Archive for January, 2011

‘Celebrity chavs’ like Jordan and Kerry Katona reflect the moral delinquency of white working-class girls

January 27, 2011
‘Celebrity chav’: Fame, femininity and social class
 
From European Journal of Cultural Studies
 
Celebrity – ‘the condition of being talked about’ seems an unavoidable part of modern life. In Britain, the media regularly report the bad behavior of celebrities. We have been informed about Jordan’s boozy nights out, Cheryl Cole’s violent attack on a bathroom attendant and Kerry Katona’s drug addiction and destructive second marriage to name just a few examples. Regardless of these negative reports there is still a huge amount of media and public interest in all three women. This article argues that a new category of notoriety or public visibility has emerged and is embodied in the figure of the working-class female celebrity within celebrity culture and wider social life. We are encouraged to respond not with desire, admiration or benign interest, but rather with a pleasurable blend of contempt, envy, scepticism and sexual interest. The article refers to a range of news and entertainment media, including blogs and online discussion, in order to consider how ‘celebrity chavs’ are systematically reproduced as abject, gauche and excessive tragi-comic figures.

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A tale of ‘shacking up’: forces affecting cohabitation

January 26, 2011

Shacking up: an autoethnographic tale of cohabitation

From Qualitative Inquiry

There is little doubt the landscape of family life has changed over recent decades. As divorce rates thrive and step families are far more common, family relationships may be more complex for many compared to previous generations. This paper is an autoethnographic account of the author’s experience of cohabitation with her partner and his two children. She tries to move beyond her personal experience and comment on the larger social, cultural, and political forces affecting cohabiting families.

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The scent of a woman: subtle factors influencing human sexual attraction

January 25, 2011

Scent of a woman
men’s testosterone responses to olfactory ovulation cues

From Psychological Science

According to this research, odors can be a subtle factor affecting human mating, similar to the behavior of other animals. Monitoring the responses of men after smelling t-shirts worn by ovulating women, non-ovulating women and some not worn at all, they observed reactions and biological changes. This study provides evidence that ovulatory cues are detectable, the findings suggest that smell can be identified as a relatively subtle biological process that guides mating and can be linked to sexual behavior and initiation of romantic courtship.

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Psychopaths chronic cheating and impulsive risky behaviors are linked to reasoning impairments

January 20, 2011

Psychopaths are impaired in social exchange and precautionary reasoning

 

From Pychological Science

Psychopaths persistently violate social, moral, and legal norms, cheating family, friends, and strangers alike. Two hallmarks of psychopathy are the persistent violation of social contracts and chronic, impulsive risky behavior. By testing incarcerated psychopaths this study considers if they understand what qualifies as such behavior. Results indicate that psychopaths despite displaying intact intellectual functioning, have specific reasoning impairments that may contribute to their chronic cheating and impulsive risky behaviors.

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Does Google push the most popular content rather than act as a neutral tool?

January 19, 2011

Search engines and the production of academic knowledge


From
International Journal of Cultural Studies

Surveys prove that students performing topic searches for scholarly papers overwhelmingly choose search engines, rather than library-based research discovery networks, as their preferred starting-point. Are they getting the best and most relevant information? This article argues that search engines in general, and Google Scholar in particular, have become significant co-producers of academic knowledge. Academic users therefore need to raise their awareness of exactly how search engines operate, to ensure it is quality and not just popularity that drive their selection of sources.

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How media obsession fuels public fascination with the ‘Yorkshire Ripper’ yet leaves other serial killers to serve their time as almost unknowns

January 18, 2011

When serial killers go unseen: The case of Trevor Joseph Hardy

From Crime, Media, Culture

UK headlines last week highlighted news regarding the denied plea of the ‘Yorkshire Ripper’ and confirmation he will spend all his life behind bars. This serial killer always sparks huge public interest. The article examines the differences in the way serial killers are represented in the British media and considers how the public fascination for killers such as the ‘Ripper’ is fueled by the media, yet other serial killers like Trevor Hardy are almost unknown. The argument is that since the 60’s the British media have  become addicted to portraying serial killers, making them a media event, shaping public responses based on what and how they report and therefore what they dictated as most newsworthy.

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When a “home” becomes a “house”: care and caring in the flood recovery process

January 13, 2011

From Space and Culture            

As Australia has become the latest victim of severe flooding, we are mindful of the potentially devastating consequences. This article looks back to the 2007 floods in North East England, to consider the care needs that are revealed, disrupted, and produced by the dependencies and vulnerabilities associated with flood recovery. It also uses diaries to document and understand the everyday experiences of individuals following the floods. The research highlights the importance of place and space within health care. The consequences of flooding on homes may cause disruptions to the meanings, objects, and routines that help make up these safe spaces, therefore can have a profound impact on our emotional and physical landscapes.

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Links between alcohol consumption, our perception of others and increased levels of aggression

January 12, 2011

Effects of acute alcohol consumption on the perception of eye gaze direction

From Journal of Psychopharmacology

This article explores the link between alcohol and increased aggression by assessing differences in how people look at others. The study uses a gaze perception task to monitor the response of participants to stimulus faces to gauge if they felt they were looking towards or away from them. It observed how such perception may change with the amount of alcohol consumed. This study also considers the gender differences between such perceptions. The findings suggest that alcohol consumption does influence how people perceive social situations; these effects may have important implications for alcohol related violence.

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Introducing the ‘gay gene’: media and scientific representations

January 11, 2011

From Public Understanding of Science 

There is an established link between genetics and male homosexuality, popularly dubbed the ‘gay gene’. This article examines the reporting of the ‘gay gene’ in the British press compared with scientific journals to illustrate the conflicts between science and the media, it attempts to suggest steps to improve the relationship to enable serious debate. Focusing on both homosexuality and science, it identifies not only the problem of representing science in the media, but also argues there is a need for a scientific understanding of the media and public to enable better public debate.

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Branding in a new light: conveying identities through altered lighting

January 6, 2011

Light and corporate identity: Using lighting for corporate communication

From Lighting Research and Technology

This study explores how lighting design can alter the perceived brand identity of a room. Today’s shop lighting doesn’t just need to show off the goods in their best light, but also convey the brand image strategically in a chain of stores. This research required participants to rate images of rooms displaying different lighting variations with brand attributes. There was a strong correlation between the scales uniform-differentiated, bright-dark, cold-warm, and traditional-modern. The study represents a first step towards using lighting visualizations for subjective assessment.

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