27,633 research outputs found

    Building body identities - exploring the world of female bodybuilders

    Get PDF
    This thesis explores how female bodybuilders seek to develop and maintain a viable sense of self despite being stigmatized by the gendered foundations of what Erving Goffman (1983) refers to as the 'interaction order'; the unavoidable presentational context in which identities are forged during the course of social life. Placed in the context of an overview of the historical treatment of women's bodies, and a concern with the development of bodybuilding as a specific form of body modification, the research draws upon a unique two year ethnographic study based in the South of England, complemented by interviews with twenty-six female bodybuilders, all of whom live in the U.K. By mapping these extraordinary women's lives, the research illuminates the pivotal spaces and essential lived experiences that make up the female bodybuilder. Whilst the women appear to be embarking on an 'empowering' radical body project for themselves, the consequences of their activity remains culturally ambivalent. This research exposes the 'Janus-faced' nature of female bodybuilding, exploring the ways in which the women negotiate, accommodate and resist pressures to engage in more orthodox and feminine activities and appearances

    The Professional Identity of Doctors who Provide Abortions: A Sociological Investigation

    Get PDF
    Abortion is a medicalised problem in England and Wales, where the law places doctors at the centre of legal provision and puts doctors in control of who has an abortion. However, the sex-selection abortion scandal of 2012 presented a very real threat to 'abortion doctors', when the medical profession's values and practices were questioned in the media, society and by Members of Parliament. Doctors found themselves at the centre of a series of claims that stated doctors were acting both illegally and unethically, driven by profit rather than patient needs. Yet, the perspectives of those doctors who provide abortions has been under-researched; this thesis aims to fill that gap by examining the beliefs and values of this group of doctors. Early chapters highlight the ambiguous position of the abortion provider in Britain, where doctors are seen as a collective group of professionals motivated by medical dominance and medical autonomy. They outline how this position is then questioned and contested, with doctors being presented as unethical. By studying abortion at the macro-, meso- and micro-levels, this thesis seeks to better understand the values of the 'abortion doctor', and how these levels shape the work and experiences of abortion providers in England and Wales. This thesis thus addresses the question: 'What do abortion doctors' accounts of their professional work suggest about the contemporary dynamics of the medicalisation of abortion in Britain?'. It investigates the research question using a qualitative methodological approach: face-to-face and telephone interviews were conducted with 47 doctors who provide abortions in England and Wales. The findings from this empirical study show how doctors' values are linked to how they view the 'normalisation of abortion'. At the macro-level doctors, openly resisted the medicalisation of abortion through the position ascribed to them by the legal framework, yet at the meso-level doctors construct an identity where normalising abortion is based on further medicalising services. Finally, at the micro-level, the ambiguous position of the abortion provider is further identified in terms of being both a proud provider and a stigmatised individual. This thesis shows that while the existing medicalisation literature has some utility, it has limited explanatory power when investigating the problem of abortion. The thesis thus provides some innovative insights into the relevance and value of medicalisation through a comprehensive study on doctors' values, beliefs and practices

    Learning to listen: downstream effects of listening training on employees' relatedness, burnout, and turnover intentions

    Get PDF
    Abstract: The present work focuses on listening training as an example of a relational human resource practice that can improve human resource outcomes: Relatedness to colleagues, burnout, and turnover intentions. In two quasi‐field experiments, employees were assigned to either a group listening training or a control condition. Both immediately after training and after 3 weeks later, receiving listening training was shown to be linked to higher feelings of relatedness with colleagues, lower burnout, and lower turnover intentions. These findings suggest that listening training can be harnessed as a powerful human resource management tool to cultivate stronger relationships at work. The implications for Relational Coordination Theory, High‐Quality Connections Theory, and Self‐Determination Theory are discussed

    Structural and Attitudinal Barriers to Bicycle Ownership and Cycle-Based Transport in Gauteng, South Africa

