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Soc. Sci., Volume 4, Issue 1 (March 2015) – 14 articles , Pages 1-259

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Open AccessArticle
Different Welfare System—Same Values? How Social Work Educators in Norway, Chile and Argentina Comprehend Core Social Work and Social Policy Issues
Soc. Sci. 2015, 4(1), 239-259; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci4010239 - 23 Mar 2015
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2959
Abstract
During 2013 and 2014, five focus-group interviews were conducted in Norway, Chile and Argentina in order to understand better how professors at social work programs understand professional issues and controversial social policy issues in their countries. In the focus groups, the participants were [...] Read more.
During 2013 and 2014, five focus-group interviews were conducted in Norway, Chile and Argentina in order to understand better how professors at social work programs understand professional issues and controversial social policy issues in their countries. In the focus groups, the participants were asked to reflect upon a vignette which was a fictitious discussion about professional issues and dilemmas in social work practices. Three themes were deployed in the vignette. The first related to different attitudes with respect to how social problems in society should be approached and treated (with a special focus on the relationship between the public, private and civil sectors in solving welfare problems). The second was about social work dilemmas in the contested space between universal equality values and local freedom values/discretion embedded in local self-determination. The third focused on welfare states’ principles distinguishing welfare benefits and services and how public welfare policies should be designed. The three countries are very different with respect to variables affecting welfare policies and social work practices. The most profound difference is likely that Chile (and to a lesser degree Argentina) since the dictatorship is highly influenced by neo-liberal policies advocating small public involvement in social policy, whereas Norway is a typical social-democratic welfare state. This fact, however, does not affect the reflections and apprehensions of the issues in a substantial way. The professional attitudes of the professors are surprisingly equal in spite of their different backgrounds. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Child Welfare in Chile: Learning from International Experiences to Improve Family Interventions
Soc. Sci. 2015, 4(1), 219-238; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci4010219 - 13 Mar 2015
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3384
Abstract
Poor outcomes and several complaints to the judicial system against residential services for children have triggered a deep review of the Chilean child welfare services, particularly in relation to family reunification. This paper offers strategic guidelines to improve alternative care for children younger [...] Read more.
Poor outcomes and several complaints to the judicial system against residential services for children have triggered a deep review of the Chilean child welfare services, particularly in relation to family reunification. This paper offers strategic guidelines to improve alternative care for children younger than six years of age, who are under protective measures. To define such guidelines, a case study was developed based on current models of residential services and foster home programs, which included local (Chile) and international evidence; also this research includes original empirical data collected through focus groups and interviews with key stakeholders of these programs in Chile and in two countries with advanced social services for children (Sweden and Italy). Findings refer to a structural need for reforming social services for Chilean children. Such reform should involve appropriate legislation to guarantee the rights of children and families; a substantial budgetary review leading to an increase in spending; and boosting professional specialization; and raising the capacity for offering integrated services. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Influence of Interethnic Ideologies on Intention to Discriminate through In-Group Favoritism
Soc. Sci. 2015, 4(1), 205-218; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci4010205 - 05 Mar 2015
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2478
Abstract
This study examines the effects of two interethnic ideologies (assimilation and multiculturalism) on in-group favoritism and discrimination intention toward immigrants. Specifically, this study aims to test the concomitant impact of these two ideologies on intergroup biases in order to affirm whether these two [...] Read more.
This study examines the effects of two interethnic ideologies (assimilation and multiculturalism) on in-group favoritism and discrimination intention toward immigrants. Specifically, this study aims to test the concomitant impact of these two ideologies on intergroup biases in order to affirm whether these two paths are related to intergroup bias. Moreover, this study is designed to extend previous work that found relationships between interethnic ideologies and in-group favoritism to discrimination intention. Graduate students in management programs (N = 182) answered a questionnaire. The findings show that both interethnic ideologies are concomitantly related to in-group favoritism. In particular, while assimilation is positively related to in-group favoritism, multiculturalism is negatively related to in-group favoritism. Additionally, it shows evidence of indirect relationships between interethnic ideologies and the discrimination intention through in-group favoritism. The results are discussed in light of interethnic ideologies literature and presents directions for future research. Full article
Open AccessReview
Improving Pathways to Assessment and Care for Infants of Substance Abusing Mothers: Are We Getting It Right?
