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 First Published: September 24: 2015
The Humanion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sociology Arkive Year Alpha and Beta

2015-16 and 2016-17

Year Gamma Arkive

 

 

 

Society has neither structure nor shape nor there are dignitaries such as President or Chair or Prime Minister or Chancellor; it is, therefore, as open, as shapeless but  as real as the Universe itself, which contains everything and enables their very existence within the bounds of its own laws that are invisibly at work without fail. The Universe can simply be seen as the expression of liberty and so can society be seen as mirroring this. From that liberty of the Universe and Society we seek the laws that set the perimeter of that expression of liberty which concerns humanity so that we find the shape, size and contents of equality and then go about seeking to achieve that equality for without equality liberty does and cannot exist. And because we have not achieved equality we find all societies in the world are doing nothing but bleeding for the wounded liberty and thus, gasping equality with it because it cannot be. One cannot exist without the other: if one is hurt both bleed. In ordinary everyday terms: liberty and equality can be said as being: soul-mates. Or the other way to look at liberty and equality is to say: no one can say where neurology begins and ends and cardiology ends or begins for both reach and cover the entire physiology: Liberty and Equality are like that so that it is impossible to separate them; neither can live alone nor separately. They are one as two or two as one. The purpose of sociology is to bring them both to life in one as one as two or two as one. The purpose of sociology is to bring them both to life: liberty and equality so that both exist equally, one being the other or being one together and in them humanity finds its home at homeostasis, which is now, thus, made of natural justice, where purpose and meaning are planted and harvested, through human endeavours of creativity, imagination, ingenuity and work. The Humanion.

Inspiring Others: Briony Turner: The Impact Champion 2016: King's College London

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Humanical Perspective of Sociology

Imagine, a tiny village in the wide expanse of a valley of a mountain that overlooks two countries on its either side beneath almost an infinite sky hanging down with a display of wonderful skyscapes: open fields and valleys, rivers and lakes, hills and groves marking the map with nature's bounties. Through that tiny village go parallel a high way and a railway line linking the wider world to the village, stopping at the tiny railway station with white sign boards marking the station that is lamped with old Victorian lanterns. There is the station office and there is a tiny cafeteria served by a very old man of almost 90. There is a primary school, secondary school, which feed into colleges and universities that are in the wider world, two small markets, connected to the wider market and its chain, a mosque, a temple, a church, a pagoda, a synagogue, linked and connected to the wider spheres of faiths. There are playing fields, farmlands where people are living and going about their business of life. All this is connected to this: social interactions of people, among and between them through established rules and customs and through and by organisations, institutions and structures that they have developed to support them in living life which is to be able to imagine, create and live. To be useful to others as well as oneself and one's family and community. So the Station Master sells tickets, the Station Porter goes up and lights up those old Victorian Lanterns at dusk and puts them off when the trains stop for the day, the old man who did not have to work still gets up at three o'clock in the morning to open his cafe which his family asks him to stop doing but he does so that the people for the early dawn train would find warmth and can have a drink, the Doctor goes about seeing her patients, the chemist goes about offering medications to people, the religious persons go about doing their parts in the 'temples' mentioned, the primary and secondary school teachers go about teaching, the farmers and fishermen go about fishing, the cafes and restaurants go about serving people, the social, political and cultural spheres work on. The study of all this is to understand how this network of people and organisations and the culture that they help create work, develop and run on and this study is the domain of sociology which means it cannot be done properly unless it has an eye in the depth of understanding the political, economical and  jurisprudential philosophy and the management systems that they have created that go towards creating and enabling that culture to which Sociology tries to offer its lights. On a humanical perspective sociology is a tool to understand the inner striving of humanity to create peace and stability through which life is supported, enabled and nurtured which means to achieve natural justice, liberty and equality for only which establishes the due process of law in which the rule of law is the 'nature' of society and the people who live in it being purposeful and useful to wider life while being able to support and develop their own, being at liberty, being at equality and protected by the same laws that protect everyone else equally and at all times. Munayem Mayenin: Editor: Posted on: November 14, 2015

Professor Emily Grundy Appointed as Director of the Institute for Social and Economic Research

Image: University of Essex

 

|| July 04: 2017: University of Essex News || ά. Professor Emily Grundy will become Director of the Institute for Social and Economic Research:ISER at the University of Essex from October this year. Professor Grundy, currently Professor of Demography at the London School of Economics:LSE, will join ISER as Director and Professor of Population Science, in succession to Professor Nick Buck.

Before her appointment at LSE, Professor Grundy was Professor of Demography at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine:LSHTM, where she is now an Honorary Professor. She previously led a National Centre for Research Methods, node, based at LSHTM and has collaborative links with a range of universities in the UK and elsewhere in Europe. Her research is focussed largely on the social support and intergenerational relationships of older people and on trends and differentials in later life health, disability and mortality. She has a particular interest in associations between family trajectories and health and disability at older ages.

Professor Grundy is a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences and has various national and international roles, including serving as Council Member for Europe for the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population and Chair of the UK Population Investigation Committee.

Professor Grundy said, “I am really excited to be joining ISER and the University of Essex. ISER has been at the forefront of both leading data collection and data analysis and interpretation for many years and has served as a model for many international institutes. The synergies with other activities at the University of Essex, and the support ISER has received from the University, have contributed greatly to its success.

I look forward to working with colleagues in ISER and the rest of the University to help maintain and develop further the role and reach of ISER as a world leading institute.”

Pro-Vice-Chancellor Research at Essex Professor Heather Laurie MBE welcomed Professor Grundy’s appointment, 'We are absolutely delighted to be welcoming Emily Grundy as the next Director of ISER and Professor of Population Science. ISER is a flagship social research institute that is responsible for the management of Understanding Society, the UK Household Longitudinal Panel Survey as well as being home to the ESRC Research Centre on Micro-Social Change and Euromod, our ground-breaking EU micro-simulation project.

Emily brings with her a wealth of experience in the field of demography adding another dimension to the world-class research carried out within ISER. Under Emily’s leadership we expect ISER to continue to grow in stature and reputation and to produce the next generation of high quality evidence-based research to inform current policy challenges and our understanding of the complex world in which we live.” ω.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Dramatic Differences Spotted in Chimpanzee Communities

Image: Cat Hobaiter and Jakob Villioth 2017

|| June 26: 2017: University of St Andrews News || ά. Dramatic differences in chimp societies, discovered by researchers at the University of St Andrews, reveal variations in social status and sharing food, as seen in human cultures. The study, published in PLOS ONE found that two chimpanzee communities in Uganda had strikingly different attitudes to hunting and how they shared meat. Scientists from the University of St Andrews, University of Neuchatel and the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig used 27 years of observations to study the hunting behaviour of two neighbouring chimpanzee communities in the Budongo Forest, Uganda.

Dr Catherine Hobaiter, Lead Author, said, “The differences in hunting between these communities are dramatic – so we wanted to try to understand why. They live in the same forest and have access to the same prey, but they hunt for different species and seem to share food differently.” The Sonso community, studied for 27 years, prefers to hunt for black and white colobus monkeys. After catching a monkey the high-ranking males take possession of the carcass, even when they weren’t the ones to catch it. Other group members then beg for access to the food, which is sometimes shared.

The Waibira community, studied for six years, currently prefers to hunt for duiker, a type of small antelope, especially red duiker, a species the Sonso chimpanzees have never been seen to hunt. Waibira, also, hunt for several other species, including monkeys. After catching prey, lower-ranking group members, even young females, are able to take and keep possession of the carcass.

The researchers suggest that some differences between the groups, such as the hunting of red duiker, may just reflect a preference for different types of food. Other differences may represent variation in social behaviour.

Dr Hobaiter said, “One of the most remarkable differences we see is in how the groups share meat. In Sonso it is rank based, the most dominant chimp gets the meat, even if he wasn’t the one that caught it. In Waibira we sometimes see younger individuals, even young females, keep the whole carcass and even if it’s the alpha male who arrives, she’ll refuse to share it.”

Further differences may be due to the impact that acclimatisation to human presence has on the chimpanzees. The types of prey hunted in Waibira today are similar to those recorded in the early years of research in the Sonso community. Regular colobus hunting only emerged in Sonso after around 15 years of research; a similar pattern has been recorded at other long-term sites where chimpanzees switched to regular colobus hunting after many years of observation.

Dr Hobaiter concluded: “Long-term research with wild chimpanzees brings real conservation benefits, but we have to remember that our presence can affect their behaviour; in this case the group hunting used to catch colobus monkeys may take years to re-establish.”

Chimpanzees are widely considered the most ‘cultural’ species of non-human animals. This study emphasizes that cultural, social, environmental and human factors all contribute to the differences we see between chimpanzee communities today.
ω.

The Paper: ‘Variation in hunting behaviour in neighbouring chimpanzee communities in the Budongo forest, Uganda’ by Catherine Hobaiter, Liran Samuni, Caroline Mullins, Walter John Akankwasa and Klaus Zuberbühleris published in the 21.06.17 issue of PLOS ONE. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0178065

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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On the Sociology of Evil

Original Image: Maynooth University

|| May 27: 2017: Munayem Mayenin Writing || ά. Picking the thread from what has been written about the Sociology of Evil, let us try and see what it is, that is being called as the sociology of evil. The term evil has many meanings, but readers will quickly think of the 'religious' definition of evil. Where as in this piece, Sociology of Evil does not intend to invoke any religious sense of the term evil. Here, evil is used as a real state, that can be found in all the spheres of society, that is essentially antagonistic to what is deemed as 'social good' or 'common good', or 'general good'. So, a 'good sociological state' is, suppose, in a case, when a child is hurt, the state suggests and makes it an imperative for anyone, who is able to do so, in the sense that, those at the immediate vicinity of the incident, will do everything in their power to aid the hurt child. Or widening it further, that ensuring the safety, well being and protection from harms, of all children is a state of good. Where as evil state would be to do the opposite and deliberately lets, supports and strengthen everything so that the opposite of good or evil becomes stronger.

Sociology of evil is not imaginary or unreal but very much real and no one can deny that this state of evil does exist because there are many instances of things, events, acts, deeds, where one can not see any good in them but the absolute opposite of what is good being expressed in such things. And like good acts or good deeds inspires others to follow and do and be more good, the evil acts and deeds, too, do a similar job, except here a new term has been created to describe that, to despire. When evil acts and deeds are celebrated by their followers and they use these to recruit more to the evil ways or paths they are seeking to 'despire' people to feel strengthened by these horrific examples of evil, that they do not see as horrific because they have got the yardstick upside down so that what is good to many is not good in their eyes so that what is evil to most eyes  to them they look and are good. And having seen that evil acts and deeds the followers of such evils are 'despired' to follow and do and be more evil and they seek to use these evil acts and deeds to despire others to follow the evil suit.

Now, good essentially relates to states of what we call humanity. These states or straits or characteristics, forming what is termed as 'good', are seen being expressed in natural human beings, that we call humanity. And there are a range of states or qualities or characteristics, that show or express humanity and put them all together one might say, these straits, characteristics, qualities make what humanity is constituted with and by. In other words, humanity is good, except here we find the 'thorn' in that good, that there exists a lower end, in this humanity, should it fail to choose to rise above it and roam in higher plains of existence and guard that state so that one does not fall downhill to the lower end, where it appears the 'evil' seems to fester on, seeking and keeping a 'wigil', for the human soul to 'falter' and fall and get fed to become strong and rise to take over humanity. And therefore, there is this duality in humanity and, paradoxically, that is where the choice lies and that is where the so called 'free will' resides. If there is no bad or evil, than good can be seen as a white blank piece of paper where one is writing with white ink. Thereby, here is the choice and here is free will and both signify that humans choose to the form and manner of existence so that they choose that form and posit that possibility of Being and Becoming Good, that is set and structured against and apart from what is evil and now that one has created a lamp against the dark one now clearly can see where the border lies and one keeps on choosing that light and strengthening that light so that it illumines brighter and illumines further so that one can see further and clearer.

In looking at the sociology of evil we must look at a good state: which exists in a spectrum so that, being kind or kindness is a state that spreads out. What is the 'evil state', that is opposite of that state of kindness? Imagine that a state of cruelty as a darkness. The closest point where this state of cruelty reaches the farthest state of kindness is such point where kindness would be the weakest and cruelty, too, would be at its weakest. But from here if one goes towards the centre of cruelty one will get to find this state is getting stronger and stronger and if one starts from that weak-point juncture and walks towards the central region of kindness state one will find kindness is becoming stronger and stronger. Now, when the state of kindness is well set and society is a field and spheres of infinity of expressions and exercises of that state of kindness it inspires everyone else and makes them stronger to be more powerful with and in their kindness and their observance, thoughts, imagination, creation, actions, interactions, interchanges, acts and deeds of kindness for this kindness is expressed in all these various mediums of expressions, that in turn can be seen as the lamp of kindness becoming stronger and brighter so that it illumines further and the illumination is stronger even at the furthest end whereby that will make the cruelty state retreat further and nearer the end of the kindness state it will become fainter and fainter as it retreats.

And this is why one act of kindness inspires many many acts of kindness and it does not stop there: it becomes literally as if one needed to light up a candle and another offers them theirs so that the person lights up and the lamp is kept on an on going, from one to the other, travelling on and on, lighting more and more candles of kindness, whereby it lights candles, one after another candle and it keeps on getting passed on. Such a society makes an eternal fountain of that state of kindness and it gets stronger and stronger and its lights illumines further and further and illumines things brighter and for further and whereby it presses away, rejects and repels the state of cruelty to retreat so that there is created a state, a 'no one's space' between kindness and cruelty, that acts as a shield so that cruelty now cannot even touch the last frontier of the kindness state and, further, that even beyond this shield, cruelty begins to get weakened and retreats further and further as it kept getting weaker and weaker.

Now, this demonstrates the point that a society that fosters this state of kindness is effectively making it impossible for cruelty to take on humanity, fight, defeat and triumph over it. Because the state of kindness is so strong and because of this it has created this shielding state between itself and cruelty and made cruelty weaken so far and so much that it has retreated at the furthest point. But, on the other hand, when society begins to get weaken and kindness begins to get weaken because people are beginning to not show kindness and that means an absence of kindness will begin to exist, which essentially means that the light of kindness has almost died way and the sphere has gone almost dark and now one can see the the darkness of cruelty is shining brightly dark and this non-lit sphere where kindness is absent is now reflecting that dark cruelty's strengths so that cruelty will begin to replace the absence of kindness and acts of cruelty will begin to take place and like acts of kindness these acts of cruelty will strengthen the state cruelty and it will get embolden and stronger, which means the state kindness will literally be eaten away from outside in as an island is eaten away by the rising ocean.

