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Soc. Sci., Volume 8, Issue 4 (April 2019)

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Open AccessArticle
Housing First and Single-Site Housing
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(4), 129; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8040129
Received: 15 February 2019 / Revised: 3 April 2019 / Accepted: 22 April 2019 / Published: 24 April 2019
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Abstract
In 2002, the United States embraced the Housing First approach, which led to the widespread adoption of this approach in cities across the nation. This resulted in programmatic variations of Housing First and calls for clarity about the Housing First model. This study [...] Read more.
In 2002, the United States embraced the Housing First approach, which led to the widespread adoption of this approach in cities across the nation. This resulted in programmatic variations of Housing First and calls for clarity about the Housing First model. This study uses a comparative case study approach to explore the differences across Housing First programs in five selected cities: Dallas, Austin, Houston, Los Angeles, and Salt Lake City. It focuses on one aspect of programmatic variation: housing type. Data collection consisted of in-depth interviews with 53 participants, documentation review, and site visits. Findings show differences in the type of housing used and explore the reasons why Housing First programs select such housing configurations. The results highlight how programmatic variation does not necessarily mean the Housing First model lacks clarity. Rather, homeless service providers adapt the model to address local challenges and needs, resulting in the variation seen across programs and cities. The findings elucidate the debate about variation in the Housing First model and the call for fidelity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Housing First: Ending Homelessness)
Open AccessArticle
Is Female Entrepreneurship Only Empowering for Single Women? Evidence from France and Germany
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(4), 128; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8040128
Received: 22 March 2019 / Revised: 16 April 2019 / Accepted: 17 April 2019 / Published: 23 April 2019
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Abstract
Entrepreneurship has been suggested as an alternative career model for women to gain economic empowerment while maintaining caring obligations. In this study, we investigate how gender and living situation affect entrepreneurs’ engagement in their business, home, well-being and business success in both France [...] Read more.
Entrepreneurship has been suggested as an alternative career model for women to gain economic empowerment while maintaining caring obligations. In this study, we investigate how gender and living situation affect entrepreneurs’ engagement in their business, home, well-being and business success in both France and Germany. Data from the European Social Survey were used, which included 470 French and 622 German self-employed people. For the French, women reported more working hours when living alone but there were no gender differences for the other living situations. For the Germans, there were no gender differences when the self-employed person lived alone; for the other living situations, men reported more working hours. Women reported working more household hours than men in both countries. There were no gender differences in life satisfaction for German self-employed people regardless of living situation; for the French, gender differences varied by living situation. Men reported more business success than women in both countries. Results suggest that self-employed people in Germany follow a traditional breadwinner model, whereas in France, self-employed women do more paid and unpaid work at the same time. In sum, entrepreneurship may only be empowering for self-employed women living alone. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Gender Studies)
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Open AccessReview
Community Protections in American Indian and Alaska Native Participatory Research—A Scoping Review
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(4), 127; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8040127
Received: 29 October 2018 / Revised: 16 April 2019 / Accepted: 17 April 2019 / Published: 20 April 2019
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Abstract
Experiences with unethical research practices have caused some American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) individuals, organizations, and tribes to mistrust health research. To build trust and repair relationships, current research with AIAN peoples often involves participatory research (PR) approaches. This article assesses community-level [...] Read more.
Experiences with unethical research practices have caused some American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) individuals, organizations, and tribes to mistrust health research. To build trust and repair relationships, current research with AIAN peoples often involves participatory research (PR) approaches. This article assesses community-level protections described in the scientific literature on PR involving AIAN communities. A scoping review search in PubMed and PsychInfo for articles published between January 2000 and June 2017 yielded an AIAN PR article dataset. Of 178 articles, a subset of 23 articles that described aspects of community protections were analyzed for descriptions of community-level protection practices. We identified the presence or absence of a description of four community protection measures in each article: a tribal research department, the development of community-level mechanisms for research regulation if not present, community collaboration throughout the research process, and project employment of a community member. The development of community-level mechanisms for research regulation was described in 39% of the articles. Ninety-one percent of these articles described community collaboration during the research process. Seventeen percent included descriptions of all four community-level protection measures. The extent and consistency to which community-level protections are described is variable; the current literature lacks reporting on community-level protection practices specific to tribal communities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Engaged Scholarship for Resilient Communities)
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Open AccessArticle
Why Would You Want a Baby When You Could Have a Dog?” Voluntarily Childless Women’s “Peternal” Feelings, Longing and Ambivalence
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(4), 126; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8040126
Received: 16 March 2019 / Revised: 10 April 2019 / Accepted: 18 April 2019 / Published: 20 April 2019
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Abstract
This article explores voluntarily childless women’s experiences and understandings of human-animal interactions and their attitudes towards companion animals. It draws on interviews with 15 Swedish women who expressed a lack of “maternal” feelings and therefore had remained voluntarily childless, or childfree (used here [...] Read more.
