 7(2), 7; doi:10.3390/soc7020007 -
Abstract
Starting from Beck’s concept of reflexivity, the paper investigates differences in risk perception regarding wireless technologies expressed by older people living in Romania and Catalonia (Spain). We combine evidence from conversations held with older individuals in different research projects together with an ad-hoc
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Starting from Beck’s concept of reflexivity, the paper investigates differences in risk perception regarding wireless technologies expressed by older people living in Romania and Catalonia (Spain). We combine evidence from conversations held with older individuals in different research projects together with an ad-hoc media content analysis. Our research reveals that seniors’ discourses were consistent with the media prominence of different types of risks in each country. Results show that seniors’ discourses on health risks relate to the way the media discussed them, with Romanian participants, in contrast to older people from Catalonia, expressing no concerns about electromagnetic radiation. Also, Romanian seniors were more concerned about the risk to others—younger family members—whereas seniors in Catalonia were more concerned about their own risks. Seniors from Romania made more references to the country’s development. We discuss aging futures in societies with different risk perceptions. As the media presents the risks associated with digital technologies in differing lights, people’s perceptions are formed accordingly. Also, in countries where technology is perceived as good per se, the techno-optimistic discourse would be reinforced not only by the media but also by the groups exposed to the highest social pressure towards technology adoption—for example, seniors. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Shared Participatory Research Principles and Methodologies: Perspectives from the USA and Brazil—45 Years after Paulo Freire’s “Pedagogy of the Oppressed”
Societies 2017, 7(2), 6; doi:10.3390/soc7020006 -
Abstract
The trajectory of participation in health research by community social actors worldwide has been built on a history of community participation from the Ottawa Charter Health Promotion call for community mobilization, to the emancipatory educational philosophy of Paulo Freire, to social movements and
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The trajectory of participation in health research by community social actors worldwide has been built on a history of community participation from the Ottawa Charter Health Promotion call for community mobilization, to the emancipatory educational philosophy of Paulo Freire, to social movements and organizing for health and social justice. This paper builds on this history to expand our global knowledge about community participation in research through a dialogue between experiences and contexts in two prominent countries in this approach; the United States and Brazil. We first focus on differences in political and scientific contexts, financing, and academic perspectives and then present how, despite these differences, similarities exist in values and collaborative methodologies aimed at engaging community partners in democratizing science and knowledge construction. We present three case studies, one from the U.S. and two from Brazil, which illustrate similar multi-level processes using participatory research tools and Freirian dialogue to contribute to social mobilization, community empowerment, and the transformation of inequitable societal conditions. Despite different processes of evolution, we observed a convergence of participatory health research strategies and values that can transform science in our commitment to reduce health and social inequities and improve community wellbeing. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Advocating for Health Promotion Policy in Norway: The Role of the County Municipalities
Societies 2017, 7(2), 5; doi:10.3390/soc7020005 -
Abstract
Background: The Norwegian National government has developed public health policies that reflect health promotion principles, and these are particularly reflected in the recent Public Health Act (PHA). The counties (CMs) have been given a central role in the implementation of the PHA, and
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Background: The Norwegian National government has developed public health policies that reflect health promotion principles, and these are particularly reflected in the recent Public Health Act (PHA). The counties (CMs) have been given a central role in the implementation of the PHA, and in this paper we explore how the CMs fill this role. Methods: Qualitative as well as quantitative data have been applied; a survey, a document study and personal interviews have been conducted. Results: The findings show that the CMs find it challenging to influence all sectors to change the focus from classical lifestyle issues to a focus on the social determinants of health. The Directorate of Health has the main responsibility for implementing the PHA, but the signals from the Directorate are not always consistent. The Directorate still launches campaigns and interventions to improve diets and stimulate physical activity, without launching them in the context of the PHA. Conclusion: The CMs regard the supporting role toward the municipalities as their highest priority. However, they find it hard to anchor and integrate the principles of the PHA. They explain this partly with the sectorised government organisation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Coaches’ Health Promotion Activity and Substance Use in Youth Sports
