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Sept 2013


Issue # 1

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UCC Bachelor of Social Science Magazine CK102 September 2013




Student Achievements

Shane Horgan, Class of 2012, speaks about his postgraduate experience

Vox Soc - UCC’s new Social Science society!

Research Update Critical Social Thinking

Alacoque McGovern reflects on her placement experience in Kenya

BSoc Research Profile


The Social Science Ball 2013 - ‘A Night at the Movies’

SOCIAL SCIENCE NEWS AND STUDENT ACTIVITIES It’s been a busy year as always for the Social Science students and lecturers. At the beginning of the new academic term, we pause to reflect on all the exciting events, achievements and activities of the previous year! The academic year always passes us by so quickly that we hardly have time to catch our breath and to reflect on all that has been accomplished. It seems opportune now, as our new first years join us, to look back on our students’ achievements throughout 2012/13. Congratulations, firstly, to Elaine Winters, who was awarded special commendation in the College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences Undergraduate Awards ceremony. Elaine received a Major Award in recognition of her scholarly performance. We are very proud that she is a part of our BSoc student class and we wish her every success in the future. Congratulations also to Tairin Biasci and Fiona Condon, who each received the title of

Critical Social Thinking Authors L-R: Becci Jeffers, Eimear Breathnach, Jane O’Sullivan, Lucia Chisholm, Valentine Healy, Sarah Gallagher


College Scholar on the basis of their excellent academic abilities and performances. Some of our recent graduates also published articles, based on dissertations and continuing research interests, in the 2012 and 2013 editions of the School of Applied Social Studies Critical Social Thinking Journal, including Eimear Breathnach, Stella Flattery, Helen Norris, Caoimhe Knox, Laura McCarthy, Becci Jeffers, Valentine Healy, Sarah Gallagher and John Kidney. Congratulations to all authors on what will hopefully be the first of many publications! These and other graduates’ articles can be accessed online at We are also excited to note the establishment in 2012 of the VoxSoc society, which is ‘the student voice of Social Science’ on UCC’s campus. You can read more about the society’s activities on Page 6 of this newsletter. Thanks to all our students for a great 2012/13 and here’s to the new academic year!

The BSoc Team

RESEARCH UPDATE Lecturers on the Social Science programme are engaged in a range of academic pursuits which contribute to our understanding of social issues, as well as to policy development and analysis in a diversity of topics. Here, we profile some current activities which inform our teaching on the BSoc. Social Science lecturers and staff from across the School of Social Policy: A Critical Introduction, which has become core reading for Applied Social studies have been incredibly busy and productive social science students throughout Ireland and abroad. They have also through their engagement in a variety of research activities over the past published on the impact of the economic crisis on the Irish welfare year.

state. Joe Finnerty contributes to housing policy analysis through his On February 11th, the School of Applied Social Studies hosted an active participation in a number of national and international forums,

event to celebrate and display the numerous articles, journal including the European Network of Housing Researchers (ENHR). contributions and books published over the past 18 months by our

Rosie Meade, continues to act as editor for the Community

academic staff members. The event was launched by Professor Peadar Development Journal and has edited a text with colleagues, Youth and Kirby of the University of Limerick, who warmly congratulated the Community Work in Ireland: Critical Perspectives, which is also core School on its achievements.

reading on social science programmes.

Rosie has also published

The School celebrates its success in securing funding for a number research this year on ‘Community Development and the Arts’ and, with of collaborative research projects. Cathal O’Connell, Senior Lecturer in Fiona Dukelow, is producing an edition collection, Defining Events: Social Policy and Director of the Social Science programme, was Power, resistance and identity in 21st century Ireland, which is due to be awarded an Irish Research Council (IRC) grant for his study on Children published later this year by Manchester University Press. Research on and Housing Estate Regeneration. Lecturers Liz Kiely and Máire Leane race, sex and jazz in 1920s and 1930s Ireland, published by BSocSc also won IRC funding for their research on the Commercialisation and lecturer and course team member Eileen Hogan, was the basis of a Lyric Sexualisation of Children.

