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Societies, Volume 10, Issue 1 (March 2020) – 28 articles

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) advancements increasingly impact society and [...] Read more.
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Open AccessEditorial
Identity, Stigma, and Social Reaction
Societies 2020, 10(1), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc10010028 - 24 Mar 2020
Viewed by 362
Abstract
A great deal of theoretical and empirical work has examined the relationship between identity, social reaction, and stigma [...] Full article
Open AccessArticle
Use of Social Media Platforms among Adults in the United States—Behavior on Social Media
Societies 2020, 10(1), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc10010027 - 23 Mar 2020
Viewed by 547
Abstract
Social media has evolved over the last decade to become an important driver for acquiring and spreading information in different domains such as business, entertainment, crisis management, and politics. The increasing popularity of social media raises a number of questions regarding why we [...] Read more.
Social media has evolved over the last decade to become an important driver for acquiring and spreading information in different domains such as business, entertainment, crisis management, and politics. The increasing popularity of social media raises a number of questions regarding why we use it so much and what aspects influence this activity. What about gender? What about education, income, age or social status? This paper answers some of these questions using statistical analyses and by dividing overall social media use into selected social media, i.e., Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, and Twitter. The analysis used a dataset that contains information related to 2002 respondents from the U.S. and their social media activity. The results show that people with high household incomes and high education use social media the most. As age increases, social media use decreases, while bigger household income means that social media are used more. Overall, understanding where and at what frequency users are on social media can be a key competitive advantage. When using social networks correctly for marketing, companies can significantly improve their brand awareness, customer satisfaction, quality, reach, and profit. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Citizen Science in Digital Societies)
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Open AccessArticle
Tackling Complex Social Challenges within Neoliberal Constraints: The Context Shaping ‘Intellectual Quality of Life’ (iQoL) in a Canadian University Context
Societies 2020, 10(1), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc10010026 - 17 Mar 2020
Viewed by 334
Abstract
The contemporary academic environment in Canada has undergone reorganization based on neoliberal principles, and has increased attention focused on the importance of supporting interdisciplinary initiatives to address complex problems affecting global society. The purpose of our study was to examine the experience of [...] Read more.
The contemporary academic environment in Canada has undergone reorganization based on neoliberal principles, and has increased attention focused on the importance of supporting interdisciplinary initiatives to address complex problems affecting global society. The purpose of our study was to examine the experience of people participating in a specific university-funded interdisciplinary research initiative. As there is a strong emphasis within this program on reporting on the outcomes of the funding that supports interdisciplinary collaboration, our aim was to explore how participation may shape one’s intellectual quality of life (iQoL) and how one’s iQoL could be conceptualized and understood. Using a pragmatic constructivist case study, focus group and individual interviews were undertaken with 30 participants involved with university-funded interdisciplinary research teams. Findings illustrate that their iQoL was shaped by their capacity to engage in and achieve what they viewed as their core work and its outcomes. Related sub-themes addressed the social and relational climate, institutional environment and structure, and expectations and resources. We argue that further development of iQoL as a unique construct is required to adequately measure the full range of people’s experiences in academia, particularly when aiming to address ‘wicked’ social and global problems within a predominantly neoliberal context. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Teletalker – A Design Researcher’s Tool to Explore Intergenerational Online Video Connectivity in-the-Wild
Societies 2020, 10(1), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc10010025 - 10 Mar 2020
Viewed by 530
Abstract
Although a fair amount of research around older adults’ perception of digital technology exists, there is only a moderate amount of research investigating older people’s reactions and sense-making in real-world contexts with emerging digital tools. This paper reports on the constructivist research approach [...] Read more.
Although a fair amount of research around older adults’ perception of digital technology exists, there is only a moderate amount of research investigating older people’s reactions and sense-making in real-world contexts with emerging digital tools. This paper reports on the constructivist research approach used by the author, which initiated co-production with participants to gather older and younger adults’ reactions towards digital video connectivity during a series of design research interventions. For this, the author had built a research tool, the Teletalker kiosks (TT), which connected two locations using digital live video to provide a ‘window into the other space’. Participants, if they wished, could activate the volume with a designed mechanism aimed at non-computer literate people, which was used in order to speak to each other. The three connections were between an older people’s charity day centre and the university, between two locations at the university, and between two-day centres in the U.K. The returns collected revealed overall positive reactions towards video connectivity by younger adults and mixed reactions by older adults. The design for the volume mechanism did not work as expected for both groups. The interventions also brought out opinions and conformity dynamics within groups of older adults and attitudes by younger audiences towards older people. More research is needed to understand these reactions and attitudes in comparable contexts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ageing and Interpersonal Communication)
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Open AccessArticle
Rastafarianism in Bullet Tree Falls, Belize: Exploring the Effects of International Trends
Societies 2020, 10(1), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc10010024 - 28 Feb 2020
Viewed by 482
Abstract
In 1991, a group of Rastafarians in the village of Bullet Tree Falls, Belize, started out adhering to the principles of piety and protest that characterized the Rastafarians when began in Jamaica in the 1930s. After being Rastafarian for several years, village adherents [...] Read more.