Societies 2017, 7(2), 4; doi:10.3390/soc7020004 -
Abstract
There is an increasing amount of evidence suggesting youth sports clubs are an important setting for health promotion. Adolescents in sport club settings can benefit from exposures of positive and negative consequences to health. To better understand the sport club context and coaches’
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There is an increasing amount of evidence suggesting youth sports clubs are an important setting for health promotion. Adolescents in sport club settings can benefit from exposures of positive and negative consequences to health. To better understand the sport club context and coaches’ health promotion activity in substance use prevention, this study compares sport club members with non-members aged between 14–16 years old on their experience and use of alcohol, smoking and snuff and coaches’ health promotion activity on substances. Methods: Adolescents (n = 671) from sports clubs and from matched schools (n = 1442) were recruited in this study. Multiple binary logistic regressions were performed on substance use. Results: Higher prevalence of substance use was associated with discussions of substances, often held by coaches. Significantly fewer girls who are sport club members had experiences in alcohol, smoking or snuff than their non-member counter-parts, the differences among boys varied by substance. Fewer sport club members experienced smoking than non-members. More boys used snuff than girls. Conclusions: The most salient points for health promotion were that girls who were sport club members used fewer substances and for boys the picture was more complicated. Coaches could be using reactive strategies through informal learning to address substance use in clubs, although more effective training on substance use for coaches is needed. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Social Capital Accumulation among Puerto Rican Mothers in Urban Neighborhoods
Societies 2017, 7(1), 3; doi:10.3390/soc7010003 -
Abstract
Social capital provides access to material and personal resources through participation in social networks and other social structures. Social capital may not function equally for all populations, especially those living in residentially segregated urban neighborhoods with increased levels of poverty. This is because
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Social capital provides access to material and personal resources through participation in social networks and other social structures. Social capital may not function equally for all populations, especially those living in residentially segregated urban neighborhoods with increased levels of poverty. This is because inequalities exist in social capital accumulation and are found where disadvantaged socioeconomic groups cluster. Using probabilistic household survey data consisting of 205 Puerto Rican mothers in Springfield, Massachusetts in 2013, this research tests hypotheses regarding the association of social capital accumulation with Puerto Rican mothers’ individual, neighborhood, and social network characteristics. Logistic regression results suggested that Puerto Rican mothers who were employed and lived in neighborhoods with other Latinos were more likely to accumulate social capital. In addition, mothers who participated in activities of their children also had increased social capital accumulation. This neighborhood effect on social capital accumulation may promote bonding social capital but not bridging social capital among these Puerto Rican mothers. Full article
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Open AccessCommentary
The Role of Health Promotion in Disease Outbreaks and Health Emergencies
Societies 2017, 7(1), 2; doi:10.3390/soc7010002 -
Abstract
Health promotion has a key role to play in disease outbreaks and health emergencies because it can offer well-established bottom-up approaches that engage with people to be an active part of a response. International agencies did learn from their earlier mistakes in, for
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Health promotion has a key role to play in disease outbreaks and health emergencies because it can offer well-established bottom-up approaches that engage with people to be an active part of a response. International agencies did learn from their earlier mistakes in, for example, the recent Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa, even though an attempt to engage with communities was not initially widely implemented. Many agencies preferred to use pre-packaged approaches which had an emphasis on individual behavior changes and health care delivery. This had a questionable effect because disease outbreaks and health emergencies must actively communicate with and involve people to be successful. Health promotion practice recognizes the value of community capacity-building, participation and empowerment—aspects that are already intrinsic to many health promotion programs. An understanding of how this is achieved in practice will help agencies to find an appropriate way forward to involve and better communicate with communities when the next disease outbreak inevitably occurs. Full article
