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International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy
Number of Followers: 55  
  Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
ISSN (Print) 0144-333X
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  • Social networks, accessed and mobilised social capital and the employment
           status of older workers
    • Pages: 356 - 375
      Abstract: International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Volume 39, Issue 5/6, Page 356-375, June 2019.
      Purpose The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the importance of social networks, and the social capital embedded in them, to secure employment if someone had become unemployed after the age of 50 years and to reveal the process of accessing and mobilising that social capital. Design/methodology/approach A case study of a Scottish labour market was undertaken which involved an interview-based survey of those who became unemployed in their early 50’s and tried to regain employment. The interview had structured and unstructured parts which allowed both quantitative and qualitative analysis to compare those who were successful in regaining work with those who were not. The uniqueness of the paper is the use of social network components while controlling for other socio-economic and demographic variables in job search of older workers. Findings Those older people who were unemployed and, returned to employment (reemployed) had a higher proportion of contacts with higher prestige jobs, their job searching methods were mainly interpersonal and the rate of finding their last job via their social networks was higher than those who remained unemployed. Both groups mobilised social capital (MSC), but those reemployed accessed higher “quality” social capital. “Strong ties”, rather than “weak ties”, were found to be important in accessing and mobilising social capital for the older workers who returned to employment. Research limitations/implications This work is limited to a local labour market and is based on a small but informative sample. However, it does show that policy is required to allow older people to enhance their social networks by strengthening the social capital embedded in the networks. The results support the use of intermediaries as bridges to help compensate for older people who have weak social networks. Besides the policy implications, the paper also has two distinct research implications. First, the use of social network component to the existing literature of older workers’ job search. Second, exploring the type and relational strength with network members to explain older workers’ reemployment. Practical implications The paper illustrates that how accessed and MSC can be measured. Social implications As populations age, this work points to an approach to support older people to re-enter employment and to include them in society. Originality/value The paper extends social network and employment literature to fill gaps on how older people require to both access and mobilise social capital. The importance of “strong ties” in the reemployment of older workers contrasts with much of the literature on younger workers where the “strength of weak ties” so far has been regarded as essential for successful job search. Measures are forwarded to reveal the relevance of social capital. The policy value of the work is in suggesting ways to facilitate older people re-enter or remain in work and hence sustain their well-being.
      Citation: International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy
      PubDate: 2019-05-28T09:37:08Z
      DOI: 10.1108/IJSSP-07-2018-0111
  • Abandon canon in American sociology
    • Pages: 494 - 504
      Abstract: International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Volume 39, Issue 5/6, Page 494-504, June 2019.
      Purpose The purpose of this paper is to challenge the practice of having, using and constructing any canon in the sociological theory. This paper argues that the elitism of American sociology and the forms of inequality it engenders are sustained by the construction of a canon itself. Design/methodology/approach This paper adopts a conceptual approach to examine the problems of research practice, academic writing, inequality and empirical translation that canonical thinking engenders within the academy and beyond. Findings Reflecting on the problems outlined, this paper articulates a more democratic agenda for treating canon in research and education by drawing upon standards of practice in ethnography, participatory action research and Southern Theory. Originality/value This paper interrogates the relations of domination that remain at work in the discipline and that which concern the elite position of American sociology itself.
      Citation: International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy
      PubDate: 2019-05-28T09:37:14Z
      DOI: 10.1108/IJSSP-02-2019-0049
  • Precarity in Russia: attitudes, work and life experience of young adults
           with higher education
    • Abstract: International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Ahead of Print.