In 1991, a group of Rastafarians in the village of Bullet Tree Falls, Belize, started out adhering to the principles of piety and protest that characterized the Rastafarians when began in Jamaica in the 1930s. After being Rastafarian for several years, village adherents gravitated to new values and lifestyles, not the protest and piety that kicked off the movement in Jamaica and Belize. The beginnings resembled a revitalization movement, an attempt at making a more satisfying culture. Yet over time, individual Rastafarians in Bullet Tree Falls sought material advantages, and the Rastafarians were flattered by the attention of tourists and others. Changes in the Rastafarians’ orientation and practices are examined as a consequence of global trends and local cultural influences. The article examines how international and local trends dissolved a revitalization movement. Full article
Open AccessReview
Coverage of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning within Academic Literature, Canadian Newspapers, and Twitter Tweets: The Case of Disabled People
Societies 2020, 10(1), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc10010023 - 27 Feb 2020
Viewed by 729
Abstract
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) advancements increasingly impact society and AI/ML ethics and governance discourses have emerged. Various countries have established AI/ML strategies. “AI for good” and “AI for social good” are just two discourses that focus on using AI/ML in [...] Read more.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) advancements increasingly impact society and AI/ML ethics and governance discourses have emerged. Various countries have established AI/ML strategies. “AI for good” and “AI for social good” are just two discourses that focus on using AI/ML in a positive way. Disabled people are impacted by AI/ML in many ways such as potential therapeutic and non-therapeutic users of AI/ML advanced products and processes and by the changing societal parameters enabled by AI/ML advancements. They are impacted by AI/ML ethics and governance discussions and discussions around the use of AI/ML for good and social good. Using identity, role, and stakeholder theories as our lenses, the aim of our scoping review is to identify and analyze to what extent, and how, AI/ML focused academic literature, Canadian newspapers, and Twitter tweets engage with disabled people. Performing manifest coding of the presence of the terms “AI”, or “artificial intelligence” or “machine learning” in conjunction with the term “patient”, or “disabled people” or “people with disabilities” we found that the term “patient” was used 20 times more than the terms “disabled people” and “people with disabilities” together to identify disabled people within the AI/ML literature covered. As to the downloaded 1540 academic abstracts, 234 full-text Canadian English language newspaper articles and 2879 tweets containing at least one of 58 terms used to depict disabled people (excluding the term patient) and the three AI terms, we found that health was one major focus, that the social good/for good discourse was not mentioned in relation to disabled people, that the tone of AI/ML coverage was mostly techno-optimistic and that disabled people were mostly engaged with in their role of being therapeutic or non-therapeutic users of AI/ML influenced products. Problems with AI/ML were mentioned in relation to the user having a bodily problem, the usability of AI/ML influenced technologies, and problems disabled people face accessing such technologies. Problems caused for disabled people by AI/ML advancements, such as changing occupational landscapes, were not mentioned. Disabled people were not covered as knowledge producers or influencers of AI/ML discourses including AI/ML governance and ethics discourses. Our findings suggest that AI/ML coverage must change, if disabled people are to become meaningful contributors to, and beneficiaries of, discussions around AI/ML. Full article
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Open AccessReview
The Policies of Provision of Assistive and Welfare Technology—A Literature Review
Societies 2020, 10(1), 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc10010022 - 24 Feb 2020
Viewed by 452
Abstract
Background: Due to the increasing ageing population worldwide, humanity is facing global demographic challenges. For many people, their later years are often lived with changed functioning and the need for support in daily living activities. Assistive technology and welfare technology (AT/WT) constitute a [...] Read more.
Background: Due to the increasing ageing population worldwide, humanity is facing global demographic challenges. For many people, their later years are often lived with changed functioning and the need for support in daily living activities. Assistive technology and welfare technology (AT/WT) constitute a partial solution to the demographic challenges. Objectives: The purpose of this literature review is to identify the policy features, such as decision models and guidance for the provision of AT/WT as reported in the current scientific literature. Methods: A literature review with a deductive approach using the structure of the Global Cooperation on Assistive Technology (GATE) model was conducted. The data were searched from the databases: PubMed, Cinahl Plus, and the Web of Science, resulting in nine included articles. Results: The findings are presented according to the structure of the eight domains from the GATE model— policy, assessment, procurement, technology, environment, usability, sustainability and rights— which are further grouped into categories exploring the variations in every domain. Conclusion: The review reveals a nascent and growing interest in the area; however, evidence-based decision models and other guidance on AT/WT are lacking. Recent scholarships and policy reforms can form the basis of stronger guidance to organise complex AT/WT systems, but further and future research is needed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Effects of Fear Appeals and Message Format on Promoting Skin Cancer Prevention Behaviors among College Students
Societies 2020, 10(1), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc10010021 - 22 Feb 2020
Viewed by 495
Abstract
This study tested the Extended Parallel Process Model (EPPM) by examining how fear mediated the effects of threat on individuals’ assessment of risk, which was neglected in many fear appeal studies. Second, this study treated efficacy as an existing perception, and explored the [...] Read more.