Open AccessEditorial
Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Societies in 2016
Societies 2017, 7(1), 1; doi:10.3390/soc7010001 -
Abstract The editors of Societies would like to express their sincere gratitude to the following reviewers for assessing manuscripts in 2016.[...] Full article
Open AccessEssay
Reel Royal Diversity? The Glass Ceiling in Disney’s Mulan and Princess and the Frog
Societies 2016, 6(4), 35; doi:10.3390/soc6040035 -
Abstract
Both in Mulan and Princess and the Frog, Disney eschews a traditional fairytale ending involving palatial opulence by substituting an alternative narrative for women of color. Mulan disguises herself as a male soldier in order to serve in her father’s place. After
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Both in Mulan and Princess and the Frog, Disney eschews a traditional fairytale ending involving palatial opulence by substituting an alternative narrative for women of color. Mulan disguises herself as a male soldier in order to serve in her father’s place. After sharing victory with male companions, she willingly returns home to domesticity and the confines imposed by her gender. Tiana spends two thirds of the movie as a frog, substantially limiting her on-screen time as an African American female. Like Mulan, she is driven to please her father. She fulfills his dream of owning a high-end restaurant, ironically named Tiana’s Palace, the closest she comes to a royal lifestyle. Although protagonists with more realistic lives could potentially enhance viewers’ connection with them and model a work ethic or commitment to home life, the standard and more financially successful Disney narrative immerses viewers in a fantasy world of endless prospects including a life of royalty. These nonwhite heroines instead display a willingness to settle for more modest aspirations in stories replete with stereotypical gender and race-bound tropes. This divergent narrative suggests that protagonists of color are not entitled to a life of leisure and privilege that white Disney princesses enjoy. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Indigenous Research and Romantic Nationalism
Societies 2016, 6(4), 34; doi:10.3390/soc6040034 -
Abstract
In recent years, “indigenous research” and “indigenous methods” have become prominent themes in the general field of qualitative methodology. These ideas and their implications raise serious questions for the wider conduct of social research. We will outline some of those ideas, subjecting them
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In recent years, “indigenous research” and “indigenous methods” have become prominent themes in the general field of qualitative methodology. These ideas and their implications raise serious questions for the wider conduct of social research. We will outline some of those ideas, subjecting them to scrutiny, and ultimately using them to question the rise of Romanticism in contemporary social methodology. We develop these ideas to question the contemporary emphasis on the personal and the experiential in current methodological commentary. Full article
Open AccessCommunication
Reconsidering Teenage Pregnancy and Parenthood
Societies 2016, 6(4), 33; doi:10.3390/soc6040033 -
Abstract
This paper looks back at the findings reported in Destinies of the Disadvantaged: The Politics of Teenage Parenthood, a decade after its publication in light of recent research. Increasingly, the most methodologically sophisticated research has minimized the “causal impact” of early childbearing
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This paper looks back at the findings reported in Destinies of the Disadvantaged: The Politics of Teenage Parenthood, a decade after its publication in light of recent research. Increasingly, the most methodologically sophisticated research has minimized the “causal impact” of early childbearing on later life events consistent with the findings of the Baltimore Study. I argue in the paper that we must see early childbearing primarily as a marker rather than a cause of economic disadvantage. As such, reducing early childbearing will have a minimal impact on the lives of highly disadvantaged teens unless those teens use the delay in childbearing to improve their education and labor market prospects. Full article
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Open AccessEditorial
Special Issue on Robots and the Work Environment
Societies 2016, 6(4), 31; doi:10.3390/soc6040031 -
Open AccessEditorial
Special Issue: Adolescent Pregnancy: Past, Present and Future Trends and Issues
Societies 2016, 6(4), 32; doi:10.3390/soc6040032 -
Open AccessArticle
A Cross-Cultural Adaptation of the ICECAP-O: Test–Retest Reliability and Item Relevance in Swedish 70-Year-Olds
Societies 2016, 6(4), 30; doi:10.3390/soc6040030 -
Abstract
Background: While there is a plethora of Quality of Life (QoL) measures, the Investigating Choice Experiments for the Preferences of Older People—CAPability index (ICECAP-O) is one of the few that taps into the concept of capability, i.e., opportunities to 'do' and 'be' the
