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Soc. Sci., Volume 5, Issue 1 (March 2016) – 14 articles

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Article
American Long-Distance Locomobility and the Spaces of Actor-Network Theory
Soc. Sci. 2016, 5(1), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci5010014 - 22 Mar 2016
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1733
Abstract
Much of the discourse surrounding national intercity passenger rail service in the United States revolves around why it has lagged so far behind European and Asian counterparts. However, a more interesting question might be why it has survived despite competition from faster, more [...] Read more.
Much of the discourse surrounding national intercity passenger rail service in the United States revolves around why it has lagged so far behind European and Asian counterparts. However, a more interesting question might be why it has survived despite competition from faster, more nimble transport modes, discriminatory public policy, and the ascension of neoliberal discourse hostile to public endeavor. This paper uses the concept of durability in actor-network theory to offer some insights into how the system has achieved a remarkable but problematic stability, and how that durability relates to an imagined role for national intercity passenger rail in a future of increasingly constrained material resources. This paper also demonstrates the application of actor-network theory (ANT) in a way that can serve as a useful introduction to and template for the use of that methodology. Full article
Article
Crisis Communication Competence in Co-Producing Safety with Citizen Groups
Soc. Sci. 2016, 5(1), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci5010013 - 17 Mar 2016
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2629
Abstract
The aim of this article is to explore interpersonal communication competence needed by crisis communication and management experts when co-operating with citizen groups in response to emergencies. Moreover, the purpose is to understand how response organizations can further develop this crisis communication competence [...] Read more.
The aim of this article is to explore interpersonal communication competence needed by crisis communication and management experts when co-operating with citizen groups in response to emergencies. Moreover, the purpose is to understand how response organizations can further develop this crisis communication competence and so contribute to the functioning of response networks. The research task is approached qualitatively by eliciting crisis communication and management experts’ (n = 33) perceptions of the interpersonal communication competence response organizations needs when co-operating with citizen groups. The data were gathered via an international online questionnaire using a method referred to as “thematic writing” and consist of written responses to open-ended questions on what constitutes the core of crisis communication competence and what aspects of it need more attention. The research findings indicate that co-producing safety with citizen groups demands crisis communication competence related to message production, message reception, and interaction between experts and citizen groups. In addition, the findings clarify what areas of crisis communication competence need to be further developed to facilitate co-operation between experts and citizen groups. However, the authors suggest that crisis communication competence should not be seen solely as a characteristic of individual crisis communicators but approached as a networked and co-created area of competence. Full article
Article
Decreasing Obesity and Obesity Stigma: Socio-Demographic Differences in Beliefs about Causes of and Responsibility for Obesity
Soc. Sci. 2016, 5(1), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci5010012 - 02 Mar 2016
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2934
Abstract
Obesity is a stigmatized condition, and research has shown that obesity stigma varies based on the perceived cause of obesity. It is important that public health professionals develop policy and campaigns that resonate with specific populations while avoiding an increase in harmful stigma. [...] Read more.
Obesity is a stigmatized condition, and research has shown that obesity stigma varies based on the perceived cause of obesity. It is important that public health professionals develop policy and campaigns that resonate with specific populations while avoiding an increase in harmful stigma. This study identifies socio-demographic differences in causal attributions of obesity and beliefs about responsibility for obesity. Using data from a survey of 923 people in the United States conducted by ABC New/Time Magazine, attributions of cause and responsibility are analyzed using Ordinary Least Squares regression. Beliefs about cause and responsibility fall on a continuum from primarily individual cause and personal responsibility to primarily societal cause and social responsibility. In general, women and minority racial groups are found to be more likely to identify causes over which individuals have little control and place responsibility on societal factors than men and Whites. People in higher income categories are found to be more likely to identify individual responsibility for obesity. Findings from this study can be used to shape information and public health policy to address obesity in ways that will not exacerbate obesity stigma as well as to create programs that will be customized for specific communities based on their existing beliefs. Full article
Article
Gender, Fitness Doping and the Genetic Max. The Ambivalent Construction of Muscular Masculinities in an Online Community
Soc. Sci. 2016, 5(1), 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci5010011 - 01 Mar 2016
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2246
Abstract
This article is based on written accounts posted on an online forum called Flashback. The purpose of the study was to explore how participants in this community negotiated the meanings of fitness doping and how such negotiations could be understood in terms of [...] Read more.
