Affiliate Research Projects
Workaround: In current version of Panels 3.8, it seems this body field needs to be populated in order for title above to appear. This note is hidden by custom CSS style. Jack Latimer.
CRESC is also associated with the following research projects (listed in alphabetical order):
Accountability and Public Private Partnerships
Funded by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland and based at the University of Manchester. Research Team: Jean Shaoul, Anne Stafford and Pam Stapleton
Dates: August 2005 to August 2006
This research seeks to understand the implications of the turn to private finance for accountability to citizens. It reviews empirically the financial reporting and disclosure of expenditure on Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) in the roads sector by both the public and private sector partners, and the government, as reflected in national statistics, in order to establish the degree to which the reporting of PPPs meets the Treasury (2003) ideal that it should provide accurate, transparent and credible accounts that allow the public to judge the scope, direction and sustainability of public spending and investments.
More specifically, it examines four inter-related questions. What additional problems does the PPP policy create? What is the European Union's role in PPPs? What reporting and disclosure is needed for public accountability? To what extent does current reporting of PPP projects provide public accountability?
The study found a lack of consistent, comparable, and understandable financial information in the context of PPP which makes it difficult for the public to understand where public money is going, how it is being used, and the extent of future commitments and liabilities. This is not to say that there were ever any `good old days'. Rather, the increasing expenditure outside the direct control of the public bodies creates additional reporting problems.
The absence of clear financial information means that an informed public debate about public and fiscal policy is impossible, leading to a wrong policy choice. More fundamentally, public discourse becomes meaningless. It ceases to be about finding solutions to broader social problems but becomes an exercise in justifying policies that suit the needs of the privileged, thereby making it impossible to maintain any semblance of democracy.
The final report, Financial black holes: accounting for privately financed roads in the UK, has been submitted, refereed and approved. It will be published in September 2008 with a seminar launch in London by the sponsors, ICAS.
Archiving and Reusing Qualitative Data: Theory, Method and Ethics across Disciplines
Seminar Series funded by the ESRC National Centre for Research Methods and based at the University of Manchester. Convenor: Niamh Moore
Dates: April-December 2008 (extended till April 2009)
Through a series of four seminars and a conference, the Network for Methodological Innovation aimed to develop approaches to archiving and reusing data that both significantly developed recent debates in the social sciences and also contributed to a recent rethinking of the archive in history, oral history, and cultural studies. While conversations about archiving and reuse are relatively recent in some social sciences, archival research is more routine in disciplines such as history. Nonetheless each research domain carries specific interests, concerns, questions and conceptions of the research process, which inflect understandings of archiving and reuse.
Through tracing these specificities in interdisciplinary conversations, and drawing on expertise from a range of disciplines with diverse engagements in archiving, particularly sociology, history, oral history, anthropology, literary studies and archival studies, we reflected on key conceptual, ethical and methodological issues raised by the archiving and reuse of qualitative data.
For more information please go to http://www.restore.ac.uk/archiving_qualitative_data/projects/archive_series/index.shtml
What Is Black British Jazz?
Funded by the AHRC (Arts and Humanities Resarch Council) and based at the Open University. Research Team: Byron Dueck, Catherine Parsonage, Jason Toynbee.
Dates: January 2009-June 2011
A CRESC affiliated research team at The Open University has been awarded a grant of £495,643 from the Arts and Humanities Research Council for a two and a half year research project. It aims to explore the question, What Is Black British Jazz?
Black British Jazz (BBJ) is a hybrid with tributaries in Caribbean and African music, as well as North American jazz. We’ll be looking at it in the light of this rich history of migration. But we will also be examining the way it is organised as a business, as well as analysing recordings, performances and evolving style. One of the key issues for us concerns how the music represents black British people and identity.
The research team includes both musicologists and sociologists. However a major aim is to reach out beyond academia through broadly accessible publications and events. With this in mind, the team will be working with an independent production company to make a short film, and a project website will host podcasts, concert footage, interview material, and photographs.
