#Sociology of #Work: #Research by Australian Sociologist Barbara Pocock shows how #management can improve work/life balance. This includes being flexible with hours and the structure of #work, the type of work different employees do, and the ways that employees can deliver work outputs. With new #technology, there are a range of cloud based solutions for collaboration and submission of work. Another important way of managing work/life balance is to foster an environment of #trust where employees can let you know about their out-of-hours responsibilities and preferences should they wish to have you better accommodate their needs. Managers should also seek to support working #parents and #workers who provide care for dependants who are sick, elderly or disabled. This includes access to affordable childcare, good parental and care leave arrangements that won’t impact on career progression, and giving employees the capacity to take holidays and other time off to manage family and health appointments. Society talks about work/ life balance as an issue that individuals and families should negotiate on their own. Pocock puts emphasis on “Supportive workplace cultures, practices and #leadership” as the means to improve work. Making work/ life balance a responsibility of workplaces as well as employees is a pivotal way that managers & CEOs can ensure that work is fulfilling, meaningful and energising, rather than a drain on the #creativity and #productivity of their #company. Pocock’s latest research is found in “Time Bomb: Work, Rest and Play in Australia Today.” #socialscience #worklifebalance #business #management #humanresources #corporate #training #life #career #visualsociology
Researchers, take note.
It is incredibly disappointing (not to mention invalidating and possibly dysphoria-inducing) for a trans* or intersex person to voluntarily begin a survey being advertised to the LGBT or LGBTQI+ community only to have their identity/identities not represented. And this happens ALL the time.
Fortunately, there are actually really easy ways that people constructing and promoting these surveys can avoid this! And if you don’t do LGBTQI+-specific research, most of these rules, specifically those tackling demographic questionnaires, will still be relevant to you!
- Use the term “sex assigned at birth” instead of sex. Asking someone their sex, even with “biological” as a qualifier, is pretty loaded and unclear for someone whose biological sex characteristics have changed (due to hormone replacement therapy, for example) or for intersex individuals whose biological traits don’t fall into our limited sex categories. Asking for sex assigned at birth is a way to be affirming of people’s gender and sex identities while still gathering the data we use to categorize people (which is worth of a post of its own). (If your study only includes people from the US, your options can be male or female only, as these are the only sexes legally allowed on birth certificates -if your study is international, however, you will need to include at least a third option.)
- Include gender as a separate question. Not only is this going to be affirming because it acknowledges that it is possible and not abnormal to have a gender that is different from your sex assigned at birth, it’s going to give you better data. Studies often say “males were more likely to blah blah than females,” and I always wonder if that finding holds for people who were assigned male at birth vs. people who were assigned female at birth or if the finding actually represents differences between people living as men and people living as women. And of course, that leads to a question of where people who do not identify as men or women fit or intersex individuals whose assigned sex means nada about their biological traits. (Again, that will be another post.)
- State how you are defining gender and sex (assigned at birth if you follow rule #1). Be clear. And when you are defining these, use language that is inclusive and validating. I think a good way to set this up is something like the following: “Gender identity is a person’s internal sense of being a woman, a man, both, or neither. This often corresponds with their public role (e.g., living as a woman), and may or may not match their sex assigned at birth, which is the sex label given to an infant and listed on their birth certificate.” It can be helpful to provide examples, but if you decide to do this always provide inclusive examples, so: “If you are a transgender woman, you may have a gender identity of female and a sex assigned at birth of male. If you are a non-transgender woman, you may have a gender identity of female and a sex assigned at birth of female.”
- Give people options beyond male and female. There should never be a drop down menu for gender that only includes two categories. Never ever. It’s inaccurate, will result in misrepresenting your sample (read: is BAD SCIENCE), will be invalidating to a whole host of individuals, and will likely cause trans* people to stop participating in your study and probably turn them off future research studies - which is a major loss for the whole research community! A good way to be inclusive is to allow for a write-in for gender/gender identity. You can either code these into predetermined categories (not just two, though!) or you can also ask participants to select a listed identity that is closest to their own. I have included non-binary as my third option - I think it is more normalizing than “other.”
- Make sure you actually want to study trans* and/or intersex people! (Note that these are not necessarily mutually exclusive categories but also not necessarily mutually inclusive, either.) If you are studying sexual minority-related issues, chances are that the T and/or I that you’re including in your acronym (e.g., “LGBT study”) is out of place. You should still make sure your demographics questions are inclusive because trans* and intersex people can belong to sexual minority groups, too, but don’t include trans* or intersex in your titling or advertising of the study if you aren’t specifically studying issues of trans* people or intersex, mmkay?