Now the state of kindness is such that if it exists one cannot but feel it and 'see' it. If it does not exist than what replaces it is the negation of kindness but that does not mean it is replaced by cruelty as of this point. It is like when one is in someone's house, where one is not attacked with cruelty or violence but where no one even notices that this person is there as if this person does not even exist there and no one cares that this person is in need of assistance or help for which that person has gone there. This is a state where kindness is absent and that is enough for this human being to run away from such a place, even though it is such where kindness is absent but cruelty has not yet replaced it but is poised to begin and take over. It is like the white paper that was written in the ink of kindness has been wiped blank and because of this wiping out the cruelty state surrounding the paper is shinning darker and stronger the white blank paper will appear dim and there will begin to take place acts of cruelty in situations, where people are not only not showing or living in kindness but they are simply becoming 'tolerant' and 'accepting' of cruelty or even 'expecting' cruelty and they become indifferent to both.

Now this state of indifference, non care, or damn care can be seen as if cruelty is a fire and one is pouring patrol over it by these states so that the dark fire will rise and get stronger and darken more and far and wide so that that white blank paper created by the absence of kindness is now literally being eaten away into the darkness and than cruelty will rise, rise in quantity as well as quality so that it will show through and strangle every sphere and soon the entire sphere of society is engulfed in this dark state of dark cruelty. This can be seen as this. In a dark place there is a luminous glass, in which, there is 99.99% light and 00.01% dark. The state of kindness is 99.9% of light and the state of cruelty 00.01% When state of kindness disappears there is void but because of the void the 00.01% darkness will appear much more and much more powerful and stronger and than as cruelty acts and deeds rise in quantity and quality this glass will gradually be filled by cruelty where now it will fill more and more and become 99.99% dark where the 00.01% might still be kindness and it will continue to be fought and eaten and erased away so that the state of kindness will have to be found in almost hypothetical level of existence.

But the states, straits, qualities, characteristics and properties of humanity is not just kindness but many, such as graciousness, love, care, compassion, thoughtfulness, consideration, contemplation, faith, hope, beliefs in good and people's inherent goodness, friendship, giving, optimism, positivity, helpfulness, generosity, sense of togetherness, sense of connectedness, sense of oneness, sense of belonging and conviction of positive of both being and doing good and much more. Now, readers are welcome to imagine, the parallel of each of these human quality and their opposite evil state following as has been described happening with the state of kindness and state of cruelty. And now when in all these states, humanity looses out and gets defeated by the evil states humanity and society are literally killed off and in its place comes into existence  a state, which is no nothing but the reign of terror of the ultimate all-powerful, all-engulfing and all-encompassing evil, that rules over nothing but the physiologies of humanity, that than, exists simply as and at the lowest possible level of evil and it goes deeper and deeper into the depth of the abyss of the darkest of evil. And humanity has too much evidence in its history to find the most horrifying, most vicious and most dark examples of such state existing.

Now, when society begins to move away from, say, what is 'civic' it moves away from a state, that supports all the good states, straits, qualities, properties and characteristics of humanity so that this society does not encourage, support, foster, empower 'humanity' in short, and thus, it becomes fertile ground for inhumanity or evil to begin to get stronger and stronger and the state of humanity weaker and weaker and eventually, the entire social sphere and all the sub-spheres in it, are taken over by all the states, that can simply be said as evil. What kind of a state: say, is it that there is no social protection in a society, where if one does not or cannot work one simply dies hungry and homeless and in illnesses while others live in homes and work and can support themselves? What kind of humanity will such a society inspire? If, say, that there is no pension for those, who are beyond the age to work. That means that society lets these people to simply starve, suffer and die away in agony. What kind of humanity will such society foster in, both those, who are suffering and those, who are not suffering but living well off? Imagine that there is no social care for anyone and people are let to fend for themselves? Imagine that there is no national health service. Imagine that there is not national education service. Imagine that there is no law and anyone with money can buy the courts and the entire judiciary and anyone can get away with any crime because they have money or power etc.

Imagine, there is no social services to protect, support and look after the vulnerable children. Imagine that there is no art, no civic services and everything and everyone is left out there on there own to fend for themselves and they struggle and suffer and succumb to the end. What kind of a society will it be? What kind of inhumanity, how many and how much crimes and evils will take place in such a society? What kind of humanity will that society support or can do, the fostering of? Will anyone fail to see the rise and reign of evil in such an evil place? That is a society, where humanity is struggling to find oxygen, where carbon monoxide has replaced most of the oxygen so that that feeds the evil and that effectively chokes off and kills off humanity for humanity is dead if all the states, straits, qualities, properties and characteristics, that make it, are eliminated. And then we are left with nothing but the strongest of evil and that is the sociology of evil and this state exists  when things fall apart and hatred grows, violence grows; cruelty, brutality and barbarity find no limit.

This is the sociology of evil and it gets created, supported, fostered, nurtured and enhanced and strengthened by a society that has decided to move away from being and seeking to continue to be civic. Therefore, a civic society is the one that keeps the sociology of evil locked away in that mythical 'bottle' and a civic society continues to be more civic and more enlightened and more humane so that all states, straits, qualities, properties and characteristics of humanity are enhanced, strengthened and empowered so that the lamp of humanity gets stronger and brighter and goes further and illumines clearer furthest and as it does so so that evil in the bottle finds less and less room inside the bottle and it shrinks and it retracts and it becomes weaker and weaker as it finds less and less oxygen to breathe but more and more carbon monoxide. This literally means that what strongest evil does to humanity the strongest humanity does the same to evil. And in this sense, the mythical terms, describing the struggle between good and evil is not as far fetched and mythical as we might feel inclined to see it as.

And this sociology of evil exists in all public spheres: political, judicial, economic, social, cultural and spiritual and they influence, direct, force, shape and determine the nature, type, direction and quality of both the private and public domains of the individual, family, community and social spheres, so that when these domains in these spheres fail to nurture, foster, enhance, empower, strengthen, promotes and supports all states, straits, qualities, properties and characteristics of humanity they all feed the sociology of evil to grow and grow stronger and stronger and take on, fight, defeat and destroy humanity through dehumanisation of all kinds, forms, shapes, manners, expressions and ways. Dear Reader, this piece is not to frighten anyone off, but bring to light one of the most profound problems, philosophy has sought to seek to understand, the Sociology of Evil is such a work, that has gathered dust-photons for decades, forming part of our works of, in, with and by thoughts and become this and it is very much hoped that readers see the illuminating eternal lamp of our deepest conviction and faith in humanity and feel inspired. For this work, Sociology of Evil, will not have been attempted, unless the author had the absolute belief and faith in the absolute majestic and infinite power of humanity to do and be nothing but good infinitely. There are billions and billions of such acts and deeds of goodness of humanity, that are taking place across the world every day and across the United Kingdom, the latest of which goodness of humanity has been shown to the world by the City, Community, People and Society of Manchester, inspiring the entire country and nation in goodness and humanity, against the brutal, barbaric, callous and evil acts of some terrorist criminals whatever they call themselves, causing such devastations to so many innocent and young lives and devastating and touching an entire people, entire community and entire city. Manchester and United Kingdom have shown the world how magnificent humanity is and how astonishing this fact is that we are and can claim to be human. ω.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

This piece of writing, presents a snapshot, from the work, by Munayem Mayenin, Sociology of Evil, that has not yet been published.

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How to Inspire People Recycle More: Definitely Not by Threatening to Punish Them But by Inspiring and Supporting Them

 

|| April 23: 2017: University of British Columbia News || ά. How to get more people recycle or compost more and more on a regular basis. This new study shows that this can be achieved better by inspiring and supporting people in this. Instead of what many governments always try to seek to do is to threaten people with the old punishment or threat of punishment approach, it is always better to seek to show people why recycling is better for everything and for everyone and then support them in that process. Make it easier for anyone and everyone being able to do it as simply and as conveniently as possible. The researchers of this study suggest that just trying to move the bins closer to where people live produces much better results.

The study shows that placing bins 01.5 metres away from suite doors, drastically boosts recycling and composting rates by 141 per cent. The findings highlight how small changes in convenience can have a big impact on performance. “We know people care about the environment but having the desire to recycle and compost doesn’t always translate into behaviour changes.” said Ms Alessandra DiGiacomo, the study’s Lead Author and a PhD student in the UBC department of psychology. “Perhaps unsurprisingly, we found that people composted and recycled much more when we made it more convenient.”

Since convenience has been shown to change other types of behaviours, such as choosing healthier food options, the researchers predicted that convenience would, also, increase composting and recycling behaviours. To test their theory, they placed bins in three different locations: a garbage disposal area, the least convenient option, at the base of an elevator in a building, a more convenient option and by elevator doors on each floor, the most convenient option.

The experiments were carried out at three multi-family apartment buildings in Vancouver’s west side neighbourhood and in two student residence buildings at the University. For 10 weeks, the researchers examined and weighed the waste. They found that when compost bins were placed on each floor in the apartment buildings, instead of on the ground floor, composting rates increased by 70 per cent, diverting 27 kilograms of compost from the landfill per unit per year.

When recycling stations were placed just 01.5 meters from suites in student residences, instead of in the basement, recycling and composting increased by an average of 141 per cent, diverting an average of nearly 20 kilograms of waste from the landfill per person per year.

“The findings show a minor change in the environment can have a huge impact on behaviour.” said study Co-author Mr Jiaying Zhao, professor in the UBC department of psychology and the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability. “Traditional views are that we have to educate people about the importance of recycling and composting but we believe that’s the wrong model because people already know. Simple factors, such as convenience, can be key to helping us become more environmentally friendly.”

''The findings have big implications for waste management and environmental policy, highlighting unique aspects of human behaviour. While people have a desire to do better, intentions don’t always predict behaviour.

We call this intention-action gap. What psychologists can do is change the environment a little bit so that our actions can follow through on our intentions. We need to provide solutions and alternatives to current practices to help people recycle and compost more.” Mr Zhao said

The study, published this month in the Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, was Co-authored by David Wu, Peter Lenkic and Alan Kingstone in the UBC department of psychology and Bud Fraser of UBC Campus and Community Planning.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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New Social Sciences Institute Launched at Maynooth University

Original Image: Maynooth University


|| March 30: 2017: Maynooth University Ireland News  || ά. The Ireland's Minister for Education and Skills, Mr Richard Bruton TD, today launched the Maynooth University Social Sciences Institute:MUSSI. The Institute was established as part of the implementation of Maynooth’s ambitious Research Strategy 2012 – 2017. The Social Sciences Institute builds upon the longstanding success of existing research and centres at Maynooth, including the National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis:NIRSA and the National Centre for Geo-computation:NCG.

MUSSI also supports critical national data infrastructure including the All-Island Research Observatory:AIRO and the Irish Qualitive Data Archive:IQDA. The Institute brings together researchers from across several disciplines including Law, Geography, Anthropology, Computer Science and Sociology. To date over 300 researchers have been affiliated to MUSSI partner projects, which have received external funding totalling €55 million since 2001. These awards have generated cutting edge research for policy and society in a wide range of areas.

MUSSI researchers have notably been awarded prestigious European Research Council projects, which is an indicator of an international centre of excellence. One of these projects, 'the Programmable City', has been investigating the relationship between networked digital technologies and city life. In particular, it is concerned with how cities are increasingly being translated into code and data and how these codes and data are being used to transduce how we understand, manage, work, and live in the city and produce ‘smart cities’.

A new SFI funded project, led by Professor Rob Kitchin, Professor Chris Brunsdon and Martin Charlton, alongside Dr Stephanie Keogh, researches the Dublin Dashboard project. One of the most comprehensive city dashboards in Europe and internationally, Dublin Dashboard visualises, through interactive maps and graphs, a broad range of data about the city including real-time data, official statistics, and public administrative data.

It also allows city officials, the public, and companies to view traffic and travel information, weather, and air quality, and to report on issues about the city. The site has had 220,000 page views since September 2014 and plans are now in place for the launch of Cork Dashboard.

MUSSI is also home to Professor Mary Gilmartin’s research on the process and experiences of migrant integration in Ireland. Her research focuses on how migrants come to feel at home in Ireland, and identifying what helps and hinders this process. It does this by mapping the integration and diversity policies and strategies of Irish public bodies, paying particular attention to their human rights dimension.

Another project with an important social dimension is Dr Mary Murphy’s  ReInvest initiative. This is currently researching the use of the private rental housing subsidy, Housing Assistance Payment, as the primary tool to address social housing waiting lists and the reality of family homelessness. Over the next couple of months, the research team will work with adults in emergency accommodation to explore their experience of the policy and to develop recommendations to be discussed with policy makers.

Commenting at the launch, Professor Linda Connolly, Director of the Maynooth University Social Sciences Institute, said, “Today is a proud day for the Institute. Our researchers are working on some of the most pressing issues facing Irish society today and the Institute will provide the resources and platforms to build on this in the coming years.”

Discussing the launch of the Maynooth University Social Sciences Institute, President Philip Nolan, said, “This is an important and exciting development for the University. We have established a reputation across the social sciences as a centre of international excellence, and this Institute will enable the University to ​bring together teams from different disciplines to tackle fundamental research questions in new ways.”
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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How One's Birthplace and Education Influence Marriage Choices in China

Image: Yee Tong Released under Creative Commons

|| March 27: 2017: University of British Columbia Canada News  || ά. Many people choose their spouse, based on shared values and interests. But in China, another important, relatively unknown factor plays a role: hukou and it may be contributing to growing socioeconomic disparity in the country’s largest city, according to a new University of British Columbia study. Hukou is a household registration system in China, that limits access to social benefits largely based on the birthplace of the holder. A UBC-led sociology study, published this week in the Chinese Sociological Review, examines the effect of hukou and education on heterosexual marriage patterns in China’s largest city, Shanghai.

Residents with Shanghai hukou, for example, have better access to jobs, schools, housing and other opportunities in that city compared to migrants, who are effectively treated as second-class citizens. For migrants, obtaining Shanghai hukou is challenging and rarely successful. The researchers found that, in Shanghai, local hukou shapes individual marital choices and is considered a valuable attribute in the marriage market. “When we think about marriage, we often think about love and romance.” said Yue Qian, the study’s Lead Author and Assistant Professor of Sociology at UBC. “But in reality, marriage choices are usually filtered by other factors. In this study, we found that hukou has a significant effect.”

The researchers used data from a 2013 population survey in Shanghai, that asked respondents, who were born in the 1980s about their own and their spouses’ hukou and education when they got married. The sample included 1,247 couples. In cases of hukou intermarriage, where one spouse has Shanghai hukou and the other is a migrant, couples were more likely to involve a Shanghai husband and a migrant wife, 14 per cent, than a Shanghai wife and a migrant husband, six per cent, the researchers found.