    Get PDF
    Policies that aim to facilitate and promote non-motorised transport (NMT), and in particular cycling, have been developed by many high-income countries facing increasingly congested roads and saturated public transport systems. Such policies are also emerging in many low- and middle-income settings where high rates of urbanisation have led to similar problems with motorised transport. The aim of the present study was to better understand the potential structural and attitudinal barriers to cycle-based transport in one such context: South Africa’s Gauteng Province, the industrial powerhouse of sub-Saharan Africa that has recently made a firm commitment to NMT. The study focussed on demographic and socioeconomic variation in bicycle and car ownership, and related this to: (1) the reported use of motorised and non-motorised transport (both private and public); and (2) perceived ‘problems’ with cycling. The analyses drew on interviews with key respondents from n = 27,490 households conducted in 2013 as part of the third Quality of Life survey undertaken by the Gauteng City Regional Observatory. The survey contained items on three outcomes of interest: household vehicle ownership (bicycles and cars); modes of transport used for the “trips” most often made; and respondents’ “single biggest problem with… cycling”. Respondent- and household-level demographic and socioeconomic determinants of these outcomes were examined using descriptive and multivariable statistical analyses, the latter after adjustment for measured potential confounders identified using a theoretical causal path diagram (in the form of a directed acyclic graph). Of the n = 26,469 households providing complete data on all of the variables examined in the present study, only n = 8722 (32.9%) owned a car and fewer still (n = 2244; 8.4%) owned a bicycle. The ownership of these assets was commonest amongst wealthier, economically active households; and those that owned a car had over five times the odds of also owning a bicycle, even after adjustment for potential confounding (OR 5.17; 95% CI 4.58, 5.85). Moreover, of household respondents who reported making ‘trips’ during the preceding month (n = 18,209), over two-thirds of those whose households owned a car (70.1%) reported private car-based transport for such trips, while only 3.2% of those owning a bicycle reported cycling. Amongst the specific responses given to the item requesting the “single biggest problem with… cycling” by far the commonest was “Don’t know how to cycle” (32.2%), less than half as many citing “Vehicle accident risk” (15.9%), and fewer still: “Destination is too far” (13.9%); “Crime” (10.3%); “Too much effort” (9.2%); or “Lack of good paths” (4.6%). While the first of these reasons was commonest amongst poorer households, concerns about risk and effort were both most common amongst better educated, economically active and wealthier/better serviced households. In contrast, concerns over (cycle) paths were only common amongst those owning bicycles. The low prevalence of household bicycle ownership, and the disproportionate number of households owning bicycles that also owned cars, might explain the very small proportion of the ‘the trips most often made’ that involved cycle-based transport (0.3%), and the preferential use of cars amongst households owning both bicycles and cars. Low levels of bicycle ownership might also explain why so many respondents cited “Don’t know how” as the “single biggest problem with… cycling”; although risk and effort were also substantial concerns (presumably for many who did, and some who did not, know how to cycle); the lack of suitable cycle lanes being only primarily a concern for those who actually owned bicycles. Structural and attitudinal barriers to cycle-based transport limit the use of cycle-based transport in Gauteng, not only amongst the vast majority of household respondents who lack the means to cycle (and the means to learn how), but also amongst those dissuaded from learning to cycle, purchasing a bicycle and/or using a bicycle they own by: the risks and effort involved; the lack of suitable cycle paths; and/or because they also own a car and prefer to drive than cycle

    The company she keeps : The social and interpersonal construction of girls same sex friendships

    Get PDF
    This thesis begins a critical analysis of girls' 'private' interpersonal and social relations as they are enacted within two school settings. It is the study of these marginal subordinated worlds productivity of forms of femininity which provides the main narrative of this project. I seek to understand these processes of (best) friendship construction through a feminist multi-disciplinary frame, drawing upon cultural studies, psychoanalysis and accounts of gender politics. I argue that the investments girls bring to their homosocial alliances and boundary drawing narry a psychological compulsion which is complexly connected to their own experiences within the mother/daughter bond as well as reflecting positively an immense social debt to the permissions girls have to be nurturant and ; negatively their own reproduction of oppressive exclusionary practices. Best friendship in particular gives girls therefore, the experience of 'monogamy' continuous of maternal/daughter identification, reminiscent of their positioning inside monopolistic forms of heterosexuality. But these subcultures also represent a subversive discontinuity to the public dominance of boys/teachers/adults in schools and to the ideologies and practices of heterosociality and heterosexuality. By taking seriously their transmission of the values of friendship in their chosen form of notes and diaries for example, I was able to access the means whereby they were able to resist their surveillance and control by those in power over them. I conclude by arguing that it is through a recognition of the valency of these indivisiblly positive and negative aspects to girls cultures that Equal Opportunities practitioners must begin if they are serious about their ambitions. Methods have to be made which enable girls to transfer their 'private' solidarities into the 'public' realm, which unquestionably demands contesting with them the causes and consequences of their implication in the divisions which also contaminate their lives and weaken them