- If you are only studying binary-identified participants, say so! I get it, y’all. I do research. We need categories. Is this a downside to quantitative research? Absolutely. But it’s somewhat of a reality, especially if you want to get published. Sexuality research is tough because so much of it rests on labels that depend on binary gender categories. For example, “same-sex,” which usually means same-gender, is tricky when you have someone who is non-binary-identified. But rather than just not including options that reflect these sexualities or identities, state in your inclusion criteria that you are interested in people with binary gender identities. Nothing is more invalidating than having your identity unacknowledged as an option.
If anyone reading this thinks I’m leaving something off, please reply/repost or message me and I’ll update it. I’m thinking this will be a living document kind of blog post.
- Reblogged from xxboy
#SocialPolicy makers need ongoing #research into the social behaviour of #crowds. This is partly about planning, such as management of landscapes, improving infrastructure, decreasing traffic congestion and so on. This is also because local #communities need to improve #SocialService delivery. #Cities often have big influxes of people flowing through daily, presenting cultural challenges, increasing demand for #EmergencyResponse, or requiring information. The #Government also sees a need to increase social control in busy areas. This is why many places have laws about what constitutes loitering, often unfairly targeting #youth or applying #stereotypes of #minorities. #SocialScience can help by providing social insight on how different crowds behave and advising how to improve services so that #LocalCouncil, #SocialPolicy and #LawEnforcement aren’t marginalising vulnerable groups. #sociology #psychology #law #police #community #communitywork #socialwork #culture #society #socialresearch #Melbourne #Australia (at Lonsdale Street)
An international survey of 4,341 students finds 20% prefer to do postgraduate studies in USA; 12% prefer the UK; 8% Australia; and 6% each for Canada & Germany. In terms of cities, the biggest proportion seek to study in New York (15%), followed by London (11%). Most students are motivated to study abroad thinking job prospects in their fields might be increased. Cultural diversity and entertainment were secondary draw cards to big cities, with Sydney being cited as attractive for a beach lifestyle.
My research on international students in Australia finds many are disillusioned by their experience because they cannot find jobs at the end of their degree and they feel isolated. I suggest better support systems and policies are needed to better guide international students.
- Source: zeezeescorner
A survey of 98 women and 23 male anthropologists finds that 30% have been verbally abused. A further 63% of women and 39% of men have faced sexualised comments in the field and 21% of women have been sexually harassed in a physical way – mostly by senior researchers in their field team. The study is being extended as more field researchers come forward and share their stories.
- Source: zeezeescorner
The Pew Research Centre reports that the proportion young people who own homes went down to 34% in 2011 compared to 40% in 2001. Also in 2011, only 66% of people aged 25 years or younger owned or leased a car compared to 73% of young people in 2001.
Good news is that credit card debt is down to 39% in 2010, in comparison to 50% of youth who had credit debt in 2001. Bad news is that student loan debt rose from 34% in 2007 to 40% in 2010. Then again, debt trends are mixed, as the median debt for young people is now $14,102, which is around $1,000 less than in 2007. These patterns reflect a shift in economic priorities after the recession as well as broader changes in society that include delayed marriage, which impacts on household formation and spending.
Joy to the world, my christmas present to myself arrived early! George Ritzer’s Concise Encyclopedia of #Sociology. I’ve missed having this on my bookshelf! Next is the two volume Sage Encyclopedia of Social Theory also by Ritzer… But at $4,500 it will have to wait until Distant Futuristic Times. #socialscience #science #research
Access all of Sage’s online collection and their databases for free until the 31st of December 12.
zeezeescorner: This is great for lovers of literature and critical thinking, and especially for Jane Austin fans:
By asking a test group of literary PhD candidates to read a Jane Austin novel inside of a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine, a Stanford researcher has found that critical, literary reading and leisure reading provide different kinds of neurological workouts, both of which constitute “truly valuable exercise of people’s brains.”
The study was conducted under the supervision of cognition and neurobiology experts at Stanford, but it is the brainchild of literary English scholar Natalie Phillips, who was interested in figuring out exactly what the value of studying literature is. Aside from the pursuit of literary knowledge and the aspects of culture, history, and the humanities that are tied up in our collected written works, does reading impart any kind of tangible benefit to us as humans?