Education, also, proved to be an important factor in marital decisions, with the probability of a migrant marrying a spouse with Shanghai hukou increasing with the migrant’s education level.

“It’s a bit of a tradeoff.” said Qian. “If someone with Shanghai hukou marries a migrant, then their migrant spouse needs to at least have the same or a higher education level. Otherwise, it seems they have nothing to gain economically from marriage.”

''The findings are important because they reveal how China’s hukou system is widening resource inequality between migrants and locals and between the educated and less educated.'' said Qian. This is especially true in Shanghai, where nearly half of the population is made up of migrants.

Qian is now studying Asian immigrants to the United States. Since hukou is similar to citizenship status, she is interested in seeing if similar marriage patterns emerge. The Shanghai study was Co-authored by Brown University sociology Professor Zhenchao Qian. The researchers began the study at Ohio State University.
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Wilhelmiina Toivo Wins National Writing Competition Her Essay on the Sociology of Bilingualism

Martin Rosenbaum, ESRC, Wilhelmiina Toivo and Dr Alan Gillespie,
ESRC: Image: University of Glasgow
 

|| March 23: 2017: University of Glasgow News  || ά. A PhD student Wilhelmiina Toivo, from the University’s School of Psychology, has won the Economic and Social Research Council’s 2016-17 writing competition, 'Making Sense of Society', organised in partnership with SAGE Publishing. Wilhelmiina, who is in the first year of her ESRC-funded post-doctorate degree, received a £1,000 cash prize at an awards ceremony at the Royal Society. She, also, took part in a masterclass on 'how to get published', delivered by SAGE Publishing; her competition entry will be published in print and online.

Brought up in Helsinki, she came to Glasgow in 2011 to study psychology as an undergraduate student; last year she completed an MSc I Psychology and is currently six months into her PhD. The competition, which is now in its second year, celebrates and fosters the writing skills of the next generation of social scientists. This year students were asked to write 800 words about why their research matters and how it helps us make sense of and understand the society, in which we live.

There were nearly 300 entries, which demonstrated the incredible breadth and depth of social science research taking place across the UK. Topics ranged from Big Data, to climate change, class, immigration, dementia, the economy and education.

In her winning essay, 'Once More, with Feeling: Life as Bilingual' , Wilhelmiina wrote about her experiences growing up in Scotland, speaking English as a second language and how speaking in her non-native tongue, gave her a sense of liberation, when it came to swearing and discussing her emotions.

This personal insight linked well to her PhD research project, which focuses on why many bilinguals report feeling less emotionally connected to their second language, a phenomenon known as the reduced emotional resonance of language.

She said, “I was really surprised to win this prize, apparently there were about 280 entries in total. During my first year of PhD I have really got into science communication and it was great to see that I have learnt something, the task was to write a popular science piece, explaining how your research makes sense of the society.''

Her research aims to find out what exactly it is about speaking in a second language that makes it less emotional, by using eye tracker technology to measure people’s emotional reaction to reading words in their native and second language. In the first part of her project, she is exploring, which factors in a person’s language background contribute to reduced emotional resonance, whether it matters how frequently and in which context a person uses the language and whether your emotional experience of a language can be predicted based on whether you dream or can do maths in it.

Wilhelmiina writes, ''Not being able to fully structure your surroundings through language might leave you feeling alienated; not a part of the society you live in. Or perhaps you are perceived as rude or socially awkward for using the wrong words in the wrong emotional context.

However, not all the implications of reduced emotional resonance are negative, bilinguals can actually benefit from being able to approach things in a less emotionally involved way. For example, bilinguals have been shown to be able to make more rational decisions in their second language. Also, switching languages can be used as a tool in therapy when working through emotionally difficult or traumatising experiences."

Martin Rosenbaum, ESRC Council member and an executive producer in the BBC Political Programmes department. He said, ''I really liked Wilhelmiina’s essay and it will stay with me, I am glad I read it. She gave a very clear explanation of the social science of speaking in a second language and it was a very engaging read.”

Entries were judged by a panel of science communication experts. As well as Martin Rosenbaum, the judging panel included Martin Ince, President of the Association of British Science Writers; Miranda Nunhofer, Executive Director at SAGE Publishing; and Tash Reith-Banks, Production Editor for the Guardian's Science desk.
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The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing

Image: TILDA


|| March 17: 2017: Trinity College Dublin News || ά. The third major report by the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing:TILDA at Trinity College Dublin was published on March 07. This report presents findings from Wave three of TILDA, which impact on the health and well-being of Ireland’s adult population aged 54 years and over and maps changes, that have occurred since the first wave of TILDA data collection in 2010. The findings demonstrate that the over 50s adult population continue to make substantial contributions to their families and the communities, in which they live. However, many treatable conditions and serious health challenges, such as high cholesterol and hypertension remain undiagnosed and untreated four years later.

In addition to increased obesity rates and poor adherence to dietary guidelines in older adults, these undiagnosed and untreated conditions contribute to increased risk of cardiovascular disease and lower quality of life. While some screening programmes, such as those for cancer and influenza are working, the study authors believe that there are areas that require fresh policy drives. Established in 2006 for an initial 10-year period with funding of €29 million from the Department of Health, the Atlantic Philanthropies and Irish Life, TILDA at Trinity College Dublin has become the ageing ‘laboratory’ for generating and analysing data to impact policy and inform all the ageing research domains. As a national longitudinal study of 8,504 people aged 50 and over in Ireland, it has laid the foundation for an enormous body of research in Trinity and other Irish institutions, generating insight and discovering solutions as Ireland and the world faces the challenge of an ageing population.

To continue this research over the next five years, TILDA was recently awarded continued funding with a grant of €10 million from the Department of Health and €05 million from the Atlantic Philanthropies with continued support from Irish Life. This new round of funding will enable TILDA to strengthen its national and international reputation as a highly valuable longitudinal study on ageing. Professor Rose Anne Kenny, Principal Investigator of TILDA said, “The good news is that Irish adults over 54 years continue to make a tremendous contribution to our society. In this report, TILDA has further identified important risk factors which, if modified or treated can make a big difference to positive health and well-being.”

Minister of State for Health Promotion, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy said, ““Today’s report confirms that older people make an enormous contribution to Irish society. The health findings of Wave 3 show that we have a way to go in optimising the health and wellbeing of older people. My Department and the HSE will examine these findings with a view to identifying the responses we need to ensure the best outcomes for older people.

As a longitudinal study with a health assessment, TILDA is a critical source of evidence to better understand ageing in Ireland over a sustained period of time and across a number of domains. I am very happy that the Department of Health has been able to provide €10 million over the next five years to support the continuation of TILDA. I look forward to working with TILDA to ensure that policy making is more and more based on good research and hard evidence.”

Key findings from the latest report:

Treatable conditions that contribute to disability such as pain, urinary incontinence, hearing loss, depression are common and often untreated and/or under reported:diagnosed

One in seven older adults in Ireland experiences urinary incontinence; almost one in 5 in older age groups experiences it; it is up to three times more common in women.
Despite the availability of treatments, a high burden of symptoms and significant impact on quality of life, mood and social participation, only three out of five report their symptoms to a doctor, nurse or other healthcare professional.
Half of adults aged 75 years and over experience some hearing loss. Older men in particular experience difficulty following a conversation with multiple people due to hearing loss, thus leading to lower social participation and quality of life, and more loneliness and depressive symptoms.
Despite the availability of financial support for hearing aids in Ireland, their use is low with only 21% who report fair or poor hearing, using hearing aids.
One in 20 older adults in Ireland experienced a major depressive episode in the last year.

Only 30% are prescribed appropriate medical therapy for depression.
Depression has a significant detrimental effect on the health and independence of older people in Ireland.
Pain is a common complaint affecting a third of adults in Ireland, with the majority reporting chronic back pain.
High obesity rates and poor adherence to dietary guidelines in older adults
The majority of older adults do not meet the 2012 Department of Health Food Pyramid recommendations.
76% do not meet the daily recommendations for fruit and vegetable intake.

68% over consume food and drinks high in fat, salt and sugar.
There has been an increase in central obesity, a substantially increased waist circumference, particularly, in women aged 50-64, 57% at Wave three versus 49% at Wave one, highlighting the growing problem of obesity.
Health service utilisation has increased for the over 80s
There has been significant increased ED attendance, from 16% to 25% and hospital admission, 16% to 26%, in the oldest old, i.e. those over 80 years, compared with 2010.

Length of stay in hospital is significantly longer in the oldest patients. These increases in ED attendance and hospital admissions will likely have knock on consequences for hospital and community services.
The prevalence of untreated ‘treatable’ conditions has not changed in four years and requires a fresh policy drive.

Professor Rose Anne Kenny said, “This pervasive attitude in society and healthcare that health decline, chronic conditions, and falls are just a part of ageing and therefore are not being sufficiently diagnosed or treated must be changed as it is simply not true. It can have a major impact on people’s quality of life as they age, as well as impacting unnecessarily on the health system.

What these latest results from TILDA have shown is that far from later years being a time characterised by decline and increased dependency, older adults continue to make valuable contributions to society, with many characterised by active citizenship and participation in the lives of their families and their communities.”

Minister Corcoran Kennedy continued, “From my own point of view as Minister for Health and Wellbeing, the high rate of overweight and obesity among older adults continues to be a cause for concern, as is the lack of adherence to the food pyramid. My Department has recently published an obesity policy which includes a focus on older adults, and we have published a revised food pyramid for the entire population, with specific food portion guidelines for various age groups including older adults. We are also working on a nutrition policy which will include a focus on the over 50s.”

Dr Mairead O Driscoll, Interim Chief Executive at the Health Research Board said, “If our future health services are going to meet the needs of an ageing population, we need a picture of what it will look like. TILDA has made great advances in recent years to help understand the health, social and economic aspects of ageing. What we need to do is ensure this evidence informs policy and practice. As part of managing this renewed government investment of €10 million, the Health Research Board will actively work with TILDA and the Department of Health to set up a dedicated Knowledge Translation Group. The aim will be to ensure that we ask the right questions to inform future health needs and that the data gathered reaches the right people to underpin changes in policy and practice.”

Key Recommendations:

Treatable Conditions That Contribute to Disability: There is a need to challenge the notion that urinary incontinence is an inevitable part of ageing, and efforts should also focus on modifying risk factors for urinary incontinence such as smoking and obesity.
Screening for hearing loss at an earlier stage, and promotion of uptake of hearing aids, has the potential to improve the ageing experience for many.
The prevalence of depression and of treated depression has not changed over the past four years emphasizing the necessity for new approaches to raise awareness among older people as well as their families and healthcare professionals. Efforts to reduce the stigma around mental health in later life and to encourage older people to seek help from a healthcare professional when they are experiencing symptoms of depression are now imperative.
There is a need to increase awareness about pain and adequate pain management.

Health Service Utilisation for the Over 80s: The increase in ED attendance and hospital admissions for the over 80s has significant policy implications for implementation of admission avoidance services and for dedicated tailored care of the oldest old in emergency settings.
Innovations in early detection of risk factors and earlier interventions to avoid admission should be an important policy focus.

Prevalence of Untreated Treatable Conditions: Hypertension, high cholesterol, osteoporosis, osteopenia and atrial fibrillation are the key risk factors for stroke, heart failure, kidney failure and injurious falls. Innovative policy interventions to raise awareness of these common and treatable disorders is critical.

Falls: National falls and syncope prevention services should be introduced. These are poorly served at present in Ireland, however there is strong evidence for benefit in falls and fracture prevention, coupled with significant reductions in healthcare costs and in particular in hospital costs.

Health Insurance: Given that flexibility to switch insurer is key to a competitive market, the high market share of one health insurer merits a full examination and possibly changed policy considerations.

Professor Kenny said, “This third series of findings from TILDA shows that there are opportunities to target policy initiatives towards common disabling conditions in adults as they age. Our findings emphasise that there are still a significant proportion of Irish adults who remain undiagnosed and untreated, and many of these conditions put people at risk of falls and cardiovascular disease.

TILDA provides a valuable source of research on the current and future trends of an ageing population and will greatly assist clinicians and policy makers by identifying groups most at risk. Consequently, limited resources can be distributed to secure maximum impact so that our later years can be independent, active and healthy.” ω.

Read the Report

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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What is Minority Research and How Do You Conduct It

Image: Åbo Akademi University


|| March 12: 2017: Åbo Akademi University News:  Magdalena Kmak Writing || ά. The minority research profile aims at shaping and developing current strengths within the fields of social sciences and humanities at Åbo Akademi University into a world-leading centre for minority studies and research. ÅAU’s minority profile taps into the new situation, where cultural, political and religious differences, together with issues, related to, in-group and out-group positions, pose major challenges to societal cohesion, peace-building and human well-being on a global scale.

Åbo Akademi University is the only university in Finland, that has been specifically established to serve the needs of a minority group, that is, the Swedish speaking language minority. Subsequently, this purpose has been laid down in legislation. A research profile, focusing on minorities is, thus, both natural and unique at a national level. In an international context, Finland has an important track-record as a country, that can claim some success, both in terms of legislation and in practice in guaranteeing rights for its Swedish speaking language minority.

However, the relationship between minorities and majorities is no more static in Finland than in other countries and continually displays new developments. The combination of ÅAU’s unique mission in the national context and Finland’s minority and gender equality policies and current threats to them, provides an excellent basis for reaching international visibility within the minorities research in terms of research output.

Current ÅAU research on minorities includes language and culture encounters, minorities as part of past nation building and present political mobilization, participative governance of minority groups, minority rights and legislation, as well as intersections of ethnic and gender categorizations.

Further focus areas are language learning, bilingualism as well as sexual and gender minorities. ω.

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What is Sparking Turkey and Wales

 

|| March 03: 2017: Cardiff University News || ά. Cardiff University’s aim to build the world’s first Social Science Research Park:SPARK is inspiring academics in Turkey’s capital city. Cardiff University recently hosted a visit from the Social Sciences University of Ankara:ASBÜ, the first university in Turkey to specialise in social sciences. ASBÜ is creating a new centre to specialise in impact analysis, public innovation and awareness-raising.

Their visit to Wales was prompted by an interest in learning from successful innovation institutions. Having reviewed international developments, Cardiff University’s SPARK was chosen as a ‘leading light.’ Professor George Boyne, Pro-vice-chancellor, College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and Professor Rick Delbridge, Academic Lead for SPARK, met with Professor Dr Mehmet Barca, President of ASBÜ and his colleagues Associate Professors Erdal Akdeve and Gülsen Kaya Osmanbasoglu.

