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Soc. Sci., Volume 8, Issue 11 (November 2019)

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Open AccessArticle
Are Smart-City Projects Citizen-Centered?
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(11), 309; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8110309 (registering DOI) - 11 Nov 2019
Abstract
Smart cities have become a new urban model for thinking and designing cities in the connected society. It is time to ask ourselves what kind of city we want and need. There is still a long way to go in relation to the [...] Read more.
Smart cities have become a new urban model for thinking and designing cities in the connected society. It is time to ask ourselves what kind of city we want and need. There is still a long way to go in relation to the role of citizenship in the field of smart cities. This autoethnography reveals different contradictions found during the preparation of my doctoral thesis, which studied the citizens’ perception of smart city policies in a city in southern Spain, in my double role as a doctoral student/researcher and public manager. Many of the statements and conclusions of different scientific research contrasted with the reality that I was experiencing in my daily work. My conclusions can help in the current debate on which cities we want to build at a time when the population is concentrated in cities and where it is necessary to respond to not only the economic, but also the social and environmental problems posed by sustainability Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Personal Essays in Social Science)
Open AccessReview
Indonesian Women in Public Service Leadership: A Rapid Review
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(11), 308; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8110308 (registering DOI) - 09 Nov 2019
Abstract
Masculinist contours have legitimized male domination in Indonesia’s upper public service ranks. However, some women have managed to crack the glass ceiling. A systematic search was undertaken of seven academic databases and the Google Scholar search engine to identify facilitative features of women’s [...] Read more.
Masculinist contours have legitimized male domination in Indonesia’s upper public service ranks. However, some women have managed to crack the glass ceiling. A systematic search was undertaken of seven academic databases and the Google Scholar search engine to identify facilitative features of women’s career advancement through Indonesia’s echelon ranks. Fourteen articles, representing nine studies, were identified. While policy initiatives exist to increase women’s representation and career advancement, studies consistently identified little application to practice. Patterns across the studies located women’s career advancement as an individual concern and showed that women wanting careers were expected to manage the double burden of productive and reproductive life, obtain permissions from husbands and extended family, and adopt masculine leadership traits to garner colleagues’ support. Barriers frequently outweigh opportunities for career advancement; these including entrenched homo-sociability asserting that men make better leaders. Consequently, the blocking of women’s opportunities invoked personal disappointments, resulting in women’s public denial of their leadership ambitions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Gender Studies)
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Open AccessArticle
Ecological Citizens with a Movie Camera: Communitarian and Agonistic Environmental Documentaries
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(11), 307; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8110307 (registering DOI) - 08 Nov 2019
Abstract
Environmental documentaries attained wider public and academic attention, especially in the aftermath of Al Gore’s prominent documentary on climate change An Inconvenient Truth. Making environmental documentaries is a cinematic form of political advocacy. However, there is a lack of research on the [...] Read more.
Environmental documentaries attained wider public and academic attention, especially in the aftermath of Al Gore’s prominent documentary on climate change An Inconvenient Truth. Making environmental documentaries is a cinematic form of political advocacy. However, there is a lack of research on the broad range of such films from Germany. While earlier works tended to an accusatory style, newer environmental documentary seems to be more constructive and aiming at spreading information about feasible alternatives. This article pursues three objectives: first, to gain a deeper understanding of the shift from accusatory to constructive documentaries; second, to connect film studies to the political change-making role and therefore to theories of ecological citizenship; and third, to explore the question of what citizenship with a movie camera means. The accusatory and constructive style are associated with agonistic and communitarian ecological citizenship. A sample of two films from the German context, namely Leben ausser Kontrolle produced by Bertram Verhaag in 2004 and Voices of Transition produced by Nils Aguilar in 2012, is analyzed comparatively. The interpretive research method combines methods of studying audio-visual rhetoric with the framing approach from social movement studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rethinking Environmental Citizenship for Grassroots Politics )
Open AccessArticle
Email Based Institutional Network Analysis: Applications and Risks
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(11), 306; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8110306 (registering DOI) - 08 Nov 2019
Abstract
Social Network Analysis can be applied to describe the patterns of communication within an organisation. We explore how extending standard methods, by accounting for the direction and volume of emails, can reveal information regarding the roles of individual members. We propose an approach [...] Read more.
