Abstract: This article examines characteristics and social work practices within the Mexican child protection system by combining observations of practice with the voices and the views expressed by managers, social workers, families, children and young people. The results of the study confirm the need for and desire to adopt a participatory approach, in preference to the individualistic ideas that currently dominates practice. The traditional Mexican culture, the implicit and explicit representation of family and the social problems connected to drug trade conflicts appear to have contributed to a child protection system with a “child-centered perspective”, characterized by asymmetric power relationships, lacking the empowerment and engagement of service users. These practices seem to be counter to the legislative framework and appear ineffective. Reflections regarding how family needs are identified, understood and addressed reveal a commitment to find new ways of working with families among service users and providers. However, the biggest challenge in the Mexican context is to balance the protection of the child with support to their parents; without ensuring the former, the latter will remain a partial and counter-productive work practice.
Abstract: This paper reviews recent research dealing with fiscal discipline and revisit the issues of fiscal control in federal systems, focusing on selective case studies covering the 2000s, before and after the global financial crisis (GFC). We start by contrasting the recent fiscal history of California to that of Greece, illustrating the different ways of dealing with fiscal deficiencies in a mature union, U.S., versus a young union, Eurozone. We continue with an overview of the fiscal developments in Brazil, illustrating the challenges facing federal systems in emerging markets, and possible ways to move forward in upgrading a country’s fiscal institutions. We conclude with the fiscal history of Iceland before and after the financial crisis—a standalone small country, assessed favorably by rating agencies prior to the GFC, and now recovering from a deep financial crisis.
Abstract: This paper analyzes common confusions involving basic concepts in statistical hypothesis testing. One-third of the social science statistics textbooks examined in the study contained false statements about significance level and/or p-value. We infer that a large proportion of social scientists are being miseducated about these concepts. We analyze the causes of these persistent misunderstandings, and conclude that the conventional terminology is prone to abuse because it does not clearly represent the conditional nature of probabilities and events involved. We argue that modifications in terminology, as well as the explicit introduction of conditional probability concepts and notation into the statistics curriculum in the social sciences, are necessary to prevent the persistence of these errors.
Abstract: This study documented the experiences of Chinese rural-urban migrant children and their parents living in the host city of Chengdu, China. It was informed by previous studies but applied a theoretical lens cultural reproduction theory—to reveal deeper understanding of rural-urban migrant families’ lives in the city of Chengdu. Participants in this study were 10 families—10 migrant parents, 10 local Chengdu resident parents, 5 local Chengdu children, and 5 migrant children. Through qualitative interviews and observations the researchers created 5 family case studies, documenting differences and similarities in the lives of migrant and local resident families in Chengdu. Results indicated that children in the two groups experienced unequal childhoods. Although the Chinese central government has issued a number of proactive policies to allow migrant children to attend local urban public schools since 2003, the negative effect of the longstanding Hukou residency policy still impacts migrant families’ lives in Chengdu. In this article we discuss an entrenched urban-rural divide between urban residents and rural-urban migrant families, in work, community, and schooling.
Abstract: Why should societies invest resources in humanities, arts, and social sciences (HASS) research? While citizens’ quality of life should be affected by the type and level of cultural amenities they have access to, the broader links between HASS research and its impacts on quality of life attributes can be tenuous because of the research attribution challenge, temporally and spatially linking specific HASS research and its ultimate impact on well-being and society. From a survey of 1920 Canadians, here I report perceived values, awareness of HASS research, threats to quality of life, and levels of community and cultural engagement. The key finding of this exploratory study was that HASS research awareness acted as a powerful predictor of threat perceptions, levels of community activity, and cultural engagement at the local level. It was not, however, a significant predictor of core values. From a theoretical perspective, this is in line with a priori expectations that core values are a precursor to worldviews, threat perceptions, and behaviors. There are very different policy prescriptions for increasing HASS research awareness and, by extension, Canadian citizens’ propensity for cultural and physical engagement, depending on how HASS research awareness affects their threat perceptions, values, and behavior. They include alternatives that focus on experiential learning early in life and adult-oriented awareness-building activities. The strong relationship between HASS research awareness and citizen engagement implies that there are important roles for education and awareness-building activities beyond simply encouraging future consumption of cultural commodities among HASS-aware citizens.
Abstract: The aim of this study is to analyze women’s reflections about how experiences of im/migration from rural to urban settings in Monterrey, Mexico, influence their everyday life experience and health and that of their families. The participants were eight women from heterogeneous indigenous backgrounds, one woman with a mestizo background, two health professionals, three persons from organizations supporting indigenous groups, and two researchers. I collected data from personal observations, documents, and interviews that I then analyzed with a critical ethnography methodology developed by Carspecken. The women emphasized that food habits were the first to be adapted to circumstances in an urban everyday life constrained by working conditions. Together with their experiences of discrimination and violence, urban living determines the challenges and the priorities of daily life. Urban life affects how they perceive and treat their own and their family’s health and wellbeing. Nevertheless, their sense of belonging and home remains in their communities of origin, and they strive to reach a balance in their lives and preserve a connection to their roots, motherhood, and traditional knowledge. However, the women handle their im/migration experiences in diverse ways depending on their own conditions and the structural forces limiting or allowing them to act in decisive life situations. Im/migration is not just a matter of choice; it is about survival and is influenced by social determinants and “structural vulnerability” that influences and/or limit human agency. These, together with an unsustainable economic situation, make migration the only option, a forced decision within households. Structural forces such as social injustice in welfare policies restrict human rights and rights for health. Social determinants of health can constrain decision making and frame choices concerning health and childbearing in everyday life.