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Series: Vernon Series in Sociology

Re-Imagining Old Age: Wellbeing, care and participation

Marian Barnes, University of Brighton et al.

March 2018 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-071-1
Availability: In stock
214pp. ¦ $59 £42 €48

The understanding that humans are relational beings is central to the development of an ethical perspective that is built around the significance of care in all our lives. Our survival as infants is dependent on the care we receive from others. And for all of us, in particular, in older age, there are times when illness, emotional or physical frailty, mean that we require the care of others to enable us to deal with everyday life. With this in mind, this book presents the findings of a project that seeks to understand what wellbeing means to older people and to influence the practice of those who work with older people. Its starting point was a shared commitment amongst researchers and an NGO collaborator to the value of working with older people in both research and practice, to learn from them and be influenced by them rather than seeing them as the ‘subjects’ of a research project. Theoretically, the authors draw upon a range of studies in critical gerontology that seek to understand how experiences of ageing are shaped by their social, economic, cultural and political contexts. By employing a broad body of work that challenges normative assumptions of ‘successful’ ageing,’ the authors draw attention to how these assumptions have been constructed through neo-liberal policies of ‘active ageing.’ Notably, they also apply insights from feminist ethics of care, which are based on a relational ontology that challenges neo-liberal assumptions of autonomous individualism. Influenced by relational ethics, they are attentive to older people both as co-researchers and research respondents. By successfully applying this perspective to social care practice, they facilitate the need for practitioners to reflect on personal aspects of ageing and care but also to bridge the gap between the personal and the professional.

Towards A New Social Order? Real Democracy, Sustainability & Peace

Patrick Holz

January 2018 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-367-5
Availability: In stock
302pp. ¦ $64 £47 €54

This contribution argues that a long-established social order has been in place since the first stratified societies in the Near Middle East which unavoidably comes with substantial economic, political and environmental repercussions. Part I of the book dissects the various facets of this order, which is termed the social dominance paradigm, while in Part II a fundamentally different order, the peace paradigm, is introduced. The latter rests on real democracy (in the Athenian sense), sustainability and peace. As such, both paradigms function as vehicles for further analysis and research while the peace paradigm also provides a rough plan for the implementation of transformational change. Typically, political, economic, social, and environmental research seeks to increase specialized knowledge. Here, however, the overall intent is to utilize interdisciplinary evidence and connect the dots between a number defining features within seemingly modern societies. The argument is that these are, in fact, not modern at all but follow an ancient template of power, control, and coordination concentrated in the hands of the few. Potentially, this contribution can function as a trans-disciplinary methodological framework as well as an information hub for researchers in the fields of political and social sciences, history, anthropology, evolutionary biology, organization and peace studies. Practitioners who are interested in fundamental social change may also find the issues raised to be of interest. As such, this book provides a generalist, evidence-based discussion of a multi-disciplinary nature that may pique the interest of both experts and amateurs alike.

Generational Interdependencies: The Social Implications for Welfare

Edited by Beverley A. Searle, University of Dundee

September 2017 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-186-2
Availability: In stock
218pp. ¦ $60 £49 €56

The issue of generational transfers is growing in importance. Populations are ageing, placing an increasing burden on provision of pensions, health care and other welfare services. In many nations the imbalance between a growing, older generation, supported by a shrinking younger generation, has fuelled debates about intergenerational justice. The key argument being that political and institutional developments over the last century have been to the advantage of older generations at the expense of current younger and future generations. But this only addresses half of the story, neglecting the flows of resources, through private, family channels. One key response to the growing fiscal problem of ageing societies has been to focus responsibility on self-funding and familial support. The growth of asset values, particularly housing, which are concentrated among the elderly, underpin such strategies. But this exposes new risks as potentially extractable resources are determined by wider fluctuations in the economy, and housing markets in particular. Clearly, these cohort effects, and responses to them, play out differently in different national developmental settings, depending on long-run patterns of economic, social and demographic change. This collection address these issues and provides original insights across different international contexts. The collection focusses on financial and non-financial transfers, generational interdependencies, and the role of labour and housing markets in welfare support, set against the changing economic landscape following the Great Financial Crisis of 2007. Although institutional and national differences exist the key emerging issues are the same: the financial and welfare challenges of supporting aging in societies; inequalities in the availability of assets across individuals, families and nations; and the extent to which private asset accumulation can support families over the life course. Drawing from examples across European countries, this collection will nonetheless be relevant to researchers and policy makers in other nations addressing the complexities of providing welfare across the life course in the face of restricted financial resources.