Social Network Analysis can be applied to describe the patterns of communication within an organisation. We explore how extending standard methods, by accounting for the direction and volume of emails, can reveal information regarding the roles of individual members. We propose an approach that models certain operational aspects of the organization, based on directional and weighted indicators. The approach is transferable to other types of social network with asymmetrical connections among its members. However, its applicability is limited by privacy concerns, the existence of multiple alternative communication channels that evolve over time, the difficulty of establishing clear links between organisational structure and efficiency and, most importantly, the challenge of setting up a system that measures the impact of communication behavior without influencing the communication behaviour itself. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Big Data and Social Sciences)
Open AccessArticle
Cross-National Attunement to Popular Songs across Time and Place: A Sociology of Popular Music in the United States, Germany, Thailand, and Tanzania
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(11), 305; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8110305 - 05 Nov 2019
Abstract
This paper explores empirically Edward T. Hall’s assertion about the role of musical elements, including rhythm recognition and what are called “ear worms” in popular culture. To test Hall’s assertion, data were collected from the United States, Germany, Tanzania, and Thailand in 2015–2017 [...] Read more.
This paper explores empirically Edward T. Hall’s assertion about the role of musical elements, including rhythm recognition and what are called “ear worms” in popular culture. To test Hall’s assertion, data were collected from the United States, Germany, Tanzania, and Thailand in 2015–2017 using a 26 brief “song intros.” Data were also collected from exchange students from South Korea and Turkey. Survey responses were analyzed using factor analysis in order to identify patterns of recognition. It was found that there were indeed patterns of recognition apparently reflecting national boundaries for some song recognition, but others crossed boundaries. A separate analysis of patterned recognition comparing American youth under thirty, with elders over 60 indicated that there were also boundaries between age groups. Such experiments in music recognition are an effective methodology for Culture Studies given that musical elements are tied to issues of identity, culture, and even politics. Music recognition can be used to measure elements of such subconscious habitus. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Massification, Marketisation and Loss of Differentiation in Pre-Entry Marketing Materials in UK Higher Education
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(11), 304; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8110304 - 30 Oct 2019
Abstract
Since the mid-1970s, the higher education system in the UK has massified. Over this period, the government policy drivers for higher education have shifted towards a homogenised rationale, linking higher education to the economic well-being of the country. The massification of higher education [...] Read more.
Since the mid-1970s, the higher education system in the UK has massified. Over this period, the government policy drivers for higher education have shifted towards a homogenised rationale, linking higher education to the economic well-being of the country. The massification of higher education has involved a widening of participation from traditional students to new and diverse student cohorts with differing information needs. The increased positioning of students as consumers by higher education means the student choice process has become complex. Drawing on a recently conferred doctorate, this article asks whether the messages sent by institutions about the motivation for undertaking a degree have changed during the recent period of massification of UK higher education. It asks how such changes are reflected, overtly or in coded form, in the institutional pre-entry ‘prospectus’ documents aimed at students. Taking a discourse-historical approach, the work identifies six periods of discourse change between 1976 and 2013, analysing prospectuses from four case-study institutions of different perceived status. The research finds that the materials homogenise gradually over the period and there is a concordant concealment of the differential status, purpose and offer of the institutions, alongside an increase in the functional importance of the coded signalling power of the differential prestige of undergraduate degrees within the UK. This research’s finding that the documents produced by institutions have become increasingly difficult to differentiate highlights equity issues in provision of marketing in terms of widening participation and fair access aims. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Unveiling ‘European’ and ‘International’ Researcher Identities: A Case Study with Doctoral Students in the Humanities and Social Sciences
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(11), 303; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8110303 - 29 Oct 2019
Abstract
The significance of ‘identity’ in doctoral studies is widely acknowledged. Nevertheless, despite much research on what is involved in the process of identification with/as a researcher, very little attention has been devoted to understanding the effects of the internationalization of higher education in [...] Read more.