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Background: While there is a plethora of Quality of Life (QoL) measures, the Investigating Choice Experiments for the Preferences of Older People—CAPability index (ICECAP-O) is one of the few that taps into the concept of capability, i.e., opportunities to 'do' and 'be' the things that one deems important in life. We aimed to examine test–retest reliability of the ICECAP-O in a Swedish context and to study item relevance. Methods: Thirty-nine 70-year-olds who took part in a population-based health study completed the Swedish version of the ICECAP-O on two occasions. We analyzed the test–retest reliability for the index and for the individual items. Participants also rated the relevance of each item on a visual analogue scale (0–100). Results: Test–retest reliability for the index score was in good agreement with an ICC of 0.80 (95% CI 0.62–0.90). However, Kappa was low for each item and ranged from 0.18 (control) to 0.41 (role). For attachment, we found a systematic disagreement with lower ratings at the second test occasion. Participants gave their highest relevance rating to attachment and lowest to enjoyment. Conclusion: The Swedish version of the ICECAP-O had good test–retest agreement, similar to that observed for the English version. Item level agreement was problematic, however, highlighting a need for future research. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Sociological and Biological Insights on How to Prevent the Reduction in Cognitive Activity that Stems from Robots Assuming Workloads in Human–Robot Cooperation
Societies 2016, 6(4), 29; doi:10.3390/soc6040029 -
Abstract
The reduction of cognitive tasks brought about by new developments in service-robots’ collaboration with humans in working environments has given rise to new challenges as to how to address safety issues. This paper presents insights from biology, cognitive/neural sciences and sociology that can
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The reduction of cognitive tasks brought about by new developments in service-robots’ collaboration with humans in working environments has given rise to new challenges as to how to address safety issues. This paper presents insights from biology, cognitive/neural sciences and sociology that can conquer these new challenges. The main focus lies in sociological variables that ensure safe human–robot interaction in working environments rather than addressing biological ones (avoiding bodily harm) or purely cognitive ones (avoiding any signals that are outside the human’s sensory comfort zones). We will present an approach on how to integrate behavioral patterns into the robotic system in order to prevent the problem of reduced cognition in relation to essential features, which are necessary for carrying out this pattern in the context of a human–robot interaction with non-humanoid robots (which is the most typical design of robots used in work environments). Full article
Open AccessArticle
“Activated, but Stuck”: Applying a Critical Occupational Lens to Examine the Negotiation of Long-Term Unemployment in Contemporary Socio-Political Contexts
Societies 2016, 6(3), 28; doi:10.3390/soc6030028 -
Abstract
Background: Solutions for the problem of long-term unemployment are increasingly shaped by neoliberally-informed logics of activation and austerity. Because the implications of these governing frameworks for everyday life are not well understood, this pilot study applied a critical occupational science perspective to understand
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Background: Solutions for the problem of long-term unemployment are increasingly shaped by neoliberally-informed logics of activation and austerity. Because the implications of these governing frameworks for everyday life are not well understood, this pilot study applied a critical occupational science perspective to understand how long-term unemployment is negotiated within contemporary North American socio-political contexts. This perspective highlights the implications of policy and employment service re-configurations for the range of activities that constitute everyday life. Methods: Using a collaborative ethnographic community-engaged research approach, we recruited eight people in Canada and the United States who self-identified as experiencing long-term unemployment. We analyzed interviews and observation notes concerning four participants in each context using open coding, critical discourse analysis, and situational analysis. Results: This pilot study revealed a key contradiction in participants’ lives: being “activated, but stuck”. This contradiction resulted from the tension between individualizing, homogenizing frames of unemployment and complex, socio-politically shaped lived experiences. Analysis of this tension revealed how participants saw themselves “doing all the right things” to become re-employed, yet still remained stuck across occupational arenas. Conclusion: This pilot study illustrates the importance of understanding how socio-political solutions to long-term unemployment impact daily life and occupational engagement beyond the realm of job seeking and job acquisition. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Exploring the Daily Lives of People on Methadone Maintenance Treatment: An Occupational Perspective
Societies 2016, 6(3), 27; doi:10.3390/soc6030027 -
Abstract
A qualitative study was undertaken with five people on methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) to better understand their experiences and daily routines. Through an in-depth exploration of their everyday occupations, we sought to reveal the ongoing challenges and barriers they face to accessing treatment.
