Archive for July, 2012

A psychological analysis of how mothers construct fathers’ roles in childrearing and childcare

July 31, 2012

‘For me, the children come first’: A discursive psychological analysis of how mothers construct fathers’ roles in childrearing and childcare

From Feminism & Psychology 

Previous western studies have shown the division of domestic childcare work between fathers and mothers to be unequal but not always constructed as unfair. This study recognizes that gendered division of domestic labour persists. The paradox at the heart of this issue is that while both men and women support the idea of equality, they often see the unequal division of labour in their own household as fair.  In the cultural context in which this study is situated (educated, dual-career families in London), men have greater involvement in childcare than before, and most mothers go out to work; however the participants’ discussion around childrearing and childcare reflects some heavily gendered discourses available in society, discourses that help trap women in their existing condition. This study highlights the language mechanisms by which meanings are created, conveyed and negotiated. It represents a glimpse into the wealth of insight that discursive psychology has to offer on gendered power relations and inequality.



Welfare reform and labour market activation

July 27, 2012

Special Issue

From Local Economy

In 2010, the UK’s Coalition Government published its White Paper on welfare reform. A think-tank established by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions generated documents on a number of shortcomings identified in the existing system, the proposals formed the basis for the introduction of the Welfare Reform Bill. The overriding concern with debt reduction has undoubtedly shaped the character of these reforms. Articles in this special issue consider the policies aimed to address poor incentives to work, unsustainable costs, and demonstrate an emphasis on the encouragement of desirable behaviour. The issue takes the opportunity to question both the specific character of the British reform process and the direction of reform more generally.


We need to talk about ‘Kevin’: The effects of unfortunate first names

July 26, 2012

Unfortunate first names: Effects of name-based relational devaluation and interpersonal neglect

From Social Psychological and Personality Science

It may appear hard to believe that something as mundane as a negative first name can evoke neglect, discrimination, prejudice, or even ostracism. This paper considers the findings of three studies that examined the impact of people’s first names on the degree to which other members of an online-dating site sought information about them. Furthermore, it traced possible downstream effects of this attention versus neglect on self-esteem, smoking, and education. Individuals with extremely negative names, moderately unattractive names, and currently unpopular names were neglected by potential partners more than those with more positive, attractive, and popular names. In essence, some participants were neglected and discriminated against on the basis of their first names.

Overall, the results provide the firmest conclusions to date for the name-based interpersonal neglect hypothesis: negative names evoke negative interpersonal reactions, which in turn influence life outcomes for the worse.


Study finds fastest growing cities not the most prosperous

July 25, 2012

Relationship between growth and prosperity in 100 largest U.S. metropolitan areas

From Economic Development Quarterly 

As communities seek new ways to emerge from the recession, many may look to growing their population as a strategy. However, the belief that population growth will bring jobs and economic prosperity for local residents is a myth according to this study. The author examined the relationship between growth and economic prosperity in the 100 largest U.S. metropolitan areas from 2000 to 2009 to determine whether certain benefits commonly attributed to growth are supported by statistical data. He found that the slowest-growing metro areas had lower unemployment rates, lower poverty rates, higher income levels, and were less impacted by the recession than the fastest-growing areas. In fact, in 2009, local residents of slower-growing areas averaged $8,455 more per capita in personal income than those of the fastest-growing areas.

The study concluded with a comparison of the 25 slowest-growing metro areas with the 25 fastest growing from 2000 to 2009. The slowest growing areas were located in 13 different states, including Connecticut, New York, and Ohio while the fastest-growing areas came from 12 different states, dominated by California, Florida, and Texas.


Examining the traditions of marriage proposals and surname changes reveal we adhere to marriage-related norms in the name of tradition or romance

July 20, 2012

“Girls don’t propose! ew.”: A mixed-methods examination of marriage tradition preferences and benevolent sexism in emerging adults

From Journal of Adolescent Research

Throughout the past several decades, the United States has seen a steady increase in women’s status. Overt sexism is on the decline and women are becoming increasingly well represented in prestigious, high-paying jobs. Despite these welcome improvements, many gender-typed norms related to heterosexual courtship and marriage have remained remarkably stable over time. In this study analysis was used to explore how emerging adults explained their preferences for two marriage traditions: marriage proposals and surname changes. Findings from a survey of 277 suggest people typically adhere to marriage-related norms in the name of tradition or romance. The researchers sought to establish an empirical connection between women’s and men’s marriage tradition preferences and their level of sexism. The hope is that the findings will spur heightened attention to marriage traditions and other heterosexual romantic relationship practices that have the distinction of being both ubiquitous and seldom questioned.