More details about the project can be found at:
Changing Career Mobility and Returns to Education
Funded by the EHRC (Equality and Human Rights Commission) and based at the University of Manchester. Research Team: Mike Savage, Andrew Miles, Anna Schröder, Susan Halford and Gindo Tampubolon
Dates: February-March 2008
This project, funded by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, included a literature review to examine what is known about the recent career prospects of different `equality groups' (based on gender, race, disability, religion, age and sexual orientation). It assessed the extent of variation in career prospects once people enter the labour market; whether they face different risk of losing occupational position through unemployment, restructuring, or being unable to return to equivalent work after time out of the labour market; and whether they experience different returns to education. It examined whether new technologies may be leading to new career patterns and pathways, which may promote the prospects of different groups. The report included small-scale longitudinal analyses of the BHPS to assess the prospects of different groups using sequencing methods. Comparison of younger and older people in both 1991-1995 and 2000-2005, using the BHPS, showed that younger women continued to be relatively disadvantaged compared to younger men. The draft report Changing Career mobility and returns to education (Schröder, Miles, Savage, Halford and Tampubolon) has been approved by the EHRC and will be published by them in autumn 2008.
Research Report (December 2008) - Please click here to download the report. (PDF File)
Creative Work in the Cultural Industries
Funded by the AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council) and based at the Open University. Research Team: David Hesmondhalgh, Sarah Baker
Dates: January 2006–December 2007
This was a comparative analysis of 'creative' work across three different cultural industries: television, music and magazine journalism. Within each industry, it examined three different 'genre worlds', in order to take into account the importance of genre in cultural production. These genres were spread across a variety of scales and locations, involving varying degrees of cultural and economic capital. There were three main axes of comparison across the different industries and the various genre worlds examined: how creative work is organised, marketed and disseminated; how workers talk about their experience of creative work, including their quality of life, and the rewards, pleasures and pressures of such work; and how the organisation and experience of work impacts upon the kinds of textual products that come out of these industries: for example, what makes for 'good' music, television and journalism; and under what circumstances does banal, mediocre or unsatisfactory material get produced and circulated? Theoretically, the project aimed to contribute principally to debates in the political economy of the media, organisational studies and the sociology of culture. The methods used were mainly semi-structured interviews, participant observation, textual analysis of final products and discourse analysis of secondary texts, such as the trade press. The project was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. It began in January 2006, and ended in January 2008. One article is forthcoming in the journal Theory, Culture and Society; two other articles are under consideration at other journals, and one other article is being written. Over fifteen conference and seminar presentations have been made in relation to the project. The researchers were David Hesmondhalgh and Sarah Baker who moved from the OU to the University of Leeds in April 2007, where Hesmondhalgh is now Professsor of Media and Music Industries; Baker has since been appointed to a Lectureship at Griffith University, Queensland.
Cultural Capital and Social Exclusion
Funded by the ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) and based at The Open University. Research Team: Tony Bennett, Mike Savage, Elizabeth Silva, Alan Warde; Research Fellows - Modesto Gayo-Cal, David Wright
Dates: 1/3/2003 to 31/3/2006.
This project, funded by the ESRC, comprised a multi-method inquiry into the relations between culture and social inequality in the UK. A detailed programme of focus groups, a nationally administered survey a follow-up programme household interviews demonstrated that there are systemic connections between cultural tastes and forms and levels of cultural participation with class and levels of education in contemporary Britain. These testify to the existence of a circuit of cultural capital through which the relations between economic and cultural inequalities are transmitted across generations. The study also demonstrated that this circuit of cultural capital also connected with the social divisions of age, gender and ethnicity
See also Working Paper No. 3 - Cultural Capital and the Cultural Field in Contemporary Britain by Tony Bennett, Mike Savage, Elizabeth Silva, Alan Warde, Modesto Gayo-Cal and David Wright & Working Paper No.4 - Cultural capital in the UK: a preliminary report using correspondence analysis by Mike Savage, Modesto Gayo-Cal, Alan Warde, Gindo Tampubolon (with the assistance of Johs Hjellbrekke, Brigitte LeRoux and Henry Rouanet).