Discussions focussed on learning from Cardiff University’s development of SPARK as a concept, as well as the processes for making the idea a reality.  SPARK will support world class research and social innovation by housing researchers alongside external partners. They will work together to co-produce knowledge and practical insights that address societal challenges.

It will act as a test bed across all disciplines, providing the information that policymakers, charities and industry need to help shape society for the better. ASBÜ hopes to emulate these developments in Turkey and Professors Boyne and Delbridge were invited to Ankara to further contribute to ASBÜ's plans.

Professor Dr Barca commented, “SPARK is one of the most significant initiatives we are following. It is inspiring us in terms of operational structure and the enhancement of our capacity.”

Professor Delbridge added, “'We were delighted to learn of the interest that SPARK has generated in Turkey. While a similar initiative in Ankara will need to have specific features to meet local circumstances, the key principles of SPARK, interdisciplinarity, co-production, co-location, are receiving very positive feedback from UK and international colleagues. It's exciting to think that Cardiff's SPARK may be the first of many."

The delegation also met with colleagues from Y Lab to hear about the University's partnership with Nesta. They saw how Y Lab is developing novel approaches to public service innovation and delivery.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Not on the Agenda But in Real Life: Life, Death, Guns and Iintimate Partner Violence

Image: Connor Augustine:University of Pennsylvania

|| February 26: 2017: University of Pennsylvania: USA News: Michele Berger Writing || ά. Of more than 35,000 intimate partner violence incidents reported to the Philadelphia Police Department in one year, nearly a quarter involved a weapon, according to a new study from Susan B. Sorenson, a Professor of Social Policy in the School of Social Policy and Practice and Director of Penn’s Evelyn Jacobs Ortner Centre on Family Violence. Of the 1,800 events where external weapons came into play, knives or bats, for example, nearly one-third were guns. Moreover, Sorenson found that an abuser having a firearm, even if not fired, increased intimidation significantly.

“Women are less likely to be injured when a gun is used but they’re far more likely to be frightened.” she says. Her findings were published in the Journal of Women’s Health. Sorenson, whose research looks not only at homicides from intimate partner violence but other effects as well, aimed to estimate just how frequently each weapon type appeared in such crimes. The Philadelphia police gave her access to an entire year of department-mandated paperwork on 911 calls related to domestic violence, regardless of whether an arrest took place. The reports included information about first responders’ actions, a body map where officers could document victim injuries and a section to describe what officers learned at the scene.

“The police department in Philadelphia has detailed information on all of its domestic violence calls, which is not common across the country.” Professor Sorenson says. The Study findings offer a broad picture of weapon use in intimate partner violence. However, because the work assessed only incidents involving police, unlike the National Crime Victimisation Survey, which includes any such incident regardless of whether police were summoned, Sorenson says that there is unquestionably more firearm use than reported.

She says that this information can better prepare those who see victims soon after these crimes, such as health care professionals and police officers, who can ask about a gun. It can also affect policy decisions at the local, state, and federal level. “We know that abusers and guns are a bad combination. And we have some good policies, such as the Violence Against Women Act, in place.” Sorenson says. “These make the purchase and possession of guns illegal by those against whom there was a domestic violence misdemeanour or restraining order.”

''Evaluations of these laws rarely occur, so it’s unclear how well the laws get implemented and enforced. Plus, there’s the boyfriend loophole: In federal laws, keeping guns away from abusers applies only to those who had been married, had a child together or had lived together.'' Professor Sorenson explains.

“That often leaves out current or former boyfriends.” she says. “But boyfriends are as lethal as husbands.” For this reason, Sorenson is actively working to analyse data from the Philadelphia police about this subject. She says that it’s important to shift attention on the topic to pay attention to the lives, not just deaths, of abuse victims. ω.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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University of Edinburgh Launches New Institute for International Cultural Relations


|| January 29: 2017: University of Edinburgh News || ά. A new institute investigating how cultural relations affects the world has been launched at the University of Edinburgh. The Institute for International Cultural Relations:IICR will explore how global cultural interactions in areas such as the arts, education, sports, and political economy can have an impact. The inaugural event was held at the University’s Playfair Library, Old College on Thursday, January 26.

Speakers were Professor Jo Beall, Director of Education and Society at the British Council, and Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs will mark the occasion. The IICR will run a series of seminars designed to promote a better understanding of how to bridge the gap between diverse global cultures when engaging in political and cultural diplomacy. Researchers will undertake innovative research to measure the impact of so-called soft power, when a nation promotes its culture and political ideals on the global stage. They will also analyse the origins of global cultural interests and values.

“In an age of hard Brexit and hard-line political leaders, soft power still matters. Arguably, cultural diplomacy is more important than ever. The instinct for people and nations to connect is as reflexive as breathing. The Institute’s work will help us understand the conditions under which either empathy or misunderstanding, cooperation or discord, cultural wars or peace may arise.” said, Professor J. P Singh, Director of the Institute for International Cultural Relations.

Later this year the IICR will launch a speaker and workshop series and in June it will host a scholarly conference. It is also developing its first post-graduate teaching course starting 2017-18.

The Institute for International Cultural Relations:IICR is developing an ambitious and innovative programme of learner-centred and practice-focused opportunities to study international cultural relations. The study programmes will be developed to offer pathways both to theory and to practice. Initially IICR will focus on offering learning at Postgraduate level through a phased programme.


From 2017: MOOCs: free, short, online courses: MOOCs are freely accessible and open-licensed short courses, delivered to large cohorts of learners fully online. To date, more than a million people have signed up to Edinburgh courses across a broad range of subject areas, and they form part of the University's commitment to knowledge exchange and community outreach.

The Institute for International Cultural Relations:IICR is developing proposals for MOOCs of two types: Short courses which respond to specific issues and full-length courses on topics of more general interest

IICR is initially working with Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen:IfA, its partner organisation in Germany, to develop a MOOC on responses to the migrant crisis in Europe. IfA’s involvement gives it unique access to a range of key perspectives on this crucial issue.


From 2017: Continuing Professional Development:CPD: IICR is developing proposals which will draw on its interdisciplinary strength and practical experience to meet demand for CPD which meets global demand for skills development in key areas of cultural relations such as strategy development, relationship formation and stakeholder engagement, working in digital as well as traditional environments, collaboration and negotiation.

From 2018: Online MSc in International Cultural Relations: This postgraduate MSc degree will offer both theoretical and practical understanding of how international relationships are formed, and influence operates, across borders in an increasingly interdependent world. It will contribute to understanding the roles of culture, science, and education in the global political economy, the conduct of international relations and in meeting complex challenges.

The Masters courses will offer two main pathways, to theory and practice, and there will be opportunities for students to pursue thematic areas such as International Relations, or Arts and Culture, based on the varied expertise of Schools across the University.

The MSc will be offered through online distance learning with blended learning options. Normally this will take about three years. The online learning programme will offer flexible exit routes, allowing students to shape their academic journey to suit their needs. The online programme will involve the same level of work overall as the on-campus programme, and the qualification is of equal value.

Recognising the globally relevant nature of the subject, we are exploring options for delivery of the online course in languages other than English, though this development may be available later than 2017.

From 2018: campus based, 12-month MSc in International Cultural Relations: Having developed our online Masters course, IICR will build on that to develop a similarly innovative campus based, 12-month MSc programme, with an optional opportunity for a further three-month, accredited or certificated work assignment in a wide range of international contexts with the Institute for International Cultural Relations:IICR’s partner organisations.

IICR will also explore the possibility of offering a joint two-year MSc in collaboration with an international partner university.

From 2018: Learning at other levels: During the course of 2017, IICR will be assessing options for offering study opportunities at undergraduate, doctoral and post-doctoral levels. ω.

Images: University of Edinburgh

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Doctor, A Question for You: How Do You Keep Doctors as Oxygen-Souls So That They Don't Become Hydrogen-Souls: Sorry, Don't Follow: So That They Help Burn and Don't Get Themselves Burnt Out: Oh, I See..... Now, That Sounds Like a Question Someone Asked Me While I was Reading The Triumph of Surgery Years Ago: Go on, What was It: Well, I was Terribly Busy Reading And Did Not Answer....But Doctor an Unanswered Question is an Eternal Invite to Seek to Answer It... You Think So: I Know So....Then You Answer the Question You Asked Me: But I Asked You: Well, To Begin with We Must Begin by Looking at Doctors as Human Beings and Not Just Qualified Machines That Can Be Put Under Infinite Pressures Perpetually and Expected to Produce the Same Results with Same Efficiency Perpetually....Now That's a Great Answer But Are You Going Answer That Question... That Question... That is the Question.....But This, as a Headline, is Too Long: Well, Go and See How Many Hours Doctors Work and You Will Really Know What is Long and What is Short....


|| January 25: 2017: Minneapolis: USA || ά. Six out of 10 neurologists in the United States are experiencing some form of burnout, according to a large study by the American Academy of Neurology:AAN, the world’s largest association of neurologists. The study, believed to be the most in-depth look at burnout within a medical specialty, is published in the January 25, 2017, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. “These findings confirm our recognition of burnout as a serious issue facing our profession and why the well-being of neurologists, starting with decreasing regulatory hassles, must be addressed to ensure our patients receive the highest quality care.” said Terrence L. Cascino, MD, FAAN, President of the American Academy of Neurology.

And readers might want to know why this news piece, relating to neurology is published in sociology section. Our headline should give you a little indication as to the line of thought we are following. This problem does not simply relate to neurologists but generally relates to the entire profession of medicine, to a varying degree. And this problem, in The Humanion's perspective, is a sociological problem because societies across the globe think that they have invested a great deal of 'resources' in getting these practitioners of medicine educated, trained and supported so that they want to make the 'absolute utmost' out of this investment. Because of this social attitude, not just in America and not just in the advanced economies, everywhere in the world, doctors are 'free' to work like 'machines'. Even though there are laws about how long people can work but doctors are supposed to work long hours. This is an understatement to describe doctors as having to work 'long hours': they work too, too, too long hours.

Here, the neurologists, in this piece, work on average 56 hours a week. General universal work hours, a rough generalisation, are 35 hours or so. Compared to 35 hours 56 hours is 21 hours or rather almost three working days more. Yet, many senior physicians and even the younger ones, work way more than 56 hours. This level of long, sustained and continual long hours work and most of it is done under enormous high demands and pressures, cannot simply be good for human health, general well being and the maintenance of a healthy state of mind. It is beyond reason to expect people working in such way won't be affected by it. But societies want to 'squeeze' the last nano-drop out from their investment from the physicians and therefore, this is a sociological and thus, political, problem.

That is why this piece is here, in sociology section. Yet, the practice of medicine and the profession have not taken it seriously enough until in recent times to the detriment of the humanity that is involved in this profession. Yet, the sense and awareness are rising and it should rise faster and wider to get it up the political agenda, for all these wonderful human beings practising medicine are doing astonishing work but they are merely humans like any other and they must be treated by societies as such and not just as 'qualified machines' so that they are able to continue to work while being able to live a happy and healthy life without getting burnt out, demoralised and wasted and suffer from the consequences, which cannot be good for the people, families, communities and societies they strive their hardest to serve.

Neurology is the only medical specialty that has both one of the highest rates of burnout and the lowest rates of satisfaction with work-life balance, which may cause neurologists to lose enthusiasm for their work, force some to leave practice early, and lead to fewer medical students choosing to enter neurology as a career. The study involved 1,671 neurologists with a median age of 51 years and an average 17 years in practice. Of the group who completed the questionnaire, 65 percent were men. Participants reported working an average of 56 hours per week, with three-fourths of that time spent in clinical care. One-third of neurologists worked in academic practice, or a university setting, and the rest in clinical practice.

The study found 60 percent of neurologists reported at least one symptom of burnout (high emotional exhaustion or high depersonalization). A majority, 53 percent, of neurologists had high emotional exhaustion, 41 percent felt high depersonalisation and 21 percent had a low personal accomplishment score. Clinical practice neurologists had a higher burnout rate than academic neurologists, 63 percent versus 56 percent.

Hours worked per week, nights on call per week, number of outpatients seen each week, and amount of clerical work were associated with greater burnout risk. Lower risk was associated with effective support staff, job autonomy, meaningful work, age and subspecialising in epilepsy.

“U.S. neurologists deal with diseases of the brain and other parts of the nervous system that are extremely complex, and most of these disorders are chronic and severely debilitating.” said study author Neil A. Busis, MD, with the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology.

“At the same time, neurologists are faced with excessive workloads, loss of autonomy, clerical burden and inadequate support staff—issues that are associated with the high prevalence of burnout and low rates of satisfaction with career and work-life integration.”

Other key findings of the study: 61 percent of neurologists would choose to become a physician again while 67 percent would choose to become a neurologist again; 67 percent of neurologists were satisfied with their job ; One in three neurologists indicated their work schedule left enough time for personal:family life; 60 percent of neurologists reported they have significant autonomy in determining how they do their job; Most neurologists, 88 percent, reported their work is meaningful to them; A minority of neurologists indicated the amount of time spent on clerical tasks was reasonable, both directly, 23 percent and indirectly, 16 percent, related to patient care; 56 percent of neurologists indicated that they had too little support staff to assist them in their work.

Neurologists work a median of 55 hours per week compared to 50 hours for all U.S. physicians. In addition, 32 percent of neurologists indicated their work schedule leaves enough time for personal/family life compared to 41 percent of all physicians, a rate lower than every other medical specialty.

According to the study, effective approaches to address these issues and cultivate meaning and engagement in neurology practice could include efforts within the neurologist’s work unit and organization to improve efficiency, optimize workload, decrease clerical burden, provide greater flexibility and control over work and enhance support staff. Physician-friendly national policies that decrease regulatory burden and mandated clerical tasks would also enhance neurologists’ engagement in the practice of neurology.

“Today, demand for neurologist services exceeds supply in most states, and demand is growing faster than supply. By 2025, it’s estimated that we will need nearly 20 percent more neurologists than are available. The high rate of neurologist burnout may contribute to and be exacerbated by this shortage.” said Cascino, who spearheaded the AAN’s efforts to study the issue of burnout and work-life balance and identify ways to reduce or prevent burnout and improve work-life balance.

The American Academy of Neurology is the world’s largest association of neurologists and neuroscience professionals, with 30,000 members. The AAN is dedicated to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, migraine, multiple sclerosis, brain injury, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy. ω.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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There is No Such Thing as Post Truth: But There is Falsehood: There are No Such Things as Alternative Facts: But There are Lies

The Truth: This is a picture of a butterfly and it is used in their promotional literature by the Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine Congress 2016, taking place in May 18-19 in London's Islington. Facts: That there is such a thing, called the Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine Congress 2016, that this is a picture, that it is a picture of a single butterfly or just one butterfly and that this picture is in colour and not just black and white. There are no other alternative facts about this.