This article is based on written accounts posted on an online forum called Flashback. The purpose of the study was to explore how participants in this community negotiated the meanings of fitness doping and how such negotiations could be understood in terms of masculinity. The findings indicate that the Internet community studied in this article can be read as an example of a transformational process in which ordinary rules are questioned and partly put out of play. In the world of the bodybuilder, the marginal masculinity is, in certain senses, dominant. On the one hand, achieving a muscular and well-trained body is regarded as a core aspect of manhood within the community. Marginal masculinity is thus momentarily transformed into dominant and hegemonic masculinity. On the other hand, however, the findings also indicate that a drug-using, muscular masculinity is constructed in negotiation with other central masculine ideals, such as the employable man and the responsible father. Found within the community is a complex and dynamic interplay between intersecting discourses of manhood. Full article
Article
Attitudes towards Tax Evasion in Turkey and Australia: A Comparative Study
Soc. Sci. 2016, 5(1), 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci5010010 - 01 Mar 2016
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2321
Abstract
The authors conducted a survey of 502 Turkish and Australian undergraduate and graduate business and economic students to determine their views regarding the ethics of tax evasion. These two groups were selected on the premise that their views represented the perceptions of two [...] Read more.
The authors conducted a survey of 502 Turkish and Australian undergraduate and graduate business and economic students to determine their views regarding the ethics of tax evasion. These two groups were selected on the premise that their views represented the perceptions of two very different cultures, which has not been investigated in previous studies. The survey instrument required students to indicate their level of agreeableness to 18 general statements representing various scenarios in the socio-economic environment. The statements in the survey reflected the three main viewpoints regarding the ethics of tax evasion which have emerged from the literature to date. The results of the study show that although Turkish scores are significantly different from the Australian scores, both Turkish and Australian respondents believe that tax evasion can be ethically justifiable in certain situations, although some arguments are stronger than others. Full article
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Article
Hybridity: A Theory of Agency in Early Childhood Governance
Soc. Sci. 2016, 5(1), 9; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci5010009 - 19 Feb 2016
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2220
Abstract
Contemporary social science research concerning governance tends to take an institutional perspective that privileges structural analysis. The resulting body of literature has an emphasis on classification, typologies and regimes. This approach has been criticized on the basis that it neglects the role of [...] Read more.
Contemporary social science research concerning governance tends to take an institutional perspective that privileges structural analysis. The resulting body of literature has an emphasis on classification, typologies and regimes. This approach has been criticized on the basis that it neglects the role of agency and context when research concerns complex and heterogeneous community governance cases. An emerging literature on hybridity in social services aims to address the limitations of structural accounts by acknowledging that diverse logics, ideas, and norms influence the way community based social services resist or adapt in turbulent policy environments. This article considers the strengths and limitations of hybridity in development of a research framework incorporating structure, agency and ideas. The relevance of hybridity theory for the Kids in Communities study—an Australian research project investigating neighborhood influences on child development across multiple case study sites—is evaluated. Full article
Article
Transnationalism: A Vehicle for Settlement and Incorporation of Muslim Iraqi Turkoman Forced Migrants in Sydney
Soc. Sci. 2016, 5(1), 8; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci5010008 - 05 Feb 2016
Viewed by 2007
Abstract
Based on a qualitative study of eight “less visible” Muslim Iraqi Turkoman immigrants in a multicultural Sydney, this article highlights the dynamic nature of immigrant identity that is constructed of multiple ethno-communal identities. This article explores the significance of transnational activities, due to [...] Read more.
Based on a qualitative study of eight “less visible” Muslim Iraqi Turkoman immigrants in a multicultural Sydney, this article highlights the dynamic nature of immigrant identity that is constructed of multiple ethno-communal identities. This article explores the significance of transnational activities, due to readily available communication technologies, and how this allows Muslim Iraqi Turkoman immigrants not only to hold multiple identities, but also move and mix in societies with plural ethno-religious communities, such as Sydney. Through a transnational lens and the use of qualitative study, this article looks at how Muslim Iraqi Turkoman forced migrants have engaged in identity reproduction and settlement in Sydney, and how their experiences compare with the utopic dream of a “multicultural Australia”. The key findings in this article show that: firstly, “less visible” Muslim Iraqi Turkoman ethnic minority usually finds it difficult to self-define their identity, and often uses nation states as point of reference; secondly, Islamophobic attacks affect feelings of belongingness to the larger Australian society; thirdly, maintaining home culture promotes feelings of belongingness to Australia. Full article
Article
The Left- and Right-Wing Political Power Design: The Dilemma of Welfare Policy with Low-Income Relief
Soc. Sci. 2016, 5(1), 7; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci5010007 - 02 Feb 2016
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2403
Abstract
Findings from this experiment contributed novel insights into the theoretical field of welfare policy, addressing fundamental questions about wealth redistribution rules and norms. The expenses of the redistribution pertaining to basic goods, as well as those associated with public (non-basic) but vital goods, [...] Read more.