- More information on Cultural Capital and Social Exclusion (external link)
ESEMK Project, Work package 3 on Financialization
Funded by the EU and based at the University of Manchester. Research Team: Ismail Ertürk, Julie Froud, Adam Leaver, Karel Williams
Dates: June 2004-June 2007
The ESEMK project brings together a consortium of European researchers to study different aspects of the varieties of capitalism. It represents one aspect of the current strong reaction against functionalist, determinism about complementary institutions coordinating the mobilisation of labour and capital. The old approach produced a reified concept of national capitalisms by focusing on visible and politically contentious differences about labour market regulation and on the imagined institutional effects of bank or market on productive enterprise. The CRESC team here lead work on the impact of financialization which also involves colleagues from Bordeaux, Toulouse and Padua. Their ESEMK work, including long run analysis of French and German giant firms, is revisionist because it shows empirically how finance now brings a proliferation of new actors, contradictory agendas and multiple logics that sustain the mobility of European capitalisms as they escape old boundaries. Thus, French giant firms have half their shareholders and two thirds of their workers outside France; and institutions like banks right across Europe have been reinvented around loans for consumers and own account proprietary trading. The ESEMK project engages with different literatures but produces results which complement those of CRESC theme 1 on cultural economy
ESRC/SSRC Visiting Professorship
Dates: December 2007-June 2008 (extended till January 2009)
The ESRC-SSRC collaborative funding has been used to support an interdisciplinary workshop and two collaborative work sessions in which Professor Deborah Poole and Professor Penny Harvey are developing a joint research project on local knowledge, and the modern state in Peru. At the heart of our project is a concern with the conceptual status of the “case study” or “local example” in theoretical models of social change. In December 2007 Professor Poole collaborated in a theme 4 residential workshop on Cultural Values and Politics and in a CRESC workshop on Local Knowledge and State Form: reflections on the case study in comparative research on the modern state. In June 2008 she spent two weeks in Manchester during which time she collaborated in the Government and Freedom: Histories and Prospects seminar series and continued to work with Professor Harvey on articulating the joint project. At this time we also began the process of making various applications to UK, US and European funding bodies.
Government and Freedom
Seminar Series funded by the ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) and based at the Open University. Convenors: Tony Bennett, Francis Dodsworth, Patrick Joyce and Nikolas Rose (LSE)
Dates: February 2008 to November 2009
This seminar series explores the interrelationship between freedom and government from a variety of theoretical perspectives and in diverse historical, political and geographic contexts. Questions concerning the relations between government and freedom have assumed a renewed importance in the social sciences and history in recent years in view of a number of connected developments. Some of these have been political, and some have been related to new historical and theoretical perspectives in the social sciences. Political developments ranging from the fall of communism to recent concerns to balance security and freedom and the general political ascendancy of neoliberalism have been of major significance, prompting historical and social science inquiry into the long-term history of liberalism, including its relationship to different traditions of freedom, as these have been expressed in religion, political thought, organised politics, and in changing relationships between states and markets. In the social sciences and history post-Foucauldian understandings of power and governance have opened up new perspectives on the relations between government and freedom, where liberal government is understood not as a negative restriction on the scope of government but as a distinctive set of practical techniques for governing which assumes, orders and works through the freedom of those whom it governs. Work derived from the traditions of science studies and actor-network-theory and related traditions in material culture studies has also thrown significant light on the connections between power, governance, and the material world, and in the history of political thought, the work the Cambridge School has similarly complicated the history of freedom. This series engages with all these perspectives, drawing together scholars from different national and disciplinary traditions to engage in genuinely interdisciplinary debate. The first seminar in the series explored differences in the terms in which the relations between government and freedom have been posed in modern social and political thought. Quentin Skinner, Duncan Ivison, Iseult Honohan, Raia Prokhovnik and Nikolas Rose spoke on the subject, debating the perspectives offered by classical republicanism, liberal governmentality and the political theory of sovereignty. Subsequent seminars will explore liberal freedom as a social and political practice in different historical and national situations; the relationship between freedom, technologies and forms of practice; freedom, colonialism and exclusion; and the relationship between freedom and security.
Managing and Governing Populations
The inquiry investigated how different socio-technical assemblages organise and make possible a particular way of making population and acting upon and shaping the social. This was undertaken in relation to the census and was then extended to practices such as population registers, identity cards, and joined up administrative data as contemporary modes of constructing and knowing whole populations as objects of government.
Manchester's Cultural Institutions
Popular Identities in Post-war Britain
Funded by Leverhulme and at the University of Manchester. Grant holder: Mike Savage
Dates: September 2003 to September 2006
My proposal was to use the documentary sources left behind by social scientists in the 1950s through the 1970s as primary historical source material for a study of social and cultural change in post-war Britain. I argued that this venture was important because there is still relatively little historical work on the post second world war period, whilst most social scientists only focus on the present and future. I proposed to write a major research monograph on changing forms of popular identity in Britain since 1945.