 

|| January 22: 2017 || ά. There is truth and there is falsehood. Truth: last eight years, ending on January 20, 2017, the United States of America was governed by the two successive administration led by the 44th President of America, in the name of Barack Obama. Truth: England is part of a country, called United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Truth: Albert Einstein brought the science of Relativity into existence. Truth: the earth goes around the sun once a year while it goes around itself every day and, while the moon goes around the earth ever day. Truth: in one molecule of water there are two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen. Truth: cyanide kills all living things. Truth: humans are born and they all die. And this truth is the truth regardless of who or how many believe in it or support it or oppose or love or hate it. Therefore, there is no such thing as that what suddenly is being used, post truth. But there is no pre and post truth but the truth. Either it is oxygen or it is not oxygen. There is no position, called, sort of oxygen. A woman is either pregnant or not pregnant. There is not middle ground of being sort of pregnant. Theresa May is the Prime Minister of United Kingdom. There is no other statement but this that will fit this truth. She is the Prime Minister of the UK or she is not. There is no in between state of this fact. But there is falsehood or the untruth or that what is not arising out facts or of factual reality which is real verifiable, demonstrable and repeatable as well as is supported by evidence, reason and logic.

On the other hand, there are facts: and there are lies or incorrect facts or wrong facts. They are errors or incorrect or wrong if they happen without any intentional tampering by humans to suit their own need, interest or to advance their own position to serve their own agenda. And they are lies which are deliberate misrepresentations of facts to suit one's own need, to serve one's own interest, to achieve one's own aims and objectives. Therefore, there are no such things as alternative facts. Facts: 2+2=4. There is no alternative to this fact. There is The Thames, the river that divides London into two parts. This fact has no alternative because this fact corresponds to the truth that there is the, and the only one river, called The Thames that divides London into two halves in reality, which is a state that is real, verifiable, demonstrable and repeatable as well as is supported by evidence, reason and logic. The fact is this that the last President of America was its 44th, in Barack Obama and the 45th President of America is now serving in the name of Donald Trump. There are no alternative facts about this. The fact that in the last American Presidential Election Hillary Clinton won 02.8 million more popular votes than Donald Trump. The fact is this that despite winning 02.8 million more votes, Hillary Clinton failed to win enough electoral college votes to become the President and instead of her, Donald Trump did. There is no alternative to this fact.

Therefore, these terminologies that are now being invented and being abused by the populists, extreme, raw, crass and militant nationalism, the nazis and neo nazis and the entire range of political groups and parties that represent all forms of despicable political nausea that seeks to capitalise on and generate support through promoting racism, xenophobia, misogyny, chauvinism, race supremacy, anti-semitism, islamophobia, fear, hatred, paranoia and raw and nauseating anger-fed social psychopathy must be challenged and challenged effectively. The world of journalism, and it does still exist, in many outlets in the world and they existed for centuries, some may be older but many not as old, but they exist. The world of journalism must rise to challenge to bring this to an end. Propagandists and spin doctors have always tried to manipulate the populace and even tried and always do, even to manipulate the media outlets, too and, they are doing it now as ever before. It is time the world of the press in all forms and mediums, must rise up to this challenge and bring it to a stop. Because it is getting to a point of being absolutely dangerous. This is going to destroy us unless the world makes and takes a stand. There is the truth and there is no such thing as pre or post of the truth. But there are falsehoods. There are facts and there are no such things as alternative facts. But there are lies. Wake up must the world do. Wake up must humanity do: wake up, make a stand and challenge and bring the entire façade of this propaganda and spin to an end. ω.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Linguistics of Sociology

|| December 19: 2016: University of Portsmouth || ά. Advertisements for make-up encourage women to see themselves as flawed and needing to be fixed, according to a linguist at the University of Portsmouth. Dr Helen Ringrow, of the University of Portsmouth, found the underlying theme in advertisements for women’s cosmetics was this that their bodies need constant work to fix problems including dry hair, lack of glow and poor skin.

Dr Ringrow said, “The language used tells women their faces, hair and bodies are always falling below some imaginary standard. It makes women feel they’re never quite measuring up, never quite right. It also creates problems we never knew we had, such as selling us deodorant which makes our underarm skin tone appear more even.

The multi-billion pound beauty business thrives on making women’s bodies appear to be a flawed commodity which cosmetics can fix. In addition to using sex and the promise of youthfulness to sell products, the industry’s advertising also relied heavily on scientific language. While women are bombarded with claims about products, they may, of course, be sceptical about those.'' Dr Ringrow said.

Dr Ringrow, of the University’s School of Languages and Area Studies, released the results of her research in a book, ‘The Language of Cosmetics Advertising’, published by Palgrave.

Dr Helen Ringrow has a BA Joint Honours in English and French, Queen’s University Belfast, MA in English Language and Linguistics, Queen’s University Belfast, PhD in Linguistics, Queen’s University Belfast. She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and she is a Lecturer in Communication Studies and Applied Linguistics at the University of Portsmouth.

She has also contributed to teaching on language, power and ideology. Her doctoral research focused on how ideals about femininity and the female body are constructed in French and English cosmetics advertisements. She joined the University of Portsmouth in September 2014 and teaches on a wide range of applied linguistics, communication studies and English language units at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.

Dr Ringrow is a member of the Poetics and Linguistics Association:PALA and is the Equalities Officer for UCU Portsmouth. ω.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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The Key to Elections: Neither Economics Nor Party Platforms But That What is Called Emotions


|| December 17: 2016: University of Warwick News || ά. Elections and referendums may be being decided by the emotional well-being of voters, new research from the University of Warwick suggests. Led by researchers from Warwick’s Department of Economics the study suggests that elections and referendums decided by small margins, such as the UK EU Referendum and the American election could entirely be the result of voters' emotions, irrespective of their economic circumstances or the role governments play in their lives.

Discussing the findings Dr Eugenio Proto, a co-author of the study, said, “This study confirms the general widespread concern that voters are not completely rational when they cast their ballot, an issue that needs to be taken seriously into account for the correct functioning of our democratic institutions. In the context of recent events, observed on the international political scene, such as the vote for Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, our result is important, because it suggests that political victory of new entrants could be due to factors unrelated to the assessment of past policies implemented by the incumbent or to the lack of confidence on the future of the economy.”

The study of UK voters, conducted using the British Household Panel and involving over 4000 respondents interviewed every year for a period until 2008, sought to understand the extent to which citizens consider the past performance of a political party when choosing whether to cast a vote in its favour. By analysing the voting behaviour of individual participants the researchers found that:

individuals who experience the death of a spouse are around 10% less likely to support the incumbent party, even when elected officials' policies, health care, social welfare, cannot reasonably be blamed for the death
those who are satisfied with their life are 1.6% more likely to support the incumbent
a 10% increase in family income leads to a 0.18% increase in an individual's support of the incumbent

Commenting on the study lead researcher Dr Michela Redoano said, “The study provides evidences that not only money but, more generally, wellbeing matters when voters make up their voting decisions. The research also highlights gender differences in voting behaviour: women tend to be less rational than men at the ballot. Women whose husbands die are more likely than men to drop their support for government, even if the death of the spouse has nothing to do with government’s actions.”

Dr Federica Liberini, of ETH, Zurich and fellow co-author the study, said, ''The subjective perception of one's wellbeing significantly influences the political decision of British voters. The study shows that events of entirely personal nature affects the voters’ ability to reward or punish the incumbent government in a rational manner and that this is true beyond an objective and subjective assessment of one’s financial conditions.”

The study, Happy Voters, is published by the Journal of Public Economics and was conducted by University of Warwick’s Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy:CAGE within the Department of Economics. ω.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Being Human Festival of Humanities: November 17-25

|| November 18: 2016 || ά. Led by the School of Advanced Study, University of London, in partnership with the Arts & Humanities Research Council and the British Academy, Being Human is a national forum for public engagement with humanities research. The festival highlights the ways in which the humanities can inspire and enrich our everyday lives, help us to understand ourselves, our relationships with others, and the challenges we face in a changing world.

In 2015, the festival featured over 300 events organised by over 70 universities and research organisations in 36 towns and cities across the country. In 2016, it has returned between November 17 and 25  for nine days of big questions, big debates and engaging activities for all ages. The theme for the 2016 festival is ‘Hope and Fear’. Events

Being Human at University: During the festival University of Exeter academics will open up their research to a number of different audiences with events across Devon and Cornwall. This year Exeter has been chosen as one of the six festival 'hubs'.  Everyone is invited to attend the free events which will celebrate humanities research - event details will be released shortly. The theme for the 2016 festival is ‘Hope and Fear’.

Being Human is led by the School of Advanced Study:SAS, University of London in partnership with the Arts & Humanities Research Council:AHRC and the British Academy. This partnership draws together the three major bodies dedicated to supporting and promoting humanities research in the UK and internationally.

Festival team: Professor Sarah Churchwell: Festival Director. Dr Michael Eades: Festival Curator and Manager. Jo Chard: Festival Co-ordinator. Dr Naomi Paxton: Cultural Engagement Fellow. Kristan Tetens: Communications Manager. The festival is also overseen by a steering committee comprising of representatives from the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the British Academy. ω.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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The Trust Vacuum: What Does the Mirror Show



|| November 06: 2016 || ά. Consumer trust in business organisations and institutions including the media and politicians has gone into freefall in recent years, with older people now among the most disaffected, according to a report commissioned by the Academy of Executive Coaching:AoEC. The AoEC launched an initiative designed to build a new generation of trusted leaders based on a comprehensive analysis of the core characteristics of a trusted leader. The AoEC’s work has identified ‘trust vacuums’ across an array of institutions and market sectors that create opportunities for both malicious disruptors and emerging leaders. The US presidential race, by common consent, is an example of this phenomenon.

John Blakey, author of ‘The Trusted Executive’, who is leading the AoEC initiative, has identified three fundamental qualities that are necessary for people to trust a leader: ability, able to deliver results, integrity, reliable in behaviours and maintains a consistent set of values, and benevolence, doesn’t act purely in own interest. According to Omnibus polling for the AoEC, 57% of people over the age of 55 say they have lost trust in corporations, businesses and other institutions in recent years, with only 02% saying their levels of trust have improved. Conversely, people under 25 appear to be less cynical, with over a third saying they have more trust in these institutions than they had previously.

Distrust of politicians was particularly high among older people, with less than 07% of over 55s saying that they trusted MPs and nearly three quarters indicating that they did not trust them. This compares to nearly a quarter of 18–24 year olds who trust politicians. This cynicism towards politicians, particularly, among older people, could explain the post-truth anti-establishment phenomenon of Donald Trump who is seen by some as an alternative to the politics as usual, despite many fact-checking websites pointing out the multitude of inaccuracies in his public pronouncements.

When asked to think about which attributes they looked for in a potential leader, honesty, fairness and the ability to deliver results were viewed as the most important across all age groups; however, communication skills and creative thinking were valued more highly by young people than older generations.

Gina Lodge, CEO of the Academy of Executive Coaching, said: “Without question our polling indicates that we are seeing a crisis in trust across many sections of society. Many of our institutions have been rocked by scandals in recent years and we have seen many familiar names disappear from our high streets. It is crucial for business leaders and politicians to address this problem and rebuild trust.”

Gina Lodge added: “The decline in trust that we are seeing creates a difficult context for business leaders and politicians, but it should also be seen as a potential opportunity. Organisations that can demonstrate their trustworthiness will be richly rewarded and develop a loyal following that is becoming all too rare nowadays.”

The AoEC recently partnered with John Blakey, author of The Trusted Executive, to identify what leadership qualities help inspire trust. John Blakey said: “This current crisis in trust could explain many of the phenomenon we have seen politically in recent times, with the US election being a particularly striking example. Trump has never held high office, and yet this has not barred him from getting close to the White House as his reputation as a businessman has convinced people of his ability to deliver.

People have tired of the mainstream political system which they see as geared towards establishment interests and are seeking an alternative to the status quo. The very fact that he is not a politician is what appeals to his supporters as he can speak with integrity outside of the political system. His promise to ‘make America great again’ suggests to his supporters that he is looking after their interests.”

John Blakey added: “Trump has shown that creating a compelling narrative to support your argument can be hugely effective in building a following, but it can only take you so far. His recent comments have proved to be too much for many senior Republicans and this is damaging his ratings in the polls. Ironically, Trump has succeeded in occupying the trust vacuum at the heart of politics by demonstrating a certain flexibility with the truth. This is a perfect example of how maverick leaders can exploit the current trust crisis in all walks of life if mainstream leaders do not seize the opportunity to build trust by focussing upon their ability, integrity and benevolence.”

I believe that trustworthiness is a product of multiplying these three qualities together. The crucial element is that this formula is based on multiplication rather than addition, meaning that if a leader scores zero for any one of these three attributes, then their trust rating is wiped out completely. By repeatedly referring to Clinton as ‘Crooked Hillary’, Trump appears to be trying to wipe out her integrity and consequently her overall trustworthiness.”

The report also found significant distrust of the media, with people generally more likely to believe what they read online compared to what they read in a newspaper. Broadcast media was the most trusted source of information across all age groups apart from those under 25, who viewed online and broadcast media as equally reliable.

About the Academy of Executive Coaching:AoEC: The AoEC exists to both provide the highest quality accredited coach training to individuals and to manage culture change at all levels of an organisation with both small and large scale developments. We do this through a combination of expert consultancy, coaching, training of internal coaches and leadership and management development. ω. 

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The Skies are Always Open and They are Always Calling: Open Your Soul.... To the Open.. To the Open....To the Open

 

|| November 04: 2016 || ά. The determined efforts to brew, germinate and manipulate mass anger, hostility, aggression, intolerance, abusiveness, general disrespect and contempt towards everything and everyone, raising of hatred and fear, culturing of dislikes and loathing to that what is different, makes society as ill as a severely mentally ill person is ill so that the ill individual has nowhere to go for respite for the society itself has become even more ill than the single individual is for the social sphere is overwhelming since no one can escape its reaches. This Sociological Psychosis is brewing a culture that is intolerable, insufferable and inescapable. No one can escape it. This is neither healthy for general well being of individuals, families and communities nor is it conducive to public discourse, debate and discussion, without which a democratic society cannot function.

We must seek to dampen things and do all we can to encourage, foster, nurture and enhance logical, rational, evidence based, common sense-fed, scientific and mathematical way of looking at things, understanding things and responding to things and issues. Anger is a fire, so is hatred, so is intolerance, with which one can burn or destroy everything including, most crucially, oneself first and foremost, since fire burns the first thing it reaches and it does and will reach that self that sets that fire up. One cannot ever create something with anger. All the evils that we face make people angry because these evils are anathema to and work to destroy, natural justice.