- Reblogged from nothingman
I’m pulling together the foundations for a new project on ethnicity in Hong Kong. I am looking for the insights of anyone from or based in Hong Kong (permanent or temporary) from any background, of any age, speaking any language(s). This falls under the rubric of ethnic groups, nation, race, religion, gender, language, class, and is focussed on contemporary Hong Kong. That isn’t to say I’m not interested in the past, family lineage etc, that stuff is key too.
Initially I want to get some feedback on some basic questions, and moreover listen to what you want to tell me on a couple of topics.
If any of my followers or readers are interested, please send me an email at
email@example.com or pop a message in my ask box.
All data is treated confidentially.
Please feel free to share the post.
- Reblogged from everydayhybridity
In Sociology Lens, an insightful blogger known only as Amanda critiques the new study by sociologist Mark Regenerus. Regenerus has published a paper arguing that children from heterosexual parents are better off than children raised by lesbian and gay parents. I recently posted that academic research actually shows that this is not true. Studies actually show that children of LGBTQI families are slightly better off than kids from heterosexual families with respect to aspiring to more progressive gender roles. In other respects they are similar, when you factor in class differences.
Amanda notes that Regenerus’ research on gay and lesbian families has produced contradictory findings due to the study’s poorly conceived methodology. Simply put: Regenerus’ methods for data collection do not match his research questions (meaning the methods are invalid). Regenerus defines homosexuality according to anyone who has had a same-sex experience, without taking into account their subjective identities or family experiences. Regenerus has not controlled for the fact that some children from gay and lesbian families are being raised in single parent households. This generally puts any child at an economic disadvantage when compared to dual parent households. Amanda argues Regenerus’ findings are tinged with homophobia, possibly influenced by Regenerus’ ties to the Christian site that hosts his blog.
Sociologists are not above having their politics influence their research interests - including you, me and everyone else. We do not have to agree with one another; however we are trained to make our assumptions explicit and to have our methods match our research questions. I know many sociologists who conduct studies that go against my political and personal beliefs and yet I can engage in useful and challenging discussion because the data and methods warrant attention. Crappy science still warrants attention, but for all the wrong reasons. What a shame that Regenerus’ lax methodology will only fuel public fear and misunderstanding, rather than making a contribution to empirically-informed debate.
Read Amanda’s excellent article at Sociology Lens.
- Source: zeezeescorner
The Australian Psychological Association has refuted the claims made in the Senate submission, arguing that the most comprehensive, longitudinal data show that children raised in same-sex families are not disadvantaged due to their parents’ sexual orientation. In some cases, the data show the opposite - and it all goes back to the economic and social resources available to parents. This includes emotional support from supportive networks. The biggest disadvantage to children raised in lesbian, gay, transsexual, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) families relates to how societies or communities fail to accept and integrate the diverse reality of modern families.
Much the same as the tired old argument on kids raised in single-parent families, it is not the type of family that children belong to that affects their life chances, but rather the socio-economic conditions and stigma to which families and children are exposed. Another important distinction on the outcomes of children is how parents interact with one another and with their children.
A difference is not necessarily a deficit.
Children raised in LGBTQI households are less likely to stick to traditional gender scripts, with daughters more likely to express a desire to enter professional fields traditionally dominated by men, such as doctors, lawyers, engineers and astronauts. Sons are less likely to be aggressive. While heterosexual parents are more likely to reinforce stereotypical feminine and masculine activities for their children, gay and lesbian parents are more likely to allow their children to play in gender-neutral ways. Stacy’s colleague Timothy Biblarz notes: ‘Lesbian and gay parent families offer a unique opportunity to examine ways in which gender differences affect parenting practices and outcomes’. Despite some differences in their gendered behaviour, experiences of psychological and social distress are similar amongst kids who come from queer families and kids raised in two-parent heterosexual households. Biblarz observes:
While all children probably get teased for one thing or another, children with gay parents may experience a higher degree of teasing and ridicule. It is impressive then that their psychological well-being and social adjustment does not significantly differ, on average, from that of children in comparable heterosexual-parent families. Exploring how lesbian and gay parent families help children cope with stigma could prove helpful to all kinds of families.
Today’s story about the Australian Senate submission represents a nasty example of scientists misusing their social authority. Medical professionals have misrepresented data to suit their narrow conception of what constitutes a “good” family environment. Misquoting statistics to incite a moral panic is nothing new. This tactic has been used over and over, but there is simply no empirical scientific evidence to back up this tired, antiquated view of families. This argument that LGBTQI families were somehow morally corrupt was around when I first studied sociology in the early 1990s, but it seemed almost passé when I was teaching the sociology of the family a decade later.
