School of Social Sciences
School of Social Sciences Research Impact Review
Social Sciences at the University of Southampton has a long tradition of welcoming UK, EU and international students and staff to the ever-growing undergraduate and postgraduate community, building on its reputation as a premier destination for leading social scientists. Research opportunities are available across a variety of specialist fields including demography, economics, gerontology, politics, social policy, social work, sociology, and statistics. Research at the University of Southampton, conducted in Social Sciences, was awarded excellent ratings in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) with more than 50% of our research judged as being either world-leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*). Today, we offer our students and staff the chance to work alongside a number of extremely active research academics, groups and internationally significant research centres, including: • The Centre for Citizenship, Globalization and Governance (C2G2) • Centre for Global Health, Population, Poverty and Policy (GHP3) • Work Futures Research Centre (WFRC) • ESRC Centre for Population Change (CPC) • The Centre for Research on Ageing (CRA) • Centre for Human Service Technology (CHST) • Child and Family Well-being Research Centre (CFWRC) We are also directly associated with: The Southampton Statistical Sciences Research Institute (S3RI), which provides one of the largest groups of statisticians in the UK and involves more than 50 academic, research and support staff. The SWAP centre (Social Policy and Social Work) which is the UK subject centre for social policy and social work and one of the Higher Education Academy’s 24 discipline based centres. SWAP aims to enhance the student learning experience by promoting high quality learning, teaching and assessment. The Centre for Contemporary China which was established in 2004 and aims for research and education excellence in Comparative Studies of China in the areas of Economics, Management and International Relations. The Centre also hosts a large group of visiting students and is responsible for facilitating and developing partnerships and research activities with China for the University of Southampton. ESRC Third Sector Research Centre (TSRC), working in partnership with University of Birmingham, exists to develop the evidence base on, for and with the third sector in the UK. Working closely with practitioners, policy-makers and other academics, TSRC is undertaking and reviewing research, and making this research widely available. ESRC National Centre for Research Methods led by the ESRC strategy for a step change in research methods capacity in the UK. The Centre also aims to stimulate new developments in both quantitative and qualitative research methods and to be responsive to arising needs and opportunities. www.southampton.ac.uk/socsci
Focusing on today’s central political questions Southampton’s Centre for Citizenship, Globalization and Governance (C2G2) focuses on today’s central political questions; power, cooperation, security, inequality and democracy. The problems of the political world, as perceived by our fellow citizens, set much of the agenda. Events organised so far have included a seminar at Westminster on public expectations of, and trust in, parliament and politicians with the Hansard Society and the Political Studies Association. Tim Stone, a senior Government policy advisor on energy, also attended a workshop and public lecture at Southampton. Research projects touch on issues of major public concern. Dr Alix Kelso is looking at Parliamentary select committees which are charged with scrutinising Government departments and whether Parliament can be made to work more effectively. She has received a grant from the Economic and
Social Research Council (ESRC) for the three year project. It will involve interviews with MPs, ministers, civil servants and parliamentary staff and targeted analysis of the outputs and impact of select committees. Work is also underway to look at nuclear power governance associated with future energy needs, the nature of citizenship in a multicultural society, community empowerment schemes and a range of other issues. A major political concern is how to encourage people to make the right choices for themselves and for society as a whole. Joint research with Manchester University addressing this theme is coming to a conclusion. An emerging strategy to change civic behaviour in a way that sustains citizen choice has been captured in the evocative axiom of ‘nudge’. This label captures the desire to ‘nudge’ citizens into changing their behaviour. The assumption is that if problems like global warming are going to be tackled,
citizens will need to be steered towards different patterns of behaviour and engaged in the process of change. The approach stems from behavioural economics and psychology and argues that citizens can be offered ways of choosing that encourage them to act in a way that achieves benefits for themselves and for their fellow citizens. The ‘nudge’ idea contrasts with another emerging strategy that comes from the very different intellectual stable of theory and political science. It holds that citizens, given the right context and framing, can think themselves collectively towards a better understanding of problems and more effective collective solutions, avoiding a narrow focus on their own short-term self-interest. Through deliberation and dialogue, citizens can make informed and better choices about collective actions and the direction of public policy. The shared formula with ‘nudge’ is that behaviour change involves citizens choosing a different path. www.southampton.ac.uk/politics/ research A number of colleagues are involved in a joint publication on “Prospects for Citizenship” that will carry a C2G2 designation. The book will be published in an innovative format online by Bloomsbury Academic in the Autumn of 2010 as part of a new publishing initiative aiming to make academic work more accessible and at no cost to a wider audience.
Exploring the causes and consequences of population change
The world we live in is being shaped and re-shaped at unprecedented speed. Changing patterns of migration, fertility, ageing and family and household dynamics all interact in complex ways to create the population and society in which we live. Understanding the extent and implications of these changes is essential if policy makers are to come up with appropriate responses – ranging from providing services to school children to designing smart pension schemes for today’s increasingly mobile population. The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) has funded the Centre for Population Change (CPC) with researchers from across the disciplines, both at Southampton and a consortium of Scottish universities, to tackle this work. Centre Director, Professor Jane Falkingham, said: “We hope that our work will lead to a better understanding of the key drivers of population change and the implications for economic welfare and social support at the national, local, household and individual level.”