This article explores voluntarily childless women’s experiences and understandings of human-animal interactions and their attitudes towards companion animals. It draws on interviews with 15 Swedish women who expressed a lack of “maternal” feelings and therefore had remained voluntarily childless, or childfree (used here as two interchangeable concepts). Instead, the women described how they perceived the attachment bonds to companion animals that they had developed as similar to, or even superior to, the attachments bonds between parents and their children. The article thus introduces the expressions “peternal”, and “peternal feelings”, to denote these women’s attachment bonds to companion animals (primarily cats and dogs). The results, however, also illustrate that few of the women actually took on the role as “pet parent”. Although they longed to develop attachment bonds with companion animals, they were conflicted and experienced ambivalence, leading to decisions to develop avoidance strategies, resembling those involved in the childfree decision. Hence, many of them described themselves as both childfree and “petfree”. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue We Are Best Friends: Animals in Society)
Open AccessArticle
Social Justice: Disparities in Average Earnings across Portuguese Municipalities
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(4), 125; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8040125
Received: 26 February 2019 / Revised: 11 April 2019 / Accepted: 15 April 2019 / Published: 19 April 2019
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Abstract
An ever-ongoing discussion these days involves the disparities in monthly earnings across different genders, geographical locations, levels of education, economic sectors, and skills and careers, with various economic and social consequences. In fact, in a framework such as that in which we live [...] Read more.
An ever-ongoing discussion these days involves the disparities in monthly earnings across different genders, geographical locations, levels of education, economic sectors, and skills and careers, with various economic and social consequences. In fact, in a framework such as that in which we live in nowadays (with pertinent concerns about economic and social convergences across several indicators), investigating these disparities would be interesting in order to complement the basis that is considered for the design of social policies. There are few studies considering the approaches here developed for this topic. The objective of this study is to analyse the disparities in the average monthly earnings received by employees across Portuguese mainland municipalities over the period 2004–2012, considering as additional analysis criteria geographical location, gender, levels of qualification, levels of education, economic sectors, professional activities, and further qualifications. For this both a cluster and factor analysis were considered to better identify municipalities with similar characteristics and correlations among variables. The results show that the disparities in the monthly average earnings between the Portuguese municipalities are related to three indexes associated with gender, qualifications, and chosen professions. The findings presented are specific to the Portuguese framework; however, the approaches developed in this study may be applied in other contexts to explore the dynamics related with the topic of social justice. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Quality Culture of Manufacturing Enterprises: A Possible Way to Adaptation to Industry 4.0
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(4), 124; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8040124
Received: 10 March 2019 / Revised: 11 April 2019 / Accepted: 15 April 2019 / Published: 19 April 2019
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Abstract
The concept of Industry 4.0 means a new paradigm of modern manufacturing. This phenomenon requires continuous innovation processes and technological development from each enterprise. Traditional concepts of quality must absorb changes and prepare themselves for new challenges. The studies linked to successful adaptation [...] Read more.
The concept of Industry 4.0 means a new paradigm of modern manufacturing. This phenomenon requires continuous innovation processes and technological development from each enterprise. Traditional concepts of quality must absorb changes and prepare themselves for new challenges. The studies linked to successful adaptation to Industry 4.0 focus mostly on technical dimensions and forget the impact of organisational culture. One should, however, remember that quality culture plays a crucial role in the organisational culture of manufacturing enterprises with elements of quality management implemented. Developed quality cultures support the innovation environment, which is why it is necessary for the enterprises to identify the current level of their quality culture and detect significant factors that differentiate individual quality cultures and focus on them. Given this fact, the aim of the paper is to analyse the typical cultures and quality concepts and to detect the factors that differentiate individual quality cultures in Slovakia. We use data from our own survey; dependences were indicated by means of correspondence analysis and the test of proportion. The improvement and assurance of quality, the use of information and the overall effectiveness are significant factors detected by the discriminant analysis. The conclusions of the survey may be used by scientific researchers but especially by manufacturing enterprises interested in quality which are coming to terms with the era of Industry 4.0. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Industry 4.0 Implication for Economy and Society)
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Open AccessArticle
Bangladeshi Migrants of Italy and Their Precarity
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(4), 123; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8040123
Received: 20 February 2019 / Revised: 9 April 2019 / Accepted: 11 April 2019 / Published: 19 April 2019
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Abstract
Over the past years much attention has been placed on the ordeal of migrants as they leave their home countries and seek refuge or better lives in others. Given the sudden surge of Bangladeshi migration to Italy in recent years, this article focuses [...] Read more.