Soc. Sci. 2015, 4(1), 192-204; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci4010192 - 02 Mar 2015
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2372
Abstract
There is documented correlation between parental substance abuse, child maltreatment, and poor outcomes. In two health districts in Sydney, Australia (Site A and B), specialised clinics were established to provide comprehensive assessments for infants of substance abusing mothers (ISAM). We aimed to determine [...] Read more.
There is documented correlation between parental substance abuse, child maltreatment, and poor outcomes. In two health districts in Sydney, Australia (Site A and B), specialised clinics were established to provide comprehensive assessments for infants of substance abusing mothers (ISAM). We aimed to determine whether there was a difference in outcomes between infants who attended clinic versus those who did not; and to identify differences in the pathways to care between sites. We analysed child protection reports and available health markers of all ISAM referrals in 2011. We held stakeholder meetings with services involved with ISAM in both sites; to describe service components; strengths and weaknesses of pathways. Fifty-five per cent (11/20) attended clinic in Site A; 80% (25/31) in Site B. Three-quarters of ISAM had at least one referral to child welfare; child protection service involvement was more common in those who attended. Immunisation status was lower than the national Australian average; approximately half were seen by community nursing services. Gaps in services, lack of database, and differences in pathways between sites were identified. Attending clinics correlates with child protection service involvement and may afford health protection. Transparent communication, service integration, and shared learning can improve outcomes for this vulnerable group. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Developments in Child Protection) Printed Edition available
Open AccessArticle
What Is a Friend? An Exploratory Typology of the Meanings of Friendship
Soc. Sci. 2015, 4(1), 171-191; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci4010171 - 10 Feb 2015
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 4838
Abstract
In this article I explore the contemporary normative meanings of friendship, unpacking the subject through two different questions: “what is a good friend?” and “what is an intimate friend?” Drawing on survey data from a national representative sample (n = 1142), the [...] Read more.
In this article I explore the contemporary normative meanings of friendship, unpacking the subject through two different questions: “what is a good friend?” and “what is an intimate friend?” Drawing on survey data from a national representative sample (n = 1142), the topic is explored in the context of a southern European country (Portugal) that represents an interesting case study, for its characteristics of late, though abrupt, entrance into late modernity. Statistical analysis of the results enabled the construction of an exploratory typology of representations of friendship, according to the meanings ascribed to friends: family-oriented; trust-oriented; self-oriented; and presence-oriented. Results inspire a two-folded interpretation. On the one hand, they point to a pervasiveness of hegemonic representations such as friendship as trust and self-disclosure, namely among the younger and more educated. On the other hand, they highlight the pervasiveness of kinship ties in the definition of friendship, namely among the elderly and less educated. This suggests that patterns of suffusion may not only refer to more individualized and plural arrangements of personal life, but also to the persistence of more traditional representations and practices, characterized by an ideological commitment to the family in its more institutional forms. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Negative Emotional Energy: A Theory of the “Dark-Side” of Interaction Ritual Chains
Soc. Sci. 2015, 4(1), 148-170; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci4010148 - 10 Feb 2015
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 3211
Abstract
Randall Collins’ theory of interaction ritual chains is widely cited, but has been subject to little theoretical elaboration. One reason for the modest expansion of the theory is the underdevelopment of the concept of emotional energy. This paper examines emotional energy, related particularly [...] Read more.
Randall Collins’ theory of interaction ritual chains is widely cited, but has been subject to little theoretical elaboration. One reason for the modest expansion of the theory is the underdevelopment of the concept of emotional energy. This paper examines emotional energy, related particularly to the dynamics of negative experiences. It asks whether or not negative emotions produce emotional energies that are qualitatively distinct from their positive counterparts. The analysis begins by tracing the development of Interaction Ritual Theory, and summarizes its core propositions. Next, it moves to a conceptualization of a “valenced” emotional energy and describes both “positive” and “negative” dimensions. Six propositions outline the central dynamics of negative emotional energy. The role of groups in the formation of positive and negative emotional energy are considered, as well as how these energies are significant sources of sociological motivation. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Social Policies in Contemporary Latin America: Families and Poverty in the Social Protection Systems
Soc. Sci. 2015, 4(1), 134-147; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci4010134 - 09 Feb 2015
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2489
Abstract
This article examines the impact of social policies on the living conditions of poor families—particularly women—in Latin America from the late 1980s to the present. It identifies three distinct trends of familialism in the region’s social protection systems. The first social policy trend [...] Read more.