I conducted extensive archival research in many social science sources between 1938 and 1970, including Mass-Observation archive at the University of Sussex, and deposits held at ESDS Qualidata. I am the first to seriously examine Directives pertaining to issues of class identity sent out by Mass-Observation between 1939 and 1951, with a particular focus on the immediate post war years. In addition, I have also read back issues of a large number of social science and cultural journals in the years between 1945 and 1970 to develop my contextual understanding of socio-cultural change in the post war years. Fieldwork is completed and my book project, Discovering English Society: popular identities in the Social Science imagination 1950-2000 will be completed in 2008. I have also written a series of articles on the value of re-analysing social science studies of the post war period
REACTT (Research into arts and criminal justice think tank)
Arts in Criminal Justice Feasibility Study
- Research Report (external link)
Reward for Performance (Business Engagement Scheme)
Funded by the ESRC Business Engagement Scheme and based at the University of Manchester. This project is directed by Professor Karel Williams. This scheme bringst together KPMG’s People Services practice and CRESC.
Dates: September 2007-March 2008 (extended till 31 May 2008)
With growing top to bottom inequality in an economy of permanent restructuring, reward for performance has become a major issue whether we consider CEOs pay in public companies or the rewards of intermediaries like city traders or private equity partners. This Business Engagement Scheme research progressed on two tracks. On the first track, we worked on CEO pay in the mid cap public companies of the FTSE 250 with KPMG's remuneration practice via the placement of a KPMG consultant at CRESC. The result was jointly written outputs for academic and for business audiences who were targeted with a research report, an article in the KPMG executive Compensation Update and a presentation for the Remuneration Institute. On the second track, CRESC research on private equity added new perspective and evidence about reward and performance in private equity for a mixed audience of consultants, trade unionists, media and fund managers. Here, the highlights for non academic users were two Businees Engagement workshops on City pay and on funded saving. The two tracks come together in terms of research results which in both cases highlight the key relation between CEO pay and size of company and private equity partner reward and size of fund managed. This, in turn, opens up new public policy issues about disclosure and control of elite rewards
- Research Report (May 2008) - Beyond Pay for Performance: New Thinking on Top Management Pay
Roads to Development: Uneven Modernities and the Politics of Knowledge
Starting with the idea that large scale technical projects bring diverse groups of people together in new configurations, this project set out to trace and describe the various knowledge practices in play in the construction of two Peruvian roads. Our aim was to consider how diverse understandings of expertise, and divergent theories of value, were negotiated in the process of bringing a road development plan to fruition. By looking at the ways in which knowledge was asserted and contested in interactions within and between diverse groups of people involved in these design and construction projects, we were able to analyse road building as a re-working of social processes rather than understanding roads as having straightforward social ‘impacts’. We found that a key element in road construction has been the creation and enforcement of ‘standards’ (technical, moral and spatial). We have studied how standards, while commonly introduced as ‘universal’ (technical) measures and/or values, are in practice the outcomes of specific engagements and interactions which are as likely to reproduce the conditions of social inequality that they set out to address as they are to change them. For example: hierarchies of expertise are reproduced through the value judgements made about legitimate forms of knowing and acting; anti-corruption measures fail to address the dominant values of entrepreneurial individualism integral to neo-liberal retreat from social welfare and make little impression on the diverse way in which people seek personal gain from these public projects; finally we found that diverse understandings and priorities in relation to ‘land’ impacted on the implementation of the road building programme. The impacts of the roads upon the social or natural environment are in many ways anticipated and actively brought about.
The research period for this project ended in September 2006. The ‘End of Award’ report has been submitted to the ESRC.
Shifting Securities: News Cultures Before and Beyond the Iraq War 2003
Funded by the ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) and based at The Open University. Research Team: Marie Gillespie, James Gow, Andrew Hoskings
Dates: April 2004 - March 2007
This project used the Iraq War 2003 as a prism to analyse how ‘new’ security challenges are constituted in the intersecting relationships between political and military actors, news producers, and increasingly diverse and fragmented news audiences. Key Findings:
Mainstream national news media, especially BBC News, provide the staple news diet for the majority of our interviewees, regardless of social and cultural background. This finding challenges the widespread idea that increasing media diversity (technologies, platforms, languages and sources) has reduced the significance of mainstream news. There is recourse to ‘new’ media, particularly at moments of crisis, and people select from a wide range of sources, but mainstream media remain the primary source of news, particularly for security issues, for the vast majority.
