Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Between a rock and a hard place: women and computer technology

an article by Yannis Pechtelidis, Yvonne Kosma and Anna Chronaki (University of Thessaly, Volos, Greece) published in Gender and Education Volume 27 Issue 2 (2015)


This paper explores certain possible reasons behind the uneasy relationship between women and technology. The cultural identification of technology with masculinity has been well documented through previous research. However, we feel it is useful to revisit this complex relationship through the scope of a more subtle distinction between ‘users’ and ‘connoisseurs’, and the struggle over power, which revolves around a specific form of hegemonic masculinity.

We draw on interviews that examine students’ experiences, emotions, and statements about gender, technology, mathematics, and education, and we try to offer an understanding of the ways women negotiate their position within the dominant discourse about computing and mathematics. Our analysis employs post-structuralist discourse theory.

The study of mental distress and the (re)construction of identities in men and women with experience of long-term mental distress

an article by Ann-Charlott Timander, Anne Grinyer (Faculty of Health and Medicine, Lancaster University, UK) and Anders Möller (Ersta Sköndal College University, Gothenburg, Sweden) published in Disability & Society Volume 30 Issue 3 (2015)


This article explores the possibility of using a theoretical framework drawn from disability studies in the field of mental health, and the study of identity (re)construction in the recovery process.

In this PhD project, 33 narratives were analysed using framework analysis. The analysis showed that disablism was present and powerful in the participants’ lives, and also showed how disablism shaped how the participants thought and felt about themselves.

As Carol Thomas argues, when analysing disablism one should also focus on who we are and are prevented from being, as disabled people. The conclusion is that processes of oppression were central when it comes to understanding the (re)construction of identities.

A disability studies perspective is thus relevant in the field of mental distress, and can be used to enhance the understanding of the process of identity (re)construction.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

The rise and decline of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme in the United Kingdom

an article by Tristan Bunnell (University of Bath) published in Oxford Review of Education Volume 41 Issue 3 (2015)


The three main programmes of the Geneva-registered International Baccalaureate (IB) have grown substantially worldwide over the past decade, although the programmes have found a natural ‘home’ in the United States.

This paper charts the growth of the IB in the United Kingdom (UK) revealing that involvement there, mainly in England and mainly with the original pre-university Diploma Programme (IBDP), peaked at about 230 schools in 2010, but since then the IBDP has begun suddenly to decline. Yet, in no other country has there been a fall in IBDP provision.

This paper offers some key explanations for this phenomenon, where a lack of funding and continued lack of university recognition in the face of Advanced Level (A-Level) reform and numerous ‘baccalaureate’ developments has led to many state-funded schools in particular dropping the IBDP. Thirdly, this paper discusses a number of implications, both for the IB itself and education in the UK in general.

Three scenarios for industrial relations in Europe

an article by Richard Hyman (London School of Economics) published in International Labour Review Volume 154 Issue 1 (March 2015)


The author outlines three scenarios for the future of industrial relations in Europe.

The first – perhaps the most realistic – projects continuing erosion of national industrial relations systems and conditions of employment, in line with current trends.

The second envisages that “elite reform” from above will succeed in re-engineering industrial relations and workers’ protection according to an ideal social policy agenda – an unlikely prospect given the overriding importance of financial considerations and globalized competition.

The third scenario centres on a counter-movement from below which presents trade unions with the daunting challenge of mobilizing the discontented far beyond their traditional constituency.

Trivia (should have been 21 March)

All Aboard: 1919
via Shorpy Historical Photo Archive – Vintage Fine Art Prints by Dave
All Aboard: 1919
Circa 1919
“Streetcar in Washington, D.C.”
With what seems to be a pedestrian-scooper in the “up” position
National Photo glass negative
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All Quiet on the Martian Front
via Boing Boing by Gareth Branwyn

It’s not easy designing a fair and playable game of asymmetrical warfare. But that’s what we have here as lumbering tripods armed with devastating heat rays take on puny human forces.
Continue reading

via Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Lewis Carroll’s wonderland
Lewis Carroll, obsessed by young girls, photographed them dressed as princesses, or beggars, or naked. How to discern between playful and predatory?… more

Clearing Out Clutter Is Good For You – But Why?
via MakeUseOf by Dann Albright
Around the beginning of every new year, people start thinking about decluttering and organizing their lives. It’s a great way to start the year feeling fresh, and it gives you a big sense of accomplishment – but there’s more to it than that.
Decluttering can really improve your life – and here’s the psychology to prove it.
Continue reading this really is useful, at least for me.
I am not a hoarder (psychological disorder) but I am a keeper and clutterer.