This article examines the impact of social policies on the living conditions of poor families—particularly women—in Latin America from the late 1980s to the present. It identifies three distinct trends of familialism in the region’s social protection systems. The first social policy trend is characterized by poverty alleviation policies addressing the family in an “elliptical” way, taking for granted the idea of a nuclear family. The distinguishing trait of the second trend is the appearance of social programs aimed at families and stressing the role of women as chief caregivers and administrators. And finally, the third policy trend is defined by an expansion of more universal social programs targeting children and the elderly. Despite the recent emergence of programs with gender specific goals, social policies continue to put a great burden on female workers. For example, many subsidies to poor families deliver money directly to women, improving their intra-family bargaining power, but this translates also into an increase of responsibilities and the ensuing overload of work. Consequently, social policies in Latin America need to aim at encouraging a more egalitarian distribution of housework and care work within the family, especially given how well-established androcentrism is in the region. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Bringing the Family Back in: On Role Assignment and Clientification in the Swedish Social Services
Soc. Sci. 2015, 4(1), 117-133; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci4010117 - 05 Feb 2015
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2660
Abstract
In Sweden, municipal social services provide help and support for vulnerable people with a variety of needs. Although the family has long been understood to be a focus of social work interventions, it is unclear how it is brought into the casework process [...] Read more.
In Sweden, municipal social services provide help and support for vulnerable people with a variety of needs. Although the family has long been understood to be a focus of social work interventions, it is unclear how it is brought into the casework process in the highly individualised and specialised municipal social services. Therefore, in this study we investigated processes of client-making and role assignment in five service sectors: social assistance, child welfare, substance abuse, disability, and elderly care. We carried out focus group interviews with social workers in each of these sectors in a mid-sized community in central Sweden. Findings showed that clienthood and the family are interpreted in different ways. The family is brought into or kept out of service provisions in ways that are connected to social workers’ construction of the family either as expert, client or non-client. However, the role of the family may also change during the casework process. Findings are examined in relation to theories of the welfare state and implications for family-focused practice are discussed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
EU Development Aid towards Sub-Saharan Africa: Exploring the Normative Principle
Soc. Sci. 2015, 4(1), 85-116; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci4010085 - 09 Jan 2015
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3661 | Correction
Abstract
The EU and most aid donors invoke a strong normative power face by explicitly connecting foreign aid with human and social development. However, how well the EU’s rhetoric is consistent with its practices as a multilateral development actor has not been explored extensively. [...] Read more.
The EU and most aid donors invoke a strong normative power face by explicitly connecting foreign aid with human and social development. However, how well the EU’s rhetoric is consistent with its practices as a multilateral development actor has not been explored extensively. In this study, we challenge the normative dimension of the EU’s development policy and explore whether the EU’s Official Development Assistance to Sub-Saharan Africa is based on objective deprivation on the part of recipient countries or whether it is “interest driven”. We use a least squares dummy variable model regression to examine aid flows from the EU to all 48 Sub-Saharan African states for the period 2000 to 2010. The evidence found indicates that in certain instances, aid allocation contradicts the normative rhetoric that the EU uses to describe its development policy, as the donor’s own interests in the region seem to supersede priority given to the needs of the aid recipient states. A limitation to the findings is the fact that normative values and strategic interests are not mutually exclusive. Nevertheless, the present study suggests that the EU’s portrayal as a force for good in international relations requires cautious critique. Full article
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Open AccessEditorial
Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Social Sciences in 2014
Soc. Sci. 2015, 4(1), 83-84; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci4010083 - 08 Jan 2015
Viewed by 1616
Abstract
The editors of Social Sciences would like to express their sincere gratitude to the following reviewers for assessing manuscripts in 2014:[...] Full article
Open AccessArticle
Contagion in the Euro Area Sovereign Bond Market
Soc. Sci. 2015, 4(1), 66-82; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci4010066 - 29 Dec 2014
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2247
Abstract
In the last half-decade the European Monetary Union (EMU) has experienced a growing financial instability culminating with an extended sovereign debt crisis that has hit mostly the peripheral countries. Besides weak macroeconomic fundamentals, contagion phenomena in the government bond market damaged the countries [...] Read more.