Head of School, Professor Fred

FM documentary called ‘Out with Paganism’ which was aired in

Powell, received funding for two projects: Irish Child Abuse


Inquiries in Social and Cultural Context and Volunteer-led

There is not enough space to include all activities and

Youth Work. Lecturers Deirdre Horgan, Shirley Martin, and

further texts are profiled in images below, but as you can

Catherine Forde also won an IRC grant for their research,

see, our lecturers are active in developing research

Seen and not heard? The lived realities of children and

which informs teaching on the BSoc in a lively and

young people’s participation in Ireland in their homes,

topical way. For further details, see our School webpage

schools and communities.


Lecturers on the BSoc Course Team have been busy too pursuing a diverse range of projects and interests. Mairéad Considine and Fiona Dukelow, enjoy continued success with their book, Irish


*Image ‘Profile of a Researcher’ courtesy of


violence in Ireland. The fieldwork

there, and that’s what makes the difference

investigation is composed of a focus-

between going down the slide with the

group interview of five service providers

economy or pulling our own to know that

working in a women’s refuge in Ireland and

these women are being looked after. As

analyses how women and services are

long as it’s possible we will keep going and

being affected in the context of the current

give the best that we can possibly give

Irish economic crisis.


The knowledge obtained in this research study has shown in some ways

Claire’s full article can be accessed at:

the consequences and costs associated

with dealing with the issue of domestic


violence in the light of economic crisis.


However, as this is an undergraduate

My research focuses on domestic

study there are time limitations and more

violence against women in Ireland in the

research is needed in the future to add to

current context of the economic recession.

the existing body of knowledge. The

The paper explores how the financial crisis

contribution of this work serves to bring to

is, firstly, impacting on the women who are

light the experiences behind the recent rise

experiencing domestic abuse and

in domestic violence cases into which little

secondly, on the services that can be

research has been done. To conclude,

provided for women. The literature review

there was a consensus between the

briefly examines the nature and

participants in the study that although

characteristics of domestic violence

services are being affected, it is reassuring

against women, exploring feminist theories

to know that supports are still in place to

of domestic violence. A review of the

assist women. As one participant

policy portrays the evolution of domestic

comments, ‘the passion and emotion is

an interest for everyone. For me, that interest was sociology and criminology.

I am currently a student at the University of Edinburgh finishing my Masters degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice. During my

Shane Horgan, BSocSc graduate, is completing a Masters in Criminology in Edinburgh. Here he reminisces about his BSoc experience and outlines his current studies. I began my undergraduate degree in Social Science at University College Cork in 2009. I distinctly remember the panic I felt when I thought of studying five new subjects that I’d never heard much about before. However, as soon I started to develop my knowledge in the five key areas - Social Policy, Sociology, Psychology, Philosophy and Economics - the course opened my eyes to a whole new world of literature, ideas and events that I’d never before given attention.

In my

opinion the degree, while laying the foundation for my career path, has something in it to spark

The BSocSc provides two opportunities

time here I have found that the theoretical

to go on ‘work placement’ relevant to your

knowledge and insight I gained on the BSocSc

studies. I had always taken an interest in the

provided an invaluable cornerstone to my

police and went in search of an appropriate

studies in the areas of theoretical criminology,

experience. When it came to the final year of

surveillance and security, and the sociology of

my degree I had spent more 750 hours over

the police. I hope, after finishing my Masters,

two summer breaks with the Laredo Police

to begin my doctoral studies next year at the

Department in Laredo, Texas, working in the

University of Edinburgh examining cybercrime

field. Whilst there I took part in range of law

and fear of crime. My long-term goal is to

enforcement activities, developed a diverse set

remain in a University setting to continue my

of skills, met some truly amazing people and

research and teach criminology to those that

had the most memorable time of my life in the

enjoy the subject as much as I do.

process. It allowed me to determine at an early stage exactly where my primary interests lay and to focus myself on my ideal career path. The research project that BSocSc students complete in their final year allowed me to engage with the area of criminology and the sociology of the police and conduct my own research on the topics that I found most interesting, adding further focus to my chosen career path and increased my prospects for Shane (centre) with colleagues in Laredo Police Department in Laredo, Texas

postgraduate study.


MY PLACEMENT EXPERIENCE Fieldwork Placements are an attractive aspect of the Social Science programme, through which students can gain valuable experience. Alacoque McGovern travelled to Kenya with the organisation SUAS to undertake her placement. Here, she describes the highs and lows of her time spent working as an assistant teacher in Mombassa.