Findings from this experiment contributed novel insights into the theoretical field of welfare policy, addressing fundamental questions about wealth redistribution rules and norms. The expenses of the redistribution pertaining to basic goods, as well as those associated with public (non-basic) but vital goods, are separately estimated by transforming the expenses into functions of the poverty line. The findings reveal that, along the poverty line that treats all citizens equally, the politicians representing opposing ideologies decide how the redistribution of basic and vital goods should be financed. Politicians should come to an agreement, subject to an approval of their decisions by voters-citizens. However, in the absence of such approval, politicians have no alternative but to continue the negotiations. Based on this premise, we concluded that political decisions with an elevated poverty line as a parameter would give rise to inverse working incentives of benefits claimants. This may result in unbalanced books, due to the expenditure on the delivery of basic and non-basic goods to their respective destinations. By keeping the books in balance, we postulate that one half of median income μ, in accord with Fuchs point, may be used in the form of poverty line ½μ for just and fair wealth redistribution in resolving the ideological controversies between left- and right-wing politicians. Through the income exception rule equal to ½μ, as a result of a relief payments simulation, the wealth redistribution system, known since 1962 from as Friedman’s Negative Income Tax (NIT), diminished the Gini coefficient. Full article
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Article
Voluntary Turnover: A Means of Reducing Perceived Job Insecurity? A Propensity Score Matching Procedure Applied on Swiss Data
Soc. Sci. 2016, 5(1), 6; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci5010006 - 28 Jan 2016
Viewed by 2486
Abstract
The investigation of job insecurity has been a growing field of research. However, little is known about the strategies employees adopt to reduce job insecurity. Former research has shown that employees who perceive high job insecurity tend to engage in voluntary turnover. Yet, [...] Read more.
The investigation of job insecurity has been a growing field of research. However, little is known about the strategies employees adopt to reduce job insecurity. Former research has shown that employees who perceive high job insecurity tend to engage in voluntary turnover. Yet, we do not know whether such a strategy is successful in reducing perceived job insecurity. Based on the Swiss Household Panel (SHP), a general population survey in Switzerland, a propensity score matching procedure is applied to investigate whether voluntary turnover successfully reduces feelings of job insecurity for employees who previously perceived an above-average level of job insecurity. Assuming that individual and family conditions are important factors explaining the success of this strategy it is distinguished between men and women with high, equally shared, or low financial responsibilities and of different age and educational groups. The results show that voluntary turnover indeed reduces perceived job insecurity. Whereas the individual factors do not moderate this relationship, the level of financial responsibilities does: employees who equally share financial responsibilities with their partners are most successful in reducing perceived job insecurity through voluntary turnover. The use of a propensity score matching procedure has proven fruitful as the bias caused by differing pre-turnover characteristics can be reduced considerably. Full article
Article
From Athletes to Astrophysicists: Gender Differences in Patterns and Predictors of Career Aspirations in Pre-Adolescence
Soc. Sci. 2016, 5(1), 5; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci5010005 - 28 Jan 2016
Viewed by 2041
Abstract
This paper adds to research on girls’ growing educational advantage by examining gender differences in career paths. Using baseline data from an intervention study (TRY-IT!) targeting 265 sixth-graders in Title I schools, our research traces adolescent career aspirations by gender, race and class. [...] Read more.