Over the past years much attention has been placed on the ordeal of migrants as they leave their home countries and seek refuge or better lives in others. Given the sudden surge of Bangladeshi migration to Italy in recent years, this article focuses on Bangladeshi migrants in Italy and examines the precarity that they face or have faced. Our analysis is based on observations gleaned from the existing literature and our own field study of 18 Bangladeshi migrants in two adjacent regions in Italy. We look at the precarity faced by Bangladeshi migrants (1) pre-migration in Bangladesh, (2) during migration from Bangladesh as they passed through different countries, and (3) in their current host country, Italy. Precarity can have different but often overlapping meanings, for example, “labor precarity”, “life precarity”, and “place/legal precarity”, among others. We have used these different lenses of precarity to examine the experience of Bangladeshi migrants of Italy. The existing literature on Bangladeshi migrants does not use a precarity lens explicitly, nor does it consider the experience of the migrants in all three of the above stages of their migration together. We conclude that generally these Bangladeshi migrants face precarity in its various forms, in all stages of their journey, and in many spheres of life in their current host country. Recognizing the precarious nature of the existence of many of the Bangladeshi migrants is very important in any discussion of migrant issues that their host country, Italy, is facing. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Visceral Encounters: A Political Ecology of Urban Land, Food, and Housing in Dubuque, Iowa
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(4), 122; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8040122
Received: 2 November 2018 / Revised: 18 March 2019 / Accepted: 25 March 2019 / Published: 18 April 2019
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Abstract
Through a praxis of co-authorship between a university scholar and two community gardeners/organizers/activists, this article showcases the ways in which knowledge, practices, and relationalities emergent in community gardens in Dubuque, Iowa USA directly engage with the politics of food, land, and housing. The [...] Read more.
Through a praxis of co-authorship between a university scholar and two community gardeners/organizers/activists, this article showcases the ways in which knowledge, practices, and relationalities emergent in community gardens in Dubuque, Iowa USA directly engage with the politics of food, land, and housing. The authors engage in co-authorship across university and community boundaries to ontologically reframe knowledge production and draw critical attention to the everyday livelihoods and political ecologies experienced within marginalized communities. We use extended conversations and interviews to analyze the food, land, and housing issues that emerge in the context of uneven racial relations and neighborhood revitalization. We then organize our analysis using a Political Ecology of the Body (PEB) framework to consider how people’s bodily, emotional, and social lives impact their relationalities with food, gardening, and neighborhood spaces. Our findings show that community gardening efforts are transforming the Washington and North End neighborhoods—even if these changes appear to outsiders to be small-scale or difficult to measure—while also calling attention to the anti-oppression and anti-racism work that remains to be done. Our co-authorship demonstrates how community gardeners and university partners can work together to contest histories of marginalization and foster more socially just relations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Engaged Scholarship for Resilient Communities)
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Open AccessCase Report
Facilitating Engagement among Academic and Community Partners: The Monteverde Institute’s View from the Middle
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(4), 121; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8040121
Received: 29 November 2018 / Revised: 8 April 2019 / Accepted: 10 April 2019 / Published: 18 April 2019
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Abstract
Researchers have recommended operative standards and ethical considerations to maintain the integrity of community engaged scholarship programs. This framework is valuable for guiding good practices and promoting enhancements. Implementation of these considerations in actual programs provides experiential knowledge and reveals additional considerations due [...] Read more.
Researchers have recommended operative standards and ethical considerations to maintain the integrity of community engaged scholarship programs. This framework is valuable for guiding good practices and promoting enhancements. Implementation of these considerations in actual programs provides experiential knowledge and reveals additional considerations due to the distinctive nature of each program. This article presents a descriptive overview of the Monteverde Institute’s history and model in its application of community engaged scholarship in Costa Rica. As a reflective exercise, I discuss the Monteverde Institute’s successes and challenges as related to six principles put forth by scholars. As witnessed by its practices, the Monteverde Institute endorses these important concepts and I provide specific examples of the implementation and customization of these principles in different situations. As a result of this review, I outline the beneficial role provided by the Monteverde Institute as an intermediary, on-site institution in the facilitation of community engaged scholarship. The Monteverde Institute is an academic, research, and community organization that provides both academic structure and community project coordination to its partners. It views community engaged scholarship from different perspectives and guides the applicability of programs to real situations in the region. These actions enable the Monteverde Institute to co-create respectful and functional partnerships. This is important for long-term sustained cooperation and in-depth community engaged scholarship. The process is continual, and I end this reflection with the question, what now? Answering this question, as it relates to the Monteverde Institute, may reveal aspects applicable for the advancement of community engaged scholarship in other regions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Engaged Scholarship for Resilient Communities)
Open AccessArticle
Joint Value as a Measure of Sea Trade Port Stakeholder Effect
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(4), 120; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8040120
Received: 28 December 2018 / Revised: 9 March 2019 / Accepted: 11 April 2019 / Published: 16 April 2019
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Abstract
This article is devoted to an efficiency measurement of the maritime industry presented through the joint value of industry stakeholders. A list of factors contributing to the efficiency of the state maritime policy and factors in the development of the maritime industry were [...] Read more.