This study tested the Extended Parallel Process Model (EPPM) by examining how fear mediated the effects of threat on individuals’ assessment of risk, which was neglected in many fear appeal studies. Second, this study treated efficacy as an existing perception, and explored the effects of varying levels of threat and efficacy on individuals’ behavioral intention. Furthermore, this study examined whether message format, such as narratives, played a role on individuals’ behavioral intention. Implications for the EPPM and health message development were discussed. Full article
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Open AccessEditorial
What Is Electoral Psychology?—Scope, Concepts, and Methodological Challenges for Studying Conscious and Subconscious Patterns of Electoral Behavior, Experience, and Ergonomics
Societies 2020, 10(1), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc10010020 - 19 Feb 2020
Viewed by 474
Abstract
Electoral psychology is defined as any model based on human psychology that is used to explain any electoral experience or outcome at the individual or aggregate level. Electoral psychology can also be an interface with other crucial aspects of the vote. For example, [...] Read more.
Electoral psychology is defined as any model based on human psychology that is used to explain any electoral experience or outcome at the individual or aggregate level. Electoral psychology can also be an interface with other crucial aspects of the vote. For example, the interface between electoral psychology and electoral organization constitutes electoral ergonomics. The very nature of the models tested in electoral psychology has also led scholars in the field to complement mainstream social science methodologies with their own specific methodological approaches in order to capture the subconscious component of the vote and the subtle nature of the psychological processes determining the electoral experience and the way in which it permeates citizens’ thoughts and lives. After defining electoral psychology, this introductory article scopes its analytical roots and contemporary relevance, focuses on the importance of switching from “institution-centric” to “people-centric” conceptions of electoral behavior, and notably how it redefines key concepts such as electoral identity and consistency, and approaches questions of personality, morality, memory, identity, and emotions in electoral psychological models. Then, it discusses some of the unique methodological challenges that the field faces, notably when it comes to analyzing largely subconscious phenomena, and addresses them, before explaining how the various contributions to this Special Issue give a flavor of the scope and approaches of electoral psychology contributions to electoral studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue A Special Issue on Electoral Psychology)
Open AccessArticle
Democratic Frustration: Concept, Dimensions and Behavioural Consequences
Societies 2020, 10(1), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc10010019 - 11 Feb 2020
Viewed by 467
Abstract
Using insights from the psychology literature, this article introduces and operationalises the concept of ‘democratic frustration’ to shed new light on the pathologies of democratic crises. While political scientists have devoted ample attention to democratic crises and dissatisfaction, this article suggests that citizens’ [...] Read more.
Using insights from the psychology literature, this article introduces and operationalises the concept of ‘democratic frustration’ to shed new light on the pathologies of democratic crises. While political scientists have devoted ample attention to democratic crises and dissatisfaction, this article suggests that citizens’ frequent references to their “frustration” should be taken more literally. Specifically, it suggests that citizens become frustrated when a perceived democratic delivery deficit interacts with a strong democratic expectation or desire. The article tests this model using two original surveys run in the UK during the 2017 General Election and 2019 European Parliament elections. By measuring expectations and delivery deficit separately, the article maps democratic frustration vis-à-vis alternative concepts such as apathy, criticality, and cynicism, and shows that it is more widespread as an expectation–deficit combination than any of them. It suggests that democratic frustration comprises of three dimensions: ideological, institutional and political. Adapting insights from the psychology of frustration that show it usually results in expressions of withdrawal, anger, or aggression, the article then explores how the three dimensions of frustration typically result in different pathologies. Ideological frustration leads to abstention (withdrawal), institutional frustration to peaceful demonstrations or radical vote (anger) and to envisage leaving one’s country, whilst political and institutional frustrations combine and lead citizens to consider taking part in violent demonstrations or even joining a revolution (aggression). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue A Special Issue on Electoral Psychology)
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Open AccessArticle
The Significance of Civil Intellectuals’ Activism: A Case of Eco-Nationalistic Social Movement in Bangladesh
Societies 2020, 10(1), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc10010018 - 08 Feb 2020
Viewed by 655
Abstract
This article examines how the civil intellectuals of Bangladesh oppose the state-sponsored political imposition that consistently approached to establish a coal-fired power plant, thus, risking the Sundarbans—one of the world’s largest mangrove forests. By incorporating five points of significance, this article argues that [...] Read more.