      Purpose The purpose of this paper is to show how young educated adults in the state of precarity perceive the lack of stability in their employment, life and prospects, and what influences their decision making with respect to their career. Design/methodology/approach Qualitative research on evidence from ten semi-structured in-depth interviews. The method of analysis is consensual qualitative research. Findings Young Russian adults in the state of precarity have little interest in stable employment, believing it imposes inadequately tight constraints in terms of work organisation, as compared to the potentially modest returns in terms of career development and professional self-actualisation. The respondents tend to choose work which corresponds to the rhythm of their lives and preferences. They are willing to sacrifice stability and higher income in the hope of achieving career success and financial prosperity in the future. They do not hope for or expect assistance from the state but feel fully responsible for their own lives. The downside of this optimism is the lack of long-term plans and, hence, the uncertainty of the future. Originality/value The authors not only consider the state of precarity as an effect of structural factors such as the state of the labour market, but also aim to show the role of the worker’s agency in creating such a situation. Instead of the conventional view of precarious individuals solely as victims of circumstances, this study suggests to regard them as actors whose experience, goals and aspirations determine career and life choices.
      Citation: International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy
      PubDate: 2019-06-17T10:44:41Z
      DOI: 10.1108/IJSSP-10-2018-0163
  • Conceptualizing professional and public interest in the context of
           Turkey’s health care reforms
    • Abstract: International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Ahead of Print.
      Purpose The purpose of this paper is to investigate physicians’ response to reforms in Turkey on the basis of their experience of the changes in the daily work environment. It aims to bridge the gap between health policy and sociology of professions literatures to explain why some public-sector physicians have opposed the recent reforms. Design/methodology/approach The research adopts a qualitative methodology including semi-structured interviews and content analysis. The fieldwork involves collecting information through written documents and interviews with 23 physicians working in public tertiary hospitals in one large city. Findings Physicians’ response combines a concern with material interests, previously conceptualized in terms of erosion of autonomy, with anxiety over damage to their professional image and social status. The particular reform discourse adopted by policymakers disrupts the existing constructions of harmony in the professional discourse between the public and professional interests, and between social value and material interests. Research limitations/implications One major limitation of this paper is its exploratory nature and analysis based on one case study. Future studies that adopt a cross-country comparative approach could help addressing concerns of limited generalizability. Originality/value Earlier social science literature on health reforms has explained physicians’ opposition in terms of protecting their professional self-interest and fighting against any regulation that could limit their income or autonomy. The paper adopts a broader definition of interests that goes beyond this materialist conception and includes subjective ideas about interests such as values and beliefs about how they serve the public interest. This definition allows us to unpack the relationship between interest and autonomy.
      Citation: International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy
      PubDate: 2019-06-17T10:40:20Z
      DOI: 10.1108/IJSSP-03-2019-0054
  • Geographic inequality and ethnic stratification in China, 2000 to 2010
    • Abstract: International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Ahead of Print.
      Purpose The purpose of this paper is to extend current knowledge by focusing on three geographic factors (minority-Han residential segregation, rural-urban disparities and regional differences) and their effects on educational and occupational outcomes of Chinese ethnic minorities from 2000 to 2010. Design/methodology/approach Data from the 2000 and 2010 Chinese decennial censuses were used, and both descriptive and multivariate analyses were conducted. Findings Results revel that there were regional differences in terms of educational segregation between minorities and the Han. It was also difficult for minority groups that were residentially segregated from the Han and mainly located in rural areas or western/southeastern regions to obtain high-level education. When minority groups were residentially segregated from the Han, they tended to have higher levels of occupational segregation from the Han; while minority groups with larger percentages of rural residents tended to have smaller percentages of people obtained high-status occupations. Despite China’s rapid social and economic development, ethnic disparities in education did not significantly change, and ethnic gaps in occupational attainment were widened from 2000 to 2010. Social implications Geographic sources of ethnic conflicts in China should not be overlooked, and future researchers should also conduct studies on Chinese ethnic minorities at individual or household level. Originality/value This study contributes to the literature in two major ways: first, all Chinese minority groups were included in the analyses to clarify intra-ethnic differences; second, data from two Chinese decennial censuses and longitudinal statistical modeling were used to investigate the effect of time on ethnic stratification.
