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Societies, Volume 7, Issue 4 (December 2017)

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Open AccessArticle Being a Foster Family in Portugal—Motivations and Experiences
Societies 2017, 7(4), 37; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc7040037
Received: 18 October 2017 / Revised: 16 December 2017 / Accepted: 18 December 2017 / Published: 20 December 2017
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Abstract
Foster care is an almost absent component in the child care system and scientific research conducted in Portugal foster comprises 3.2%1 of out-of-home care in Portugal. This research aims to contribute to a deeper visibility of the care phenomena, giving specific attention
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Foster care is an almost absent component in the child care system and scientific research conducted in Portugal foster comprises 3.2%1 of out-of-home care in Portugal. This research aims to contribute to a deeper visibility of the care phenomena, giving specific attention to the foster families themselves. This research adopted a qualitative analytical approach, inspired by Grounded Theory. Foster families’ motivation is rooted in altruism, affection for children, and sensitivity to maltreatment. Personal and professional biography or past contact with out-of-home care can also induce predisposition to become a carer. The experience of being a carer2 is one of traversing through a life of many challenges and rewards. Considering the recognition from the stakeholders, it is a rewarding task. The quality of the service provided and the performance of the care professionals are both key elements to foster care. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Towards a Sustainable Community, Work and Family Interface)
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Open AccessArticle Empowering Domestic Workers: A Critical Analysis of the Belgian Service Voucher System
Societies 2017, 7(4), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc7040036
Received: 2 November 2017 / Revised: 17 December 2017 / Accepted: 18 December 2017 / Published: 20 December 2017
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Abstract
Domestic cleaners lack bargaining power, which can prevent them from being in control of their work quality. The ‘service voucher system’ is expected to change the power position of domestics. This is expected because the system is formalized by the Belgian government and
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Domestic cleaners lack bargaining power, which can prevent them from being in control of their work quality. The ‘service voucher system’ is expected to change the power position of domestics. This is expected because the system is formalized by the Belgian government and organized through a triangular employment relationship between the domestic, the service voucher company (the employer), and the customers. This study draws on 42 interviews with immigrant and native service voucher cleaners. It probes into how the employment relationship with the company affects the domestics’ perceived power to bargain with customers about determinants of the work quality. Based on the results, policy recommendations are made to further empower domestic cleaners in the relationship with their customers and to help them safeguard their work quality. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle From Differentiation to Concretisation: Integrative Experiments in Sustainable Architecture
Societies 2017, 7(4), 35; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc7040035
Received: 24 October 2017 / Revised: 6 December 2017 / Accepted: 11 December 2017 / Published: 19 December 2017
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1330 | PDF Full-text (11402 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
It is widely recognised that the achievement of a sustainable built environment requires holistic design practices and approaches that are capable of balancing the varied, and often conflicting, demands of environmental, social and economic concerns. However, academics and practitioners have recently highlighted, and
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It is widely recognised that the achievement of a sustainable built environment requires holistic design practices and approaches that are capable of balancing the varied, and often conflicting, demands of environmental, social and economic concerns. However, academics and practitioners have recently highlighted, and expressed concerns about the knowledge gap that currently exists within environmental policy, research and practice between understandings of the technical performance of buildings and their social meaning and relevance. This paper acknowledges these concerns and is developed from the author’s own direct experiences of practice-led research and active participation in design-build projects. It argues for a theoretically-informed and socially-engaged approach to built environment research, pedagogy and practice that seeks to encourage an integrative understanding of the design, realisation and use of sustainable architecture. The paper draws on the Philosophy of Technology and in particular the work of Andrew Feenberg to analyse the buildings and to propose an integrated and inclusive framework for understanding sustainable design that acknowledges not just what the built environment does, but also what it means. It also suggests that what a building means also informs what it can do, and for whom. Although the technical and social dimensions of design can be interpreted as distinct practices and are often institutionally separated, this paper argues that the realisation of sustainable design must seek a conscious interaction and interchange between these two differentiated dimensions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Political Consumerism as a Neoliberal Response to Youth Political Disengagement
