Soc. Sci.2014, 3(2), 215-226; doi:10.3390/socsci3020215 - published online 22 April 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Many studies explore when and how young people make sexual choices but few empirical investigations link their sexual motivations with their inner conceptions about their sexual identities. We used multidimensional scaling (MDS) analysis to connect young adult participants’ (N = 128) self-descriptions of twelve identities to their sexual motivations and ideals. Identities clustered along two semantically distinct dimensions: Dimension 1 was anchored by family identities on one side and non-family identities on the other; Dimension 2 was anchored on one side by friend/romantic relationships and achievement-based social identities on the other. Those who cited intimacy (e.g., sex as an expression of love) and enhancement (e.g., gratification; to feel good) sexual motivations were more likely to describe their sexual identities and gender identities as distinct from other identities, especially for women. Idealizing physically passionate relationships was positively linked to a higher distinction between sexual and non-sexual identities, and between gender and personal identities and family identities. The mental structuring of identities may inform sexual relationship motives, ideals, and expectations.
Soc. Sci.2014, 3(2), 194-214; doi:10.3390/socsci3020194 - published online 15 April 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: In May 1962, social psychologist, Stanley Milgram, ran what was arguably the most controversial variation of his Obedience to Authority (OTA) experiments: the Relationship Condition (RC). In the RC, participants were required to bring a friend, with one becoming the teacher and the other the learner. The learners were covertly informed that the experiment was actually exploring whether their friend would obey an experimenter’s orders to hurt them. Learners were quickly trained in how to react to the impending “shocks”. Only 15 percent of teachers completed the RC. In an article published in 1965, Milgram discussed most of the variations on his baseline experiment, but only named the RC in passing, promising a more detailed account in his forthcoming book. However, his 1974 book failed to mention the RC and it remained unpublished until François Rochat and Andre Modigliani discovered it in Milgram’s personal archive in 1997 at Yale University. Their overview of the RC’s procedure and results left a number of questions unanswered. For example, what were the etiological origins of the RC? Why did Milgram decide against publishing this experiment? And does the RC have any significant methodological or theoretical implications on the Obedience studies discourse? Based on documents obtained from Milgram’s personal archive, the aim of this article is to shed new light on these questions.
Abstract: It has come to our attention that due to an error in producing the PDF version of the paper , doi:10.3390/socsci2040318, website: http://www.mdpi.com/2076-0760/2/4/318, some of the figures are displayed incorrectly.
Soc. Sci.2014, 3(1), 172-192; doi:10.3390/socsci3010172 - published online 11 March 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This paper uses an empirical analysis of a water conflict in the German state of Brandenburg to explore diverse constructions of vulnerability to water scarcity by local stakeholders. It demonstrates how, in the absence of effective formal institutions, these constructions are getting translated into conflictual resilience strategies practiced by these stakeholders, creating situations in which “your resilience is my vulnerability”. The novel contribution of the paper to resilience research is threefold. Firstly, it illustrates how the vulnerability and resilience of a socio-ecological system—such as small catchment—are socially constructed; that is, how they are not given but rather the product of stakeholders’ perceptions of threats and suitable responses to them. Secondly, the paper emphasizes the role of institutions—both formal and informal—in framing these vulnerability constructions and resilience strategies. Particular attention is paid to the importance of informal ‘rules in use’ emerging in the wake of (formal) ‘institutional voids’ and how they work against collective solutions. Thirdly, by choosing a small-scale, commonplace dispute to study vulnerability and resilience, the paper seeks to redress the imbalance of resilience research (and policy) on dramatic disaster events by revealing the relevance of everyday vulnerabilities, which may be less eye-catching but are far more widespread.
Soc. Sci.2014, 3(1), 160-171; doi:10.3390/socsci3010160 - published online 10 March 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Europe has become a vivid example of intergroup dynamics with all the risks and chances it holds for peaceful and respectful co-existence. While Europe as a superordinate social category has the capability of solidarity between its subcategories (i.e., nations), negative emotions and behaviors among the countries’ citizens have become more prevalent throughout the emerging crisis. This article aims to analyze the psychological outcomes (i.e., negative attitudes) following on from the structural and economic imbalances within the European Union. More precisely, we argue that political reactions towards the Euro crisis facilitated routes to nationalism and thereby fostered supremacy in a few countries. This perceived supremacy of some countries, in turn, legitimized negative reactions towards others. Based on predictions from a social identity perspective, we describe how these processes perpetuate themselves. We also suggest strategies that might prevent the idea of a common Europe from failing.
Soc. Sci.2014, 3(1), 142-159; doi:10.3390/socsci3010142 - published online 28 February 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Climate change is globally defined as a “reality”. This does not mean however that the way in which it is understood is the same all over the world. Rather, perceptions may differ at different places and times, even if physical and geographical conditions are similar. For the time being, this phenomenon has not been dealt with on a theoretical-conceptual level. The article will address this desiderate. Based on the approaches of social constructivism as well as actor-network theory, a theoretical concept will be suggested as a heuristic model for empirical analysis. By the examples of Lübeck and Rostock, two cities on Germany’s Baltic coast, it will be shown that climate change related perceptions of vulnerability and resilience may build on physical-material aspects but that they are above all considerably interwoven with specific cultural and social patterns of interpretation. In the framework of the local discourse in Lübeck, it is the strong Hanseatic tradition which consumes the climate change issue, whereas in Rostock it is the problems and historical breaks of a transformation society which shape the way of viewing climate change.