      Citation: International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy
      PubDate: 2019-06-17T10:34:39Z
      DOI: 10.1108/IJSSP-03-2019-0057
  • Motivations and challenges of women entrepreneurs
    • First page: 338
      Abstract: International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Ahead of Print.
      Purpose The purpose of this paper is to explore the motivations and key challenges women entrepreneurs experience in running small businesses in the Jaipur city of Rajasthan. Design/methodology/approach A purposive sample of 13 women entrepreneurs from a cross-section of enterprises is selected. A qualitative methodology based upon semi-structured, in-depth, exploratory interviews with female entrepreneurs is used which enables the respondents to give voice to their individual experiences. Findings The study reveals that pull factors including the urge for creativity, innovation, self-identity and independence, and to serve the society are the main motivations for female entrepreneurs to start their venture. From the institutional theory perspective, the challenges of female entrepreneurs originate mainly from informal institutions. A significant challenge is that their ability as a professional entrepreneur is not recognized and acknowledged by the society. Furthermore, the cultural norms reflected in the gender-specific role distribution result in the problem of work–life balance. The challenges emerging from the formal institutions do not appear to be pervasive and gender specific. Originality/value The unique contribution of the study is to provide evidences on the motivations and challenges of women entrepreneurs in Rajasthan based on qualitative data derived from in-depth interviews. Furthermore, the study is the first attempt to view the motivations and challenges of female entrepreneurs from an institutional perspective for India in general and Rajasthan in particular.
      Citation: International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy
      PubDate: 2019-04-09T11:30:26Z
      DOI: 10.1108/IJSSP-09-2018-0146
  • The strong, the weak and the meaningful
    • First page: 376
      Abstract: International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Ahead of Print.
      Purpose Governments increasingly promote employment through social networks (whether via formal job networks or informal personal networks). However, they rarely account for how weak-tie “bridging” networks and strong-tie “bonding” networks differentially affect employment outcomes. Given criticism that (usually weak-tie bridging-focussed) formal job networks are overly focussed on finding entry-level (i.e. any) jobs, it is imperative to understand the impact of strong and weak ties on securing work with good conditions, or of meaning to the worker. Such links are poorly understood in the present literature. The paper aims to discuss this issue. Design/methodology/approach This study uses national Australian survey data to assess whether support from close “friends” or distant “acquaintances” is associated with employment outcomes such as finding any work or “meaningful” work. Findings The results show that relatively distant ties (close acquaintances) and emotional support from friends are each associated with reduced chances of being an unemployed/discouraged worker. Stronger ties (close friends) are associated with better chances of a having a “meaningful” job. Practical implications More attention should be paid to tie strength dynamics and meaningful employment outcomes in the delivery of employment services. In particular, a role for active “close-tie brokers” in promoting networks should be investigated, instead of expecting/pushing the unemployed to rely on either extremely close or distant connections. Originality/value This is the first study to find a link between network type and meaningful work, which has important implications for the delivery of employment services.
      Citation: International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy
      PubDate: 2019-04-29T09:42:48Z
      DOI: 10.1108/IJSSP-11-2018-0193
  • To what extent does China’s aid in Africa affect traditional
    • First page: 395
      Abstract: International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Ahead of Print.
      Purpose The purpose of this paper is to examine whether the welfare and social policy ideas that characterize Chinese aid in Africa are influencing traditional donors and becoming global. Design/methodology/approach The paper utilised a qualitative study that has two main components: first, a comprehensive content analysis of over 50 key Sino–African, Chinese and Western policy documents from 2000 (since cooperation between Beijing and African countries first became institutionalised); and, second, there were semi-structured interviews with Chinese, African and Western stakeholders in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), who were directly involved in the relationship between China and Africa and related development issues. Findings The results of documentation and interview analyses show that there are currently significant differences between Chinese and Western approaches. China has developed much stronger and more explicit links between development aid and economic activity than most Western donors. The aid is usually implemented through specific projects rather than broader programmes or policies. Originality/value It is reasonable to assume that the new developments initiated by the Agency’s international pioneers are likely to be a new emerging trend. As the conditions and processes of social policy design in developing countries are so closely linked with the ideas of international development institutions (if not predetermined), a possible change in the direction of travel of the ideas and activities of this community requires close coordination analysis and evaluation.