The significance of ‘identity’ in doctoral studies is widely acknowledged. Nevertheless, despite much research on what is involved in the process of identification with/as a researcher, very little attention has been devoted to understanding the effects of the internationalization of higher education in promoting feelings of belonging to a researcher community that goes beyond the national space. This qualitative case study aims to understand whether and how doctoral students in the Humanities and Social Sciences develop a ‘European’ or ‘international’ researcher identity during their doctoral studies. To address this aim, in-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with twelve home and international doctoral students from a Portuguese higher education institution. Results from thematic analysis suggest that although the dichotomy ‘European’/‘international’ was not always clear in participants’ minds, those students who undertook mobility experiences or took part in international research networks or supervisory teams were more likely to regard themselves as ‘international’ or ‘European’ researchers. The implications of these findings for doctoral programs in an era of internationalization are highlighted. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Troublesome Access: Non-Admission Experiences in the Competitive Finnish Higher Education
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(11), 302; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8110302 - 29 Oct 2019
Abstract
In this study, I address policy aims to reconcile equality of opportunity and marketization by examining difficulties in access to Finnish higher education. Finnish higher education is largely funded by the state and has no tuition fees. However, new demands have arisen that [...] Read more.
In this study, I address policy aims to reconcile equality of opportunity and marketization by examining difficulties in access to Finnish higher education. Finnish higher education is largely funded by the state and has no tuition fees. However, new demands have arisen that align with market-driven policy. At the same time, the Finnish system is one of the most competitive systems in the Organization for Cooperation and Development (OECD), and around 70% of applicants do not gain admittance. The purpose of this study is to examine how prospective degree students who have applied without being allowed to start studying toward a degree respond to the loss of opportunity and position themselves in the higher education marketplace. The analysis is based on 50 online narratives. The results are elaborated into three exploratory story models: (1) ‘Never give up on your dreams’; (2) ‘Need to figure out a new plan’; and (3) ‘You can’t get everything you want in life’. The stories show that marketization of higher education affects the experiences and expectations of prospective students. Moreover, marketization offers opportunities differently for those who already have plenty of resources to compete for access to higher education and those who do not. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Social Farming: An Inclusive Environment Conducive to Participant Personal Growth
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(11), 301; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8110301 - 28 Oct 2019
Abstract
Social farming can ameliorate the everyday life of people engaged in farming activities, including perceived changes in mood or behavior. It can also be therapeutic, as it can address a range of public health and service provision issues. This paper presents the findings [...] Read more.
Social farming can ameliorate the everyday life of people engaged in farming activities, including perceived changes in mood or behavior. It can also be therapeutic, as it can address a range of public health and service provision issues. This paper presents the findings of an Italian project that explored the impact of social farming on the well-being of the participants and their ability to perform certain tasks linked to agricultural activities. In addition, this paper tries to evaluate how the organization of the network system around the participants helps them to improve their relational capabilities. Participant observations were made in class rooms and farms where the participants carried out their agricultural activities. Such observations focused on the way in which participants and other subjects (i.e., tutors and training staff) inside the network system interacted. A number of in-depth interviews were carried out with tutors and trainers in order to understand if the participants would play a relevant role in social farming activities and what that role would be. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Retailing, Consumers, and Territory: Trends of an Incipient Circular Model
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(11), 300; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8110300 - 28 Oct 2019
Abstract
The aim of this theoretical research is to analyze the state of retail distribution nowadays, reviewing the dynamics of action that contribute to the move from a linear to an incipient circular retail model. The framework is based on the Retail Wheel Spins [...] Read more.
The aim of this theoretical research is to analyze the state of retail distribution nowadays, reviewing the dynamics of action that contribute to the move from a linear to an incipient circular retail model. The framework is based on the Retail Wheel Spins Theory and the Retail Life Cycle (RLC), with an extra review of Bauman’s liquid metaphor. We consider two questions. Firstly, are offline retailers ready to disappear as online commerce and digital marketing aggressively break into the retail industry? Secondly, could commercial spaces (in the fifth stage in the evolution of retail and territory) be in the decline stage in the RLC in the near future or can a circular connection take place? Thus, a desk research methodology based on secondary documentary material and sources issued leads to an interpretive analysis that reveals ten trends (e.g., solid retail vs. liquid retail; glocal retail; food sovereignty) and a wide diversity of changes that could involve offline stores recovering territory and entering a circular phase. Our findings suggest that digitalized physical stores are flourishing and our reflections augur changes in pace and the closure of the linear business cycle to recover territory, the city, its local market, and its symbolism, as well as a liquid business steeped in omnichannel formats developing an incipient circular movement. Conclusions indicate that it is possible to perceive a timid change back to territory and retail spaces which, along with phygitalization, will coexist with the digital world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Adopting Circular Economy Current Practices and Future Perspectives)
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Open AccessArticle
The Development of Generalized Trust among Young People in England
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(11), 299; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8110299 - 25 Oct 2019
Abstract
This paper explores how generalized trust develops over the life course among young people in England and whether trust is influenced more by family background factors or by conditions in late adolescence and early adulthood. If the latter are important, there may be [...] Read more.