The Centre, which is funded for five years, is carrying out research in four main areas, with research focusing on the dynamics of fertility,
changes in living arrangements across the life course, trends in migration and the experience of migrants and, finally, exploring new methods to improve population estimates and projections.
social and financial issues with expert speakers. Activities included preparing a weekly budget for young people, brainstorming the meaning of ‘adulthood’ and mapping out future choices.
One recent CPC study which attracted considerable media attention revealed more young adults in their late 20s and 30s are living with their parents than in the past 20 years. The research by Dr Ann Berrington and Dr Juliet Stone, published by the Office for National Statistics, suggested that many young adults are postponing their transition to adulthood and economic factors may be important. Juliet says: “One explanation for our findings could be that recent graduates are increasingly returning to live with their parents. However, our results also suggest that less advantaged young adults are unable to afford to leave home when faced with rising unemployment rates.”
More major projects are underway. Within the living arrangements strand Professor Sue Heath and Emma Calvert are conducting qualitative interviews with young adults in ‘transitional households’. Within the fertility strand Professor Máire Ní Bhrolcháin is working with Dr Eva Beaujouan to explore the potential causes of later and lower fertility in Britain whilst Ann Berrington and Serena Pattaro are investigating differences in couples’ child bearing intentions and the factors associated with these being realised. Economists Dr Alice Schoonbroodt and Professors Xavier Mateos-Planas and John Knowles are looking at whether and how changes in the economy will alter fertility in the future.
The subject of leaving home was explored with a group of A-level Sociology students from Southampton. Juliet, along with fellow researchers Emma Calvert and Teresa McGowan, led a series of interactive workshops, with students learning about current and historic trends and discussing
Other research is exploring the impact of recent trends in migration to the UK. Professors Derek McGhee and Sue Heath are working with researcher Paulina Trevena to better understand the experience of Polish migrants in the UK whilst Dr Jackie Wahba
and Christian Schluter are investigating the impact of recent migration on the labour market. Future research by Drs Paul Bridgen and Traute Meyer will explore how well migrants fare under different European pension regimes whilst Professor Maria Evandrou is working with Dr Athina Vlachantoni to look at changing living arrangements in later life, patterns of care and the implications for income and well-being in later life. Finally a team led by Dr James Raymer is working with Dr Guy Abel and Arkadiusz Wi niowski to improve statistical modelling of population change over time. www.cpc.ac.uk
Exploring home ownership. Understanding why householders buy or rent
Much has changed in the housing market in the last 25 years. Financial deregulations, broader access to mortgages and other forms of credit and increasing numbers of foreclosures kept the subject in the headlines even before the economic downturn. Southampton economist Dr Martin Gervais has been awarded a grant from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) to explore home ownership. “We have observed the housing market appears to be largely driven by the actions of potential as well as recent first-time buyers. Therefore, we need to understand the underlying reasons behind householders’ decisions to own or rent a property,” he says. The research project has two main objectives. The first is to examine large variations in home ownership trends in the United States between 1980 and 2000. This will help identify underlying factors that drive householders’ decisions and demand for housing. Martin will then explore how these factors interact to produce changes in housing market volatility. www.southampton.ac.uk/economics
Unravelling the mysteries of economic data
Understanding migrants’ choices
Are workers motivated by the greater good?
New ways of using financial data to predict future trends will be investigated by Southampton Economics Professor Jean-Yves Pitarakis. He has been awarded £70,000 by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) for the work into Econometrics.
Southampton social scientists are playing a major part in a two-year research programme into migration funded by NORFACE, a partnership of 12 research councils across Europe.
Research by Southampton economists Mirco Tonin and Michael Vlassopoulos has found women are motivated by concern about the social cause pursued by the organisation they work for, while men seem to be unresponsive to the social aspects of their job.
Econometrics combines economic theory with statistics to analyse and test economic relationships. Jean-Yves and international colleagues will develop a technical toolkit to find new ways to link financial elements to aid forecasting. This could include predicting the growth of a country’s gross domestic product (GDP) using interest rates, or future stock returns with valuation ratios. “We expect this research will lead to more robust and reliable methods for detecting this form of ‘dynamic’ predictability and also to help uncover interesting phenomena and interactions between economic and financial variables which could not have been handled via traditional methods,” he says.
Leading the project, Dr Jackie Wahba is supported by fellow economists Dr Christian Schluter, Professor Xavier Mateos and Dr Hector Calvo Pardo and colleagues from the Universities of Stockholm and Münster and the Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute. They want to understand how and why migrants make their decisions and the incentives and problems they face; their findings will aid policy makers across Europe. “It is a complex picture. Migrants may be temporary or permanent, planning to return or to stay, legal or illegal. Those who plan to return have little incentive to assimilate into their new country while permanent migrants do. Illegal migrants’ choices are severely limited because they are breaking the law,” says Jackie. “To understand how migrants influence the labour market, the financial market and society in general, we need to understand their choices.” Six projects are underway examining and comparing groups of migrants using data from the Netherlands, Italy, Spain and Sweden. Areas of research include a comparison of income, consumption and assets of migrants and native-born people.
