22,234 research outputs found

    The development of the Kent coalfield 1896-1946

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    One of the unique features of the Kent Coalfield is that it is entirely concealed by newer rocks. The existence of a coalfield under southern England, being a direct link between those of South Wales, Somerset and Bristol in the west and the Ruhr, Belgium. and northern France in the east, was predicted by the geologist R. A. C. Godwin-Austen as early as 1856. It was, however, only the rapid increase in demand for Britain's coal in the last quarter of the nineteenth century that made it worth considering testing this hypothesis. The first boring was made in the years 1886-90, and although it discovered coal, this did not in itself prove the existence of a viable coalfield. This could be done only by incurring the heavy cost of boring systematically over a wide area. As the financial returns from such an undertaking were uncertain, it was not surprising that in the early years, around the turn of the century, a dominant role was played by speculators, who were able to induce numerous small investors to risk some of their savings in the expectation of high profits. As minerals in Britain were privately owned, the early pioneer companies not only had to meet the cost of the exploratory borines, but also, if they were not to see the benefit of their work accrue to others, lease beforehand the right to mine coal from local landowners in as much of the surrounding area as possible. This policy was pursued most vigorously by Arthur Burr, a Surrey land specula tor, who raised capital by creating the Kent Coal Conoessions Ltd. and then floating a series of companies allied to it. Burr's enterprise would probably have been. successful had it not been for the water problems encountered at depth in -v- the coalfield. As a result, the Concessions group found itself in control of most of the coalfield, but without the necessary capital to sink and adequately equip its 01ffi collieries. By 1910, however, the discovery of iron ore deposits in east Kent, coupled with the fact that Kent coal was excellent for coking purposes, began to attract the large steel firms of Bolckow, Vaughan Ltd. and Dorman, Long & Co. Ltd. in to the area. The First World War intervened, however, to delay their plans, and to provide an extended lease of life to the Concessions group, which, by the summer of 1914, was facing financial collapse. By the time Dorman, Lone & Co, in alliance with Weetman Pearson (Lord Cowdray), had acquired control over the greater part of the coalfield from the Concessions group, not only was the country's coal industry declining, but so was its steel industry, which suffered an even more severe rate of contraction during the inter-war years. As a result, Pearson and Dorman Long Ltd. was forced to concentrate just on coal production, and this in turn was hampered not only by the water problems, but also by labour shortages and the schemes introduced by the government in 1930 to restrict the country's coal output, in an attempt to maintain prices and revenue in the industry. Nevertheless, production did show a substantial increase between 1927 and 1935, after which it declined as miners left the coalfield to return to their former districts, where employment opportunities were improving in the late thirties. Supporting roles were played in the inter-war years by Richard Tilden Smith, a share underwriter turned industrialist with long standing interests in the coalfield, who acquired one of the Concessions group's two collieries, and by the Powell Duffryn Steam Coal Co. Ltd., which through subsidiary companies, took over the only colliery to be developed by a pioneer company outside the Concessions group. The impossibility of Kent coal, because of its nature, ever gaining more than token access to the more lucrative household market, and then the failure of the local steel industry to materialise meant that the -vi- companies had to develop alternative outlets for their growing outputs. Although nearness to industrial markets in the south-east of England did confer certain advantages were poor consolation for the hoped for developments of either the early pioneers or the later industrialists. Instead of the expected profits, the companies mostly incurred losses, and only the company acquired by Powell Duffryn ever paid a dividend to its shareholders in the years before nationalisation. From the point of view of the Kent miners, the shortage of labour in the coalfield, particularly in the years 1914-20 and 1927-35, was to an important extent responsible for their being amongst the highest paid in the industry. At the same time the more favourable employment opportunities prevailing in Kent compared with other mining districts enabled the Kent Nine Workers Association to develop into a well organised union, which on the whole was able to look after the interests of its members fairly successfully. Throughout the period 1896 to 1946 the Kent Coalfield existed very much at the margin of the British coal industry. Its failure to develop substantially along the lines envisaged by either the early pioneers or by the later industrialists meant that its importance in national terms always remained small

    Identifying and responding to people with mild learning disabilities in the probation service

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    It has long been recognised that, like many other individuals, people with learningdisabilities find their way into the criminal justice system. This fact is not disputed. Whathas been disputed, however, is the extent to which those with learning disabilities arerepresented within the various agencies of the criminal justice system and the ways inwhich the criminal justice system (and society) should address this. Recently, social andlegislative confusion over the best way to deal with offenders with learning disabilities andmental health problems has meant that the waters have become even more muddied.Despite current government uncertainty concerning the best way to support offenders withlearning disabilities, the probation service is likely to continue to play a key role in thesupervision of such offenders. The three studies contained herein aim to clarify the extentto which those with learning disabilities are represented in the probation service, toexamine the effectiveness of probation for them and to explore some of the ways in whichprobation could be adapted to fit their needs.Study 1 and study 2 showed that around 10% of offenders on probation in Kent appearedto have an IQ below 75, putting them in the bottom 5% of the general population. Study 3was designed to assess some of the support needs of those with learning disabilities in theprobation service, finding that many of the materials used by the probation service arelikely to be too complex for those with learning disabilities to use effectively. To addressthis, a model for service provision is tentatively suggested. This is based on the findings ofthe three studies and a pragmatic assessment of what the probation service is likely to becapable of achieving in the near future