However, any and all human response must be a matter of choice, unless they are, than we cannot say, humans are persons capable of making choices, if we accept that some of the human responses are not a matter of choice, we do not include involuntary physiological reflexes here. And an angry response is such a response where a human being does not make a choice and lets go so that the response actually works against that person. This means an angry person does the highest of disservice to his:her own self because they could have chosen not to respond in the way they did but they failed to make that choice and let themselves become victim of their own failure.  And an angry response is never going to make that go away; that what destroys natural justice. Peace cannot ever be achieved because people are angry: anger is anathema to peace. Social change, political change, cultural change that can and will bring positive, empowering and nurturing changes in society can never be achieved because people have been made angry.

When people are angry, they are not rational and only while being rational humanity is at its best and only by being at its best humanity can and does bring the best of what it is. People need to be able to see and understand the absolute burning incongruity of this argument, for instance, that says: 01+02=11 but they do not have to get angry for one simply has to say, mathematically, that this is untrue because 01+01+01=III or 02+01=03, without flinching or raising an eye brow, let alone the voice. For as soon as one is angry, agitated and is screaming and shouting and swearing one has lost it all and from this very point, no one is listening to what one is going on about since everyone has already switched themselves off to the person screaming, shouting and swearing. No one is listening at all. And if no one is listening than what is the point of all that screaming, shouting, swearing and getting twisted about is about?

This anger brewing, this hostility-germinating, this intolerance-breeding, this abuse-generating, this hatred-culturing and this opinion fascism which is a state in which opinions are expressed as biblical truth without substance, base, basis, reason, logic or evidence and often, the expressed opinion is directly contrary to all these qualities mentioned here, is destroying the very fabrics of a tolerant, open and peaceful society and social, political, economical, cultural and artistic discourse. This is getting really to a level that can only be described as dangerous. A human being, who is suffering from psychosis, is in desperate need for medical care and intervention; but when a society gets to be suffering from Sociological Psychosis how do you go about fixing it? The best way is not to let the society become ill with sociological psychosis in the first place. Let us move away, turn away from this..........Let us turn away towards... humanity. The skies are always open and they are always calling: open your soul to the open... to the open... to the open......: ω. 

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The ESRC Festival of Social Science 2016: November 05-12

|| October 16: 2016 || ά. The Economic Social Research Council: ESRC Festival of Social Science 2016 is a week-long celebration of the social sciences and social science research, taking place from in November 05-12 across the UK, with free to attend events suitable for all ages and levels of interest.

The Festival of Social Science offers a fascinating insight into some of the country's leading social science research and how it influences our social, economic and political lives, both now and in the future. You may be surprised at just how relevant the Festival's events are to society today. Social science research makes a difference.

Discover how it shapes public policy and contributes to making the economy more competitive, as well as giving people a better understanding of 21st century society. From big ideas to the most detailed observations, social science affects us all everyday, at work, in school, when raising children, within our communities, and even at the national level.

Everyone, from schoolchildren to politicians, can take part in and hear about social science research in the Festival's many engaging events. This celebration of the social sciences takes place across the UK via public debates, conferences, workshops, interactive seminars, film screenings, virtual exhibitions and much more. 2016 will be the fourteenth year that ESRC will hold the Festival of Social Science and each year the Festival has gone from strength to strength. ω.

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People Travel to Conflict Zones in Syria for Many Different Reasons
 

 

|| October 14: 2016 || ά. Young people who travel to conflict zones in Syria have very diverse social profiles. Also the reasons for travelling to conflict zones vary. A study published today shows that social exclusion is not necessarily the most important reason for travelling to conflict zones. The research was carried out by the Centre for Research on Ethnic Relations and Nationalism:CEREN at the Swedish School of Social Science, University of Helsinki, as part of the implementation of the Government’s 2015 plan for analysis, assessment and research.

The study is based on an extensive dataset of interviews, observations and online sources, and its aim was to find out why and how Daesh and other groups active in conflict zones in Syria and Iraq have managed to persuade young Finnish Muslims to join them. The dataset is based on interviews and social media activity of persons linked with mobility towards conflict zones.

A key finding in the study is that in Finland radicalisation should not be seen merely as a conversion to an ideology but also as a process where young people seek answers to their questions and construct and redefine their religious beliefs.

The people who were studied identify themselves strongly with Muslims suffering in conflict zones. While they share the dream of Muslim global unity, they are also aware of discord among multivocal Muslim communities.

The study participants included relatives and friends of those who travelled to conflict zones in 2012–2015 as well as Finnish supporters of jihadist groups, people investigated or arrested for terrorism offences, and people who work with youth and social exclusion issues.

The interviews dealt with the history of fourteen individuals: thirteen of them had joined Daesh and one had travelled to Syria beforeDaesh arrived there. At least four of these individuals have died. The research data tells about the lives of nearly one in five individuals who have left Finland to join the conflict in Syria.

Since 2012 the Finnish National Security Service has identified around 70 individuals who have travelled from Finland to conflict zones in Syria.

For further information about the Government’s analysis, assessment and research. Inquiries: Marko Juntunen, Centre for Research on Ethnic Relations and Nationalism:CEREN at the Swedish School of Social Science, University of Helsinki, tel. +358 50 318 6103, marko.juntunen at helsinki.fi: ω.

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Poverty Follows Everywhere Impacting in All Things: Poorer Girls Over Twice as Likely to Start Puberty by 11





|| October 12: 2016 || ά. New research from the Economic and Social Research Council:ESRC International Centre for Lifecourse Studies in Society and Health shows that girls from poorer families are two-and-a-half times more likely to start their period by the age of 11, than children from wealthier backgrounds. ‘Early puberty in 11-year-old girls: Millennium Cohort Study findings’ is the first study to look over time at whether, and how, a girl’s social and economic circumstances and her ethnicity might be linked to the early onset of puberty.

The report, completed at the centre based at University College London:UCL, examined information from 5,839 girls who have participated in the Millennium Cohort Study which has been tracking the lives of 19,000 UK children born in 2000-01. It found that: i: On average, girls who were heavier at age seven and suffered stress in early childhood were more likely to have begun menstruating by age 11; ii: Those who had started their periods early also tended to have mothers with higher stress levels, were from single-parent families, and tended to have had some social and emotional difficulties themselves;

iii: Indian, Bangladeshi and black African girls were most likely to have started their period at age 11, with Indian girls three-and-a-half-times more likely than their white counterparts to have done so; iv: Early puberty is linked to numerous health outcomes including increased risk of poor mental health, in adolescence and throughout life, cardiovascular disease and some cancers. The average age for UK girls to start their menstrual cycle is 12.9, 12 years, and nearly 11 months. To identify markers for earlier menstruation, Professor Yvonne Kelly and the team of academics at UCL looked at a number of factors including income, weight, ethnicity, stress and parental situation.

They found that affluence was the largest indicator of whether a girl would start her period younger than others. “After we took account of factors including their weight and early life stress, girls from the poorest and second poorest groups were still one and a half times more likely to have started their periods early. And as far as ethnicity was concerned, income, excess body weight and stress accounted for part or all of the differences in most cases,” explained Professor Kelly of the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at UCL.

The findings can perhaps be explained, as we know that girls from less wealthy backgrounds are more likely to have a higher body mass index:BMI, and their mothers are more likely to experience psychological distress, all of which appear to be an indicator of beginning menstruation earlier in life.” 

Professor Kelly added: “However, as most Indian girls come from more advantaged backgrounds compared to their white peers, the likelihood of them having started their period could not be explained when we took all of the factors measured in our study into account.” The study, which has been published in Archives of Disease in Childhood, showed that one in 10 girls are starting their period by age 11 years of age.

Professor Kelly explained that the findings could be vital in terms of improving the health of generations to come. “Given the short and long term implications for early puberty on women’s health and wellbeing, improving our understanding of the processes could help identify opportunities for interventions with benefits right across the lifecourse, not just for the girls in our study, but for future generations,” she said.

Whilst the study, which assessed a pool of families across a wide ethnic range and in various areas from across the country, focused on menstruation cycles of girls, it also demonstrated ‘considerable different life experiences’ of ethnic minority groups in the UK.

Professor Kelly explains: “Indians are relatively advantaged whereas Pakistanis tend to be materially disadvantaged; Bangladeshis and black Africans are materially disadvantaged and tend to have higher BMIs compared with the majority ethnic group. We can say with considerable confidence that socioeconomic and ethnic disparities are indeed apparent in the UK.”

The Economic and Social Research Council:ESRC: The ESRC is the UK’s largest funder of research on the social and economic questions facing us today. It supports the development and training of the UK’s future social scientists and also funds major studies that provide the infrastructure for research. ESRC-funded research informs policymakers and practitioners and helps make businesses, voluntary bodies and other organisations more effective. The ESRC also works collaboratively with six other UK research councils and Innovate UK to fund cross-disciplinary research and innovation addressing major societal challenges. ICLS is a multidisciplinary research centre, directed by Professor Amanda Sacker, that supports research at UCL, University of Manchester, University of East London, University of Essex and Örebro University Hospital Sweden. ω.

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Southampton Research Examines Rights of Older People in Pakistan

|| October 05: 2016: University of Southampton News || ά. University of Southampton research is investigating the well-being and human rights of older people in Pakistan, addressing issues such as age discrimination, access to pensions and the provision of healthcare. Lead researcher Professor Asghar Zaidi  comments: “With the world marking the United Nations’ International Day of Older Persons on October 01, we are reminded that people should not lose their human rights as they grow older. It should not be acceptable to deny people the opportunity to work or receive medical services they need, purely because of their age. They should be allowed the ability to remain independent and in control of their own lives.”

In 2013, Professor Zaidi developed the Global AgeWatch Index with the global network HelpAge International to make comparisons of quality of life in older age for people around the world and identify policies that improve the lives of older people in different contexts. Another aim is to identify what additional data, evidence and research are necessary for effective policymaking.

Pakistan is the sixth most populous country and in 2015 it had an older population of approximately 12.5m. This places Pakistan in a group of only 15 countries worldwide that have more than 10m older people. By 2050, the number will have risen to a staggering 40m. Researchers believe there is an urgent need for understanding the state of the human rights of older people in the country and developing policies to protect and promote these rights.

In response, the British Council in Pakistan is addressing this through the study Moving from the Margins: Promoting and Protecting the Rights of Older Persons in Pakistan in collaboration with HelpAge International Pakistan and Professor Zaidi, the project’s advisor. This is a first of its kind project generating unique knowledge on how aware older people are of their social and economic rights and what actions they are willing to take to demand them. The challenges facing Pakistan are echoed around the globe and it’s hoped the study will provide valuable lessons for countries with similar issues.

Professor Zaidi comments: “In the future, a continued rise in life expectancy will lead to an increasing number of old and very old people in Pakistan. There is no evidence that the years added to our lives will be spent in good health. Therefore, families, especially poor families, will not be able to sustain this for so many additional years, so research is required on how lives of older men and women will continue to be affected by lack of public services in Pakistan.

This new research project will aim to provide evidence of which human rights are neglected in Pakistan for the older population and what policies and programmes are required, at the national and sub-national levels, to promote and protect the rights of older citizens in the country.”

Through the research, the British Council will generate the knowledge to help identify problems faced by the elderly in Pakistan. A mixed method of research is being used for the project, including secondary data analysis of a newly conducted quantitative survey on older people, as well as qualitative interviewing, and consultations with key stakeholders. The project will make recommendations towards developing stronger, formal institutional arrangements to protect and promote the rights of Pakistan’s older people.

Professor Zaidi adds: “The pledges made by the new UN Sustainable Development Goals, ‘no one will be left behind’ and ‘to reach the furthest behind first’, imply that every individual in the world should benefit from the rights and opportunities on offer from the development process and that the most vulnerable subgroups, such as the elderly, will get the highest priority in the human development agenda.”

This research in Pakistan is undertaken alongside a wider research project at the University of Southampton’s Centre for Research on Ageing, funded by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council:ESRC, during 2015-2016, undertaking analysis of quality of life of older persons in Bangladesh, China, India and Pakistan. Findings from these projects will be published in 2017. ω.

Images: University of Southampton

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Sociology of Health: Should an Alcohol Company That Exists to Promote a Culture of Drinking So to Sell More and Make More Profit Out of It Be Let to Abuse Advertising in the Name of Promoting Health: LSHTM Looks at Ireland's Case

One who drinks must know to eat and live a healthy life, primarily, for one's own sake and that includes making the choice
whether drinking alcohol forms part of that healthy life style. And if one asks advice on whether drinking alcohol constitutes
part of a healthy life-style from a company that exists to promote an alcohol drinking culture so to sell more and make
a bigger profit what is going to be their answer? Is it not like sending the chickens to be looked after by the foxes?  Image: FAO



|| October 02: 2016: The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine News || ά. The controversial ‘Stop out of Control Drinking’ campaign in Ireland which promotes ‘responsible drinking’ could actually undermine public health, according to a new study published in the journal PLOS ONE. The campaign, launched in Ireland last year by drinks company Diageo, stated it was designed to ‘change the country’s culture of drinking for the better’, and make out of control drinking ‘socially unacceptable’.

However, this study, led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and conducted with experts from the UK and Ireland, concluded that the campaign lacked independence from Diageo, and presented problems with alcohol and policy solutions that were unfavourable to public health. The analysis of newspaper articles, media interviews and social media activity relating to the campaign, also showed that the campaign used vague or self-defined concepts of ‘out of control’ and ‘moderate’ drinking, presenting alcohol harm as a behavioural problem rather than a health issue.

Professor Mark Petticrew, lead author from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said: “The Diageo campaign was controversial from the start, not least because it was initiated and funded by an alcohol company. We were particularly concerned that the campaign emphasised the importance of public opinion about what might work, while placing little emphasis on the scientific evidence already available about solutions to alcohol-related problems. For example, the campaign presented education as an effective way to ‘change our culture’, though the evidence clearly shows that this has little effect.”

The researchers also found that the campaign emphasised alcohol-related antisocial behaviour among young people, particularly young women, when it is known that alcohol harms are a wider health issue affecting men, women and children across the whole population, resulting in the deaths of three people in Ireland every day.

Dr Niamh Fitzgerald, a co-author from the University of Stirling, said: “Diageo’s campaign generally failed to emphasise the policies known to be most effective such as marketing controls and minimum unit pricing, talking instead about culture change, psychological factors and parenting. The language used in the campaign appears to frame alcohol problems as the responsibility of individual drinkers rather than arising from the marketing of an addictive, carcinogenic product. This tactic has been previously used by the tobacco industry. We need to ensure that going forward the public, policymakers and the third sector can recognise these industry strategies.”