The increasingly ritualised interactions of policymakers, journalists and citizens/audiences constitute the ‘media-security nexus’ as a ‘battlespace’ of mutual disrespect and suspicion with negative effects on informed public debate about ‘security’.
The failures and tragedies of the Iraq War 2003 and its consequences have profoundly challenged the legitimacy of UK/USA foreign policy. Security is increasingly seen as a commodity that governments try to sell to citizens. Security crises, real or imagined, are seen as propaganda wars by more and more citizens who are more frightened by economic and social insecurity and injustice than by terrorism.
New forms of transnational political community which mobilise diaspora networks (e.g. Al Jazeera) represent a significant concern for security practitioners because they are seen to undermine the legitimacy of their policies and actions. Yet for some diasporic groups they offer alternative transnational public spaces of political debate, especially about perceived injustices. Multilingual news practices and literacies relativise national perspectives and throw into comparative light the salience, credibility and legitimacy of security policy.
More information on this project is available from http://www.mediatingsecurity.com/
Social Capital and Consumption: Promoting Social Network Analysis
Funded by the ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) and based at The University of Manchester. Research Team: Mike Savage, Nick Crossley, John Scott, Gindo Tampubolon, Alan Warde
Dates: April 2003 - September 2006
This project sought to promote SNA methods in the UK, highlighting potential and relevance of SNA methods, and to energise a community of social network researchers to become self-supporting and continue the process of promoting network methods. .The project ended in 2006 with the following conclusions
The potential of SNA was promoted to a diverse research audience with an award-winning reference work on SNA; reviews of popular science books employing network methods; debates on the place of SNA in social science; and papers addressing links and divergences between anthropology and SNA from the 1950s to the 1980s.
To understand the positive aspects of social capital it was important to understand different kind of network dynamics within organisations, some network structures being more conducive to higher aggregate levels of activism. The report argued against nostalgic accounts of social capital which assume engagement is built on consensus, not social cleavage.
The project showed how members of the local organisations socialised in different settings, disposing them towards different kinds of consumption practice. Multi-level models showed chances of meeting other people from the organisation were not generally affected by individual characteristics but that the structure of network ties is more important.
Informal consumption is not strongly related to organisational membership; the structure of people’s networks affects their sociability in companionship circles but there is little evidence that there is a tendency towards gender or class homophily.
For more information please go to http://www.cric.ac.uk/cric/projects/socialnetwork/
Social Mobility and the Middle Classes: Latent Growth Models of Social Careers
Funded by the ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) and based at the University of Manchester. A project directed by Dr Gindo Tampubolon.
Dates: 1/11/2006 to 31/10/2008
This project, which began in October 2006, aims to revisit the questions around the salary problems by focusing on the dynamics of occupational attainments. This focus on dynamics or trajectories allows new questions to be posed such as path dependency and stability of class trajectories. Additionally, this also allows inter-generational mobility to be simultaneously examined with intra-generational mobility. We have so far collected relevant monthly data for this purpose (NCDS 1958 and BCS 1970) and prepared them for the analysis. In addition we have got further funding to run a dynamic method (sequence analysis) workshop suitable for the analysis of trajectories.
Social Participation and Identity: Combining Quantitative Longitudinal Data with a Qualitative Investigation of a Sub-sample of the 1958 Cohort Study
Funded by the ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) and based at the London Institute of Education and the University of Manchester. Reasearch Team: Mike Savage and Andrew Miles with Jane Elliott (PI) and Samtha Parsons of the London Institute of Education.
Dates: 1/12/2007 to 31/03/2010
The aim of the project which runs from November 2007 for two and a half years is to conduct 180 qualitative interviews with individuals at age 50 from the NCDS cohort. For a comparatively small cost this will provide three valuable resources which will considerably enhance the relevance and appeal of the study to wider groups of social scientists. .