This paper adds to research on girls’ growing educational advantage by examining gender differences in career paths. Using baseline data from an intervention study (TRY-IT!) targeting 265 sixth-graders in Title I schools, our research traces adolescent career aspirations by gender, race and class. Additionally, we investigate whether girls and boys exhibit differential sensitivity to environmental risk and protective factors that shape career and educational aspirations. We find that the career choices of boys vary more widely by social context, including socioeconomic status, race, and academic resources. Specifically, among youth with fewer social and academic advantages, girls aspire to more practical careers and careers which require higher levels of educational attainment relative to boys. The findings reveal how sources of inequality such as race and class shape gendered aspirations and complicate gender inequality. We reason that boys’ choices are more volatile and socially contingent because of the emphasis on high-status careers as a signifier of masculinity. Full article
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Editorial
Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Social Sciences in 2015
Soc. Sci. 2016, 5(1), 4; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci5010004 - 25 Jan 2016
Viewed by 2066
Abstract
The editors of Social Sciences would like to express their sincere gratitude to the following reviewers for assessing manuscripts in 2015. [...] Full article
Review
The Effectiveness of Healthy Community Approaches on Positive Health Outcomes in Canada and the United States
Soc. Sci. 2016, 5(1), 3; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci5010003 - 29 Dec 2015
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3029
Abstract
Healthy community approaches encompass a diverse group of population based strategies and interventions that create supportive environments, foster community behavior change and improve health. This systematic review examined the effectiveness of ten most common healthy community approaches (Healthy Cities/Communities, Smart Growth, Child Friendly [...] Read more.
Healthy community approaches encompass a diverse group of population based strategies and interventions that create supportive environments, foster community behavior change and improve health. This systematic review examined the effectiveness of ten most common healthy community approaches (Healthy Cities/Communities, Smart Growth, Child Friendly Cities, Safe Routes to Schools, Safe Communities, Active Living Communities, Livable Communities, Social Cities, Age-Friendly Cities, and Dementia Friendly Cities) on positive health outcomes. Empirical studies were identified through a search of the academic and grey literature for the period 2000–2014. Of the 231 articles retrieved, 26 met the inclusion criteria with four receiving moderate quality ratings and 22 poor ratings using the Effective Public Health Practice Project Quality Assessment Tool. The majority of studies evaluated Safe Routes to School Programs and reported positive associations with students’ active commute patterns. Fewer studies assessed benefits of Smart Growth, Safe Communities, Active Living Communities and Age-Friendly Cities. The remaining approaches were relatively unexplored in terms of their health benefits however focused on conceptual frameworks and collaborative processes. More robust studies with longer follow-up duration are needed. Priority should be given to evaluation of healthy community projects to show their effectiveness within the population health context. Full article
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Review
Community Engaged Leadership to Advance Health Equity and Build Healthier Communities
Soc. Sci. 2016, 5(1), 2; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci5010002 - 24 Dec 2015
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 3026
Abstract
Health is a human right. Equity in health implies that ideally everyone should have a fair opportunity to attain their full health potential and, more pragmatically, that no one should be disadvantaged from achieving this potential. Addressing the multi-faceted health needs of ethnically [...] Read more.
Health is a human right. Equity in health implies that ideally everyone should have a fair opportunity to attain their full health potential and, more pragmatically, that no one should be disadvantaged from achieving this potential. Addressing the multi-faceted health needs of ethnically and culturally diverse individuals in the United States is a complex issue that requires inventive strategies to reduce risk factors and buttress protective factors to promote greater well-being among individuals, families, and communities. With growing diversity concerning various ethnicities and nationalities; and with significant changes in the constellation of multiple of risk factors that can influence health outcomes, it is imperative that we delineate strategic efforts that encourage better access to primary care, focused community-based programs, multi-disciplinary clinical and translational research methodologies, and health policy advocacy initiatives that may improve individuals’ longevity and quality of life. Full article
Article
A Case Study in Organizing for Livable and Sustainable Communities
Soc. Sci. 2016, 5(1), 1; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci5010001 - 23 Dec 2015
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3256
Abstract
Citizens in the U.S. are making organized efforts to demand a new approach to planning urban communities, one that results in more sustainable and livable communities. The profession of social work in the U.S. once had a primary role in organizing urban residents [...] Read more.
Citizens in the U.S. are making organized efforts to demand a new approach to planning urban communities, one that results in more sustainable and livable communities. The profession of social work in the U.S. once had a primary role in organizing urban residents to advocate for healthier environments in their neighborhoods. Yet, recent research documents the diminishing emphasis on community organization as an intervention method in social work. This paper offers a descriptive case study of a successful community organizing effort to promote a more livable city in Portland, Maine (USA). Data was collected by the authors using in-depth personal interviews; archival records (census data, architect models); documents (e-mails, newspaper clippings) as well as direct observation of the impacted community and development site. Implications for social work practitioners and educators involved in community organization promoting healthy communities are presented. Full article
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