They discovered women were ten per cent more productive when their work involved a social cause; men showed no such difference. They highlighted this could explain why men were paid more than women, as women are attracted to work in lower-paid sectors such as health care, education and charity. “Women have a more ‘pro-social’ motivation in their work than men, drawing greater satisfaction from contributing to a cause they care about,” says Mirco. “This finding of a gender difference in motivation may help to explain some of the gender gap in earnings if women are more likely than men to enter a career that is linked with a social cause.” The initial grant for the project came from the University of Southampton. The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) has given another £300,000 grant to enable the economists to investigate pro-social motivation further with the aim of improving recruitment and retention policies and staff incentive schemes.
In 2008 NORFACE introduced a major research programme with the theme Migration in Europe – Social, Economic, Cultural and Policy Dynamics. The programme, with a total budget of almost 29 million euros, granted funding to twelve transnational projects.
Improving the quality of life for older people Ageing, both at the individual and population levels, poses a wide range of policy issues for modern societies. The Centre for Research on Ageing (CRA) focuses on these challenges, and examines how to improve the quality of life for older people. In 2007, the UK’s pensioner population exceeded the number of people aged under 16 for the first time. A 65-year-old man can now expect to live, on average, another 17.4 years and a woman 20 years, compared with average life expectancies of 46 for men and 50 for women at the turn of the twentieth century. Issues explored by CRA include health and disability, access to health and social care services, diversity, equality, retirement and pensions, support networks involving family and friends. The Centre has been jointly awarded more than £3m by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to investigate the demand for health and social care services and the supply of health and social care professionals in an ageing society. Researchers will consider changes in the profile of disability and disease, the development of new technologies and changes in the composition of the caring workforce.
This programme is developing models of the socio-economic processes and organisations within the UK’s health and social care system. Social scientists, including demographers, social statisticians, social policy analysts and gerontologists, are working alongside the University’s complexity scientists, simulation modellers and computer scientists and operational research and management scientists (CRA, CORMSIS, CPC, ICSS). They will use a range of methodologies to investigate the interactions between the systems in order to generate new understandings and develop policy tools. CRA Director, Professor Maria Evandrou, comments: “This research programme represents a very exciting opportunity to work with experts from relevant fields to investigate a critical issue which is at the heart of the current policy debate and a challenge for ageing societies.” New research from CRA suggests that future UK pension reforms need to take on board women’s differing work and family histories. Professor Maria Evandrou, Professor Jane Falkingham, Tom Sefton (formerly LSE) and Dr Athina Vlachantoni have been exploring the relationship between the family and work histories of older women in the UK and their personal incomes in later life.
In the late 1990s only a quarter of married women received the full Basic State Pension solely on their own contributions: “We know that women with children are more likely not to work or to work part-time to fit around their family responsibilities, and it has been assumed that this explains their reduced pensions later in life. However, our analysis suggests gendered employment inequalities interacting with family history explain the difference in the pension returns enjoyed by men and women,” says Professor Maria Evandrou. Continuing research by the Centre looks at the well-being of older people in an international context, including Europe, US, Central Asia, South East Asia, China and India. For example, research by Dr Elisabeth Schröder-Butterfill is examining the impact of migration on social networks and wellbeing in later life in Europe. Centre for Operational Research, Management Science and Information Systems (CORMSIS), Economic and Social Research Council Centre for Population Change (CPC), Centre for Research on Ageing (CRA), Institute for Complex Systems Simulation (ICSS) www.southampton.ac.uk/ageing
Investigating the inter-relationships between population, health and poverty Southampton’s Centre for Global Health, Population, Poverty and Policy (GHP3) enlists academics from across the University to investigate the inter-relationships between health, population and poverty among individuals and societies. Much research is underway tracking the progress and challenges towards the achievement of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), announced in 2000 and aimed at improving the quality of life for people in the world’s poorest countries. Professor Zoe Matthews, of the University of Southampton, and colleague Professor Wendy Graham, from the University of Aberdeen, have developed a comprehensive knowledge base on the progress of the specific goals aimed at reducing maternal and newborn death rates. Around half a million women still die in childbirth each year; some 3.6 million babies fail to survive their first month of life. These facts will be used by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to urge action by world leaders. Zoe and her team produced an ‘Atlas of Birth’, which provides compelling evidence of problem areas and illustrates where immediate work needs to be done to improve death rates. The Atlas highlights that an estimated 82 percent of maternal, newborn and child deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Contrasts are dramatic. In Niger, a woman has a one in seven chance of dying from maternal causes; in Sweden this is one in 17,400. The evidence gathered will feed into the new Government strategy on maternal health for poor countries. A key feature of the Atlas is the statistics on births to girls under 16 years old living in poor countries.