This article is devoted to an efficiency measurement of the maritime industry presented through the joint value of industry stakeholders. A list of factors contributing to the efficiency of the state maritime policy and factors in the development of the maritime industry were defined and separated into four groups: group 1 (infrastructural factors): Renewal of port infrastructure; coastal infrastructure of sea stations; ecological and physical safety; and convenience in reaching the port of departure of a cruise ship; group 2 (management factors): The effectiveness of management mechanisms; the level of automatization and effective communications technologies; the coordination of various types of transport; and the efficiency of port services; group 3 (marketing factors): Tariff policies (tariff amounts, number of port fees, flexibility of the price policy); and competition in the ports; group 4 (service factors): Attractiveness of logistics conditions; the development of international tourism; the development of sea leisure; the development of merchant shipping, shipbuilding, ship repair, and instrument making in the port; and the simplification of port entry procedures. The joint value was considered to be a category at both a macroeconomic and microeconomic level, and it was combined with a multivariate regression model performed on the basis of the statistical analysis and data processing system Statistica 8.0. The complex combination of the results of the multifactorial linear model of the joint value created in the maritime industry led to the conclusion that the best alternative to the development of the port industry in Ukraine is the scenario of state modernization and corporatization in the port business model. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Waste-to-Energy Conversion in Havana: Technical and Economic Analysis
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(4), 119; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8040119
Received: 12 February 2019 / Revised: 26 March 2019 / Accepted: 1 April 2019 / Published: 16 April 2019
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Abstract
Havana has the highest population and consequently generation of municipal solid wastes (MSW) in Cuba. In Havana, the final deposition method for MSW is mainly landfills. However, in most cases, they exceed their lifetime of operation becoming in reality dumpsites without energy recovery [...] Read more.
Havana has the highest population and consequently generation of municipal solid wastes (MSW) in Cuba. In Havana, the final deposition method for MSW is mainly landfills. However, in most cases, they exceed their lifetime of operation becoming in reality dumpsites without energy recovery from wastes. In this regard, waste-to-energy is a well-established technology for MSW treatment. The aim of this work was to carry out a techno-economic assessment for a proposed waste-to-energy plant in the city of Havana. A step-wise methodology based on two process analysis tools (i.e., Excel and Aspen Plus models) was used for the technical evaluation. Simulation results are in agreement with data from real plants, showing that it is possible to produce 227.1 GWh of electricity per year, representing 6% of the current demand in Havana. The economic analysis showed the feasibility of the project with a net present value of 35,483,853 USD. Results from the sensitivity analyses show the effect of the economy of scale when changes in low heating value were considered. Finally, a hypothetical best scenario was studied considering the net effect on the average Cuban salary. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and Economic Aspects of Waste Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Gender Equality and Economic Diversification
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(4), 118; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8040118
Received: 27 February 2019 / Revised: 31 March 2019 / Accepted: 3 April 2019 / Published: 11 April 2019
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Abstract
We show that gender inequality decreases the variety of goods countries produce and export, in particular in low-income and developing countries. We argue that this happens through at least two channels: first, gender gaps in opportunity, such as lower educational enrollment rates for [...] Read more.
We show that gender inequality decreases the variety of goods countries produce and export, in particular in low-income and developing countries. We argue that this happens through at least two channels: first, gender gaps in opportunity, such as lower educational enrollment rates for girls than for boys, harm diversification by constraining the potential pool of human capital available in an economy. Second, gender gaps in the labor market impede the development of new ideas by decreasing the efficiency of the labor force. Our empirical estimates support these hypotheses, providing evidence that gender-friendly policies could help countries diversify their economies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Macroeconomics of Gender Inequality)
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Open AccessArticle
Performance of Microfinance Institutions in Ethiopia: Integrating Financial and Social Metrics
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(4), 117; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8040117
Received: 1 March 2019 / Revised: 4 April 2019 / Accepted: 9 April 2019 / Published: 11 April 2019
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Abstract
Since their inception in the 1970s, microfinance institutions (MFIs) have received increasing attention both from policymakers and academic circles. Using unbalanced panel data (2000–2017) from Ethiopia, in this paper, we investigated the performance of MFIs and its determinants on the one hand and [...] Read more.
Since their inception in the 1970s, microfinance institutions (MFIs) have received increasing attention both from policymakers and academic circles. Using unbalanced panel data (2000–2017) from Ethiopia, in this paper, we investigated the performance of MFIs and its determinants on the one hand and whether or not mission drift exists on the other hand. To this end, we employed seemingly unrelated regression (SUR) and fixed/random effect panel models. The results indicate that, based on different outreach and financial performance metrics, the MFIs in Ethiopia have good performance compared with those of the 10 biggest economies in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The econometric estimation results show that asset holding and the yield on gross portfolio have a positive and significant effect on the social and financial performances of MFIs in Ethiopia. Furthermore, the number of loan officers, loan officer productivity, and personnel productivity have a positive and significant impact on the financial performance of MFIs. Our results also suggest that the null hypothesis—that MFIs are not shifting away from poorer clients—cannot be rejected, implying that there is no mission drift by MFIs in Ethiopia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Social Economics)
Open AccessArticle
Is It Working? An Impact Evaluation of the German “Women Professors Program”
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(4), 116; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8040116
Received: 21 February 2019 / Revised: 5 April 2019 / Accepted: 8 April 2019 / Published: 11 April 2019
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Abstract
The Women Professors Program, which was initiated in Germany in 2008, aims to increase the proportion of women professors and to promote structural change in favour of gender equality at higher education institutions (HEIs). It is one of the central gender equality policies [...] Read more.