Societies 2017, 7(4), 34; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc7040034
Received: 27 September 2017 / Revised: 29 November 2017 / Accepted: 8 December 2017 / Published: 11 December 2017
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1320 | PDF Full-text (267 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Recent trends indicate diminishing public engagement with formal electoral politics in many advanced liberal democracies, especially among the younger generations. However, evidence also suggests that there has been a simultaneous interest by many young citizens in political consumerism. In large part, this interest
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Recent trends indicate diminishing public engagement with formal electoral politics in many advanced liberal democracies, especially among the younger generations. However, evidence also suggests that there has been a simultaneous interest by many young citizens in political consumerism. In large part, this interest is shaped as a response to the individualisation and strict ‘economism’ driven by the underlying forces of neoliberalism. Disenfranchised and disillusioned by the seeming incapacity of the purely political sphere to respond to their individualised claims, and having internalised the neoliberal critique of democracy, these young empowered citizen-consumers often search for the ‘political’ within the bounds of the marketplace and are increasingly attracted to consumerist methods of political participation, such as boycotting and buycotting. Given the susceptibility of political consumerism to a neoliberal modus operandi, the lack of available literature problematising its emergence as a response to neoliberal principles is somewhat surprising. The present article will address this gap by connecting the declining levels of electoral participation among younger generations in post-crisis Europe to the rise of political consumerism within the neoliberal ideological hegemony of the ‘marketopoly’. We distinguish between two antithetical, but complimentary effects. Firstly, the internalised neoliberal critique of democracy emphasises the ‘push’ out of the public into the commercial sphere. Secondly, the emerging individualisation of modern ‘liquid’ politics advanced by the postmaterialist sensitivities of young people’s previously affluent socialisation call attention to the existence of a parallel ‘pull’ effect into the ‘marketopoly’, as a habitus of youth political participation. In both cases, the reorganisation of political participation as consumption, and the re-styling of young citizens as ‘empowered’ consumers, delineates political consumerism as an efficacious response to their political disengagement in an increasingly marketised world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Youth Studies: Values, Practices and Discourses on Generations)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Neoliberalism and the Unfolding Patterns of Young People’s Political Engagement and Political Participation in Contemporary Britain
Societies 2017, 7(4), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc7040033
Received: 28 September 2017 / Revised: 10 November 2017 / Accepted: 15 November 2017 / Published: 20 November 2017
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1064 | PDF Full-text (274 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Recent trends suggest that young people in Britain are increasingly rejecting electoral politics. However, evidence suggests that British youth are not apolitical, but are becoming ever more sceptical of the ability of electoral politics to make a meaningful contribution to their lives. Why
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Recent trends suggest that young people in Britain are increasingly rejecting electoral politics. However, evidence suggests that British youth are not apolitical, but are becoming ever more sceptical of the ability of electoral politics to make a meaningful contribution to their lives. Why young people are adopting new political behaviour and values, however, is still a point of contention. Some authors have suggested that neoliberalism has influenced these new patterns of political engagement. This article will advance this critique of neoliberalism, giving attention to three different facets of neoliberalism and demonstrate how they combine to reduce young people’s expectations of political participation and their perceptions of the legitimacy of political actors. We combine ideational and material critiques to demonstrate how young people’s political engagement has been restricted by neoliberalism. Neoliberalism has influenced youth political participation through its critiques of collective democracy, by the subsequent transformations in political practice that it has contributed to, and through the economic marginalisation that has resulted from its shaping of governments’ monetary policy. This approach will be conceptually predicated on a definition of neoliberalism which acknowledges both its focus on reducing interventions in the economy, and also its productive capacity to modify society to construct market relations and galvanise competition amongst agents. From this definition, we develop the argument that neoliberal critiques of democracy, the subsequent changes in political practices which respond to these criticisms and the transformation in socioeconomic conditions caused by neoliberalism have coalesced to negatively influence young people’s electoral participation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Youth Studies: Values, Practices and Discourses on Generations)