    Reforming the United Nations

    Get PDF
    The thesis deals with the financial crisis that the United Nations faced starting in 1985 when the US Congress decided to withhold a significant part of the US contribution to the UN regular budget in order to force a greater say for the major contributors on budgetary issues, budgetary restraint and greater efficiency. The UN responded by the adoption of resolution 41/213 of 19 December 1986 that was based on the recommendations of a Group of High-level Intergovernmental Experts ("G-18") set up a year earlier. A new system was introduced regarding the formulation of the regular budget of the United Nations Organisation and a broader process of reform was initiated including a restructuring of the Secretariat and of the intergovernmental machinery in the economic and social fields. After an introductory chapter (Chapter I), the thesis examines the UN problems at the budgetary/financial and administrative/structural levels, the solutions proposed from within and without the United Nations established framework and the actual attempts at reform (Chapters II and ifi). The realisation that the implementation of reforms is rather disjointed and often unsuccessful (e.g. the failure to restructure the intergovernmental machi.neiy) prompts a search for the deeper causes of the UN problems at the political level and the attitudes of the main actors, namely the USA, the USSR, some up-and-coming states, notably Japan, the Third World states and, finally, of the UN Secretary-General and the Secretariat (Chapter 1V). Although the financial crisis may have subsided since 1988 and the USA seem committed to paying up their dues, the deeper UN crisis of identity has not been resolved and is expected to resurface if no bold steps are taken. In that direction, some possible alternative courses for the UN in the future are discussed drawing upon theory and practice (Chapte

    Pontus in Antiquity: aspects of identity

    Get PDF
    The purpose of this thesis is the presentation of the interaction between the successive inhabitants of Pontus in antiquity, indigenous Anatolians, Greeks, Persians and Romans. Limited archaeological evidence cannot determine the precise extent of interaction, although the available information substantiates the notion of a slow, but steady amalgamation. Initially, the intermingling was based on mutual trading links. Although the Hellenic cultural element tended to surface, Eastern factors remained visible. The Mithridatic dynasty was established around the vicinity of Pontus, creating the 'Kingdom of Pontus' which reached its height under Mithridates VI. His administrative and military policy appears to have placed the foundations for the later, Roman corresponding structures. His policies-propaganda reflected the GraecoEastern image of a king, which appealed to the Greek and Persian-Eastern inhabitants of his kingdom, Asia Minor and, to a lesser extent, mainland Greece. This GraecoEastern image might have nourished the concept of a shared history among the inhabitants of Pontus. Their interactions appear to have given rise to an unnamed, local culture, which was enriched with the relevant Roman practices. Around the third century A.D., the Roman administrative patterns might have established an externally defined appellation. During Roman times, Christianity started to be established in Pontus. Although it was not yet a socio-political factor, its non-racial nature prevailed in later centuries. The influence of the Roman-Christian elements can still be observed in the modern Ponti an identity. In antiquity, (lack of) evidence indicates that no group defined themselves as 'Pontics' or 'Pontians' and an internally defined Pontic identity is unlikely to have existed. However, people associated themselves with the geographical area of Pont us, cultural and religious concepts were frequently amalgamated, while the notion of a common descent and a shared history might have been unconsciously fostered. These factors can assist in the understanding of the 'Pontians' today

    Recent Hong Kong cinema and the generic role of film noir in relation to the politics of identity and difference