Neither Capital, Nor Class

A Critical Analysis Of Pierre Bourdieu's Theoretical Framework

Jacek Tittenbrun, University of Poznan, Poland

May 2017 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-207-4
Availability: In stock
366pp. ¦ $75 £65 €72

This book offers an in-depth examination of Pierre Bourdieu's theoretical framework. The book is not just a collection of more or less critical remarks but constitutes a coherent whole, underpinned by an original analytical framework. This conceptual apparatus makes it possible to present some alternative solutions to the theoretical problems under consideration. The book goes largely against the grain of views that are dominant in the literature on Bourdieu. Therefore, its conclusions may be surprising to many a reader. The book demonstrates that Bourdieu's well-known theory of 'capital' forms is untenable, resembling more an illegitimate metaphor rather than a scientific concept. In a similar vein, the Bourdesian class theory should be largely regarded as a variant of social stratification rather than class. There are many theoretical and empirical problems with Bourdieu's theory of social and cultural reproduction as well. There is more to the above criticisms than meets the eye. The point is that many weaknesses of Bourdieu's style of theorising seem to stem from his intellectual dependence upon structuralism, especially in Claude Lévi-Strauss' version. It is this affinity that accounts for such features of Bourdieu's approach as its essentialism, formalism and epistemic idealism. The book will be of interest primarily to students of Bourdieu's many and varied contributions to social theory. In view of Bourdieu's immense influence, it will also hold interest to critical scholars in political science, economic sociology and political philosophy.

Network Society

How Social Relations rebuild Space(s)

Roberta Iannone, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy et al.

July 2016 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-040-7
Availability: In stock
230pp. ¦ $70 £55 €60

The present volume attempts to critically evaluate claims that modern society may be read and understood as a network. Accepting that this perspective holds some potential, the question becomes how to best capitalize on it. To analyze society as a network means to respond not only to the “actual needs”, but also to highlight the "opportunities" and the "utilities", and to investigate whether society is increasingly relational or just perceived as such, as e.g. digital "social networks" and related concepts exemplify. From a strictly scientific perspective to answer the question "how to" read society as a network means to ask ourselves: a) if the conceptual categories (especially the concepts of structure and exchange) and the paradigms of traditional analysis (holism and individualism, both in the functionalist and the conflictive versions) are still sufficient; b) if new conceptual categories/theories/instruments are needed to represent more properly the reality we face: to investigate it, to explain it or, at least, to understand it. Starting from a reflection on already established social networks (Scott, 2003), the fundamental differences between groups and networks (Vergati, 2008), the logics of networks (Serra, 2003) as well as social capital formation and links (Di Nicola, 2006; Mutti, 1998), we seize the spatial dynamics, seemingly following opposite paths, but which revert to a common denominator: de-spatialization and re-spatialization, namely the processes of dematerialization of space(s) and its reconstruction by specific relational dynamics and forms. The study of networks is therefore not attributable to a single theory but to several theories converging towards a unique perspective (spaces) and logical reasoning (Serra, 2001) each one with its own uniqueness. The strength of this volume and the difference with respect to other attempts at explaining the Network Society lies in the multidimensional and interrelated perspectives it offers emerging from converging multidisciplinary perspectives (sociological, anthropological and linguistic), and from applications that the Network Society provides, namely, international (European Governance), institutional, public (linguistic landscape of the city of Rome) and mediated ones (communication technology).

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