Open AccessArticle Trump Veganism: A Political Survey of American Vegans in the Era of Identity Politics
Societies 2017, 7(4), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc7040032
Received: 29 August 2017 / Revised: 28 October 2017 / Accepted: 12 November 2017 / Published: 17 November 2017
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2188 | PDF Full-text (225 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Often stereotyped as being apathetic to the human suffering, the American vegan movement has historically failed to build alliances with other social justice movements. As intersectional feminism gains a foothold in the movement and external political crises challenge the movement’s frame of reference,
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Often stereotyped as being apathetic to the human suffering, the American vegan movement has historically failed to build alliances with other social justice movements. As intersectional feminism gains a foothold in the movement and external political crises challenge the movement’s frame of reference, the role that identity plays in movement progress has become a serious concern. Using the 2016 election as a flashpoint, this article considers if the identity backlash characterized by the Trump campaign finds parallels in the American vegan movement. A survey of 287 American vegans finds limited evidence of Trump veganism, defined here as a single-issue focus on speciesism that rejects the relevance of human-experienced systems of oppression. However, respondents do find that movement diversity efforts are insufficient, especially when controlling for race and gender. Most respondents were ethically-motivated vegans, liberal voters, and intersectionally-oriented activists who reported multiple engagements with various leftist movements. Only four percent of respondents voted Trump, while 14% agreed with or were neutral about Trump’s campaign promise to put “America first”. Those who were vegan for reasons of self-interest and had been vegan for less than a year were significantly more likely to support Trump’s conservative agenda and were slightly less likely to participate in other social movements. Full article
Open AccessArticle Ambiguity among Managers in Small-Scale Enterprises: How to Handle Business and Workplace Health Management
Societies 2017, 7(4), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc7040031
Received: 2 September 2017 / Revised: 1 November 2017 / Accepted: 3 November 2017 / Published: 9 November 2017
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Abstract
Despite extensive research on health in working life, few studies focus on this issue from the perspective of managers in small-scale enterprises (SSEs). To gain deeper knowledge of managers’ perceptions and strategies for dealing with workplace health management, 13 Norwegian and Swedish SSE
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Despite extensive research on health in working life, few studies focus on this issue from the perspective of managers in small-scale enterprises (SSEs). To gain deeper knowledge of managers’ perceptions and strategies for dealing with workplace health management, 13 Norwegian and Swedish SSE managers were interviewed after participating in a workplace health development project. The methodical approach was based on Grounded Theory with a constructivist orientation. The main theme that emerged was ‘ambiguity in workplace health management and maintaining the business’, which was related to the categories ‘internal workplace settings’, ‘workplace surroundings’, and ‘leadership strategies’. The managers experienced ambiguity due to internal and external demands. These requirements were linked to the core challenges in dealing with multitasking leadership, financial decision-making, labour legislation, staff development and maintaining business. However, the managers developed new skills and competence and thereby a more reflexive approach and readiness to create a health-promoting workplace from being part of a development project. The implications are that managers in SSEs need to exchange experiences and discuss workplace health issues with other managers in networks. It is also important that occupational health services and social and welfare organizations use tailor-made models and strategies for supporting SSEs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Towards a Sustainable Community, Work and Family Interface)
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Open AccessEssay Challenges in the Teaching of Sociology in Higher Education. Contributions to a Discussion
Societies 2017, 7(4), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc7040030
Received: 29 July 2017 / Revised: 22 September 2017 / Accepted: 21 October 2017 / Published: 31 October 2017
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Abstract
At a time when Sociology (either in its introductory or general dimension or in the form of specialised Sociologies) is acknowledged as a scientific discipline with important contributions in training at the higher education level, and not only for the future sociologist, there