Scaremongering must be cyclical, particularly as “gay marriage” is an on-again-off-again political topic in Australia and elsewhere. The evidence is overwhelming - there are no social disadvantages to children of LGBTQI families, except those societies create for them.
My latest journal article: Context and outcomes of intercultural education amongst international students in Australia. Published by Intercultural Education:
International students represent a large economic and international relations investment for Australia. Australian universities are increasingly relying upon overseas students for their revenue, but these institutions are not adequately addressing the special learning, linguistic, cultural and religious needs of these students. Despite their Australian education, international students experience various difficulties in finding work in their field of study after they graduate. Poor English-language, communication and problem-solving skills are the biggest obstacles to securing ongoing and satisfying jobs. Employer biases regarding international students are equally a problem. This paper provides a demographic context of the international student population in Australia and it also addresses the gaps impeding their full social participation in Australian educational institutions. This paper argues that a stronger focus on the socialisation of international students is likely to increase their educational and career satisfaction. Educational providers would better serve international students by focusing on practical learning, career-planning and reinforcing the social and cultural skills valued by Australian employers.
Los estudiantes internacionales representan una gran inversión económica así como de relaciones internacionales para Australia. Las universidades Australianas dependen financieramente cada vez mas del ingreso de estudiantes de ultramar, sin embargo no responden adecuadamente a las necesidades culturales, lingüísticas y religiosas de estos estudiantes. No obstante su formación universitaria, los estudiantes internacionales encuentran barreras para la obtención de empleo en su campo profesional luego de su graduación en universidades australianas. Este artículo presenta el contexto demográfico general de la población estudiantil internacional en Australia e identifica las barreras para su integración social. El argumento central en el presente artículo es que una mayor atención a la organización social de estos estudiantes puede no solamente mejorar su satisfacción educacional sino también profesional. Las instituciones educativas Australianas podrían ofrecer mejores servicios a los estudiantes internacionales si avocaran recursos para el entrenamiento de habilidades prácticas que ayudaran a estos estudiantes a planear su carrera y mejorar sus capacidades sociales y culturales.
Read my article via the publisher.
Something I wrote a wee while a go on my Other Sociologist blog:
Natalie Angier’s New York Times article from the 3rd of October 2011 describes the book, ‘Pathological Altruism’, which explores the hazardous and self-destructive extremes of ‘helpful behaviour’. The research uses engineering principles to explain social behaviour such as:
- highly empathetic nurses who ‘burn out’ because they care too much for their patients
- anorexic patients in hospitals,
- victims of abuse,
- so-called ‘animal hoarders’ (people who take care of too many animals they cannot afford to keep).
I’m not fully sold on these examples as any form of altruism, pathological or otherwise. With regards to the examples above, there are several individual and institutional causes for stress, mental illness and abuse that are not easily explained by altruism-gone-wrong. It seems especially problematic to suggest that a victim of abuse is being altruistic through their experiences of violence.
I don’t have a problem with scientists exploring the negative consequences of altruism – this is a worthy topic of research. I have a problem with the scientific inferences that inform the work of non-social-scientists who apply natural/physical/engineering principles to complex social behaviour without knowledge and training in cultural and social processes. In this case, the researchers seem to apply some warped version of the free riders principle to psycho-social illnesses and abuse. There is a chance that the article may be misrepresenting the science, but going on what the researchers are quoted as saying, I feel doubtful about the validity of their theory and methods.
Sociologists understand altruism as a ‘principle of unselfish regard for the needs and interests of others'… The concept of altruism in sociology is specifically used to study why certain individuals in particular societies risk or endanger their health and wellbeing for others, including people who choose to sacrifice their time, knowledge and resources for people outside their immediate family. Norms of reciprocity (the social rules that guide our choices about when to help others) are studied by economic sociologists and other researchers interested in cooperation within social networks. This includes James Coleman’s theory of social capital and Robert Putnam’s work on civic society.
Sociobiology also offers social evolutionary and biological theories of altruism. For the record – I’m not a fan, but I would still recommend people check out Frank Kemp Salter’s (2004) Welfare, Ethnicity and Altruism to make up their own minds on ‘ethnic altruism’. At least sociobiology is a branch of social science – unlike most of the researchers cited on the Pathological Altruism article at hand.
It is always a worry when physical scientists think they can dabble in social science issues…
- Source: othersociologist.wordpress.com