1) Methodologically, this will be the first significant attempt anywhere in the world to interview members of a panel survey in depth, with the possibility of linking such narratives to data collected in earlier waves. Substantively, the interviews will focus on respondents' accounts of social participation and identity . Research in this area is currently focused around cross sectional surveys and this will allow us unprecedented insights into the dynamic, life course forces
which facilitate or restrict various kinds of participation.
2) As a resource, transcripts of the 180 biographical interviews will be available for a wide community of social science researchers with interests not only in social participation, but also more generally in the life course, health, leisure, the relationship between work, employment and household dynamics. This will in its own terms constitute the largest representative source of qualitative data on a significant number of British individuals to have been collected since Paul Thompson's study with Howard Newby 'Families, social mobility and ageing: an Intergenerational Approach'.
3) substantively we will use qualitative interview data and longitudinal quantitative data in tandem to develop a clearer
understanding of why some individuals join groups, voluntary organisations and charities, and participate in social activities while others do not. Although there is a growing body of empirical research that demonstrates associations between social participation and attributes such as gender, age and social class, much less is known about the mechanisms lying behind these associations. The use of longitudinal data from the 1958 British Birth Cohort Study together with qualitative data from interviews with a sample of 180 cohort members will help us to gain further insights into the processes and mechanisms that explain why some individuals exhibit much higher levels of associational membership and social engagement than others.
The project will conduct the in depth qualitative interviews in Scotland, NW England and SE England. Equal numbers of upwardly mobile, downwardly mobile and stable working class and service class will be selected. The main interviewing phase will be from November 2008 to June 2009.
Spaces of Diversity: Markets as Site of Social Interaction
The research investigated the significance of street markets in the UK as spaces of sociality and interaction. Market stall holders, market shoppers, council officers were interviewed in eight localities across the UK, as well as key players in the market policy arena. A monograph reporting on the findings from the Project was published by Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Policy Press and launched at the annual conference of British Market Authorities in Glasgow September 2006 - where Sophie Watson gave a key note address. The report concluded that markets represented an important social space for a diversity of social groups, particularly for older people and young single parents. Markets, when strategically planned and run, could perform a number of crucial social and economic roles in a local community. However, a lack of national and local policy on markets had contributed to their decline in many areas. Where strategic intervention has occurred these processes of decline had been reversed.
- Report (external link)
Studying Elites: Theory, Evidence, Practice
Seminar Series funded by the ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) and based at the University of Manchester. Convenors: Mick Moran, Julie Froud (Manchester), Yuval Millo (London School of Economics), Glenn Morgan (University of Warwick)
Dates: April 2009 to September 2010
The seminar series is intended to help bring elites research back onto the social science agenda and will do so by building on existing work and networks created within and around CRESC (the ESRC Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change at the University of Manchester and the Open University). CRESC has already focused on elites – political, economic and cultural – as one of the unifying themes of its programme of work, and in doing so has confirmed a growing, though currently dispersed, interest in a range of new elite groups by social scientists from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds. This seminar series aims to contribute to the revival of the tradition of elite research, to discuss the latest research findings and to generate exchanges within a broad multi-disciplinary research community which will stimulate fresh work. Over a series of four meetings we will examine the intellectual history of elite studies, and their contemporary significance in a range of critical social sites – political, financial, corporate, economic and cultural. The membership of the seminar will be truly cross-disciplinary, drawing on the networks which have already been created through earlier activities organised for the wider academic community by CRESC.
Tuning In: Diasporic contact zones at BBC World Service
AHRC Diasporas, Migration and Identities Research Programme
Funded by the AHRC (Arts and Humanities Resarch Council) and based at the Open University.
This project is directed by Marie Gillespie, Jason Toynbee, Kath Woodward, David Herbert, Farida Vis and Andrew Hill
Dates: 1/1/2007 to 31/12/2009
This is a collaborative project involving CRESC Theme 2 Media researchers as well as scholars from the UK and around the world.
Using Text Mining for Frame Analysis of Media Content
This project brings together researchers from a range of disciplines, based at three prominent UK research centres: the National Centre for e Social Sciences (NCeSS), the National Centre for Text Mining (NaCTEM), CRESC, as well as advice from media researchers at Loughborough University. The project aims to assess whether and how tools developed for text mining, which have had a strong uptake in the natural sciences, can be adapted and introduced into the social sciences. This project brings together software developers and social scientists, identified as the main end users of the tools. Frame analysis is widely used in the social sciences, especially within Media and Communications Studies and already involves the use of certain software packages. The project is concerned with examining if these can be improved and at what stages in the frame analysis process text mining tools may make a significant difference to the social scientist in carrying out the task.