The authors acknowledge limitations of the study, including that they had little information about many SOOCD board members’ relationships with either Diageo, or with the alcohol industry more generally. This made it difficult to assess any potential conflicts of interest.

Publication: Mark Petticrew, Niamh Fitzgerald, Mary Alison Durand, Cécile Knai, Martin Davoren, Ivan Perry. Diageo's 'Stop Out of Control Drinking' Campaign in Ireland: An Analysis. PLOS ONE. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0160379: ω.

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Where Exactly is the Future of Education? There, Where This Question Was Before It was Formulated: Within You: The Future is Coming from Within Yourself and There is Where Your Choice Lies as to What You Make of This 'Future': That You Bring Out from Within

C.R. Rubin Speaks With Charles Fadel

|| September 24: 2016: Year Beta: Day One || ά. Employers complain that graduates are not ready for work. Students who drop out cite boredom and lack of motivation as their major reasons for leaving school. Stanford University studies indicate students are overloaded and underprepared. What should we teach young people in an age where Dr. Google has an answer for everything? Humans are living longer; the traditional professions disappear while new ones are created; international mobility is drastically increasing population diversity; terrorism, environmental threats and inequality need our collective attention; and robots and gene editing are coming, requiring us to re-examine the very core of what it means to be human.

According to the Centre for Curriculum Redesign:CCR founder Charles Fadel, “We must deeply redesign curriculum to be relevant to the knowledge, skills, character qualities, and meta-learning students will need in their lives.” In Part one of our five-part series with Charles Fadel he introduced us to the big picture thinking behind his book Four-Dimensional Education: The Competencies Learners Need to Succeed. The OECD’s Andreas Schleicher calls Fadel’s book a “first of its kind organising framework of competencies needed for this century which defines the spaces in which educators, curriculum planners, policy makers and learners can establish what should be learned.” Today in Part two of our series with Fadel, we will focus on Whay knowledge is relevant in a 21st century curriculum.

During the 1800’s, curriculum was transformed to catch up with the industrial revolution. In your book, you note the majority of the structure has remained, although modern disciplines have been added. How do we insert subjects relevant to the Information Age in our current over-crowded system?

It is difficult. Ambitious innovation becomes nearly impossible under such constraints. In most cases, new goals and content additions are tacked onto an already overburdened curriculum, and with the pressure of preparing for standardized tests, relatively few educators are able to consistently provide the time needed to effectively integrate new learning goals into the curriculum.

So how do you change this?

To implement these changes, one has to address all of the following structural difficulties:

At the policy level, most countries must work with an inherent level of instability, with elections and changes of leadership occurring every few years. The frequent changes of personnel and the political pressures to balance the competing interests of voters, parents, unions, businesses, and so on, often preclude the continuity necessary to reflect on large-scale trends, plan for long-term goals, take calculated risks, or embrace change and innovation.

At the level of human expertise and authority, decisions are often reserved for subject-matter experts. These experts’ opinions are partial and biased in certain predictable ways. First, experts feel responsible for upholding earlier standards, as they have sometimes been part of creating them and promoting their benefits. Being loyal to their field of study, they also find it difficult to discard parts of the whole cloth of their field’s knowledge, even after those parts have become outdated or less useful. And “Groupthink” also colours views and stymies innovation.

Teachers complain curriculum load leaves little time to teach new skills. Stanford University studies claim students are both overloaded and underprepared. Studies indicate that unused knowledge is quickly forgotten. Why aren’t we doing more to update curriculum?

So far, it has not been perceived necessary to focus content into its essential themes and concepts. There is an assumption that deeper and more complex understanding will naturally emerge out of the accumulation of lower level knowledge, which is incorrect, that emergence requires deliberate effort, and low-level assessments push the system in the opposite direction. And while some experts are convinced that the deeper understanding cannot take place without comprehensive lower level knowledge, factual knowledge is actually becoming less important, to a point, while deep understanding is as key as ever. Programs like Concept-Based Curriculum have worked to reorganize knowledge around the important concepts. This process needs to be done across subjects and age groups, with an interdisciplinary mindset, and comprehensively taking into account the structure of concepts and meta-concepts, as well as processes, methods, and tools that are required for deep understanding of a given field.

Youth have access to software programs which automatically correct grammar, spelling and sentence structure mistakes. Robot journalists are already creating their own stories. What language writing and grammar skills will students need in the future?

The kind of writing least likely to be automated involves skills such as creativity and critical thinking, which involves synthesizing information from a variety of sources, distilling messages, and crafting communication. Also, creative works that are radically innovative are unlikely to be challenged soon, while mimicking someone’s style is already feasible, musically as well!

For any learning goal, we must ask “why” we are teaching it; what is the practical, cognitive, and emotional value? It may be that there are large cognitive benefits to learning these goals when they are developmentally appropriate. For example, the development of symbolic representations, and reasoning with symbols. Or the phonological benefits of learning to spell. After all, in order for the autocorrect to work, we must be able to make a guess that is close enough. In addition, it is likely that formulating thoughts into sentences helps the thoughts to be more clearly solidified, although this claim needs to be examined empirically. Finally, as the role of media continues to grow, it is important to be able to make convincing arguments, as well as to spot the tools that other arguments are employing.

There are apps that translate foreign languages. Robot translators will soon be conversant in dozens of languages. Should students learn foreign languages in the future?

There are three main reasons for learning a foreign language: Communication, Culture, and Cognitive. The simpler communication aspects might be “roboticised”, for instance, ordering from a menu, but fluency is not within technological reach for at least another 2-3 decades according to A.I. experts. Second, there are the global literacy benefits of learning about another culture and its customs, which help develop students’ worldview and awareness.

There should therefore be a strong component of connecting the language to its culture and cultural works. Third, there is mounting evidence that knowing multiple languages has broader benefits for the brain, as for music. And there is of course the aesthetic value of reading influential works in their original language!

Please talk about new knowledge that students need for the jobs that exist now and those that have not yet been invented.

It is difficult to predict jobs 20 years into the future exactly, but it is possible to look at trends. There are both technological and human changes occurring that will change the fabric of daily life. To adequately prepare students, we need to focus on both breadth and depth of learning. Modern knowledge that is currently being neglected includes Technology and Engineering, e.g. computer science, bioengineering, advanced manufacturing, Media, Journalism, Cinema, Entrepreneurship and Business, Personal Finance, Wellness, both physical and mental, and Social Systems, incl. Sociology, Anthropology, etc. and so on. These are the disciplines that have emerged recently but have quickly become crucial to modern discourse. In addition, students will need to be able to think interdisciplinarily across fields to solve the complex problems of the future and to be versatile in an ever-changing world. While all subjects are interdisciplinary, either because they are foundational and thus a part of many other disciplines, or because they are new and thus a composite of many disciplines, there are also important modern themes that should be highlighted throughout both modern and traditional disciplines, including Global literacy, Environmental literacy, Information literacy, Digital literacy, Systems thinking, and Design thinking. These will be useful lenses to apply to a variety of fields as they continue to change and evolve.

So to be perfectly clear: STEM and Humanities and Arts; Knowledge and Competencies.

What makes your approach unique?

We are taking the trends identified by futurists and economists, and connecting them to relevant fields of study and competencies required. And across both traditional and modern subjects, we are working to both simplify and connect the content: simplify by boiling down subjects to their essential questions; and connect by highlighting themes across subjects, adding the myriad connections that exist between a subject and all other relevant subjects, and the connections to its application in the world.

Thank you Charles. In Part three of our series with Charles Fadel, we will focus on WHAT Character Development?

For More Information about Four-Dimensional Education visit Curriculum Redesign

C. M. Rubin  with Charles Fadel: ω.

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A Generation of Youth Being Broken: What and Who Does It Really Break When a Nation Lets Its Youth Down?



|| September 22: 2016 || ά.  Anxious, worn down and fearing for the future: a major survey of 18-30 year olds reveals a generation in crisis, with young women worst affected. Millions of young people in Britain are being hit by serious financial and work problems and pessimism about the future with young women worst affected, according to a major new study of 18-30 year olds by the charity Young Women’s Trust. Drawing on findings from a major poll of 4,000 18-30 year olds carried out by Populus Data Solutions, No Country for Young Women, reveals a despairing and worn down generation of 18-30 year olds, many of whose lives are on hold because of financial, work and housing problems.

As a result of financial pressures, young people aged 18-30 are having to put their lives on hold. Almost half , 48%, said they may have to put off having children. 43% still live at home and a quarter, 24%, had to move back in with their parents because they couldn’t afford to live independently. 56% of young people said they would consider moving abroad for work. This is unsurprising given the difficulties in earning enough money reported by many young people. Three in ten young people had been offered a zero hours contract, 30%. More than one in five reported having been paid less than the minimum wage, 22%, and 28% of young people in work said they didn’t have enough paid hours. Almost half, 48%, said they are worried about how much their job pays.

Financial pressures are particularly affecting young women, with 39% of young women saying it was a real struggle to make their cash last until the end of the month, compared with 27% of young men. 42% of young people said it would be a big financial problem if they had to replace a large item such as a fridge or washing machine this year, 45% of young women, 39% of young men. Fewer than four in ten young people, 36%, thought they would be debt-free by the time they are 40. One in 12 parents, 08%, aged 18-30 reported having to use a foodbank to survive.

The survey also found that 30% of young women had experienced sex discrimination when working or looking for work. A majority of young people said women still face discrimination in the workplace, with young women, 72%, more likely to recognise this than young men, 54%.

The psychological effect of these pressures facing millennials is taking its toll. The survey found that amongst 18-30 year olds: 47% lack self-confidence, with young women, 54%, much more likely to say this than young men, 39%; Over half of young people said they feel worried for the future, 55% of young women, 47% of young men; Four in ten, 42%, said they feel worn down, 46% of young women, 38% of young men; One in three said they were worried about their mental health, 38% of young women, 29% of young men.

In response to the survey findings, Young Women’s Trust is calling for addressing the challenges faced by young people to be at the heart of policymaking across government. Amongst the measures the charity wants to see are: A Minister established within central government with responsibility for overall youth policy, including youth employment; A commitment from Government to moving towards extending the National Living Wage to under 25s; A greater focus, including through JobCentre Plus, on supporting young adults – especially young women - with confidence, emotional wellbeing and employability.

Speaking today, Dr Carole Easton, Chief Executive of Young Women’s Trust said: “At a time of life traditionally characterised by youthful confidence and optimism, it is distressing that so many young people, especially young women, are struggling to make ends meet, and are increasingly worn down and worried about the future.

Make no mistake about it, we’re talking about a generation of young people in crisis. And while life is hard for many young people, our survey shows it’s likely to be considerably tougher if you are a young woman.

It’s not in any of our interests to write off an entire generation. Much more needs to be done to improve young people’s prospects, including through creating a Minister for young people, extending the National Living Wage to under 25s, delivering on Government commitments to improve housing options for young people and tackling workplace discrimination. Our findings also show that there needs to be a particular focus on better understanding the needs of young women who are at real risk of being left behind.”

About the Survey: Young Women’s Trust commissioned Populus Data Solutions to undertake a survey of young people. A representative sample of 4,014 18-30 year olds in Great Britain, from the Populus Live Online Panel, were surveyed between June 23-July 13, 2016.
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About Young Women's Trust: Young Women's Trust supports and represents women aged 16-30 struggling to live on low or no pay in England and Wales and who are at risk of being trapped in poverty. Young Women's Trust offers free coaching and personalised advice on job applications, conducts research, runs campaigns and works with young women to build confidence and advocate for fair financial futures.

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There is a 'Real Danger' Spreading Again: the Rise of Nationalism, Extremism, Racism and Bigotry in Many Parts of the World:Andrej Kiska  President of Slovakia

President of Slovakia Andrej Kiska, President of the Slovak Republic, addresses the general debate of the General Assembly’s
seventy-first session. Image: UN Photo:Cia Pak

|| September 20: 2016 || ά. Addressing the United Nations General Assembly’s general debate today, Andrej Kiska, the President of Slovakia, warned that there is “a real danger” spreading again, the rise of nationalism, extremism, racism and bigotry in many parts of the world. “I am certain that responsible leaders need to address these dark moods in our societies. Because these moods are the ultimate enemy of the humankind, the enemy responsible for the worst misery and bloodbath in our modern history,” he said.

“We are still living in strange times of contradictions,” he said, noting that a physician can examine a patient’s data uploaded on the opposite side of the globe, but 16,000 children die every day mostly from preventable diseases. Some places see autonomous self-driving cars but millions of children cannot find their way into the classrooms, he said. “With all our resources, all our innovative power and all our unprecedented ways of knowledge-sharing, we can’t ignore the opportunities to increase global prosperity, freedom and the dignity of human beings,” he said.

Political leaders had established many useful institutions to advance peace and development, but the world is witnessing the largest displacement crisis since the World War II. “It’s a moral duty of every successful, modern country to help,” he said, urging those who gathered for the general debate to ask themselves if they are doing enough to improve the lives of people in need, or if they are more concerned about retaining their power. Mr. Kiska expressed concern about the destabilisation in its neighbouring sovereign country of Ukraine and recurring violence in the region.

“As well-known catchphrase goes, we should think globally and act locally. The crisis in Ukraine, in the part of world where I am coming from, has entered its third year,” he said, reiterating his nation’s call for the settlement of the conflict, as the Minsk agreements as the only viable way out of the crisis. “Slovakia is ready to continue its assistance to Ukraine to help secure a stable, prosperous and democratic future for all her citizens,” Mr. Kiska said.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted last year by UN Member States, has been crafted on the grounds of successes and experience. “It’s our task to drive the necessary change to make the world a more prosperous, healthy, inclusive and safe place.”

Mr. Kiska is among the many leaders who will address the general debate of 71st General Assembly which opened this year with the adoption of the New York Declaration as the outcome of yesterday's first-ever UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants. Made up of all the 193 Member States of the United Nations, the Assembly provides a forum for multilateral discussion of international issues covered by the UN Charter.
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The Sociology of the European Union Referendum: Poverty, Low Skills and Lack of Opportunities

 

|| September 05: 2016 || ά. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has published its Report on factors influencing the European Union Referendum on August 31. This report provides unprecedented insight into the dynamics of the 2016 vote to leave the EU, showing how a lack of opportunity across the country led to Brexit. Devoting specific attention to data on the roles of poverty, place and individual characteristics driving the leave vote, this report shows how Britain was divided along economic, educational and social lines.

In the aftermath of the vote few studies have considered both individual and area-level drivers of the vote to leave the EU. This report reviews existing research, examines new data and considers implications for the wider debate.