    Consent and the Construction of the Volunteer: Institutional Settings of Experimental Research on Human Beings in Britain during the Cold War

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    This study challenges the primacy of consent in the history of human experimentation and argues that privileging the cultural frameworks adds nuance to our understanding of the construction of the volunteer in the period 1945 to 1970. Historians and bio-ethicists have argued that medical ethics codes have marked out the parameters of using people as subjects in medical scientific research and that the consent of the subjects was fundamental to their status as volunteers. However, the temporality of the creation of medical ethics codes means that they need to be understood within their historical context. That medical ethics codes arose from a specific historical context rather than a concerted and conscious determination to safeguard the well-being of subjects needs to be acknowledged. The British context of human experimentation is under-researched and there has been even less focus on the cultural frameworks within which experiments took place. This study demonstrates, through a close analysis of the Medical Research Council's Common Cold Research Unit (CCRU) and the government's military research facility, the Chemical Defence Experimental Establishment, Porton Down (Porton), that the `volunteer' in human experiments was a subjective entity whose identity was specific to the institution which recruited and made use of the subject. By examining representations of volunteers in the British press, the rhetoric of the government's collectivist agenda becomes evident and this fed into the institutional construction of the volunteer at the CCRU. In contrast, discussions between Porton scientists, staff members, and government officials demonstrate that the use of military personnel in secret chemical warfare experiments was far more complex. Conflicting interests of the military, the government and the scientific imperative affected how the military volunteer was perceived

    Elite perceptions of the Victorian and Edwardian past in inter-war England

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    It is often argued by historians that members of the cultivated Elite after 1918 rejected the pre-war past. or at least subjected it to severe denigration. This thesis sets out to challenge such a view. Above all, it argues that inter-war critics of the Victorian and Edwardian past were unable to reject it even if that was what they felt inclined to do. This was because they were tied to those periods by the affective links of memory, family, and the continually unfolding consequences of the past in the present. Even the severest critics of the pre-war world, such as Lytton Strachey, were less frequently dismissive of history than ambivalent towards it. This ambivalence, it is argued, helped to keep the past alive and often to humanise it. The thesis also explores more positive estimation of Victorian and Edwardian history between the wars. It examines nostalgia for the past, as well as instances of continuity of practice and attitude. It explores the way in which inter-war society drew upon aspects of Victorian and Edwardian history both as illuminating parallels to contemporary affairs and to understand directly why the present was shaped as it was. Again, this testifies to the enduring power of the past after 1918. There are three parts to this thesis. Part One outlines the cultural context in which writers contemplated the Victorian and Edwardian past. Part Two explores some of the ways in which history was written about and used by inter-war society. Part Three examines the ways in which biographical depictions of eminent Victorians after 1918 encouraged emotional negotiation with the pas

    Victims' Access to Justice in Trinidad and Tobago: An exploratory study of experiences and challenges of accessing criminal justice in a post-colonial society

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    This thesis investigates victims' access to justice in Trinidad and Tobago, using their own narratives. It seeks to capture how their experiences affected their identities as victims and citizens, alongside their perceptions of legitimacy regarding the criminal justice system. While there have been some reforms in the administration of criminal justice in Trinidad and Tobago, such reforms have not focused on victims' accessibility to the justice system. Using grounded theory methodology, qualitative data was collected through 31 in-depth interviews with victims and victim advocates. The analysis found that victims experienced interpersonal, structural, and systemic barriers at varying levels throughout the criminal justice system, which manifested as institutionalized secondary victimization, silencing and inequality. This thesis argues that such experiences not only served to appropriate conflict but demonstrates that access is often given in a very narrow sense. Furthermore, it shows a failure to encompass access to justice as appropriated conflicts are left to stagnate in the system as there is often very little resolution. Adopting a postcolonial lens to analyse victims' experiences, the analysis identified othering practices that served to institutionalize the vulnerability and powerlessness associated with victim identities. Here, it is argued that these othering practices also affected the rights consciousness of victims, delegitimating their identities as citizens. Moreover, as a result of their experiences, victims had mixed perceptions of the justice system. It is argued that while the system is a legitimate authority victims' endorsement of the system is questionable, therefore victims' experiences suggest that there is a reinforcement of the system's legal hegemony. The findings suggest that within the legal system of Trinidad and Tobago, legacies of colonialism shape the postcolonial present as the psychology and inequalities of the past are present in the interactions and processes of justice. These findings are relevant for policymakers in Trinidad and Tobago and other regions. From this study it is recognized that, to improve access to justice for victims, there needs to be a move towards victim empowerment that promotes resilience and enhances social capital. Going forward it is noted that there is a need for further research