In the last half-decade the European Monetary Union (EMU) has experienced a growing financial instability culminating with an extended sovereign debt crisis that has hit mostly the peripheral countries. Besides weak macroeconomic fundamentals, contagion phenomena in the government bond market damaged the countries more exposed to the financial stress. In this paper, the author investigates the issue of contagion applying to the financial field an innovative econometric technique, i.e., panel spatial regression. The paper documents: (i) the presence of contagion, in particular among peripheral countries; (ii) the changes in the magnitude of contagion in the different phases of the debt crisis; and (iii) the relevance of policy interventions in reducing the contagion effect in the EMU. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Eurozone Crisis: A Multidisciplinary Perspective)
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Open AccessReview
Forty Years of Forensic Interviewing of Children Suspected of Sexual Abuse, 1974–2014: Historical Benchmarks
Soc. Sci. 2015, 4(1), 34-65; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci4010034 - 24 Dec 2014
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 5887
Abstract
This article describes the evolution of forensic interviewing as a method to determine whether or not a child has been sexually abused, focusing primarily on the United States. It notes that forensic interviewing practices are challenged to successfully identify children who have been [...] Read more.
This article describes the evolution of forensic interviewing as a method to determine whether or not a child has been sexually abused, focusing primarily on the United States. It notes that forensic interviewing practices are challenged to successfully identify children who have been sexually abused and successfully exclude children who have not been sexually abused. It describes models for child sexual abuse investigation, early writings and practices related to child interviews, and the development of forensic interview structures from scripted, to semi-structured, to flexible. The article discusses the controversies related appropriate questions and the use of media (e.g., anatomical dolls and drawings). It summarizes the characteristics of four important interview structures and describes their impact of the field of forensic interviewing. The article describes forensic interview training and the challenge of implementing training in forensic practice. The article concludes with a summary of progress and remaining controversies and with future challenges for the field of forensic interviewing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Developments in Child Protection) Printed Edition available
Open AccessArticle
A Critical Analysis of Britain’s Living, Dead and Zombie Multiculturalism: From 7/7 to the London 2012 Olympic Games
Soc. Sci. 2015, 4(1), 18-33; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci4010018 - 24 Dec 2014
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3195
Abstract
A day after the London 2012 Bid Committee succeeded in bringing the Olympic Games to Britain using the slogan “the world in one city”, a series of coordinated suicide bomb attacks occurred across London (7/7). In one day, Britain’s somewhat beleaguered multiculturalism went [...] Read more.
A day after the London 2012 Bid Committee succeeded in bringing the Olympic Games to Britain using the slogan “the world in one city”, a series of coordinated suicide bomb attacks occurred across London (7/7). In one day, Britain’s somewhat beleaguered multiculturalism went from prompting national celebrations to being decried as “dead” by politicians and commentators alike. Against a backdrop of the Committee’s success in July 2005 through to the end of the Games themselves in August 2012, this article analyses the social and political discourses and debates that ensued in relation to Britain’s multiculturalism. Exploring the metamorphosis of these discourses—using the analogous language of being alive, dead and zombie—this article reflects on the impact and legacy of the London Games on future understandings of multiculturalism. In doing so, this article argues that the everyday lived variety of multiculturalism will always be distinct and different from the political discourses appropriated—or rejected—by political actors. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Assessment in Kinship Foster Care: A New Tool to Evaluate the Strengths and Weaknesses
Soc. Sci. 2015, 4(1), 1-17; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci4010001 - 24 Dec 2014
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 4124
Abstract
Placement in kinship family has existed informally throughout time. There are many countries in which kinship family care is the most common measure used for child protection. However, it is a subject of continuous debate. One of the major issues is that kinship [...] Read more.
Placement in kinship family has existed informally throughout time. There are many countries in which kinship family care is the most common measure used for child protection. However, it is a subject of continuous debate. One of the major issues is that kinship foster care is relied upon without carrying out an evaluation study of the family; often the child is placed directly with grandparents and uncles simply because they are direct family. This article presents an assessment tool to evaluate extended families in order to ensure the welfare of the child. The tool was created as a result of the cooperative research of 126 professionals from seven regions of Spain. The tool can identify the strengths and weaknesses of families by considering six factors: personal characteristics, the coverage of basic needs, collaboration with professionals, the family structure and dynamics, the relationship between family, child, and biological family, and, finally, the attitude towards the placement. The assessment tool is innovative and introduces the opportunity to consider the skills of the kinship foster care family, the needs of support, and which families are unfit to take care of the child. To conclude, the tool tries to overcome one of the principal disadvantages of kinship foster care: the lack of knowledge about the kinship family. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Developments in Child Protection) Printed Edition available
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