The Women Professors Program, which was initiated in Germany in 2008, aims to increase the proportion of women professors and to promote structural change in favour of gender equality at higher education institutions (HEIs). It is one of the central gender equality policies in higher education in Germany. The present study evaluates the impact of the program by estimating its causal effects on the proportion of women professors. By adopting a quasi-experimental approach and using a unique dataset—a long term census of German HEIs—the study proves that the proportion of women professors increased more than would have been expected in the absence of the program. Although the evaluation includes preliminary estimates of mechanisms driving the described impacts, the integration of context factors and mechanisms into the assessment of the impact of gender equality policies remains a desideratum. The study shows that the program is working, and it contributes to redressing the lack of impact studies on gender equality in science and research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women and Leadership in Higher Education)
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Open AccessArticle
Smallholder Telecoupling and Climate Governance in Jambi Province, Indonesia
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(4), 115; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8040115
Received: 26 February 2019 / Revised: 28 March 2019 / Accepted: 3 April 2019 / Published: 10 April 2019
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Abstract
Current debates on climate change have led to an increased demand for sustainable commodities. Serving this demand, sustainability certification schemes and eco-friendly labels have become prominent mechanisms of climate governance. Smallholder farmers in Jambi province, Indonesia, producing palm oil and rubber as the [...] Read more.
Current debates on climate change have led to an increased demand for sustainable commodities. Serving this demand, sustainability certification schemes and eco-friendly labels have become prominent mechanisms of climate governance. Smallholder farmers in Jambi province, Indonesia, producing palm oil and rubber as the two dominant smallholder crops, are impacted by this distal demand. Zimmerer et al. (2018) suggest analyzing the potential sustainability in such a context with the multilevel smallholder telecoupling framework. Applying this framework to case studies from Jambi province, our first case reveals that smallholder certification for so-called sustainable palm oil does not necessarily influence smallholder towards more sustainable management practices. One explanation might be a discrepancy in sustainability perception between sender and receiver systems. The second case is the setup of an allegedly eco-friendly rubber plantation. The establishment of this model plantation is implemented by a transnational corporation in collaboration with a nature conservation organization, impacting the access to land for adjacent smallholders. The struggle over access to land is not only negotiated between smallholders and the corporation producing “eco-friendly” rubber but also between smallholders and big land mammals lacking access to land since the rubber plantation began to be established. We argue that the concept of sustainability as demanded by the receiving system does not mirror management practices in the sending system, even though the products reach the Global North as supposedly socially and climate-friendly. The smallholder telecoupling framework is helpful for assessing potential sustainability but can be expanded towards conflictive spillovers, second order effects, and a mismatch in sustainability perceptions in order to draw a more comprehensive picture. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Impact of Incumbent Scandals on Senate Elections, 1972–2016
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(4), 114; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8040114
Received: 22 February 2019 / Revised: 24 March 2019 / Accepted: 29 March 2019 / Published: 5 April 2019
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Abstract
In recent decades, a growing body of literature focused on the effects of scandals on congressional elections. The studies concluded that scandals decrease candidates’ vote totals, and that certain types of scandals have a more deleterious effect than others. Virtually all of these [...] Read more.
In recent decades, a growing body of literature focused on the effects of scandals on congressional elections. The studies concluded that scandals decrease candidates’ vote totals, and that certain types of scandals have a more deleterious effect than others. Virtually all of these studies focus on House elections. The obvious differences between the two chambers calls into question the applicability of these findings for Senate elections. This study examines the impact that incumbent scandals had on senatorial elections from 1972 to 2016. Scandals are categorized based on the nature of the transgression in order to determine if the type of scandal made a difference. The results reveal that senators seeking reelection while confronting a scandal suffered a 4% decrease in the popular vote. Scandals involving political misdeeds, financial improprieties, and controversial statements hurt incumbents the most. Scandals also attracted challengers who spent more money against the incumbents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Contemporary Politics and Society)
Open AccessArticle
Pricing Strategies in the Italian Retail Sector: The Case of Pasta
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(4), 113; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8040113
Received: 21 February 2019 / Revised: 20 March 2019 / Accepted: 29 March 2019 / Published: 4 April 2019
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Abstract
In the last years, Italian food retailing has experienced some developments related to rising concentration levels, heterogeneous distribution along the country of the different outlet categories, and an increase of products sold as private brand labels. In the Italian agro-food industry, pasta represents [...] Read more.