‘Ambient’ bullying gives employees urge to quit

July 18, 2012

Escaping bullying: The simultaneous impact of individual and unit-level bullying on turnover intentions

From Human Relations

Merely showing up to work in an environment where bullying goes on is enough to make many of us think about quitting, this study suggests. Researchers have found that nurses not bullied directly, but who worked in an environment where workplace bullying occurred, felt a stronger urge to quit than those actually being bullied. These findings on ‘ambient’ bullying have significant implications for organizations, as well as contributing a new statistical approach to the field. 357 nurses in 41 hospital units were surveyed and analysis of the survey results showed that targets of bullying were more likely to be thinking of leaving. They also showed a statistically significant link between working somewhere where bullying was going on and a wish to leave. Next the researchers used statistical analysis to test the relationship between turnover intention and whether an individual was experiencing bullying directly. They found that the positive relationship between work unit-level bullying and turnover intentions is stronger for those who rarely experienced direct bullying compared with those who are bullied often. The authors theorize that although individuals may experience moral indignation at others being bullied, it is perceived as being even more unfair when others are bullied and they are not. The work contributes to a growing area of human relations study, which looks at how third party experiences affect individuals within organizations.


Censoring social media fans flames of social unrest

July 17, 2012

Social media censorship in times of political unrest – a social simulation experiment with the uk riots

From BMS: Bulletin of Sociological Methodology/Bulletin de Méthodologie Sociologique

Is social media censorship a means to quell a modern uprising? Some politicians and law enforcers during the political turbulence of 2011 thought so, but this recent research suggests that uncensored citizens experience less violence and longer periods of peace between outbursts than communities subject to censorship.

The authors used sophisticated computer modeling to find out if the assumptions that actors’ use of media – such as Twitter – fueled mob action through greater awareness were true. The researchers found that all possible scenarios led to initial outbursts of violence but how the situation evolved was significantly influenced by government social media censorship.


Being in a relationship that others disapprove of

July 12, 2012

Relationship Matters series Podcast number 10

From Journal of Social and Personal Relationships

The paper discussed in this podcast is entitled Perceived marginalisation and its associate with physical and psychological health. It considers the detrimental effects of being in a relationship that others disapprove of, both how it affects our emotional lives and our physical health. Using an internet-based sample of romantically involved individuals, this study revealed that perceived marginalization of one’s relationship was associated with reporting more symptoms of poor physical health, as well as lower self-esteem. Each of these associations was mediated by negative affect.


The evolution of atheism scientific and humanistic approaches

July 11, 2012

From History of the Human Sciences

Atheism has achieved renewed vigor in the West in recent years with a spate of bestselling books and growing membership in secularist and rationalist organizations. The publication of Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion in 2006 was a major cultural event. It signaled the beginning of a phenomenon now commonly known as the ‘New Atheism’. This article sets the context for the emergence of the movement. The author recognizes two streams of thought, scientific atheism and humanistic atheism. The first closely associated with Darwinism and Enlightenment rationalism, the second aligned with the rise of the social sciences and pioneered by Marx and Feuerbach. The study presents historical analysis to contextualize and enrich understanding of the trends. It outlines the growing tension between the two distinct streams within the movement and considers how the relationship between the two should be a focus of future research.


The case against ethics review in the social sciences

July 10, 2012

From Research Ethics

For decades, scholars in the social sciences and humanities have questioned the appropriateness and utility of prior review of their research by human subjects’ ethics committees. This paper outlines criticisms and limitations of ethics committees. It suggests there are better options. Most critics of the current system of ethics review acknowledge the dangers of unethical research in the social sciences and humanities, but they see the current system of ethics review as a poor way to address those dangers. Embedded in their criticism are a number of potential alternatives to the status quo.


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