This article examines how the civil intellectuals of Bangladesh oppose the state-sponsored political imposition that consistently approached to establish a coal-fired power plant, thus, risking the Sundarbans—one of the world’s largest mangrove forests. By incorporating five points of significance, this article argues that civil intellectuals, as the only acceptable spokespersons, not only play a vital ‘counteracting’ role in differing the government’s adamant decision, but also are impeded by their functional limitations. This study appraises the position of civil intellectuals in this movement through using intensive interviews, focus group discussions, and participation-observation. The results find that civil intellectuals: (1) respond to governmentality by producing counter-discourse and are struggling state hegemony through the phases of the movement; (2) conceive an eco-nationalistic ideology that is in contrast to the state’s development-nationalistic motives; (3) oppose sense of eco-governance by offering scientific counter-discourse; (4) are revealed as having significant functional limitations in associating with local people from the affected area; and (5) are inherently political entities, whose identity is understood through their reflective functional behavior. The study suggests that civil intellectuals need to solve the constraints of ‘theory’ and ‘practice’ to gain ultimate success in operating social resistance to oppose issues of injustice. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Sexual Citizenship Theory and Employment Discrimination among Transgender-Identified People
Societies 2020, 10(1), 17; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc10010017 - 07 Feb 2020
Viewed by 548
Abstract
Employment discrimination remains a consistent and widespread concern among transgender and gender non-conforming (GNC) people. A secondary data analysis was conducted using the Transgender Law Center California Economic Health Survey (n = 646). The aim of this study was to examine workplace discrimination [...] Read more.
Employment discrimination remains a consistent and widespread concern among transgender and gender non-conforming (GNC) people. A secondary data analysis was conducted using the Transgender Law Center California Economic Health Survey (n = 646). The aim of this study was to examine workplace discrimination among transgender and gender non-conforming adults. Sexual citizenship theory informed both the grouping of variables and analysis of findings. Bivariate, multivariate, and multivariable statistical tests were conducted to examine problems related to hiring and to various forms of workplace harassment. Analyses revealed that about 67% of respondents reported some kind of workplace mistreatment. Trans men (FtM) were 132.6% more likely to report discrimination in the workplace (chiefly misgendering and privacy breach), while trans women (MtF) were more likely to experience a wider variety of types of discrimination. Respondents out to their co-workers were 292.4% more likely to experiences discrimination. Those with higher income were less likely to need assistance with changing IDs and more likely to pass/blend. Those who were less likely to pass/blend faced higher unemployment. These findings underscore the many ways in which transphobia, cis gender entitlement and transmisogyny shape the lives of trans people and prohibit full citizenship participation in society vis-à-vis the workforce. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human Rights and Sexual Citizenship)
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Open AccessArticle
The Manifestation of Neighborhood Effects: A Pattern for Community Growth?
Societies 2020, 10(1), 16; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc10010016 - 05 Feb 2020
Viewed by 454
Abstract
Neighborhood effects, or the development of community by neighborhoods, are often studied in an urban context. Previous research has neglected to examine the influence of neighborhoods in nonurban settings. Our case study, however, contributes to the existing literature as it takes place in [...] Read more.
Neighborhood effects, or the development of community by neighborhoods, are often studied in an urban context. Previous research has neglected to examine the influence of neighborhoods in nonurban settings. Our case study, however, contributes to the existing literature as it takes place in a small, rural-to-urban town at an important point in time where the town was urbanizing. We find that neighborhood effects also influence community satisfaction and attachment in Creekdale, an urbanizing town. Using survey data (N = 1006) drawn from the Creekdale Community Citizens Viewpoint Survey (CCVS), we find that, contrary to conventional wisdom, population size and density does not matter necessarily for an individual’s community attachment and satisfaction; community experience is shaped by neighborhood effects. Full article
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Open AccessConcept Paper
Consent for Research on Violence against Children: Dilemmas and Contradictions
Societies 2020, 10(1), 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc10010015 - 05 Feb 2020
Viewed by 588
Abstract
The increasing visibility of violence involving children has led to a recognition of the need to research its underlying dynamics. As a result, we now have a better understanding of the complexities involved in this kind of research, associated with children’s developmental characteristics [...] Read more.
The increasing visibility of violence involving children has led to a recognition of the need to research its underlying dynamics. As a result, we now have a better understanding of the complexities involved in this kind of research, associated with children’s developmental characteristics and social status, exposure to violence, and compromised parenting of caregivers. This paper discusses the issues raised by parental consent in research on violence against children, specifically the dilemma of children’s rights to participation and protection, and proposes changes in research practice in this domain. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Exploring the Role of ‘Shadowing’ as a Beneficial Preparatory Step for Sensitive Qualitative Research with Children and Young People with Serious Health Conditions
Societies 2020, 10(1), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc10010014 - 30 Jan 2020
Viewed by 493
Abstract
This article aims to explore and record the role of shadowing in preparation for a qualitative study involving children and families with sensitive health issues. The researcher was engaged for a study involving qualitative research involving paediatric patients (those under 18 years old) [...] Read more.
