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Journal: Sociology


There is currently widespread concern that access to, and success within, the British acting profession is increasingly dominated by those from privileged class origins. This article seeks to empirically interrogate this claim using data on actors from the Great British Class Survey (N = 404) and 47 qualitative interviews. First, survey data demonstrate that actors from working-class origins are significantly underrepresented within the profession. Second, they indicate that even when those from working-class origins do enter the profession they do not have access to the same economic, cultural and social capital as those from privileged backgrounds. Third, and most significantly, qualitative interviews reveal how these capitals shape the way actors can respond to shared occupational challenges. In particular we demonstrate the profound occupational advantages afforded to actors who can draw upon familial economic resources, legitimate embodied markers of class origin (such as Received Pronunciation) and a favourable typecasting.

Concepts: Sociology, Quantitative research, Acting, Capital, Received Pronunciation, Working class, Five Capitals


This qualitative research examines the influence of pornography consumption on young men with non-exclusive sexual orientations. Drawing on 35 in-depth interviews with young men from an elite university in the north-eastern United States, we examine how pornography was experienced as a leisure activity to be consumed in free time. Rather than focusing on the potential harms of pornography, we use an inductive analytic approach to explore the broader range of experiences that participants had, since the time they first consumed pornography. We demonstrate that pornography had educational benefits for these young men, related to their sexual desires, emerging sexual identities and for developing new sexual techniques. This study is part of a growing body of research that seeks to develop a holistic understanding of pornography in society, addressing the absence of the lived experience of the consumer in most pornography research.

Concepts: Psychology, Educational psychology, Experience, Philosophy of science, Knowledge, Quantitative research, Personal life, Leisure


Extensive research has demonstrated that neighbourhood ethnic diversity is negatively associated with intra-neighbourhood social capital. This study explores the role of segregation and integration in this relationship. To do so it applies three-level hierarchical linear models to two sets of data from across Great Britain and within London, and examines how segregation across the wider-community in which a neighbourhood is nested impacts trust amongst neighbours. This study replicates the increasingly ubiquitous finding that neighbourhood diversity is negatively associated with neighbour-trust. However, we demonstrate that this relationship is highly dependent on the level of segregation across the wider-community in which a neighbourhood is nested. Increasing neighbourhood diversity only negatively impacts neighbour-trust when nested in more segregated wider-communities. Individuals living in diverse neighbourhoods nested within integrated wider-communities experience no trust-penalty. These findings show that segregation plays a critical role in the neighbourhood diversity/trust relationship, and that its absence from the literature biases our understanding of how ethnic diversity affects social cohesion.

Concepts: Sociology, United Kingdom, Community, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Great Britain, Society, Segregation, Cultural diversity


This ethnographic study examines how participatory spaces and citizenship are co-constituted in participatory healthcare improvement efforts. We propose a theoretical framework for participatory citizenship in which acts of citizenship in healthcare are understood in terms of the spaces they are in. Participatory spaces consist of material, temporal and social dimensions that constrain citizens' actions. Participants draw on external resources to try to make participatory spaces more productive and collaborative, to connect and expand them. We identify three classes of tactics they use to do this: ‘plotting’, ‘transient combination’ and ‘interconnecting’. All tactics help participants assemble to a greater or lesser extent a less fragmented participatory landscape with more potential for positive impact on healthcare. Participants' acts of citizenship both shape and are shaped by participatory spaces. To understand participatory citizenship, we should take spatiality into account, and track the ongoing spatial negotiations and productions through which people can improve healthcare.

Concepts: Improve, Space, Chess, Nationality, Citizenship, Joseph Carens, General Certificate of Secondary Education


There is an extensive literature on the domestic division of labour within married and cohabiting couples and its relationship to gender equality within the household and the labour market. Most UK research focuses on the white majority population or is ethnicity ‘blind’, effectively ignoring potentially significant intersections between gender, ethnicity, socio-economic position and domestic labour. Quantitative empirical research on the domestic division of labour across ethnic groups has not been possible due to a lack of data that enables disaggregation by ethnic group. We address this gap using data from a nationally representative panel survey, Understanding Society, the UK Household Longitudinal Study containing sufficient sample sizes of ethnic minority groups for meaningful comparisons. We find significant variations in patterns of domestic labour by ethnic group, gender, education and employment status after controlling for individual and household characteristics.