In the last years, Italian food retailing has experienced some developments related to rising concentration levels, heterogeneous distribution along the country of the different outlet categories, and an increase of products sold as private brand labels. In the Italian agro-food industry, pasta represents a strategic product, since Italy has the peculiarity of being, at the same time, the main producer and consumer of pasta. A useful way to investigate food retailers’ behavior and strategies is to derive a measure of price rigidity, through a “frequency approach”, which permits computation of both regular prices and price promotions, and the frequency and the magnitude of price increases and decreases. We employ such methodology in order to evaluate retailers’ strategies in the Italian pasta market in terms of price rigidity and price promotions according to brand categories (Italian pasta brands versus private label brands) and regional areas for the period 2011–2013. The results show that retailers’ strategies for national pasta brands, in terms of price rigidity and price promotions, are completely different with respect to private label brands. Among the various national pasta brands, retailers adopt different strategies by, in various regional cases, employing the tool of price promotion rather than intervening with regular price changes. Full article
Open AccessReview
Cloud Computing Research Profiling: Mapping Scholarly Community and Identifying Thematic Boundaries of the Field
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(4), 112; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8040112
Received: 5 March 2019 / Revised: 26 March 2019 / Accepted: 1 April 2019 / Published: 4 April 2019
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Abstract
The aim of the study was to map the scholarly community interested in research on cloud computing and to identify thematic boundaries of the field. The methodology of research profiling, representing bibliometric descriptive studies, was applied to achieve the aim of the study. [...] Read more.
The aim of the study was to map the scholarly community interested in research on cloud computing and to identify thematic boundaries of the field. The methodology of research profiling, representing bibliometric descriptive studies, was applied to achieve the aim of the study. Using research profiling for mapping the cloud computing field can be considered as an innovation. Although the research profiling methodology has been widely used across various subject areas, including Computer Science, Social Sciences, Engineering, Arts and Humanities, Business, Management and Accounting, and Psychology, thus far neither Scopus nor Web of Science indexed publications including the conjunction of phrases “cloud computing” and “research profiling” in their titles, keywords and abstracts. The previous important scientometric study of the research output in the field was published by Heilig and Voß in 2014. Taking into account a very dynamic growth of the field, all this indicates the research gap to be filled. The research sample is made of 14,158 publications indexed in Scopus database comprising the phrase “cloud computing” in their titles. The study was purposely limited to the title search to concentrate the attention of publications relating directly to the issue of cloud computing. Applying the quantitative approach provides an opportunity for broad scanning of subject-related literature. First, general publication profiling recognized the main contributors (countries, research intuitions, source titles and authors) to the scholarly community interested in cloud computing. Secondly, subject area profiling was applied to find how multidisciplinary is the research in the field and how the research output is distributed across subject areas. Finally, topic profiling unveiled leading topics of studies in the field and their distribution by authors, journal, subject areas and core references. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Industry 4.0 Implication for Economy and Society)
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Open AccessArticle
Googling Fashion: Forecasting Fashion Consumer Behaviour Using Google Trends
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(4), 111; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8040111
Received: 22 February 2019 / Revised: 25 March 2019 / Accepted: 29 March 2019 / Published: 4 April 2019
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Abstract
This paper aims to discuss the current state of Google Trends as a useful tool for fashion consumer analytics, show the importance of being able to forecast fashion consumer trends and then presents a univariate forecast evaluation of fashion consumer Google Trends to [...] Read more.
This paper aims to discuss the current state of Google Trends as a useful tool for fashion consumer analytics, show the importance of being able to forecast fashion consumer trends and then presents a univariate forecast evaluation of fashion consumer Google Trends to motivate more academic research in this subject area. Using Burberry—a British luxury fashion house—as an example, we compare several parametric and nonparametric forecasting techniques to determine the best univariate forecasting model for “Burberry” Google Trends. In addition, we also introduce singular spectrum analysis as a useful tool for denoising fashion consumer Google Trends and apply a recently developed hybrid neural network model to generate forecasts. Our initial results indicate that there is no single univariate model (out of ARIMA, exponential smoothing, TBATS, and neural network autoregression) that can provide the best forecast of fashion consumer Google Trends for Burberry across all horizons. In fact, we find neural network autoregression (NNAR) to be the worst contender. We then seek to improve the accuracy of NNAR forecasts for fashion consumer Google Trends via the introduction of singular spectrum analysis for noise reduction in fashion data. The hybrid neural network model (Denoised NNAR) succeeds in outperforming all competing models across all horizons, with a majority of statistically significant outcomes at providing the best forecast for Burberry’s highly seasonal fashion consumer Google Trends. In an era of big data, we show the usefulness of Google Trends, denoising and forecasting consumer behaviour for the fashion industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fashion Merchandising and Consumer Behavior)
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Open AccessReview
An Acquaintance with An Aging Society
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(4), 110; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8040110
Received: 31 January 2019 / Revised: 3 March 2019 / Accepted: 29 March 2019 / Published: 3 April 2019
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Abstract
Low birth rates and higher life expectancy have been ravaging Japanese society. This article summarizes some of the latest medical knowledge and assistive activities, with a nod toward one nonprofit organization’s efforts to deliver better home healthcare to the elderly through housing and [...] Read more.