Photograph provided courtesy of Professor Nyovani Madise
In addition, social scientists from GHP3 are part of a consortium led by Southampton civil engineers which has been awarded funding of £2.6 million to develop sustainable off-grid electricity supply systems in rural Africa. The grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID) will enable the group to undertake the electrification of villages in rural Africa and assess its impact on people’s lives using the United Nations MDGs lens. In many developing countries the upfront cost of connecting rural villages to the nearest electrical distribution network is, and is likely to remain, prohibitively expensive. A reliable electrical supply is, however, vital for development in key areas including health, education and small businesses. Professor Nyovani Madise from GHP3 says: “Improving the well-being of rural people in Africa is a challenge that requires a multidisciplinary approach. This project will hopefully demonstrate how a single intervention can address multidimensional aspects of rural poverty and health.” www.southampton.ac.uk/ghp3
Bringing together social scientists from all disciplines The Southampton Statistical Sciences Research Institute (S3RI) brings together social scientists from all disciplines who use statistics as part of their research. Its work falls under five broad themes: survey and census methodology, social policy and evaluation, statistical modelling, design and analysis of experiments and biostatistics and medical statistics. Its activities are particularly important in demography, health and engineering, as well as on the development of new statistical methods in response to practical problems arising from a wide range of areas across the social, medical and physical sciences. Changing weather patterns and their effects on peopleâ€™s health is one area under investigation. Dr Sujit Sahu and his colleague, Professor of Mathematics Paul Harper of Cardiff University, are designing and
building new ways of understanding the connections after receiving a grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
statistics with clear guidance on which approaches they can use for modelling data sets obtained from complex surveys. Their ultimate goal is to provide analysts with new protocols detailing how to tackle Their decision support tool will explore a given problem, which software can be and quantify the relationship between used, how they can analyse the data, draw extreme weather events and seasonal patterns inferences and choose between different and their impact on various conditions, such approaches. This research is being as heart attacks, stroke, asthma, and fractures. supported by the Economic and Social The research team will incorporate hospital Research Council (ESRC). capacity simulation tools, advanced statistical methods, and meteorological information in An integrated modelling of European their work. The award is in partnership with migration project is underway, led by the Met Office, Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust, Dr James Raymer with Professor of and Southampton University Hospitalâ€™s Mathematics Jon Forster, Professor NHS Trust. Peter Smith, Dr Jakub Bijak (all S3RI) and colleagues from Norway and the Netherlands. Professors Danny Pfeffermann and Patrick The team is using available data to develop Sturgis and Dr David Holmes, alongside a logical modelling approach to estimate Dr Pedro Silva from the Brazilian Institute international migration flows. of Geography and Statistics, are working on ways to support researchers who use www.southampton.ac.uk/s3ri
Honoured for services to social science Chris Skinner, Professor of Social Statistics, was awarded a CBE in the 2010 New Year’s Honours list for services to social science. “I am delighted to receive this honour, and see it as recognition of the leading work undertaken in this University in social statistics and research methods,” he comments. Professor Skinner has worked at the University for 31 years, starting in a temporary teaching post and registering for a PhD. He has led a number of major initiatives designed to enhance methodological capacity in social science research. For its first five years, he was Director of the National Centre for Research Methods, which plays a leading part in the strategy of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) to improve standards in social science research. It consists of a network of teams across UK universities, with a hub at Southampton – harnessing methodological expertise to address research challenges and the needs of UK researchers. Other capacity-building initiatives he has directed include the Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences programme, targeted at junior researchers across 18 European countries, and the Centre for Applied Social Surveys. He also led the introduction of the current high-level professional training programme for statisticians employed in UK Government.
Work under the spotlight
The world of work is constantly changing. The interdisciplinary Work Future Research Centre, based in Social Sciences, examines a wide range of topics in the private, public and charitable sectors including new technologies and new patterns of work, equality and diversity, workplace learning and migration issues. Work Futures was established as a research centre in December 2008 and is now one of the University’s Strategic Research Groups. “We have the capacity and expertise to look beneath the surface of employment issues, carry out original research, evaluate policy and practice and identify implications in order to make recommendations to policymakers and employers,” says Professor of Sociology Susan Halford, who is a member of the Centre’s Steering Group. More than 50 colleagues from Social Sciences, Education, Engineering, Health Sciences and Medicine work together on a wide range of subjects funded by organisations including UK research
councils, the NHS, the National Institute for Health Research, Southampton University Hospitals Trust and the Norwegian Research Council. Dr Pauline Leonard (Social Sciences) Professor Alison Fuller (Education) and Professor Catherine Pope (Health Sciences) also sit on the Steering Group. Projects currently underway include: • Corporate social responsibility: how is this being shaped and what is the impact of environmental and sustainability agendas on organisations and working practices? • New technologies: how are new information and communication technologies changing the nature of work, how it is organised and what we think of as careers? • Workplace design: what will work spaces look like in the future? How does architecture, sociology, psychology and engineering inform the places where work is performed?
• Gender, work and organisation: how does this inform new modes and patterns of working? • Economic migration and population change: what is the impact of new patterns of worker movement across national boundaries? How will the changing demographic profile of the population impact on work, careers and training. • The Third Sector: what is the role of voluntary and unpaid work and of charitable organisations in delivering services? How will this develop over the next few decades? • Pensions and benefits: are final salary pensions a thing of the past? What incentives and benefits will be offered to our future workforce and what impact will this have on the way work will be organised? www.southampton.ac.uk/wfrc
Can redesigning the office help people work better? Dr Pauline Leonard has been exploring the ways in which office layout can affect performance and productivity, in a project funded by the British Council of Offices. Research was carried out in 13 UK organisations in the private and third sectors. She found while bringing in open plan offices can have significant benefits in terms of organisational identity, culture, communication, motivation, job performance and productivity, these benefits are not experienced by all workers. Many members of staff regard aspects of their workspace as unproductive, impractical and stressful. The full report on office space will aid the design decisions of architects, developers and organisations.