The topic of the frame analysis for the project is concerned with the introduction of the National Identity Scheme in the UK. A frame analysis will be carried out on all national newspapers for the period Feb – May 2008, to include the announcement of the Home Secretary who launched the Delivery Plan in early March. This work is carried out by the frame analyst at NCeSS and shadowed by a text miner from NaCTEM to better understand how the process can be improved.
To date we have submitted our first project report to JISC and have completed the building of the main corpus that will be analysed. Work from this first stage of the project was presented at a workshop, part of the NCeSS conference (18-20 June 2008). A series of workshops, tutorials as well as journal publications are planned.
Women in NorthWest Shared Services
Funded by the EU and based at the Mancheater Business School. Research Team: Debra Howcroft, Susanne Langer, Chris Westrup
The overall aim of the WiSS research project is to investigate the shared services sector in NorthWest England, paying particular attention to the sector’s potential to provide high quality employment for women. Shared service centres arose from the centralisation of dispersed, back office activities, such as finance and accounting, human resources management and IT support. They have been in existence for around a decade and are subject to rapid expansion. This growth entails both changes in the pattern of work being performed and their location. Given the increased numbers of women entering the workforce along with the essentialist association of ‘office work’ with feminine skills, shared services potentially offer new opportunities for female employees.
The project adopted a mixed methods approach. Our intention being to use multiple methods of engagement (interviews, observation, a questionnaire, documentation) with multiple actors and agencies (shared services divisions, outsourcers, development agencies, business forums, recruiters, workers) in multiple locations over a period of time to seek to understand both the homogeneity and heterogeneity of how shared services work is changing. The findings are presented within the broader context of women’s position in the workplace and the emergence of the shared services sector. The survey highlighted the feminised nature of shared services work and this was investigated further using detailed interviews and participant observation. The research highlights the complexity of gender issues within this sector, the fast pace of change within the environment, the tensions between autonomy and flexibility for employees, and issues of skills and recruitment. A number of policy recommendations have also been suggested which aim to encourage the creation of working practices which can foster improved conditions for the employment of women workers within this emerging sector.
EastBordNet: Remaking eastern borders in Europe: A network exploring social, moral and material relocations of Europe's eastern peripheries.
Funded by COST (European Cooperation in the Field of Scientific and Technical Research), and chaired by CRESC member Sarah Green (email@example.com), EastBordNet developed out of two workshops held in 2006 and 2007. The 2006 workshop was sponsored by CRESC, the British Academy and Social Anthropology at Manchester, and let to the development of what is now a 25-country research network with more than 270 members.
The original overall aims of EastBordNet:
The main aim of EastBordNet is to explore transformations of ‘Eastern’ European borders, comparing knowledge across disciplines, time periods and regions.
Part of this involves focusing on shifts in how places and peoples are valued within and across borders, including shifts in the meaning and location of “Europe” itself. In this, borders are not taken for granted; rather, the aim is to compare findings about the constant process through which borders appear, disappear, reappear and are reconfigured.
The themes of money, gender and sexuality - which always mark differences between people and places, but also involve exchanges and relations across differences – are themes some participants use to examine the expression of diverse values across and within borders.
EastBordNet works to understand how borders are made meaningful or rendered irrelevant, how they generate a sense of location, belonging, worth, distance or alienation. EastBordNet brings together a wide range of people: it particularly includes specialists working on the borderlands running from the north-east (Baltics and environs) to the south-east (Balkans and environs), but it also involves many others, including those working across the post-socialist regions of Europe (e.g. Poland and former East Germany), and those mainly interested in the conceptual and analytical means used to understand the themes of the network (borders, money, gender and sexuality).
Keyword relating to the interests of the network:
Eastern European borders; post-socialist transformation; value; money; gender; sexuality; identity and difference; cross-border exchange; border visibility; north-eastern, south-eastern Europe; mobility; border histories; border documents; concepts of East and Eastern; East-West distinctions; Balkans; Baltic states; place, location and belonging.