Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Precarious lives, precarious labour: family support and young men’s transitions to work in the UK

an article by Abby Hardgrove and Linda McDowell (University of Oxford, UK) and Esther Rootham (National University of Singapore) published in Journal of Youth Studies Volume 18 Issue 8 (2015)


This research is about young people, family support and transitions into the workforce.

We provide the results of a comparative, qualitative study with young men in two southern English towns. We argue that relationships of support in families are vital to young people’s ability to ‘navigate’ precarious labour market opportunities.

As Youth Studies has become increasingly preoccupied with individualism, we are compelled to draw attention to the collective support that is necessary to ‘launch’ the life trajectories of young people who are transitioning into an economic environment marked by insecurity and uncertainty.

We conclude with recommendations for future research.

Which industries are most likely to demand a 2:1 or better?

Charlie Ball’s blog post on this issue is sufficiently concise to make creating a prĂ©cis very difficult.

I will, therefore, provide you with the link and leave the reading up to you.

The View from HECSU

Creating a Good Local Economy: the role of anchor institutions

a policy paper by Matthew Jackson and Neil McInroy (Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES)) published April 2015


We need good local economies.

We need local economies where wealth creation improves the economic and social fortunes of people and communities – bringing benefits for all.

A good local economy is one where there are strong networks across the of public, commercial and social sectors. Networks and leadership which stewards investment, so that it brings a range of economic, social and environmental benefits.

Over the last eighteen months, the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) working in partnership with Preston City Council has been working on improving and developing a good local economy.

The action research work has sought to engage with and influence anchor institutions based in the local authority boundary so that their behaviour and activities bring maximum benefit for the local economy and creates wealth for the local community. This paper reflects upon the findings of the work and the change it has instigated; together with exploring how the impact of the anchor institutions can be maximised in the future.

The work is framed by a much wider discussion and debate about how the economy of places operate and perform.

The paper comprises the following sections:
  • Section 2 outlines the challenges our local economies face and the theoretical underpinnings of more progressive local economies including components which enable a good local economy;
  • Section 3 outlines the activities which have been undertaken in Preston with the anchor institutions including supply chain analysis and the core findings of these activities;
  • Section 4 details the key changes in the behaviour of the anchor institutions as a result of their engagement in the project and wider influences;
  • Section 5 details the means by which anchor institutions can maximise the impact they bring in the future, notably through the process of procurement.
  • Section 6 details the next steps for activities with anchor institutions and wider, which need to happen to maximise community wealth and ensure a good local economy is progressed.
Full text (PDF 22pp)

Monday, 27 July 2015

Trivia (should have been 25 April)

Weld Black: 1943
via Shorpy Historical Photo Archive – Vintage Fine Art Prints by Dave
Weld Black: 1943
May 1943
“Bethlehem-Fairfield shipyards, Baltimore, Maryland. Liberty ship construction. Welding on a hatch assembly at night.”
Medium format negative by Arthur Siegel for the Office of War Information
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The Monkey Queen: Researching a Family Secret for a Family Novel
via An Awfully Big Blog Adventure by Tess Berry-Hart
This Thursday [18 February 2015] the great wheel of the Chinese zodiac will spin to welcome in the Year of the (Wooden) Ram; a year of calm, creativity and goodness (according to my online resources!) The five elements of the Chinese calendar – Fire, Water, Wood, Metal and Earth – intersect with a zodiac animal only once every sixty years. In an interesting coincidence, during the last days of the Year of the Wooden Ram in 1896 (Chinese New Year starts mid-February to our calendars), my grandmother Mimi was born in China, to English missionary parents in a small white church on the marshy banks of the Yangtze River.
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via Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
On romantic love
Is love a choice? Philosophers, psychologists, and neuroscientists think it’s an involuntary phenomenon. Clancy Martin thinks they’re wrong… more

Forget Buckyballs, Here Comes Volleyballene
via Technology Review

Buckyballs are all the rage these days given their stability and unique chemical properties. The classic football-shaped molecule consists of 60 carbon atoms arranged in 20 hexagons and 12 pentagons, but chemists have observed various other configurations. C72, C76, and C84 are fairly common, and some buckyballs have up to 100 carbon atoms.
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Slow Down the Conversation to be a Better Listener
via Big Think by Orion Jones
We think much faster than we talk. Neurons in the brain can fire 200 times a second, while the mechanics of the human mouth permit just 125 words to be spoken each minute. When we don’t slow down and don’t allow our thoughts to be expressed completely, we end up talking past each other. Our ability to listen (and therefore to respond) suffers as a result.
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via Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
History of psychoanalysis
On a November evening in 1977, Barbara Taylor, a Ph.D. student, had an epiphany. By 1981 she’d written a dissertation. And gone crazy… more