How can technology benefit healthcare? Professor Susan Halford has been investigating how digital information and communication technologies can be effectively embedded in everyday practice to deliver benefits for healthcare. A study of innovations in telemedicine and information systems with colleagues from the Norwegian Centre for Telemedicine and the Northern Research Institute in TromsĂ¸, Norway have shown the importance of understanding how these interventions fit , or more often do not fit, with established work practices and working lives.
Susan is also building on this research, with WFRC colleagues Catherine Pope and Jane Prichard, to help build a systematic framework for understanding why some interventions are successful whilst others fail. This project is funded by the National Institute for Health Research and involves the Department of Health Urgent Care team, Connecting for Health and the London Ambulance Service. The findings will inform decision makers on how best to bring in new technologies in healthcare.
Reflecting the growing importance of charities, voluntary and not-for-profit organisations Charities, voluntary and not-for-profit organisations are playing an increasing part in life in the UK. The Third Sector Research Centre (TSRC), a joint initiative from Southampton and Birmingham, was formed in March 2009 to reflect their growing importance. John Mohan, Professor of Social Policy at Southampton, is Deputy Director of the Centre. The economic downturn need not be disastrous for charities, according to new research from TSRC. John has used archive records to assess how differing financial conditions affect donations. They include the accounts of British voluntary hospitals in the interwar period and US trends in charitable giving. History suggests that well-run charities have been creative in developing new sources of income. The proportion of an individual’s money given to charity remains generally constant, according to US statistics during the depression in the 1930s, but as unemployment rises, some may feel they cannot give anything. Giving may also be redirected to local community-based organisations. “Charities should beware of crying wolf,” says John. “There will be casualties of this downturn but predictions
of widespread gloom are likely to prove exaggerated.” Karl Wilding of the National Council for Voluntary organisations (NCVO) assisted with the research. One of the first tasks for TSRC has been to create a unique and comprehensive database on the activities of around 40,000 registered charities from a range of sources. Researchers have even been helped by experts from Electronics and Computer Science at Southampton to extract information from old tape data drives from the early 1990s. The database is now being used by David Clifford and Peter Backus to investigate ‘Tesco-isation’ – the process where some very large charities appear to be attracting a growing share of resources. Research so far suggests this is not a new phenomenon but more work remains to be done. Much voluntary sector activity is organised through small-scale community groups which may not be registered legally. John has led work with David Kane of the NCVO to improve knowledge of these organisations, in a project funded by the Northern Rock Foundation. They have examined listings of around 65,500 groups in Yorkshire, Humberside, the North East and Cumbria.
Initial findings suggest many are found in the most deprived areas and are active in sport, recreation and the arts. Another project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, has created a statistical database of hospitals that provided care for patients in Britain before the NHS was established. Run by either local authorities or charities, they published yearbooks containing financial and administrative data. Analysis of accounts going back to the late nineteenth century, by TSRC and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, has shown major systematic regional inequalities in funding, resources and treatments. Grant money from the Wellcome Trust is being used to devise a searchable web-based resource for anyone interested in the information. TSRC members are also working with the Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy in an initiative on charity and social redistribution with the University of Kent. They are examining how charitable activities vary between different communities; a complex issue as many are registered in areas such as central London where they may not work. www.tsrc.ac.uk
Hope and coping. Research into child and family well-being Professor Patrick O’Leary is taking on the Directorship of the Child and Family Well-being Research Centre. Over the last 20 years, he has worked as a practitioner and carried out research in Australia, United Kingdom and the United States with children and families affected by violence and abuse. He has a particular interest in how these experiences in childhood may impact on people later in life. Patrick has also published extensively on the long term effects of child sexual abuse on men. Over the last seven years Patrick has been involved in international research on child protection following humanitarian disasters such as war and earthquakes. This has taken him to many countries including Lebanon, Sudan, Nepal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan and Albania. Patrick is particularly interested in systems that protect children through the cycle of a disaster and in particular what helps sustain young people and their families in the long term. This has led him to look at the concepts of hope and coping. The Child and Family Well-being Research Centre aims to develop and support a broad range of research that encapsulates both the immediate protection of children and their long term well-being. This incorporates research on families and related systems. The Centre will provide a hub for researchers within the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences, across the University of Southampton and with national and international partners to recruit postgraduate students and conduct collaborative research. “Multi-disciplinary research is essential to the Centre’s direction and we welcome collaboration with a range of local and international scholars and organisations,” says Patrick. “We are interested in a broad range of cultural and international perspectives on child well-being and hope to encourage research in European and global contexts.” A distinguishing feature of the Centre for Child and Family Well-being will be the focus on the impact of child well-being within both childhood and adulthood. This will interest a broad range of researchers who might not necessarily focus purely on childhood and it will encourage qualitative, quantitative and mixed-method methodological approaches. www.southampton.ac.uk/childwell-being
Supporting the transformation of social policy Experts from Southampton are playing a major role in transforming the ways social workers are trained, in the wake of the baby Peter case. Social Sciences has hosted the national Subject Centre for Social Policy and Social Work (SWAP) for the last ten years. Led by Jackie Rafferty, SWAP is now working with the Social Work Reform Board, this follows the Social Work Taskforce set up by the Government following the death of the toddler Peter Connelly in 2007. The Board is examining the profession’s education and practice throughout England. SWAP’s contribution focuses on two elements; the initial social work degree and the recommended supported Assessed Year in Employment for newly qualified social workers and their continuing professional development. SWAP is bringing together universities which offer social work education and other relevant organisations to discuss improvements. It has already commissioned research into how students are recruited onto these courses and the general calibre of entrants to the profession. “The outcomes of this work will impact on the entire learning experience of every social worker in England,” says Jackie.
“Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are also looking towards the Taskforce’s recommendations to inform their own debates and discussions on the reform of social work.” As part of its commitment to the enhancement of practice through the development and delivery of a researchinformed curriculum, SWAP has also funded a research project exploring child care social workers’ experiences of organisational change in services to children and families aimed at improving inter-professional working. Dr Cathy Murray and Dr Gillian Ruch, researchers in the Division of Social Work Studies at Southampton, have co-led this project and their findings will make an important contribution to the delivery and content of this element of the social work curriculum. SWAP, part of the Higher Education Academy, continues to deliver a range of workshops and publications supporting learning and teaching in higher education in social work and social policy. An annual conference attracts around 400 delegates and provides the major national forum for research and development in this field. www.swap.ac.uk
Consequences of seeking work overseas International migration in search of work is affecting the structure of families. More and more female workers are moving from the global south to take up jobs in more developed countries. South-East Asia is a major sending region for labour migrants and the lives of dependents left behind, including children and the elderly, are becoming increasingly affected by this trend. Dr Lucy Jordan, Lecturer in Social Work Studies, is finalising research on Child Health and Migrant Parents in South-East Asia (CHAMPSEA) involving the collection of data from households in four countries from which many migrants leave to find work. The programme is funded by the Wellcome Trust and led by Dr Elspeth Graham at the University of St. Andrews, UK, and Professor Brenda S.A.Yeoh at the National University of Singapore, in partnership with institutions in the countries under study.
Researching effective practice within the field of Social Work Southampton researchers and lecturers are aiming to find out how trust is developed between social workers and their managers by exploring the concept within the profession and the organisational contexts in which it operates. Following a number of high profile failures to protect ‘at risk’ social workers are currently subject to intense public scrutiny with calls for improvements in training and working practice. Against this backdrop the capacity for social workers to develop trusting relationships with colleagues and managers is a critical component of effective practice Psychology lecturer Dr Jane Prichard and social work lecturer Dr Gillian Ruch have just begun a project exploring the concept of trust within social work settings. As a factor known to be crucial to knowledge sharing behaviours, a better understanding of trust and trust repair between practitioners will be an important part of addressing existing shortcomings in communication exchange in this setting. “Against a backdrop of reactive change and the ‘blame culture’ that pervades the social work profession more generally, it is challenging to talk about a new culture of trust between practitioners and managers, service users and other professionals,” says Jane. www.southampton.ac.uk/sws
Activists in action. Demonstrators have their say Joining together for our common futures Politics lecturer Dr Clare Saunders has been selected as one of 100 young scholars from around the world to organise and take part in the Our Common Futures conference in Germany. The world faces a range of complex challenges linked with social, environmental, cultural and technological changes. Conference organisers believe the best way to tackle these challenges is to confront them actively in developing new concepts and approaches. In the conference in November 2010, leading intellectuals, researchers, business leaders and politicians will join with young and future leaders to discuss these issues, present different perspectives and suggest solutions.
Lecturer (RCUK Academic Fellow) Dr Clare Saunders is working on a variety of projects looking at politics at the sharp end. She is the UK team leader of the European Science Foundation funded research project, ‘Caught in the Act of Protest’, working with partners from other universities across Europe and the USA. With Senior Research Assistant, Maria Grasso, and social science student volunteers, she is surveying UK-based protests to find out why and how they get involved. Clare has published an article in the Third World Quarterly on the 2006 Stop Climate Chaos march and plans to write more pieces based on protest survey data. The UK team are especially interested to consider the extent to which protesters – from a wide variety of protests – are a part of the broader global justice movement. Her special interest in environmental protest is reflected in her work on Camps for Climate Action. She is researching the cross-section of people who attend to discover their motives. She is also working on a project looking at climate change policy networks. In collaboration with colleagues from over 15 countries across the world, Clare plans to conduct a full policy network analysis. This involves surveying people involved in shaping climate change policy with the aim of working out why different countries adopt different policy approaches despite being given identical advice from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). www.southampton.ac.uk/politics
Our students conduct field research in central London Undergraduate and postgraduate Southampton students, mostly studying Politics and International Relations (PAIR), got out of their lecture halls and into the heart of field research during the May Day Labour Demonstration this year.