This article aims to explore and record the role of shadowing in preparation for a qualitative study involving children and families with sensitive health issues. The researcher was engaged for a study involving qualitative research involving paediatric patients (those under 18 years old) and their families, but was unfamiliar with a hospital environment and interviewing children and young people (CYP) with a serious health condition. The researcher ‘shadowed’ healthcare professionals (HCPs) at a children’s hospital during their day-to-day work in order to prepare for the research interviewing. From shadowing, the researcher gained: familiarity with a hospital environment, organisational processes, and medical terminology; an understanding of the appropriate ways to refer to patients; confidence and competence in talking to children with serious health conditions; and resilience to becoming upset during interviews while hearing patients’ distressing stories—they became ‘desensitised’. Shadowing can therefore be highly beneficial for researchers undertaking research in unfamiliar contexts, environments, and populations prior to interviewing. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Three Local Organizing Strategies to Implement Place-Based School Integration Initiatives in a Mixed-Income Community
Societies 2020, 10(1), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc10010013 - 27 Jan 2020
Viewed by 468
Abstract
This paper explores two policy efforts to revitalize public housing communities: education reform and HOPE VI. Chicago underwent transformation of housing and schools from 2000 to 2014. I examine school integration planning efforts of three local actors in a Chicago neighborhood and ask [...] Read more.
This paper explores two policy efforts to revitalize public housing communities: education reform and HOPE VI. Chicago underwent transformation of housing and schools from 2000 to 2014. I examine school integration planning efforts of three local actors in a Chicago neighborhood and ask how do actors make integration strategies work? This research investigates how efforts to remedy existing segregation in a Chicago neighborhood combined housing and school integration efforts through a single case study approach comprised of 20 in-depth interviews. Findings show that two approaches encouraged fairness in the residential mix, but did not promote an integrated educational experience. The third approach shows how a purposeful integration strategy works as part of a place-based effort. This study provides a lens to understand ongoing local community organizing efforts supporting education reform in a Chicago neighborhood and offers lessons learned by local actors about effective approaches to address the barriers to building mixed income communities. Full article
Open AccessEditorial
Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Societies in 2019
Societies 2020, 10(1), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc10010012 - 22 Jan 2020
Viewed by 382
Abstract
Rigorous peer-review is the corner-stone of high-quality academic publishing. The editorial team
greatly appreciates the reviewers who contributed their knowledge and expertise to the journal’s
editorial process over the past 12 months. [...] Full article
Open AccessArticle
Dependence on Interprovincial Migrant Labour in Atlantic Canadian Communities: The Role of the Alberta Economy
Societies 2020, 10(1), 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc10010011 - 19 Jan 2020
Viewed by 475
Abstract
(1) Background: In the face of persistent and chronically weak labour markets, Atlantic Canada has become increasingly dependent on mobile oil work in Northern Alberta for employment and income. In the regions, most intensely engaged in this form of employment, mobile oil work [...] Read more.
(1) Background: In the face of persistent and chronically weak labour markets, Atlantic Canada has become increasingly dependent on mobile oil work in Northern Alberta for employment and income. In the regions, most intensely engaged in this form of employment, mobile oil work has largely replaced the dominant industries of the previous century. This geographic shift in Canadian investment and production has created uneven labour markets, with high demand for labour in the Northern Alberta and high unemployment in de-industrialized communities in Atlantic Canada. (2) Methods: There is little quantitative evidence on the flows of mobile workers from the East to the West and the impact of this movement on the Atlantic Canadian economy. Data for this paper were obtained through a special arrangement with Statistics Canada in the fall of 2015 and winter of 2016, from the Canadian Employer–Employee Dynamics Database (CEEDD). (3) Results: Analysis of CEEDD revealed that the oil and gas industry of Northern Alberta has a significant impact on the economies of Atlantic Canada with an increasing dependence for interprovincial workers. (4) Conclusions: To the extent that mobile work has served as a replacement for traditional industries, mobile work is re-structuring the social and economic makeup of Atlantic Canadian communities. The more reliant Atlantic Canadian communities become on oil-related mobile work, the more precarious their economies will become as global markets for oil and gas change and targeted actions on climate change increase. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Families, Work and Well-being)
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Open AccessReview
Social and Spatial Experiences in the Cities of Tomorrow
Societies 2020, 10(1), 9; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc10010009 - 16 Jan 2020
Viewed by 504
Abstract
As described by the strong academic literature, (Vattimo, Bauman, Mumford, Simon, Haraway, Meschiari, Florida) the contemporary society is going through new challenges, such as the friction between youth, technology, and productivity. These challenges affect the way people live and experience the cities, but [...] Read more.