Low birth rates and higher life expectancy have been ravaging Japanese society. This article summarizes some of the latest medical knowledge and assistive activities, with a nod toward one nonprofit organization’s efforts to deliver better home healthcare to the elderly through housing and technologies, in the world’s first super-aging society. The response to the transforming society requires a combination of familiar customs and new technologies that create a favorable environment for mobility and continuous learning that are key to elderly health. As other countries will face similar issues, further international interdisciplinary knowledge-building will be necessary to face the challenges of super-aging societies. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Work–Life Balance Measures of Working Carers and Well-Being Satisfaction within Couple Relationships: The Result of an Italian Policy Looking through the Gender Lens
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(4), 109; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8040109
Received: 31 December 2018 / Revised: 27 March 2019 / Accepted: 29 March 2019 / Published: 3 April 2019
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Abstract
Working carers deserve to receive more and more attention from welfare regimes and workplaces. Using the work–family interface approach, we analyzed the effects of the Family Audit workplace measures—an Italian work–life balance policy—on couple well-being. The research was carried out through a Computer-Assisted [...] Read more.
Working carers deserve to receive more and more attention from welfare regimes and workplaces. Using the work–family interface approach, we analyzed the effects of the Family Audit workplace measures—an Italian work–life balance policy—on couple well-being. The research was carried out through a Computer-Assisted Web Interviewing survey which was addressed to the employees of the organizations that participated in the policy program in 2015. The results showed that the measures implemented by the companies were able to improve the perception of couple well-being of working carers, but they did not trigger a cultural change that would permit the elimination of differences due to gender in work–family balance. The most effective measures were characterized by high levels of flexibility. These features allow the reduction of the negative effects produced by some socio-biographic variables, some work-related aspects, and aspects related to the Mediterranean welfare regime. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Transnational Political Economy and the Development of Tourism: A Critical Approach
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(4), 108; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8040108
Received: 7 February 2019 / Revised: 24 March 2019 / Accepted: 28 March 2019 / Published: 2 April 2019
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Abstract
Following a Marxist and, more specifically, a global capitalism perspective, this paper outlines the peculiar characteristics of tourism to argue that the recent developments of this sector have prominently contributed to the transnational integration and global accumulation of capital. These developments are explored [...] Read more.
Following a Marxist and, more specifically, a global capitalism perspective, this paper outlines the peculiar characteristics of tourism to argue that the recent developments of this sector have prominently contributed to the transnational integration and global accumulation of capital. These developments are explored by using a Marxist conceptual framework, including class and value relations, within a broader ecological context. Taking into account the particular pattern of development and rapid growth of tourism in recent decades, we examine the implications for the uneven and combined development of global capitalism. More specifically, we examine whether the growth of tourism may sufficiently counteract the global over-accumulation crisis, as well as the particular ways in which capital can extract and appropriate rent from tourism. It is broadly argued that the development of tourism tends to increase the unevenness, as well as the inequalities and the instability, of global capitalism and while it seems to apparently relax the current over-accumulation crisis, it rather tends to further exacerbate the unfolding socio-ecological crisis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neoliberal Cities: The Touristification Phenomenon under Analysis)
Open AccessArticle
Framing ‘Friend’: Media Framing of ‘Man’s Best Friend’ and the Pattern of Police Shootings of Dogs
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(4), 107; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8040107
Received: 16 February 2019 / Revised: 21 March 2019 / Accepted: 26 March 2019 / Published: 2 April 2019
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Abstract
The representation and framing of events by news sources plays a critical role in the way society comes to understand a given phenomenon. For example, the use of force by police officers against civilians is covered regularly by news media outlets. Far less [...] Read more.
The representation and framing of events by news sources plays a critical role in the way society comes to understand a given phenomenon. For example, the use of force by police officers against civilians is covered regularly by news media outlets. Far less widely examined, however, is the excessive use of force against companion animals or pets. Thus, to understand the ways in which police use of force against animals is framed in the media, we conducted qualitative content analyses of 189 print news articles published in diverse regions of the U.S. over the course of a six-year period (2011–2016). Drawing on symbolic interactionism, analysis reveals that the media’s representation of incidents of police shootings of dogs speaks not only to the social value dogs have in society, but also to the acceptability of friendships between humans and dogs. Specifically, we argue that some dog–human relationships are more socially acceptable than others and, therefore, shootings against some dogs are perceived as less acceptable than others. Ultimately, we find that news media representation and the ways in which incidents are framed reify existent social hierarchies. This research contributes to growing bodies of literature on police violence, the shift in perspectives on animals in society, and the power of the media to affect public perception of incidents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue We Are Best Friends: Animals in Society)
Open AccessArticle
Befriending Your Food: Pigs and People Coming of Age in the Anthropocene
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(4), 106; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8040106
Received: 15 February 2019 / Revised: 22 March 2019 / Accepted: 23 March 2019 / Published: 31 March 2019
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Abstract
Geologists and ecologists report that Earth is undergoing its sixth massive extinction event, an occasion that calls for radical revision of conservation ethics. The biologist Edward O. Wilson has proposed that conservation projects in the Anthropocene should be grounded in biophilia, an [...] Read more.