    Metaphors of London fog, smoke and mist in Victorian and Edwardian Art and Literature

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    Julian Wolfreys has argued that after 1850 writers employed stock images of the city without allowing them to transform their texts. This thesis argues, on the contrary, that metaphorical uses of London fog were complex and subtle during the Victorian and Edwardian periods, at least until 1914. Fog represented, in particular, formlessness and the dissolution of boundaries. Examining the idea of fog in literature, verse, newspaper accounts and journal articles, as well as in the visual arts, as part of a common discourse about London and the state of its inhabitants, this thesis charts how the metaphorical appropriation of this idea changed over time. Four of Dickens's novels are used to track his use of fog as part of a discourse of the natural and unnatural in individual and society, identifying it with London in progressively more negative terms. Visual representations of fog by Constable, Turner, Whistler, Monet, Markino, O'Connor, Roberts and Wyllie and Coburn showed an increasing readiness to engage with this discourse. Social tensions in the city in the 1880s were articulated in art as well as in fiction. Authors like Hay and Barr showed the destruction of London by its fog because of its inhabitants' supposed degeneracy. As the social threat receded, apocalyptic scenarios gave way to a more optimistic view in the work of Owen and others. Henry James used fog as a metaphorical representation of the boundaries of gendered behaviour in public, and the problems faced by women who crossed them. The dissertation also examines fog and individual transgression, in novels and short stories by Lowndes, Stevenson, Conan Doyle and Joseph Conrad. After 1914, fog was no more than a crude signifier of Victorian London in literature, film and, later, television, deployed as a cliche instead of the subtle metaphorical idea discussed in this thesis

    Building body identities - exploring the world of female bodybuilders

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    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

    Towards a sociology of conspiracy theories: An investigation into conspiratorial thinking on Dönmes

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    This thesis investigates the social and political significance of conspiracy theories, which has been an academically neglected topic despite its historical relevance. The academic literature focuses on the methodology, social significance and political impacts of these theories in a secluded manner and lacks empirical analyses. In response, this research provides a comprehensive theoretical framework for conspiracy theories by considering their methodology, political impacts and social significance in the light of empirical data. Theoretically, the thesis uses Adorno's semi-erudition theory along with Girardian approach. It proposes that conspiracy theories are methodologically semi-erudite narratives, i.e. they are biased in favour of a belief and use reason only to prove it. It suggests that conspiracy theories appear in times of power vacuum and provide semi-erudite cognitive maps that relieve alienation and ontological insecurities of people and groups. In so doing, they enforce social control over their audience due to their essentialist, closed-to-interpretation narratives. In order to verify the theory, the study analyses empirically the social and political significance of conspiracy theories about the Dönme community in Turkey. The analysis comprises interviews with conspiracy theorists, conspiracy theory readers and political parties, alongside a frame analysis of the popular conspiracy theory books on Dönmes. These confirm the theoretical framework by showing that the conspiracy theories are fed by the ontological insecurities of Turkish society. Hence, conspiracy theorists, most readers and some political parties respond to their own ontological insecurities and political frustrations through scapegoating Dönmes. Consequently, this work shows that conspiracy theories are important symptoms of society, which, while relieving ontological insecurities, do not provide politically prolific narratives

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

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    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

    Coloniality and the Courtroom: Understanding Pre-trial Judicial Decision Making in Brazil

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    This thesis focuses on judicial decision making during custody hearings in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The impetus for the study is that while national and international protocols mandate the use of pre-trial detention only as a last resort, judges continue to detain people pre-trial in large numbers. Custody hearings were introduced in 2015, but the initiative has not produced the reduction in pre-trial detention that was hoped. This study aims to understand what informs judicial decision making at this stage. The research is approached through a decolonial lens to foreground legacies of colonialism, overlooked in mainstream criminological scholarship. This is an interview-based study, where key court actors (judges, prosecutors, and public defenders) and subject matter specialists were asked about influences on judicial decision making. Interview data is complemented by non-participatory observation of custody hearings. The research responds directly to Aliverti et al.'s (2021) call to ‘decolonize the criminal question’ by exposing and explaining how colonialism informs criminal justice practices. Answering the call in relation to judicial decision making, findings provide evidence that colonial-era assumptions, dynamics, and hierarchies were evident in the practice of custody hearings and continue to inform judges’ decisions, thus demonstrating the coloniality of justice. This study is significant for the new empirical data presented and theoretical innovation is also offered via the introduction of the ‘anticitizen’. The concept builds on Souza’s (2007) ‘subcitizen’ to account for the active pursuit of dangerous Others by judges casting themselves as crime fighters in a modern moral crusade. The findings point to the limited utility of human rights discourse – the normative approach to influencing judicial decision making around pre-trial detention – as a plurality of conceptualisations compete for dominance. This study has important implications for all actors aiming to reduce pre-trial detention in Brazil because unless underpinning colonial logics are addressed, every innovation risks becoming the next lei para inglês ver (law [just] for the English to see)
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