Concepts: Sociology, United Kingdom, Race, Ethnic group, Minority group, Nation, Ethnicity, Polyethnicity


In response to recent calls for further cross-disciplinary research on austerity and a deeper sociological understanding of the impact and aftermath of the economic crisis on individuals and societies, this article builds on extant austerity literature through an exploration of its effects on European men. Informed by theories of liminality and rites of passage, this qualitative investigation examines the experience of austerity from the perspective of 11 men through the three liminal stages of separation, transition and reaggregation and investigates its impact on their identity, responsibilities and expectations. Our findings reveal the negative experiences of alienation and outsiderhood alongside positive experiences of communitas, solidarity and comradeship. The study provides a nuanced understanding of modern male Europeans and their ‘rites of passage’ through austere times.

Concepts: Sociology, Experience, Knowledge, Man, Perspective, Cultural anthropology, Communitas, Liminality


The life course has become a topic of growing interest within the social sciences. Attempts to link this sub-discipline with life span developmental psychology have been called for but with little sign of success. In this paper, we seek to address three interlinked issues concerning the potential for a more productive interchange between life course sociology and life span psychology. The first is to try to account for the failure of these two sub-disciplines to achieve any deepening engagement with each other, despite the long-expressed desirability of that goal; the second is to draw attention to the scope for enriching the sociology of the life course through Erik Erikson’s model of life span development; and the last is the potential for linking Eriksonian theory with current debates within mainstream sociology about the processes involved in ‘individualisation’ and ‘self-reflexivity’ as an alternative entry point to bring together these two fields of work.

Concepts: Psychology, Cognitive psychology, Sociology, Developmental psychology, Anthropology, Social sciences, Erik Erikson, Erikson's stages of psychosocial development


Developing safe and sustainable food production for its population has been central to China’s ‘Modernisation Project’. Yet recent fieldwork in three Chinese cities suggests that there are two conflicting views on what a ‘modern’ agriculture should look like. For the government, modernisation implies a rational calculation of scale and a mirroring of global trends. But an alternative interpretation of modernity, promoted by civil society, has been gaining ground. For this camp, good food production is then established through a ‘rhizomic’ spread of new practices, which are inspired by world possibilities but are deeply rooted in the local context. Based on 14 interviews and five focus groups, this article investigates the ongoing social negotiation of ‘good food’ in China. It demonstrates how a non-western society responds to the twin processes of modernisation and globalisation and provides insights on the varieties of modernity in the making.

Concepts: Sociology, China, English-language films, Contemporary history, Western culture, Society, Civil society, Globalization


In this article I explore the dimensionality of the long-term experiences of the main ethnic minority groups (their adaptation) in Britain. Using recent British data, I apply factor analysis to uncover the underlying number of factors behind variables deemed to be representative of the adaptation experience within the literature. I then attempt to assess the groupings of adaptation present in the data, to see whether a typology of adaptation exists (i.e. whether adaptation in different dimensions can be concomitant with others). The analyses provide an empirical evidence base to reflect on: (1) the extent of group differences in the adaptation process, which may cut across ethnic and generational lines; and (2) whether the uncovered dimensions of adaptation match existing theoretical views and empirical evidence. Results suggest that adaptation should be regarded as a multi-dimensional phenomenon where clear typologies of adaptation based on specific trade-offs (mostly cultural) appear to exist.

Concepts: Dimension, United Kingdom, Factor analysis, Empiricism, Manifold, Minority group, String theory, Cartesian coordinate system


This article, based on semi-structured interviews, addresses masculinity in the international division of reproductive labour through an analysis of the impact of gender and class on the outsourcing of elderly care services to migrant care workers. In the Italian context, characterised by a limited provision of long-term care services and by cash-for-care benefits, the strategies of men as employers of migrant care workers are shaped by class and gender. The outsourcing of care to migrant workers reproduces hegemonic masculinity in so far as male employers are able to withdraw from the ‘dirty work’. At the same time, men engage with tasks which are, in principle, kept at a distance. The employers' family status, combined with their class background, are crucial factors in shaping the heterogeneity of men’s experiences as employers and managers of care labour, and the ways in which they make sense of their masculinity.

Concepts: Male, Reproduction, Gender, Sociology, Man, Masculinity, Elderly care, Hegemonic masculinity