Student researcher interviews protest supporters
Handing out postal surveys, conducting face-to- face questionnaires with demonstrators and collecting data about the nature of the march all aims to provide researchers with a better understanding of the demographics and motivation of people that participate in such events. Project partners located in Belgium, Switzerland and Sweden conducted the same survey research during their own May Day demonstrations and the combined data will be input into a central project database, allowing a range of social scientists to analyse the results obtained
from across Europe. Such data would not be able to be captured without the contribution and dedication from our student volunteers. Participating student researchers gained the opportunity to observe protesters engaging in active political participation and practiced essential research skills, with the opportunity to use resulting data in their own undergraduate and postgraduate dissertations. In the future, student volunteers will help to survey further protest marches on a host of issues, possibly including the Global Marijuana March, The Global March of Women and Stop the War demonstrations. For more information on how our students get involved visit : www.southampton.ac.uk/politics
Spreading the word. Informed contraceptive and reproductive choice in China Southampton social scientists joined Chinese colleagues to help examine and evaluate the results of a major United Nations programme on reproductive health and family planning in China. Dr Sabu Padmadas from Social Statistics and S3RI and Dr James Brown from S3RI have led a team which provided technical support and research capacity for the United Nations Population Fund. Since 2003, they have been aiding researchers to design and analyse their surveys, held capacity building research training workshops and helped them to produce final information events, reports, fact sheets and academic journal articles. The project, which also involved the Chinese Government, was aimed at giving women and men across China information about contraception choices and access to reproductive health and family planning services. “This work reflects Southampton’s leading role in reproductive health and family planning research,” says Sabu. “The research outputs from this evaluation have supported the credibility of the UN programme within China”. www.southampton.ac.uk/socstats
Spotlight on health care for the poorest people in Brazil and India
Russian perspectives on growing up
How traditional gender roles affect the spread of HIV/AIDS
One of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals is to improve access to quality health care for poor women and children across the globe. World leaders have pledged, by 2015, to reduce by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio and achieve universal access to reproductive health. Social statisticians from Southampton, led by Dr Sabu Padmadas, have joined forces with colleagues in Brazil and India to investigate conditions on the ground in these populous countries.
Dr Charles Walker will be travelling 900 kilometres east of Moscow to find out how young working class Russians are faring in post-Soviet days. He is examining social mobility and employment opportunities in the provinces and the influence of class, gender and locality on their prospects.
Researchers in Social Work at Southampton are examining how traditional gender roles affect women’s lives in Africa, in relation to HIV/AIDS.
Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the project is aimed at developing an international research network to analyse quantitative micro data relating to health care inequalities focusing on the poorest-poor people and how these have changed over time. The 16-strong team hopes to secure funding for two further phases of work in Brazil and India which would involve new initiatives and primary research by the team. Researchers from Southampton will work with colleagues from the University of Portsmouth, LSE Health, Centro de Desenbolvimento e Planejamento Regional of the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais in Brazil, and the Institute for Social & Economic Change (Bangalore), Centre for Development Studies (Trivandrum) and the International Institute for Population Sciences (Mumbai) in India.
“When the Soviet era ended, agriculture and industry went into steep decline. Poverty wages, short-time working and unsafe practices were widespread, especially for young people,” says Charles. “My research explores how young workers try to achieve some form of social mobility in the face of these prospects.” He first visited Ul’yanovsk, the birthplace of Lenin, in 2004-5 to carry out his doctoral research on the experiences of post-Soviet youth. He is now returning to catch up with the same young people and discover what has happened to them over the last five years. “This gives us a valuable longitudinal perspective on the processes of social change and social stratification underpinning their experiences in education, work, migration and the establishment of families,” he adds. Charles is particularly interested in researching the opportunities for young people to migrate both within their region and from the country to the towns; young women’s experiences in higher education and the emergent service sector and how young men’s ambitions may be thwarted by forced service in the armed forces.
In many sub-Saharan cultures, men exercise control over many aspects of women’s lives. Risk-taking sexual behaviours by men may result in their partners developing HIV/AIDS. Yet, in some countries such as Tanzania, infection rates have stabilised, offering researchers a unique opportunity to examine how gender roles affect the spread of the disease. Research led by Dr Lucy Jordan, Lecturer in Social Work Studies, in collaboration with colleagues at Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences in Tanzania and Battelle Center for Public Health Research and Evaluation in the United States, examines how gender roles and relative power within established couples influences male risk behaviours that place women at risk of contracting HIV/AIDS. The study uses secondary data analysis of the Demographic Health Survey and was funded by the United States National Institute of Child Health and Development.
Peace of mind. Examining why people buy private pensions and insurances Social scientist Dr Traute Meyer and academics from the University of Edinburgh are researching why people choose to take out private pensions and insurances to supplement state benefits. “Although it is generally assumed that wealthier people arrange their own private pensions and insurance protection policies to guard against the financial risks of unemployment, accidents, sickness or retirement, many do not,” says Traute. “We want to explore people’s attitudes to risk and their subsequent actions. The economic downturn may also result in people cutting back on savings so the picture is continually changing.” In a two year project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), researchers are investigating the risk management strategies of middle-class households in England and Scotland, probing how and why some households plan for emergencies and others do not. It will also explore differences in people’s attitudes to security in the two countries. They will review Britain’s current ‘mixed economy of welfare’, map the types of statutory protection against life’s risks and contingencies and examine changes in the scope of public and private welfare provision since the early 1990s. Existing data in this area will be analysed and interviews carried out with suitable families in both Scotland and England. www.southampton.ac.uk/sociology
Asking the right questions
Insights on health from our grandfathers
Hundreds of social scientists gain new insights into cutting-edge research techniques at a unique festival held every two years to spread best practice among academics ranging from early career researchers to seasoned professors.