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At a time when Sociology (either in its introductory or general dimension or in the form of specialised Sociologies) is acknowledged as a scientific discipline with important contributions in training at the higher education level, and not only for the future sociologist, there is a need to (re)think the problem of teaching Sociology in this context. This article seeks to contribute to this discussion on the teaching of Sociology in higher education, being a grounded reflection that is based on the authors’ teaching experience in the Portuguese context. Sociology has specificities, which we put forward through four framing principles, namely the need to permanently mobilise sociological imagination, be multi-paradigmatic, the need to be receptive to a heuristic interdisciplinarity, and, finally, foster reflexivity at several levels. These principles should, from our standpoint, shape the teaching of Sociology, both delimiting what should be taught and fostering the way to teach while abiding by these principles. As a conclusion, this problem of teaching Sociology needs an in-depth investigation, in the search for a growing pedagogical quality in a context of increasing opportunities to reform the type of teaching provided in higher education, which is a permanent challenge. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Training Models and Practices in Sociology)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Still Troubled: Tunisia’s Youth During and Since the Revolution of 2011
Societies 2017, 7(4), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc7040029
Received: 7 September 2017 / Revised: 10 October 2017 / Accepted: 25 October 2017 / Published: 30 October 2017
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 772 | PDF Full-text (215 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper presents evidence from interviews in 2015–2016 with a nationally representative sample of Tunisia’s 15–29 year olds. We focus on the sample’s political participation and orientations during the revolution of 2011 and subsequently. We find that just 6.6 percent of those aged
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This paper presents evidence from interviews in 2015–2016 with a nationally representative sample of Tunisia’s 15–29 year olds. We focus on the sample’s political participation and orientations during the revolution of 2011 and subsequently. We find that just 6.6 percent of those aged 15–24 at the time played any direct part in the ‘events of 2011’. Political engagement then and subsequently is shown to have been influenced most strongly by a university education and growing up in a politically engaged family. In 2015–2016, young people were overwhelmingly pro-democracy, supported equal opportunities and status for the sexes, and endorsed values of self-expression, but attached equal importance to economic security and betterment, felt that their country’s traditions should be maintained and respected, and were personally religious, though three-quarters wanted religion to be kept out of politics and government. Although Tunisia is the sole Arab Spring country to emerge with a still functioning (in 2017) multi-party democracy, we find that in 2015–2016, the majority of young people did not trust their elected politicians. Our survey findings suggest explanations for the paradox between young Tunisians’ overwhelming support for democracy alongside intense disappointment with the outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Youth Studies: Values, Practices and Discourses on Generations)
Open AccessArticle Visions of Illness, Disease, and Sickness in Mobile Health Applications
Societies 2017, 7(4), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc7040028
Received: 18 June 2017 / Revised: 21 October 2017 / Accepted: 23 October 2017 / Published: 26 October 2017
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Abstract
Popular media and public health care discourses describe an increasing number of mobile health technologies. These applications tend to be presented as a means of achieving patient empowerment, patient-centered care, and cost-reduction in public health care. Few of these accounts examine the health
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Popular media and public health care discourses describe an increasing number of mobile health technologies. These applications tend to be presented as a means of achieving patient empowerment, patient-centered care, and cost-reduction in public health care. Few of these accounts examine the health perspectives informing these technologies or the practices of the users of mobile health applications and the kind of data they collect. This article proposes a critical approach to analyzing digital health technologies based on different visions of disease, namely disease, illness, and sickness. The proposed analytical classification system is applied to a set of “mobile health solutions” presented by the Norwegian Technology Council and juxtaposed with the reported use and non-use of several mobile health applications among young patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). The discussion shows how visions on health and disease can affect a patient’s embodied experiences of a physical condition, and, secondly, illustrates how the particular vision inscribed in a mobile health technology can be negotiated to include the patient’s vision. Full article
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