    Get PDF
    This thesis identifies a connection in Hong Kong cinema with classical Hollywood film noir and examines what it will call a 'reinvestment' in film noir in recent films. It will show that this reinvestment is a discursive strategy that both engages the spectator-subject in the cinematic practice and disengages him or her from the hegemony of the discourse by decentring the narrative. The thesis argues that a cinematic practice has occurred in the recent reinvestment of film noir in Hong Kong, which restages the intertextual relay of the historical genre that gives rise to an expectation of ideas about social instability. The noir vision that is seen as related to the fixed categories of film narratives, characterizations and visual styles is reassessed in the course of the thesis using Derridian theory. The focus of analysis is the way in which the constitution of meanings is dependent on generic characteristics that are different. Key to the phenomenon is a film strategy that destabilizes, differs and defers the interpretation of crises-personal, social, political and/or cultural-by soliciting self-conscious re-reading of suffering, evil, fate, chance and fortune. It will be argued that such a strategy evokes the genre expectation as the film invokes a network of ideas regarding a world perceived by the audience in association with the noirish moods of claustrophobia, paranoia, despair and nihilism. The noir vision is thus mutated and transformed when the film device differs and defers the conception of the crises as tragic in nature by exposing the workings of the genre amalgamation and the ideological function of the cinematic discourse. Thus, noirishness becomes both an affect and an agent that contrives a self-reflexive re-reading of the tragic vision and of the conventional comprehension of reality within the discursive practice. The film strategy, as an agent that problematizes the film form and narrative, gives rise to what I call a politics of difference, which may also be understood as the Lyotardian 'language game' or a practice of 'pastiche' in Jameson's terminology. Under the influence of the film strategy, the spectator is enabled to negotiate his or her understanding of recent Hong Kong cinema diegetically and extra-diegetically by traversing different positions of cinematic identification. When the practice of genre amalgamation adopts the visual impact of the noirish film form, the film turns itself into a playing field of 'fatal' misrecognition or a site of question. Through cinematic identification and alienation from the identification, the spectator-subject is enabled to experience the misrecognition as the film slowly foregrounds the way in which the viewer's presence is implicated in the narrative. This thesis demonstrates that certain contemporary Hong Kong films introduce this selfconscious mode of explication and interpretation, which solicits the spectator to negotiate his or her subject-position in the course of viewing. The notions of identity and subjectivity under scrutiny will thus be reread. With reference to The Private Eye Blue, Swordsman II, City a/Glass and Happy Together, the thesis shall explore the ways in which the Hong Kong films enable and facilitate a negotiation of cultural identity

    Working in ministries or public organizations in Saudi Arabia : A study of career development and job satisfaction of the Saudi Arabian middle managers

    Get PDF
    Career development and job satisfaction studies carried out in developing countries are very limited in number. Saudi Arabia is one of those developing countries which appeared on the political scene quite recently, but striving hard to develop its human resources due to its heavy dependence on expatriate labour to initiate and execute its development plans. The genesis of the study began when General Civil Service Bureau officials noticed a large movement of employees from ministries to other sectors (i.e. public organizations and the private sector). The purpose of this dissertation is to examine and analyze the factors behind this movement and relate this to the studies of career development and job satisfaction. The position of government organizations in Saudi Arabia is rather unique. Most of their employees are drawn from Universities due to the regulations of the GCSB of compelling them to work in ministries for a period equivalent to that spent in their University education until graduation. This situation has prevented such graduates from choosing their own occupations and seem to hinder their career development. As a consequence, this study, not only analyzes career development and job satisfaction in Saudi Arabia, but (v) job satisfaction in Saudi Arabia, but also makes a comprehensive evaluation of economic, social and organisational environments which seem to have an effect of the occupational choice of the Saudis. We take the assumption that the ideology of free occupational choice is not properly applied in Saudi Arabia due to some cultural variables (e.g. nepotism and strong family ties). Hence, this thesis will develop a definition of the concept of occupational choice and career development and the process of personnel flow and the ways in which such movement can be influenced within the Saudi context. The study will be primarily concerned with middle managers in two types of organization - government ministries and public organizations. This will hopefully give a profile of the Saudi situation as far as occupational choice, career development and job satisfaction are concerned

    Botanical Journeys and China's Colonial Frontiers: 1840-1940

    Get PDF
    Over recent years, a body of scholarship has emerged on the topic of European and American travel writing in China. This thesis contributes to this growing field by examining four writers who travelled in China and worked as plant collectors and botanists. Largely forgotten today, these writers were influential and successful in their own day. Despite differences in geographical location and historical period, there are a number of common links that make a comparison of these travel writings productive. As travellers seeking botanical rarity and novelty, these writers explored regions of China unknown in the West, which over a period of one hundred years expanded outwards from the fringes of the treaty port areas to more remote regions of China's southwest. These writers, therefore, were on the frontiers of Western knowledge of China, and an examination of their writing provides important insights into the ways in which racial, geographical, and ecological differences were articulated and understood in the context of colonial and scientific exploration. While discussing how such differences have imperial significance, this study will also call attention to the instability of colonialist discourse in the context of China. Rather than focus exclusively on questions of imperialism, this study will show how representations of China's periphery regions also speak to metropolitan literary and cultural concerns, and a close reading of these travel writings shows that China offered powerful imaginary landscapes for home audiences. This project is organised chronologically and the chapters are divided according to the authors, with the exception of the first chapter where I introduce the historical and theoretical framework of the study and the final concluding chapter where I consider the significance of this study in the context of modern China
    corecore