      Citation: International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy
      PubDate: 2019-05-07T02:32:59Z
      DOI: 10.1108/IJSSP-01-2019-0003
  • “Please give me an invoice”: VAT evasion and the Portuguese
           tax lottery
    • First page: 412
      Abstract: International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Ahead of Print.
      Purpose The Portuguese tax authority implemented a lottery to encourage citizens to request invoices as a strategy to fight value-added tax (VAT) evasion. As the law does not require citizens to request sales invoices with the consumers’ tax number, doing so is a form of voluntary cooperation in tracking down tax evaders. The purpose of this paper is to understand why ordinary citizens decide to join forces with tax authorities in the fight against VAT evasion by requesting invoices with their tax identification number. Design/methodology/approach An empirical study was conducted to explore the underlying motivation for Portuguese consumers to request sales invoices with their personal tax identification. The study combines quantitative and qualitative data. Findings The results from this study show that rewarding citizens is clearly a factor to be considered in any policy to maximize citizens’ cooperation in tracking down tax evaders. They indicate that fiscal benefits have a stronger effect on the request of invoices than the lottery and that it is necessary to promote good governance and justice. Practical implications Findings should be used to inform a cost-effective public policy that takes into account citizens’ concerns and combine deterrent measures and rewards in the form of tax benefits, rather than tax lotteries. Originality/value This paper provides new insights into VAT lotteries, which seem to be increasingly favored by policy makers but are an area under-researched. By recommending a course of action to maximize citizens’ cooperation in tracking down tax evaders, the paper provides useful practical implications and is a contribution for the study of VAT evasion policies.
      Citation: International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy
      PubDate: 2019-04-17T10:07:42Z
      DOI: 10.1108/IJSSP-07-2018-0120
  • Historical policies affecting women’s military and family roles
    • First page: 427
      Abstract: International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Ahead of Print.
      Purpose The US military depends on women to meet recruiting goals, but women participate at lower rates than men. Theorists suggest that military and family policies affect women’s lower participation. Research has confirmed the impact of policy changes on women’s military service during specific time periods. The purpose of this paper is to examine how and when military policies affecting women developed over the course of history, exploring two related hypotheses: first, when women’s military participation is vital, policies affecting their military and family roles punctuate in tandem, and second, cultural values impact policy solutions to reconcile women’s roles. Design/methodology/approach Punctuated equilibrium and a women’s military participation theory informed the hypotheses. US Census and Defense Department data were used to identify periods of service when women’s military participation was vital. Historical policies were mapped and analyzed to identify policy patterns and themes affecting women’s military participation 1895–2015. Findings Evidence supports both hypotheses. When women are needed during wartimes, policies simultaneously encourage their service and regulate their family roles. However, policies evolved from separating servicewomen’s roles prior to the 1970s (e.g. prohibiting motherhood), to supporting their families (e.g. maternity leave) – a shift precipitated by sweeping changes in broader society and the military’s change from the draft to an All-Volunteer Force. Originality/value Findings elucidate the link between military and family policies affecting US women’s military participation and retention. Results may inform policy advocacy aimed at optimizing the US Department of Defense’s diversity efforts.
      Citation: International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy
      PubDate: 2019-04-10T02:49:50Z
      DOI: 10.1108/IJSSP-01-2019-0010
  • The effect of enabling factors on social innovation in Russian non-profit
    • First page: 447
      Abstract: International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Ahead of Print.