Children from Mombassa who are enrolled in SUAS’s Kenyan project

This summer I volunteered with SUAS, a

which had been skipped

youth and education focused organisation, with

over without disrupting the

programmes in India, Ireland and Kenya. I first

curriculum the teacher was

submitted an application form, attended an

working through. I was really

interview and was then offered the opportunity

anxious before going out, not

to work as an assistant teacher in a community

being a teacher but a second year

based school in Mombassa on the East Coast

social science student, but soon realised I was

of Kenya. Each volunteer had to fundraise

in a group of 12 other volunteers who felt the

€3000. The placement was 10 weeks long and

same way!

also included three training weekends in

Working with the children in class when

Maynooth beforehand and a return weekend a

they’re all so happy and enthusiastic and neatly

month or so after we got home.  There  was

turned-out, it’s very easy to think that the rest

also a one week workshop which takes place

of their lives are as blissful, but every now and

half-way through the placement on the

then you get a glimpse of what life in Kenya

challenges of development facilitated by staff

involves for many people, and a reminder that

from the UN, government and development

we don’t really have a clue what the children’s


situation is once they leave school each day.

Starting school was something all of us

Some experiences can be hard to deal

had looked forward to for a long time. It had

with at times, even just walking along the street

been what all the preparation and training and

and having very young children coming up and

fundraising were all about, so I was very eager

asking for food or money is a constant

to get started!

A normal school day was

reminder of the extreme poverty that exists. I

usually 8.00am-3.00pm but it wasn't all

suppose all we can do is remind ourselves that

academic. Often we taught songs, played

we cannot save the world in the ten weeks that

games and had P.E classes (The kids were mad

we are there. All we can do is work as hard as

for football!). I was one of the lucky ones and

we can in our schools to try and improve the

got a small class of 60 or so with ages ranging

education of the children who attend for the

from 12 to 16 but  working with their teacher I

short time we are there, and also in the long

learned so much and was able to teach basics

term after they have left school in whatever

we have so much more to learn from the staff and pupils we work with, and people we encountered every day. And if I can use what I have  learned there,  now that I have  returned home, then there is even more potential to make a real difference. Having spent the summer in Kenya I realised how much  what I am being taught in my course really relates. I knew going out there that a lot of the poverty on a micro level comes from the economics at a macro level and that social research really plays it part, as without it we can't plan properly. Modules on Development  in a  Global Perspective gave me the ability to see other people’s views and to critically analyse what we were actually doing and achieving out there. I was also able to compare and contrast different policies that were in place (or lack thereof) in Kenya and here in Ireland. The summer really opened my eyes to a little of what's going on around me.

what is social science? WANT TO FIND OUT MORE? Social science is a dynamic and exciting area

Detailed information on the Social Science

of study which invites students to investigate

degree (CK102) is available through the

our social worlds. As a social science student,

following links:

you will be part of a vibrant class group that

• ug/ck102/

shares your curiosity about social issues, engages in lively debate and excites your motivation for bringing about positive social

Or, contact us to speak with one of the team!



way we can. But whatever it is we

teach, or think we have taught, I feel that

Alacoque McGovern,BSocSc


future of humanity, were drawn out in a relaxed and educative way. These themes followed through in other events, for instance the open forum


discussions on Women’s Rights, Free Education and Euthanasia. Due to the topical nature of abortion this year, the purpose of the Women’s Rights discussion was to determine whether or not there is a need for a ‘new’ women’s movement in Ireland and, in that case, what should define it? Another student-led event was an open forum discussion, attended by

Vox Soc is UCC's new Social Science Society! As the student voice of social science, Vox Soc’s mission is to enliven debate on social issues in these uncertain times. Members of the Vox Soc committee report on the year’s activities.

members of UCC’s political youth wings, to give insight into the different educational policies held by Ireland’s political parties.

Members of the

panel were asked questions about their party’s stance on free education and the maintenance grant.

Interestingly, the panel was comprised of

students and yet at least half of those demonstrated an interest in raising

In 2012, a group of fun, ambitious, and social justice-oriented first

university education fees and cutting the grant.