Religion and the social determinants of health
via OUP Blog by Susan R. Holman
Woodcut illustration by Jacob Locher, used by Silvan Otmar of Augsburg (d. 1540).
From the “Provenance Online Project” (at Penn Libraries). CC BY 2.0 via Flickr.
Is religion a plus or minus when it comes to global health and the “right to health” in the twenty-first century? A little of both, I’d say, but what does that look like? For me the connection is seen most clearly in the “social determinants of health”; that is, “the everyday circumstances in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age.” This post considers a selection of photos that shape how I see social determinants intersecting with religion.
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The Book of Beetles: A life-size guide to 600 of nature’s living gems
via Boing Boing by Mark Frauenfelder
The white fog-basking beetle dwells in the Namib desert. It climbs “to the top of a dune during the early-morning fog, orienting its body with the tip of the abdomen pointed upward and the head angled downward. Water vapour from the fog condenses on the abdomen and runs down the body and into the mouth.”
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via Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Defence of physical books
“You read all those books?” The question occurs only to non-readers. For bibliophiles, a personal library of unread books is a reminder that they will never be smart enough…more

Jumping DNA and the Evolution of Pregnancy
via 3 Quarks Daily by Ed Yong in Not Exactly Rocket Science
ScreenHunter_970 Feb. 01 17.13
About a decade ago, Vincent Lynch emailed Frank Grutzner to ask for a tissue sample from a pregnant platypus. He got a polite brush-off instead.
Then, around eight years later, Grutzner got back in touch. His team had collected tissues from a platypus that had been killed by someone’s dog. They had some uterus. Did Lynch still want some?
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An investigation into the prevalence of cyberbullying among students aged 16–19 in post-compulsory education

an article by Dean West (Centre for Education Studies, The University of Warwick, Coventry, UK) published in Research in Post-Compulsory Education Volume 20 Issue 1 (March 2015)


Young people in society are able to use information and communication technology with ease and exploit the opportunities and benefits of social interaction that has become ingrained in their daily routines. However, as the use of technology has risen, so too has its misuse to harm others.

The phenomena of bullying and, more recently, cyberbullying, continue to be of interest to scholars, practitioners and policy makers. To date, the vast majority of research into bullying and cyberbullying has been contained to compulsory education contexts, leaving a dearth of literature in post-compulsory education.

The present study explores cyberbullying in the context of post-16 education in England and reports prevalence levels of perpetration and victimisation. The data presented are part of a larger research project that considers other aspects of cyberbullying such as reasons for cyberbullying, groups disproportionately involved in cyberbullying and the impact that cyberbullying has on feelings, learning and social integration.

The results of some of these areas are outlined briefly and do not feature as the focus of this article due to word limits. Previous research on cyberbullying is considered, including a brief outline of key concepts such as the definition and criteria of bullying and cyberbullying.

An online questionnaire was used to collect data from 5,690 students from 41 colleges. The results show that 7.9% of those aged 16–19 who study in colleges in England reported being victims of cyberbullying and 1.9% admitted cyberbullying others.

Active labor market programs - employment gain or fiscal drain?

an article by Alessio JG Brown (IZA - Institute for the Study of Labor, Bonn, Germany) and Johannes Koettl (The World Bank, Washington DC, USA) published in IZA Journal of Labor Economics Volume 4 Number 1 (2015)


This paper provides a new perspective by classifying active labor market programs (ALMPs) depending on their objectives, relevance and cost-effectiveness during normal times, a crisis and recovery. We distinguish ALMPs providing incentives for retaining employment, incentives for creating employment, incentives for seeking and keeping a job, incentives for human capital enhancement and improved labor market matching. Reviewing evidence from the literature, we discuss especially indirect effects of various interventions and their cost-effectiveness. The paper concludes by providing a systematic overview of how, why, when and to what extent specific ALMPs are effective.

JEL codes: J08, J22, J23, J38, E24

Full text (HTML)

Care and Repair and the Politics of Urban Kindness

an article by Tom Hall and Robin James Smith (Cardiff University, UK) published in Sociology Volume 49 Number 1 (February 2015)


This article considers the possibility that small acts of urban care, maintenance and cleaning might make for a good city.

This might seem a slim possibility, given the vast sociology of hopelessness to which the contemporary city is home. But it can also be argued that a politics, and a sociology, of hope are best looked for not in big picture or utopian thinking but in the practical instances of everyday care and kindness that are as much a part of the urban everyday as anxiety, insecurity and damage.

We explore this possibility through a critical assessment of Nigel Thrift’s recent writings on urban repair, drawing (but not reporting) on our own research with street cleaners and outreach workers tasked to look out for the rough sleeping homeless.