As described by the strong academic literature, (Vattimo, Bauman, Mumford, Simon, Haraway, Meschiari, Florida) the contemporary society is going through new challenges, such as the friction between youth, technology, and productivity. These challenges affect the way people live and experience the cities, but also the way cities need to evolve. An anthological analysis and a study of secondary sources is used to analyze the new spatial and social experiences, while the analysis of Milan (Italy) as a case study of a creative city is used to understand the rapid shift towards the virtualization of cities, in which consumption is progressively induced by a projected image of the city rather than its actual physical fabric. This manuscript opens a research front, with the goal to understand how architecture and urban design should leave the traditional typologies to propose a new way of creating and living architecture, caught in the middle between the real and the virtual. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Impacts of XXI Century Innovations in Built Environment)
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Open AccessEssay
Obstacles to Prosthetic Care—Legal and Ethical Aspects of Access to Upper and Lower Limb Prosthetics in Germany and the Improvement of Prosthetic Care from a Social Perspective
Societies 2020, 10(1), 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc10010010 - 16 Jan 2020
Viewed by 530
Abstract
Prosthetic technology for people with missing limbs has made great progress in recent decades. However, acceptance rates and user satisfaction are not only dependent on technical aspects, but also to a great extent on social and psychological factors. We propose that these factors [...] Read more.
Prosthetic technology for people with missing limbs has made great progress in recent decades. However, acceptance rates and user satisfaction are not only dependent on technical aspects, but also to a great extent on social and psychological factors. We propose that these factors should receive greater attention in order to improve prosthetic care and give recommendations how to incorporate the findings from social science in research and development (R&D) and in care practice. Limited access due to high costs of new prosthetic technology combined with rising costs in health care systems in general is a further issue we address. Our legal and ethical analysis of the reimbursement process in Germany shows that this issue requires further empirical investigation, a stakeholder dialogue and maybe even policy changes. Social science knowledge and participatory methods are of high relevance to answer questions about the benefit of prosthetics for users, based on individual needs and preferences, which should be at the core of debates on ethical resource allocation. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Spatial Equity in Urban Public Space (UPS) Based on Analysis of Municipal Public Policy Omissions: A Case Study of Atizapán de Zaragoza, State of México
Societies 2020, 10(1), 8; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc10010008 - 13 Jan 2020
Viewed by 833
Abstract
International agendas, such as the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, have been established as global guidelines for equitable planning of urban centers. However, there is a lack of indicators and tools for public policy planning at the local level. Spatial equity in planning has [...] Read more.
International agendas, such as the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, have been established as global guidelines for equitable planning of urban centers. However, there is a lack of indicators and tools for public policy planning at the local level. Spatial equity in planning has been related to the spatial match between public facility level and residents´ distribution. The objective of this research was to assess the spatial inequity in urban public space (UPS) of Atizapán de Zaragoza, State of Mexico, and analyzed the cause of this phenomenon with a methodological framework based on the general indicator omissions in public policy. The indicator, omission of municipal public policies associated to UPS, allowed us to explain the existence of the spatial inequity in: (1) the conceptualization and interpretation that decision makers have about urban environmental development in the territory; (2) the lack of a public discussion about the sustainable vocation of the municipality; and (3) the dominant values of the actors involved in the production, planning, and installation of UPS. The significance of this phenomenon affects the recognition that UPS is a primary element for guaranteeing the rights to a healthy environment in equitable and sustainable cities and a resource for strengthening social cohesion, governance, and appropriation of public assets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Impacts of XXI Century Innovations in Built Environment)
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Open AccessArticle
Invisible Vulnerabilities: Ethical, Practical and Methodological Dilemmas in Conducting Qualitative Research on the Interaction with IVF Embryos
Societies 2020, 10(1), 7; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc10010007 - 27 Dec 2019
Viewed by 750
Abstract
The burden of deciding the fate of the supernumerary human embryo created in vitro in the context of Assisted Reproductive Technologies rests on the beneficiary couples or individuals who conceived the parental project. The beneficiaries must also take on the responsibility of choosing [...] Read more.