This paper explores how generalized trust develops over the life course among young people in England and whether trust is influenced more by family background factors or by conditions in late adolescence and early adulthood. If the latter are important, there may be reason for concern about falling levels of trust as material conditions, particularly regarding housing, have deteriorated for the present generation of young people. The first set of influences are highlighted by a perspective arguing that trust is primarily shaped by conditions in early childhood, while the latter are suggested by the so-called social learning perspective, which claims that people continuously adjust their social trust through interactions with people in different contexts. Analyzing data of the Citizenship Education Longitudinal Survey, the study finds that trust remains quite volatile until the early twenties. It declines between ages 16 and 23 and groups differing in educational attainment, civic participation and housing situation start to drift apart in their levels of trust between these ages. Educational attainment, civic participation and housing, as conditions pertaining to late adolescence and early adulthood, also turn out to have a significant impact on trust at age 23 controlling for trust at age 16. However, while the first two conditions are influenced by trust at age 16, housing (tenure) is not, indicating it is a more exogenous factor. Family background factors are not influential. Not only do these findings support the social learning perspective, they also suggest that poor living conditions depress trust among a significant minority of young people and exacerbate disparities of trust. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Contemporary Politics and Society)
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Open AccessArticle
Towards Older Adults Cognitive and Emotional Stimulation via Robotic Cognitive Games
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(11), 298; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8110298 - 25 Oct 2019
Abstract
The paper presents and discusses a framework to promote older adults cognitive and emotional stimulation via Robotic Cognitive Games. The work is based on classic games for older adults, e.g., to place objects in pre-defined positions in an arena, where the authors introduce [...] Read more.
The paper presents and discusses a framework to promote older adults cognitive and emotional stimulation via Robotic Cognitive Games. The work is based on classic games for older adults, e.g., to place objects in pre-defined positions in an arena, where the authors introduce a robot in the games. The paper not only presents the robotic games, but also the methodology developed to properly introduce them to older adults in a nursing home. As such, the paper proposes three cognitive robotic games, a methodology to assess the success of its introduction to older adults, keeping in mind cognitive and emotional aspects. To validate the proposed robotic solution, experimental tests were performed in a nursing home. A prior cognitive and emotional test was done with older adults to have a ground truth to compare with after a batch of games was completed by each older adult. The results and their discussion validate the robotic games approach, and also the methodology used for its introduction in the nursing home. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Searching for a Place to Belong in a Time of Othering
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(11), 297; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8110297 - 24 Oct 2019
Abstract
Australia is a land of opportunity, where hard work can bring a better life. Most immigrants come to Australia to establish a new life and fulfil hopes and dreams for better life opportunities. Like many immigrants to Australia, I came to establish a [...] Read more.
Australia is a land of opportunity, where hard work can bring a better life. Most immigrants come to Australia to establish a new life and fulfil hopes and dreams for better life opportunities. Like many immigrants to Australia, I came to establish a new better life for myself and for family. In this paper, I share my challenges of being different, and of being black and the experiences of black Africans in Australia. The paper invites more conversations on finding ways forward to change the system that favours some and disadvantages others. It indicates the need to humanise the Other and make Australia a more inclusive and liveable multicultural environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Personal Essays in Social Science)
Open AccessEditorial
Feminist New Materialisms: Activating Ethico-Politics through Genealogies in Social Sciences
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(11), 296; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8110296 - 23 Oct 2019
Abstract
The idea to create a Special Issue journal around the topic of feminist new materialisms emerged out of the editors’ collaboration in the frames of European project New Materialism: Networking European Scholarship on ‘How Matter Comes to Matter’ (European Cooperation in Science and [...] Read more.
The idea to create a Special Issue journal around the topic of feminist new materialisms emerged out of the editors’ collaboration in the frames of European project New Materialism: Networking European Scholarship on ‘How Matter Comes to Matter’ (European Cooperation in Science and Technology), and more specifically it was born at the 9th Annual Conference on the New Materialisms, held at Utrecht University in June 2018 [...] Full article
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