Societies2014, 4(2), 127-147; doi:10.3390/soc4020127 - published online 10 April 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: In this paper I argue that the practice of veganism is, or can be, a Foucauldian ethical practice of freedom. I begin by sketching out the problematization of alimentary practices within a normalizing patriarchal framework, which some feminists argue is dominant within contemporary North American society. Within this problematization, eating—for many women—is a way to manage the body’s appearance and bring it into conformity with feminine norms, and also an ongoing opportunity to exercise the will over unruly bodily desires. I then consider the narratives of women who claim that veganism helped them to relinquish disordered eating habits, temper the emotional and psychological turmoil that surrounded their alimentary practices, and mitigate antagonism toward their own bodies. In short, the practice of veganism appears to have reproblematized eating for these women. Thus, I suggest, veganism can be an ethical practice of freedom: it can loosen the tight grip of patriarchal normalization as constituted in and through disordered eating habits, and constitute subjects that are “a little less governed” by this form of power. I conclude by considering objections to this thesis, and in particular, the concern that veganism is linked to healthism, another worrying form of normalization.
Societies2014, 4(1), 105-124; doi:10.3390/soc4010105 - published online 26 February 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The aim of this study was to thoroughly investigate the link between violent media consumption and aggressive behavior. Using a large longitudinal student sample, the role of empathy as a possible mediator of this relationship was of special interest. Data were drawn from wave three to five of the Berlin Longitudinal Study Media, a four-year longitudinal control group study with 1207 school children. Participants completed measures of media usage (violent content of TV and computer games), aggressive behavior perpetration, and empathy. The average age of participants was 10.4 years at Time 1 and 12.4 years at Time 3. Half of the study sample was male (50%). Trivariate structural equation modeling using three measurement times were conducted for assessing the role of empathy as a mediator of the longitudinal relationship between the usage of violent media content and aggressive behavior. For male students empathic skills were shown to unfold a key mediating role between problematic media usage and aggressive behavior.
Societies2014, 4(1), 85-104; doi:10.3390/soc4010085 - published online 25 February 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Over the last decade, the tourist destination of Lloret de Mar (Gerona, Spain) has experienced an increasing concentration of souvenir stores owned by a population of Indian origin. Although Lloret de Mar is already a multicultural spot, Indians represent a small minority in Spain. In order to explain such a remarkable concentration and economic specialization in a low profit sector, we suggest the emergence of an ethnic enclave based on a triple articulation (entrepreneurs, employees and the local community). Our findings provide support for the mixed-embeddedness hypothesis, which contends that ethnic entrepreneurs in Europe need to rely on both the co-ethnic social networks and the linkages with the host society in order to run their business successfully. However, differential degrees of social integration amongst Indians themselves—clearly shown by the composition of their social networks—and between local dwellers and Indians suggest confronting interests amongst social agents in a highly complex and micro-social touristic site undergoing deep economic crisis. Throughout, a mixed-methods approach in the paper reveals the unequal social structure of the enclave, providing a better theoretical understanding of the difficulties and backgrounds in which minority migrant groups develop and expand their social relationships in the “host society”.
Societies2014, 4(1), 68-84; doi:10.3390/soc4010068 - published online 18 February 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: A field of personal analytics has emerged around self-monitoring practices, which includes the visualization and interpretation of the data produced. This paper explores personal analytics from the perspective of self-optimization, arguing that the ways in which people confront and engage with visualized personal data are as significant as the technology itself. The paper leans on the concept of the “data double”: the conversion of human bodies and minds into data flows that can be figuratively reassembled for the purposes of personal reflection and interaction. Based on an empirical study focusing on heart-rate variability measurement, the discussion underlines that a distanced theorizing of personal analytics is not sufficient if one wants to capture affective encounters between humans and their data doubles. Research outcomes suggest that these explanations can produce permanence and stability while also profoundly changing ways in which people reflect on themselves, on others and on their daily lives.
Societies2014, 4(1), 45-67; doi:10.3390/soc4010045 - published online 22 January 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Exposure to neighborhood danger during childhood has negative effects that permeate multiple dimensions of childhood. The current study examined whether mothers’, fathers’, and children’s perceptions of neighborhood danger are related to child aggression, whether parental monitoring moderates this relation, and whether harsh parenting mediates this relation. Interviews were conducted with a sample of 1293 children (age M = 10.68, SD = 0.66; 51% girls) and their mothers (n = 1282) and fathers (n = 1075) in nine countries (China, Colombia, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, the Philippines, Sweden, Thailand, and the United States). Perceptions of greater neighborhood danger were associated with more child aggression in all nine countries according to mothers’ and fathers’ reports and in five of the nine countries according to children’s reports. Parental monitoring did not moderate the relation between perception of neighborhood danger and child aggression. The mediating role of harsh parenting was inconsistent across countries and reporters. Implications for further research are discussed, and include examination of more specific aspects of parental monitoring as well as more objective measures of neighborhood danger.