Geologists and ecologists report that Earth is undergoing its sixth massive extinction event, an occasion that calls for radical revision of conservation ethics. The biologist Edward O. Wilson has proposed that conservation projects in the Anthropocene should be grounded in biophilia, an evolved, relational (or biocentric) mode of perception that activates aesthetic and affective responses to non-human life alongside cognitive understanding. Because biophilia includes non-rational modes of perception, the nurturing of biophilic conservation ethics cannot fall to ecology alone; imaginative literature, for example, can prompt readers to imagine and work to realize more environmentally friendly roles for humans and, further, can assist in cultivating a conservation ethic suited to current ecological conditions. In particular, coming-of-age novels about friendships between people and pigs offer an alternative to the industrial “pork story” that seeks to gain narrative control of relational norms between people and pigs, at the expense of biodiversity and ecological health. Three such novels published in 2017 depict human–pig friendships, a relational model created by pigs’ shift in status from food to companion animals. In presenting this realignment, the stories facilitate development of a biophilic conservation ethic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue We Are Best Friends: Animals in Society)
Open AccessArticle
Over Time and Beyond Disney—Visualizing Princesses through a Comparative Study in India, Fiji, and Sweden
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(4), 105; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8040105
Received: 24 December 2018 / Revised: 21 March 2019 / Accepted: 23 March 2019 / Published: 31 March 2019
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Abstract
Disney animated princesses are broadcasted around the world through Disney Channel and its global affiliates as well as through numerous other networks that purchase distribution rights. In an attempt to provide diversity in the last 25 years, Disney has featured nonwestern princesses such [...] Read more.
Disney animated princesses are broadcasted around the world through Disney Channel and its global affiliates as well as through numerous other networks that purchase distribution rights. In an attempt to provide diversity in the last 25 years, Disney has featured nonwestern princesses such as those in Aladdin (1992), Pocahontas (1995), Mulan (1998), and Moana (2016). This study examines how princesses in animated Disney movies are perceived and understood by girls (8–15 years) in three different countries, over two time-periods with a gap of nearly a decade (2009 and 2018). The primary research question, considering Disney’s global reach, is how race, culture, and presence of a royal family interact with transnational access to the same media content in the perception of the princess concept and about being a girl. The selected countries provide an opportunity to explore differences in perception of Disney princesses between girls raised in countries with and without a royal family, and between girls in nonwestern and western countries. Differences in the perception are attributed to local and national cultures that allow a different lens to view the same content. A mixed method combining interviews, focus groups, and participant-generated images was used to gather data in India, Fiji, and Sweden. Results indicate Disney princesses, with their ubiquitous presence in various formats, e.g., media content, costumes and school stationery, have created a uniform idea of beauty across countries. Princesses in Disney were perceived by participants as being Caucasian and American, regardless of the race or country they represented. Girls in India and Fiji did not identify with Jasmine or Mulan, whom they considered ‘American’, whereas girls in Sweden considered Jasmine and Mulan as princesses of nonwestern origin. Girls in India and Fiji did not think they could be princesses because of their skin color, and did not want to lead a life ‘restricted with responsibilities’, but girls in Sweden considered the same question from the place of a choice, i.e., they preferred not to lead a ‘boring’ and regulated life like that of a princess. Participants from Fiji, with the least access to domestic programming that showed girls of their same Fijian origin, were least likely to consider themselves capable of being a princess. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Psychosocial Implications of Disney Movies)
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Open AccessArticle
The Approach to Industry 4.0 within the Slovak Business Environment
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(4), 104; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8040104
Received: 20 February 2019 / Revised: 18 March 2019 / Accepted: 21 March 2019 / Published: 28 March 2019
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Abstract
Academics, executives and top managers have solid, but also diverse, views on the Industry 4.0 issue, as do the employment policymakers. Without urgent and targeted measures to manage the short-term transition and shape the labor force with the skills needed for the future, [...] Read more.
Academics, executives and top managers have solid, but also diverse, views on the Industry 4.0 issue, as do the employment policymakers. Without urgent and targeted measures to manage the short-term transition and shape the labor force with the skills needed for the future, governments will have to face increasing unemployment and social impacts, while companies will have to deal with a sluggish consumer base. The main goal of this paper is to find out how managers are perceived and informed about the Industry 4.0 concept and how quickly these views are changing. To accomplish this goal, methods such as analysis, synthesis, statistical methods and logical deduction are to used along with the conducted survey being executed by a questioner method. The conducted survey presented by the authors in this paper aims to support the discussion and open up opportunities for further action by providing views to HR managers in strategic employers who are among the leading representatives of new trends and are the key actors in the implementation of future labor development strategies in the Slovak Republic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Industry 4.0 Implication for Economy and Society)
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