9 film scores we can’t believe aren’t in the Hall of Fame
via Classicfm by John Suchet
Every year we ask you to vote for your favourite pieces of music, and every year thousands of you get behind some of the most iconic scores. But here are nine film soundtracks that don't feature – and we don't understand why.
Continue reading – and listening

via Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Memoir of madness
In 1988, the historian Barbara Taylor arrived at a great Victorian institution: the Colney Hatch mental asylum. She was a patient… more

Marvellous rube goldberg mechanical lightswitch covers
via Boing Boing by Cory Doctorow

These laser-cut rube goldberg lightswitch plates from Green Tea Jewelry turn your lights into hand-cranked, mechanical delights to rival the very best in novelty switchplates of yore. Choose your favorite simple machine: fulcra, rack-and-pinion, orbital gears, and the whole enchilada, wrapped in the flag!
Continue reading

The Folio Society: Devoted to Beautiful Books
via AbeBooks
Standing like an island amid the sea of cheap mass produced paperbacks and formulaic new releases from the latest bright young things is the Folio Society. This organisation is half publisher, half book club (as it has members) and was founded in 1947 on the principle that books should be beautiful to the eye as well as captivating to the mind.
The Folio Society’s formula for success is publishing books with exceptional typography, illustrations, paper and bindings. The Society sources new introductions from literary experts to accompany classic texts and uses skilled designers and master printers to produce memorable fine books. Fiction and non-fiction is published and you will be familiar with many of the titles and authors.
The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff
One of my favourites!
These books are often housed in beautiful slipcases. Sets and multi-volume editions are commonplace. The Folio Society takes a classic book and finds an expert to write a fresh introduction. It publishes books that are already winners – some of them like The Wind in the Willows and The Canterbury Tales have become iconic – but adds much more to the look and feel.
Continue reading and view some lovely images

via Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Life of Mark Twain
Mark Twain, 31, got a newspaper to pay for a luxury cruise to Europe. The problem? Almost everyone on the ship was also a journalist… more

The sublime mathematical GIFs of Clayton Shonkwiler
via Boing Boing by Xeni Jardin
See more like this here

A Developmental Science Approach to Reducing Prejudice and Social Exclusion: Intergroup Processes, Social-Cognitive Development, and Moral Reasoning

an article by Adam Rutland (Goldsmiths, University of London) and Melanie Killen (University of Maryland) published in Social Issues and Policy Review Volume 9 Issue 1 (January 2015)


This article presents a developmental science approach to changing attitudes and rectifying prejudice and discrimination. This is crucial because stereotypes and prejudicial attitudes are deeply entrenched by adulthood; the time for intervention is before biases are fully formed in adulthood.

Adults as well as children are both the recipients and the perpetrators of prejudice as reflected by social exclusion based on group membership. Determining the factors that inhibit or reduce the negative outcomes of prejudice and exclusion is of paramount importance.

Research reveals that young children are aware of in-group and out-group differences very early but what becomes full-fledged prejudice, in fact, emerges slowly during childhood and adolescence. At the same time, morality, an understanding of fairness and equality, emerges during this same time period.

On the positive side, evidence reveals that in certain contexts, children understand the unfairness of prejudicial attitudes and social exclusion designed to inflict harm on others. On the negative side, prejudicial attitudes, even when not intentional, have detrimental consequences for children as targets of biased attitudes.

This article describes research on social reasoning, moral judgments, group identity, group norms, and intergroup contact in childhood to shed light on the catalysts and obstacles that exist for the goal of promoting the development of positive intergroup attitudes from early childhood to adulthood. Implications for policy and intervention are provided.

Full article: HTML

Monday, 29 June 2015

Rights, responsibilities and refusals: Homelessness policy and the exclusion of single homeless people with complex needs

an article by Peter Dwyer (University of York, England) and Graham Bowpitt, Eva Sundin, and Mark Weinstein (Nottingham Trent University, England) published in Critical Social Policy Volume 35 Number 1 (February 2015)


Since 1977 homelessness legislation in England has offered limited statutory accommodation rights to unintentionally homeless people who are judged to be in priority need and able to demonstrate a local connection.

Using data generated in interviews with homeless people and staff working to support them, this paper considers the impact of current homelessness policy and practice and explores how decisions about intentionality, priority need and local connection serve to exacerbate the social exclusion experienced by single homeless people with multiple support needs.

It is concluded that a more genuinely inclusive welfare state will only emerge when, and if, policymakers and wider society are able to abandon their current fixation with using welfare policy to punish ‘irresponsible’ behaviour and refocus instead on providing services to adequately meet the basic needs of marginalised people.