As bizarre as this may

year students mobilised around some of the key issues that they believed

sound, it gave the audience a practical lesson about ideology and its

were not addressed by other societies on campus - voice and

implications for social policy. In a similar way, the euthanasia debate with

representation, social justice and empowerment. That same year Vox Soc,

guest speakers Dr. Vittorio Bufacchi, a philosophy lecturer and Kathy

UCC’s Social Science Society, was established with the aim of raising

Sinnott, a disability rights campaigner, assisted the audience to negotiate

awareness about the practical, philosophical and public application of the

the complex ethical and political questions surrounding the subject.

social sciences on campus. From the onset, its objectives were to develop

The last event of the year, the Three Year Class Party, was held in the

networks with organisations and campaigns that challenge prominent

Oliver Plunkett Bar in the city centre and welcomed every student studying

social issues and to facilitate open forum discussions on contemporary

Social Science. It was a great night to celebrate the end of an exciting

social debates. Vox Soc’s first year has proven to be a great success, with


a membership which has extended beyond the Social Science course into

Elvirus, so everyone’s taste was satisfied and there was plenty of free

the Humanities and Sciences.

flowing chatter, laughter and music.

As important and interesting as this all

sounds, the society has a softer side too.

Students were invited to request music weeks in advance by DJ

Alongside the regular

Next year the society is aiming even higher! Amongst other things, the

sociological and philosophical banter, movie screenings, quiz nights and

committee intends to host the annual Social Science ball. Truly, they have

course parties all fall under the society’s remit.

proven themselves a worthy advisory, through a lot of work, dedication and

Some popular events this year included discussions of some key themes in The Hunger Games and Children of Men.

enthusiasm. You can join Vox Soc at

Excerpts from the

movies were screened while members indulged on pizza and in no time chat ensued. Core ideas effecting society such as totalitarianism, segregation, class politics, the ‘end of capitalism’, biopolitics and the


SOCIAL SCIENCE BALL 2013 Students from first through third year found opportunity to speak about

The Social Science Ball took place on Thursday 7th March. BSocSc graduate and current tutor, Becci Jeffers, reports on the ‘A Night at the Movies’themed event.

past experiences and future plans, together with a few more themes … I’m sure. When the music finally picked up, with the familiar lyrics “her name is Noelle, I have a dream about her”, from the 00’s classic Teenage Dirtbag, the dance floor exploded with singing, laughter and

Unlike any other night out I have had recently, this night was

dance. As the music continued, a concession stand stocked with iced

planned weeks in advance and I was unusually well dressed. I walked

drinks and popcorn opened. The excitement with which this simple

down the steps from my flat and towards the Clarion Hotel, meeting a

little treasure was greeted was something to behold, particularly when

friend along the way. Inching our way through the door into the foyer -

you consider that everyone had just finished a three course meal!

having not worn heels in at least six months - I could hear music and

Other than the brief uncomfortable moments when people were

smell popcorn. ‘Tickets please’, two bouncers requested our tickets

cornered by their tutor (me!), everyone was well and truly relaxed - the

which read ‘Cinema Ticket to UCC Social Science Ball’.

thoughts of the upcoming exams and dissertation submissions had

This year’s Social Science Ball was organised by two social

melted away into their slushies. Suit jackets and high heels were

science students in second and third year. It was held in the Clarion

bundled onto chairs, in the safekeeping of friends who secured a table

Hotel on Thursday the 7th of March 2013. Themed around ‘A Night of

to talk. A DJ set started up and needless to say the core group on the

the Movies’, the bar and dining area were decorated by large movie

dance floor were holding strong. Toward the end of the set at around

prints, from Dark Shadows to Cirque du Soleil. Thirteen dressed tables,

2am when the lights came up, the scattering of people still partying

littered with jelly beans and popcorn, stretched across the banquet

joined in one last song, arms around each other, searching for friends,

room stopping short of a dance floor and stage.

shoes and jackets, believing the night was still young.

After the meal Jobless, a Cork band, started their setup and

Becci Jeffers

people began to move between the hall, the bar and the bridge.

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‘A Night at the Movies’


The BSoc, Issue 1  

Magazine of the Bachelor of Social Science, UCC