      Purpose This paper explores the factors that are associated with a capacity of non-profits to develop social innovations (SIs). The purpose of this paper is to examine factors in the Russian national context with weak non-profit sector with an ambiguous governmental policy toward the sector. Design/methodology/approach The study is based on survey data (n=850 NPOs, 2015, Russia). The paper analyses the likelihood of a non-profit to introduce SIs due to external framework and organizational factors. Regression analysis was applied in the study. The study is based on a new sampling approach and examines non-profits as producers of SIs, but not cases of SIs per se. Findings The results demonstrate that the capacity of an NPO to develop SIs is explained by the following enabling factors: cross-boundary collaborative relations, volunteer involvement and diversity of the revenue structure. Composition of innovative sub-sector, opportunities and chances of getting into this group are explicitly determined and regulated by the current governmental policy toward the sector. That is that large and established non-profits are more likely to be innovative in Russia, unlike expected grass-roots. Originality/value The paper applies a theoretical framework to analyze the SI concept in a non-western context with weak civil society and an influential government. From this perspective, the results present empirical quantitative verification of the determinants of SI capacity of NPOs. The paper is among the first to apply a reverse sampling principle and examine SIs via NPOs as producers. The paper produced, for the first time, an empirical description of the nature of innovative activity by NPOs and an estimation of the extent of this activity in Russia.
      Citation: International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy
      PubDate: 2019-05-07T02:41:59Z
      DOI: 10.1108/IJSSP-09-2018-0140
  • “It’s a bit of freedom away from home and cleaning all the
    • First page: 464
      Abstract: International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Ahead of Print.
      Purpose Much has been written over the past 50 years about the concerns associated with the educational underachievement of Gypsy children in England. This work has usually focussed on ethnicity and mobility as key factors that affect school attendance. However, it is only relatively recently that a concern with gender relations has entered the debate. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to provide an empirically driven contribution to this fledging area of enquiry. Design/methodology/approach This paper draws on semi-structured interview material and a focus group discussion about the educational experiences and aspirations of three mothers and six young women from the community. Further, interview materials were collected from two head teachers with Gypsy children in their schools and two Traveller Education Support Staff. Findings This paper finds how educational “public” space is providing a place for girls and young women to think differently and even begin to challenge the gender regimes embedded within the “private” space of their communities. Originality/value In line with the idea that space and place are fundamental in formulating gender relations, this paper frames this phenomenon within a socio-spatial context.
      Citation: International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy
      PubDate: 2019-05-07T02:55:40Z
      DOI: 10.1108/IJSSP-01-2019-0020
  • What difference does the context of activation make' Challenges and
           innovations in the Italian and Norwegian local welfare
    • First page: 478
      Abstract: International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Ahead of Print.
      Purpose The purpose of this paper is to analyze the role of trans-contextual processes of implementation and governance in the transformation of social and labor inclusion policies in Norway and Italy, including research and practical implications. Design/methodology/approach It combines qualitative case studies with a framework that makes them comparable, namely, the Logics of Welfare. Findings Differences and similarities are related to regimes’ path dependencies as well as interactions between bottom-up and top-down dynamics of implementation. Their shifting logics and patterns enhance or hinder the local actors’ agency and enactment, and the systems’ capability to reduce the risks of exclusion. Results and the ways in which they are achieved are different, although in both cases the inclusion in the labor market remains a contended issue. Research limitations/implications The comparison is based on two case studies. A further development of in-depth comparative analysis may improve our understanding of the role of contexts in the implementation of policy reforms. Practical implications Reforms have limited capacity to achieve the expected outcomes, including due to a limited understanding of context-based factors. Practitioners and policy makers should take greater account of the latter and their active role in modifying them. Social implications This paper provides a deeper comprehension on how policy practices affect citizens’ hard pathways toward inclusion. Originality/value Through a comparative context-based analysis, the paper shows important differences, similarities and shifting modes of operation in activation policy as well as the role of socio-organizational contexts and bottom-up mobilizations. It looks forward to the possible added value derived from a wider testing of such approaches.
      Citation: International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy
      PubDate: 2019-05-14T10:47:45Z
      DOI: 10.1108/IJSSP-11-2018-0196
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