The burden of deciding the fate of the supernumerary human embryo created in vitro in the context of Assisted Reproductive Technologies rests on the beneficiary couples or individuals who conceived the parental project. The beneficiaries must also take on the responsibility of choosing whether to donate surplus embryos either to others or to scientific research, or to request their destruction. Vulnerable beings, weakened from the point of view of their identity (facing the social stigma still associated with some circumstances such as being infertile, lesbian or a single mother), are required to have skills such as reflexivity and autonomy in dramatic situations that concern their relationship with their own reproductive body. Given the urgency of this issue at the socio-anthropological level, we are conducting ethnographic research aimed at analysing how specialists and lay people objectivate, evaluate and circulate different conceptions of the human embryo in vitro. Based on our research experience within this ongoing project, we intend to discuss some ethical, practical and methodological concerns for the researcher in accessing the field and conducting fieldwork. We take into account the fact that this research is focused on sensitive topics and on individuals who can be considered people in vulnerable situations. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Islam, Leprosy, and Disability: How Religion, History, Art, and Storytelling Can Yield New Insights and Acceptance
Societies 2020, 10(1), 6; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc10010006 - 25 Dec 2019
Viewed by 625
Abstract
Age-old fears and misconceptions about leprosy have flourished for centuries and the condition remains both a socially stigmatizing issue and a public health problem in many parts of the globe. In the context of Islam, only a few personal narratives by Muslims living [...] Read more.
Age-old fears and misconceptions about leprosy have flourished for centuries and the condition remains both a socially stigmatizing issue and a public health problem in many parts of the globe. In the context of Islam, only a few personal narratives by Muslims living with leprosy exist, and no one has systematically reviewed accounts of leprosy related disability from early or recent Islamic history, including the Prophet Muhammad’s interactions with individuals living with leprosy. In this article, we present previously untold stories about leprosy, from both English and Arabic sources strongly rooted in Islamic values and principles. After an introduction and brief history of Islam, this article is divided into three main sections: (1) The foundations of early Islamic values about illness, leprosy, and disability; (2) Leprosy and stigma in Islamic communities and/or places; and (3) Art, storytelling, and other expressions by people living with leprosy in various parts of the world. The authors also discuss some of the challenges of defining leprosy terminology based on early historic documents. The overall purpose of this article is to describe historical and religious accounts of leprosy and amplify the collective voices and experiences of Muslims who live with leprosy from a disability studies frame. The authors also introduce the ‘House is Black’, a short documentary that illustrates additional insights and commentary related to disability related leprosy. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Multiple Vulnerabilities in Medical Settings: Invisible Suffering of Doctors
Societies 2020, 10(1), 5; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc10010005 - 25 Dec 2019
Viewed by 866
Abstract
While there is a substantive amount of literature on vulnerability of different kinds of patients in different settings, medical professionals are usually considered as the ones who possess power and gain a privileged position. In this paper, we aim to demonstrate that in [...] Read more.
While there is a substantive amount of literature on vulnerability of different kinds of patients in different settings, medical professionals are usually considered as the ones who possess power and gain a privileged position. In this paper, we aim to demonstrate that in a certain context physicians—a social group which is usually referred to as “powerful”—consider themselves vulnerable, and this positioning may influence patients in turn. This perspective highlights the complexity of interactions within medical organizations and contributes to the studies of sensitive topics and vulnerable groups. We conceptualize vulnerability of doctors and discuss what can be problematic in powerful doctors’ position. We describe some features of the post-Soviet context of Russian healthcare system and maternity care, both of which can be conceptualized as a hybrid of legacy of Soviet paternalism and new neoliberal reforms, managerialism and marketization. Empirical research is based on the ethnographic evidence from the study of a Russian perinatal center. In this article, we explore specific “existential” and “moral” vulnerabilities of medical professionals who routinely have to cope with multiple challenges, such as complicated clinical tasks, rigid control of different state bodies and emotional responses of suffering patients. We argue that there is a bond between the vulnerability of doctors and that of patients, whose position becomes more problematic as professionals become more vulnerable. At the end, we discuss methodological and theoretical implications of our research. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Social Representations of the Disadvantaged Childhood’s Asylum of Horta in the Press (Azores, Portugal): From the Constitutional Monarchy to the First Republic
Societies 2020, 10(1), 4; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc10010004 - 23 Dec 2019
Viewed by 461
Abstract
The aim of this article is to understand the symbolic representations of the assistance strategies aimed at disadvantaged children, expressed in two newspapers published on the island of Faial, in the Azores, in the second half of the 19th and early 20th centuries [...] Read more.
The aim of this article is to understand the symbolic representations of the assistance strategies aimed at disadvantaged children, expressed in two newspapers published on the island of Faial, in the Azores, in the second half of the 19th and early 20th centuries (covering the time horizon between the end of the monarchic period and the implementation of the First Republic). The technique of documentary analysis and a subsequent qualitative thematic content analysis of childcare news collected in two local newspapers were used. The discursive records produced by the press on the assistance strategies value, on the one hand, an axiological dimension and forms of charitable intervention and, on the other hand, aggregate and reconcile the discourses and techniques inherent to charitable and philanthropic models. This mutual assimilation underlies the achievement of the same objective: The moralization and integration of disadvantaged invalid childhood and, above all, the protection of the existing social order. We conclude that, perhaps contrary to what would be expected, the charitable logic articulated in a concomitant way with the philanthropic logic survived, even with the stabilization of the republican period (result of a revolution that deposed the regime of the constitutional monarchy and implemented the republican regime in 1910 in Portugal, whose political elites mobilized an official discourse that advocated the separation between the State and Religion, assigning the State the function of social assistance for children and youth). This demonstrates a certain dissociation, as well as a relative autonomy of conceptions about child and youth care between republican political ideology and current social practices, at least in this specific context. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Who else Needs Protection? Reflecting on Researcher Vulnerability in Sensitive Research
Societies 2020, 10(1), 3; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc10010003 - 22 Dec 2019
Viewed by 586
Abstract
Ethnographic research characterised by immersion, reflexivity, and rapport can be unpredictable and uncontrollable, producing a wide range of emotional responses. Much of the literature on sensitive research focuses on ethical requirements and strategies for protecting participants while less attention has been given to [...] Read more.