Detailed records of the health and sickness of thousands of men are being used to shed new light on the well-being of past generations.
The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Research Methods Festivals are held by the ESRC National Centre for Research Methods, which is hosted at the University of Southampton. In 2010 around 800 delegates were expected to attend the four-day event in Oxford. The Festival is the biggest event of its kind in the UK, with more than 60 sessions and 200 presenters. Organiser, Graham Crow, Professor of Sociology at Southampton, says: “This is a tremendous opportunity for academics to gain new insights into the research methods behind the fascinating and diverse work underway in the social sciences around the country. Our guests in 2010 are set to include early feminist Ann Oakley and Matthew Taylor from the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA). “Social scientists are at the forefront of investigating major issues at home and abroad and robust knowledge of the latest research methods is essential for every researcher.”
Social Policy Professor Bernard Harris along side colleagues Dr Andrew Hinde (University of Southampton, Social Statistics and S3RI,), Dr Martin Gorsky (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine) and Dr Aravinda Guntupalli (University of Southampton, Medicine) have examined the sickness records of more than 5,500 men who joined an organisation called the Hampshire Friendly Society between 1824 and 1939. These records contain details of the numbers of days on which individual men received sick pay from the Society, together with information about the causes of their claims, from 1868 to 1981. The research team has used the resulting data to show how sickness rates have changed over time and varied according to age. Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the project will continue to provide data to support high-level research into health and well-being for years to come.
The fourth ESRC Research Methods Festival will take place between 5-8 July 2010 at St Catherine’s College, Oxford.
“These records are a rich source of information on patterns and trends of sickness,” says Bernard. “Much work remains to be done; we want to go on to investigate the relationship between periods of sickness of these individuals and their later death.”
Challenging the underlying assumptions of psychology. Psychology and Crime Dr Craig Webber specialises in researching social injustice and examining the criminalising effect of the youth justice system. He is also involved in web science projects, developed by Southampton’s leading computer scientists. His recent book Psychology and Crime (2010, Sage Publications) is a critical account of the role of psychology in the study of crime, challenging some of the underlying assumptions of psychology and the tendency for much psychological research to avoid the political and social consequences of its output. Aimed at students, practitioners and academics working in the field, it includes chapters on the future of law enforcement, terrorism, mass murder in schools and war crime and has become recommended reading on several criminology degrees around the country. “Webber has pulled off a unique feat by writing a book on the psychology of crime that will appeal equally to sociologists and criminologists. This exciting theoretical integration bodes very well for the future of criminal psychology.” Professor Shadd Maruna, Queens University, Belfast.
Theory and Methods. Political science This essential textbook (Theory and Methods in Political Science (Political Analysis), 2010, Palgrave Macmillan) has now reached its third edition. Its authors are Professor Gerry Stoker from Southampton and colleague Professor David Marsh from Australian National University. They have retained their comprehensive focus on approaches and methods and added new international perspectives and contributors. The book has proved an invaluable tool to politics students, scholars, academics and all who seek to engage in rigorous political analysis. Elinor Ostrom, winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences has described it as â€œan excellent introduction to theory and methods in which a distinguished group of scholars present and discuss eight theoretical approaches and seven methods for addressing key questions in political science.â€?
Postgraduate opportunities The School of Social Sciences, at the University of Southampton, is committed to providing first-class teaching and research within the social sciences. We offer postgraduate opportunities across the social sciences, including taught masters, research training degrees and doctoral study. Politics and International Relations
Social Statistics and Demography
MSc Citizenship and Democracy MSc Citizenship and Democracy (Research) MSc Global Politics MSc Global Politics (Research) MSc Global Security MSc Governance and Policy PhD by research
MSc Demography MSc Official Statistics MSc Social Statistics (Research Methods) MSc Social Statistics (Statistics) PhD by research
Economics MSc Economics MSc Economics and Econometrics MSc Finance and Economics PhD by research Sociology and Social Policy MSc Social Policy and Social Research MSc Sociology and Social Policy MSc Sociology and Social Research PhD by research
Gerontology MSc Gerontology MSc Gerontology (Distance Learning) MSc Gerontology (Research) PhD by research Social Work MSc Social Work Msc Professional Studies (Leadership and Management) Msc Professional Studies (Practice Education) Msc Professional Studies (Research Methods) Contemporary China MSc International Comparative Studies
For further information, please contact us: School of Social Sciences University of Southampton Highfield Campus Southampton SO17 1BJ United Kingdom
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Published on Aug 3, 2011
Our 2010 research publication looks at how our academics and students continue to make a difference in the world of social sciences and how...