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A qualitative study was undertaken with five people on methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) to better understand their experiences and daily routines. Through an in-depth exploration of their everyday occupations, we sought to reveal the ongoing challenges and barriers they face to accessing treatment. The concept of occupation refers to ‘all that people need, want and are required to do’ but also extends further to encompass ‘how doing contributes to processes of being, becoming and belonging’ (Huot and Laliberte Rudman, 2015). This research employed a qualitative intrinsic case study methodology (Stake, 2005). Using an occupational perspective informed by a framework for occupational justice (Stadnyk et al., 2005), the participants’ narratives are presented according to four themes highlighting key aspects of their experiences: (a) descent into chaos; (b) MMT as a bridge to recovery from addiction; (c) a new normal daily life; and (d) hopes for moving forward. The findings illustrate how structural factors and contextual factors interact to create occupational injustices. Thus, MMT practices and policies should consider the occupational implications described in this article to enhance patients’ experiences and further support their recovery. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Rural Villagers’ Quality of Life Improvement by Economic Self-Reliance Practices and Trust in the Philosophy of Sufficiency Economy
Societies 2016, 6(3), 26; doi:10.3390/soc6030026 -
Abstract
The concept of economic self-reliance, widely known by Thai people as the philosophy of sufficiency economy, has been widely promoted in rural Thai societies. By practicing this philosophy, it is expected that the citizens’ quality of life and local environments could be sustainably
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The concept of economic self-reliance, widely known by Thai people as the philosophy of sufficiency economy, has been widely promoted in rural Thai societies. By practicing this philosophy, it is expected that the citizens’ quality of life and local environments could be sustainably improved. This study aims to explore the contribution of the community practices of the sufficiency economy philosophy to rural villagers’ quality of life improvement, and to investigate potential factors that determine the trust of villagers in the philosophy. With the purpose to propose strategies which could enhance trust and promote villagers’ practices of the philosophy, the study investigated influences of three relevant factors on trust towards the philosophy. Those factors included factors related to cognitive-based trust, factors related to emotional-based trust, and factors related to demographic characteristics. Questionnaire surveys and in-depth interviews with community leaders and local villagers were conducted in the Ban Jamrung community, in Thailand’s Rayong Province. The results of the statistical analysis revealed that the residents who applied the sufficiency economy philosophy in their daily lives experienced a relatively better quality of life. Additionally, it was found that trust in the philosophy could be predicted more by rational factors than by emotional factors. These findings could be utilized to develop strategies to maintain and enhance the trust of the people in the philosophy of sufficiency economy. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Latinos Need to Stay in Their Place: Differential Segregation in a Multi-Ethnic Suburb
Societies 2016, 6(3), 25; doi:10.3390/soc6030025 -
Abstract
While Latinos face high levels of segregation, there is scant research specifically addressing whites’ attitudes towards Latinos regarding their preferences. This study draws from 40 in-depth interviews with whites in Orange County California, an area with a large Latino and Asian population. I
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While Latinos face high levels of segregation, there is scant research specifically addressing whites’ attitudes towards Latinos regarding their preferences. This study draws from 40 in-depth interviews with whites in Orange County California, an area with a large Latino and Asian population. I demonstrate that white respondents choose to segregate themselves from Latinos. Most studies have used Blumer’s group position theory to explain white attitudes and neighborhood preference towards Blacks. My findings supports Blumer’s group position theory by revealing why white respondents feel threatened by an increase in the Latino population. Yet, the Asian population has also grown, but white respondents convey positive sentiments towards Asians, and express they feel comfortable living and interacting with them. I argue that white respondents’ preferences with regards to integration are not solely based on the size of a group, but rather whether they characterize the group as inferior. Integration has been touted as an American principle. Yet, as the country becomes more diverse, this case study illustrates that white respondents prefer to share space with those they feel similar to, and consequently contribute to Latino segregation. Full article