Ethnographic research characterised by immersion, reflexivity, and rapport can be unpredictable and uncontrollable, producing a wide range of emotional responses. Much of the literature on sensitive research focuses on ethical requirements and strategies for protecting participants while less attention has been given to the need for researcher protection. In this paper, we share some of the concealed and/or overlooked aspects of researcher vulnerability that are commonly disregarded or under-explored. Based on our fieldwork experiences with a vulnerable population, it considers some of the different ways doing sensitive research with people experiencing homelessness has had an impact on our research team and wider. Specifically, we analyze the emotional impact of distressing and painful research experiences on those directly and not directly involved with the collection of research data (i.e., transcribers and coders). The themes that are discussed include: i) blurring of roles in the field; ii) dealing with heart-rending life stories; and iii) handling emotionally charged experiences. By reflecting on our fieldwork experiences and emotions, we also explore the ways in which emotional impacts can be managed in practice. Strategies for emotion management that have helped us deal with the unique challenges of this research are outlined. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Ethics in Categorizing Ethnicity and Disability in Research with Children
Societies 2020, 10(1), 2; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc10010002 - 21 Dec 2019
Viewed by 615
Abstract
The use of categories is a contested subject in social sciences. The use of social categories allows researchers to explore similarities, differences, and inequalities between groups of people. However, by using social categories, researchers run the risk of essentializing differences. The aim of [...] Read more.
The use of categories is a contested subject in social sciences. The use of social categories allows researchers to explore similarities, differences, and inequalities between groups of people. However, by using social categories, researchers run the risk of essentializing differences. The aim of this article is to problematize the procedural and relational ethics of using categories in research with children. Based on two research projects studying inclusion and exclusion in physical education, we examine the ongoing ethical dilemmas of categorizing children in terms of disability and ethnic background. The reflections are grounded in intersectional and relational ethical perspectives with a focus on how power is manifested in practices and structures throughout the research process. The data consist of field notes, transcripts of interviews with children and their parents, and the authors’ reflective accounts. The results are organized into three main themes: (1) How categories frame the research in its initial phases (informed consent and voluntary participation), (2) power relationships in context (navigating meanings of categories in the interviews and the relational ethics of generational ordering in combined interviews with children and their parents), and (3) (re)constructing stories and ensuring anonymity. In the discussion, we reflect on how singling out groups of children framed the research, how categories and power relations were negotiated and navigated in interviews and fieldwork, and how, in the reporting of the results, understandings of the children and their experiences were constructed. We argue that by not reflecting on the ethics of categorizing children in research, researchers are in danger of reproducing rather than challenging social inequality and discrimination. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Graffiti, Aging and Subcultural Memory—A Struggle for Recognition through Podcast Narratives
Societies 2020, 10(1), 1; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc10010001 - 18 Dec 2019
Viewed by 722
Abstract
This article engages with the existential importance of subcultural memory for middle aged men. The social site is digital and consists of the first three Swedish graffiti podcasts where graffitied life courses are reflexively constructed through conversations. The empirical material gives unique insight [...] Read more.
This article engages with the existential importance of subcultural memory for middle aged men. The social site is digital and consists of the first three Swedish graffiti podcasts where graffitied life courses are reflexively constructed through conversations. The empirical material gives unique insight into the construction of subcultural aging and self-identity and offers a critical reflection on theories of youth cultures. The results show that sharing memories of youth, crime and agency shapes the meaning of graffiti and subcultural cohesion. Retrospective narratives on personal development and increased reflexivity and self-control are constructed. Story telling has a long tradition in graffiti and social media has lately been incorporated within the subculture. As graffiti is a holistic practice, writers adopt many techniques to create graffiti personas, and podcasts, in addition to writing, have been established as a contemporary way to practice graffiti. The article illustrates how graffiti podcasting forms a mnemonic community where the meaning of graffiti is negotiated. Podcasts are memory sites in a struggle for individual and cultural recognition of what used to be labeled a deviant subculture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Youth Cultures and Subcultures)
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