Key Findings

The poorest households, with incomes of less than £20,000 per year, were much more likely to support leaving the EU than the wealthiest households, as were the unemployed, people in low-skilled and manual occupations, people who feel that their financial situation has worsened, and those with no qualifications.
Groups vulnerable to poverty were more likely to support Brexit. Age, income and education matter, though it is educational inequality that was the strongest driver. Other things being equal, support for leave was 30 percentage points higher among those with GCSE qualifications or below than it was for people with a degree. In contrast, support for leave was just 10 points higher among those on less than £20,000 per year than it was among those with incomes of more than £60,000 per year, and 20 points higher among those aged 65 than those aged 25.
Support for Brexit varied not only between individuals but also between areas. People with all levels of qualifications were more likely to vote leave in low-skill areas compared with high-skill areas. However, this effect was stronger for the more highly qualified. In low-skilled communities the difference in support for leave between graduates and those with GCSEs was 20 points. In high-skilled communities it was over 40 points. In low-skill areas the proportion of A-level holders voting leave was closer to that of people with low-skills. In high-skill areas their vote was much more similar to graduates.
Groups in Britain who have been ‘left behind’ by rapid economic change and feel cut adrift from the mainstream consensus were the most likely to support Brexit. These voters face a ‘double whammy’. While their lack of qualifications put them at a significant disadvantage in the modern economy, they are also being further marginalised in society by the lack of opportunities that faced in their low-skilled communities. This will make it extremely difficult for the left behind to adapt and prosper in future.

Introduction

The 2016 vote to leave the EU marked a watershed moment in the history of the United Kingdom. When all votes had been counted 52% of the electorate had opted to leave the EU, a figure that increased to almost 54% in England. The figures for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland varied, at 38, 47.5 and 44%, respectively. Across 393 local authorities, support for leave surpassed 70% in eight authorities, 60% in 102 and 50% in 263. In England the share of the vote for leaving ranged from nearly 76% in Boston, Lincolnshire to 21% in Lambeth, London.

Like Boston, many local authorities that recorded some of the strongest support for Brexit are struggling areas where average incomes, education and skill levels are low and there are few opportunities to get ahead. Authorities that recorded some of the highest levels of support for Brexit include the working-class communities of Castle Point, Great Yarmouth, Mansfield, Ashfield, Stoke-on-Trent, and Doncaster. In such communities the types of opportunities and life experiences contrast sharply with those in areas that are filled with more affluent, highly-educated, and diverse populations, which gave some of the strongest support to remaining in the EU, such as Islington, Edinburgh, Cambridge, Oxford and Richmond upon Thames.

The geography of the vote has sparked a debate about a divided Britain in which many have traced the vote for Brexit to economically disadvantaged and low skilled ‘left behind’ communities that amid a post-industrial and increasingly global economy are struggling to keep pace with high skilled areas. But to what extent is this interpretation supported by data? What motivated the vote to leave the EU and what role did poverty and place play in these decisions?

Our aims are two-fold. First, building on work by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) we examine the relationship between poverty and the vote for Brexit. One of the most contested issues in the referendum campaign was the claimed economic impact of Brexit. This debate is linked closely to poverty, since the question of the short- and long-term effects of Brexit on the economy – including on exchange rates, growth, investment and employment – all have direct and indirect effects on the poorest people and places, as also noted by JRF.

Between 2011 and 2014, nearly one-third of the UK population experienced relative income poverty at least once. Groups most vulnerable to poverty are older people, people who left school without any formal education, women, and people in single-person households. The chances of entering poverty also vary across different areas. Whereas some areas are thriving, others are in decline. A recent report by JRF shows that this decline consists of numerous factors such as population loss, those with higher skills moving out, economic restructuring and de-industrialisation, shrinking labour markets, unemployment, low education and skills, poor health, deprivation and poverty, physical blight and declining tax bases. But were poverty and place central drivers of the vote to leave the EU? To explore this question, we have undertaken new research to offer hitherto unprecedented insight into the dynamics of the vote.

Second, we present findings from new research on individual voters who readily identified themselves as supporters of Brexit. Until now, much of the research on the referendum has focused on the area or ‘aggregate’ level, exploring for instance the relationship between the characteristics of communities and their levels of support for leaving or remaining in the EU. But looking only at the area level masks what is happening at the individual level. For example, knowing that lots of Eurosceptic voters live in Clacton is helpful but it does not really tell us much about why those individuals in Clacton actually decided to vote for Brexit. In this report we push the debate forward by considering both the area and individual-level drivers of support for Brexit as well as how these interact. Drawing on data from the British Election Study (BES), we put the backgrounds, attitudes and values of leave voters under the microscope, painting a detailed picture of what motivated their decision at the referendum. This allows us to contribute to the national debate, exploring what the findings reveal about issues that need addressing in relation to poverty, skills and opportunity, and in different parts of the country.

Voting to leave the EU: existing research: The relationship between poverty, education and age, and level of support for Brexit

A first step to examining the role of poverty in the referendum vote is to examine existing work on the relationship between the characteristics of areas and their level of support for Brexit (or what academics call the ‘aggregate level’). Broadly speaking, past research traces support for Brexit to areas with older populations and lower than average levels of education. These areas are more likely than others to experience deprivation and, in recent years, witnessed significant demographic change as a result of the inward migration of EU nationals.

In the immediate aftermath of the referendum our earlier work, Goodwin and Heath, forthcoming, examined data from 380 of the 382 local authorities across the UK, linking this to information from the 2011 census. We found that support for Brexit was strongest in areas where a large percentage of the population did not have any qualifications and were ill-equipped to thrive amid a post-industrial and increasingly competitive economy that favours those with skills and is operating in the broader context of globalisation. For instance, 15 of the 20 ‘least educated’ areas voted to leave while all of the 20 ‘most highly educated’ areas voted to remain. Support for Brexit was also stronger than average in areas with a larger number of pensioners. Of the 20 youngest authorities 16 voted to remain, but of the 20 oldest authorities 19 voted to leave.

Such findings are generally consistent with past work on support for UKIP that talked about the importance of ‘left behind’ communities. Examining areas where support for UKIP was strongest, Matthew J Goodwin and Caitlin Milazzo noted how this was often ‘in areas where there were lots of older, white and poor voters, while it was consistently weaker in areas that were younger, more ethnically and culturally diverse, and financially secure’. It was these differences in local demography that helped to explain why UKIP won 40% of the vote in economically struggling places like Rotherham but only 14% in the more affluent and leafy Richmond upon Thames.
The relationship between deprivation and level of support for Brexit

However, others warn against an interpretation of the vote that focuses only on economic insecurity. One early analysis of the referendum result by Alisdair Rae suggests that while there is a strong correlation between support for Brexit and the percentage of people who have no qualifications this support was not strongly correlated with deprivation. Yet such findings stand at odds with other work. The Financial Times commissioned two economists to shed light on the relationship between wage growth and – as a proxy for the leave vote –past support for the UK Independence Party (UKIP). They found a statistically significant link between a lack of wage growth and the share of the vote going to UKIP at the 2015 general election. In working-class and struggling communities like Castle Point in Essex the real median wage had declined by 13% since 1997. Based on these findings Sarah Neville suggested that the gloomy economic forecasts released by the remain campaign had failed to resonate within communities that for a generation had lost out on the increases in wages that had been seen elsewhere in the country.

Work by the Resolution Foundation suggested there is no relationship between recent changes in an area’s prosperity and how they voted at the referendum. While some areas that voted to leave the EU had seen a big increase in real hourly earnings, such as Christchurch in Dorset, others that voted to remain in the EU had recently experienced a sharp drop in hourly earnings, such as Rushcliffe in Nottinghamshire. However, further exploration at the aggregate-level suggested it was actually long-term entrenchment rather than recent change in the levels of incomes that tended to explain why support for Brexit was higher in some areas. Overall, it was areas where people tended to earn less that voted for Brexit even if these were not always the communities that had been the most badly affected in recent years. The implication is that ‘it’s the shape of our long lasting and deeply entrenched national geographical inequality that drove differences in voting patterns’.
The relationship between migration and level of support for Brexit

Another area of interest is the relationship between the vote for Brexit and migration, though current findings are mixed. Italo Colantone and Piero Stanig claim there is no evidence of correlation between support for Brexit and the proportion of immigrants or new immigrants. If anything, they argue, areas with more arrivals were more likely to vote Remain and areas with fewer arrivals were more likely to vote leave. But their claims are contested. Our earlier work did not find a positive relationship between support for leave and the ‘static’ level of immigration but we did find a positive relationship between the change in immigration and support for Brexit. After controlling for factors such as education, age and the overall level of immigration, communities that over the past decade had experienced an increase in migration from EU member states were somewhat more likely to vote for Brexit. For example, in Peterborough the estimated size of the EU migrant population increased by about 7 percentage points and 61% voted leave. Even though areas with relatively high levels of EU migration tended to be more pro-remain, areas that had experienced a sudden influx of EU migrants over the last 10 years were often more pro-leave. This finding is consistent with the argument that when it comes to the effect of immigration on the referendum what appears to matter the most is the experience of sudden population change rather than the overall level. Indeed, as Geoffrey Evans and Jon Mellon show, public concern about immigration as a political issue over time in Britain strongly tracks actual levels of immigration.

In summary, the findings of existing research are somewhat mixed and reveal a clear need to drill down to examine both the area and individual level, to which we now turn.

New research on Brexit examining dynamics of the vote: Support for Brexit by demographic group: personal finance, education, and attitudes and values

During the referendum and its aftermath a large number of polls were conducted which looked at public support for Brexit. Although many polls differed in terms of their estimated share of the vote for leave and remain they did tell a consistent story about which groups had voted leave. As with the aggregate analysis they found clear divides on age, education and ethnicity. Put simply, older, white and more economically insecure people with low levels of educational attainment were consistently more likely to vote for Brexit than younger people, degree-holders, minorities and the more secure middle-and-upper-classes.

We can build on this work by exploring new data from the British Election Study:BES Internet campaign study based on a very large sample of more than 31,000 respondents. This element was carried out before the referendum, during May and June 2016, and measures people’s intended vote rather than how they actually voted. While this is an online survey that is not as methodologically rigorous as face-to-face random probability surveys the overall results were reasonably close to the final outcome in terms of the result and variation across counting areas. The BES is also very helpful because the questionnaire includes a wide range of topics, including attitudes toward the EU, the referendum campaign, immigration, social and political values more generally and people’s backgrounds. ω.

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Advertising Directed at Children Must Be Better Regulated to Curb Adverse Impacts

Students at a UN-backed development project site that supports vulnerable populations in Antananarivo, Madagascar. Image: UN Photo:Mark Garten

|| August 10: 2016 || ά. Just head of International Youth Day, two United Nations human rights experts are drawing attention to the impact of commercial advertising directed at young children that instils, at an early age, over-consumption and indebtedness, and have urged the Governments to redefine those child-directed advertisements. “Such commercial messages have the potential to shape children’s long-term consumer and financial behaviour, and they are growing in number and reach,” Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky, the UN Independent Expert on foreign debt and human rights, and Dainius Püras, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health, said in a news release ahead of International Youth Day, which will be celebrated on Friday, August 12.

Child-directed advertisements may cause unhealthy consumer behaviour that becomes ingrained at an early age. For example, children may over consume unhealthy foods that cause severe health consequences; they may also pressure their parents to purchase items that are neither budgeted nor educationally necessary, hence, making family private debt a serious problem. Moreover, according to a recent UNICEF International Youth Day, children do not become happier by just acquiring more and more goods.

Many countries, therefore, have prohibited television advertising at certain hours or in connection with children’s programmes. The UN World Health Organisation:WHO has also recommended that settings where children gather should be free from all forms of marketing of unhealthy foods. “We call upon States to ban advertising, promotion and sponsorship by manufacturers of alcohol, tobacco, and unhealthy foods in schools and in the context of children’s sporting events and other events that could be attended by children,” said the independent experts.

They further urged States to create guidelines that either restrict or minimize the impact of the marketing of unhealthy foods, alcohol and tobacco in general. “More broadly, we urge States to regulate advertising directed at children, in conformity with the duty of States to protect children from material injurious to their well-being," said the experts.

Special Rapporteurs are appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a specific human rights theme or a country situation. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work. ω.

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Brunel University's New Research: Happy When.........

 

|| August 02: 2016 || ά. People who embrace multiculturalism are less stressed, fit better in Britain’s mixed society and don’t lose their national identity, research suggests. As reports rise of post-referendum racist attacks, a study shows that British people who reject multi-culturalism experience more stress and fail to fit in. Psychologists at Brunel University London studied how immigration affects the daily life and well-being of 800 British, American, German, Chinese and Indian nationals.

They found people who live in their home country and connect with their national culture had higher life satisfaction than people who don’t. And those who embrace other cultures around them experience less stress. “We found that the more you interact and identify with other cultures, the more you become interested in your own culture,” said Dr Katharina Lefringhausen.

As of the beginning of 2016, an estimated nearly nine million people who live in the UK were born in other countries, including some British nationals. This psychological study is the first to investigate how multi-culturalism reshapes the cultural identity, beliefs and behaviour of people in the host communities. It also asked interviewees if they felt they benefited from cultural diversity.

For Europeans and Americans, the results, is published in Cross-Cultural Research, showed adapting to other cultures and therefore embracing immigration, actually strengthened national cultures. The online research rated how much people identify, interact and endorse their own culture and how much people identify, interact and endorse other cultures.

The team also measured life satisfaction, the psychological impact of adapting to a new culture and how people reacted to cultural differences. “Far right groups claim different cultures are a threat, globalisation is taking over and you either get sucked into it or separate yourself from it,” explained Dr Katharina Lefringhausen. “This shows from a psychological perspective that like migrants, nationals can simultaneously embrace their own culture and other cultures surrounding them in their own country.

“This is the first time it has been supported statistically and across different countries. Dr Lefringhausen calls for a shift in focus: “Especially now in the light of Brexit and growing far-right movements across Europe, politicians, educators and the media need to support the integration of locals alongside the integration of migrants. People thrive more by having both.”

“It knocks on the head the notion that immigration threatens conservative values by diluting national identity, traditions and beliefs,” she added. The researchers now recommend that there should be more studies to look at ways to encourage people who were born abroad to integrate in local communities, education and at work.

Locals’ Bidimensional Acculturation Model: Validation and Associations With Psychological and Sociocultural Adjustment Outcomes: by Dr Katharina Lefringhausen and Dr Tara C Marshall is published in the current issue of Cross-Cultural Research. ω.

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Root Causes of Boko Haram Threat in Lake Chad Basin Must Be Tackled: Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs

In Tagal, Chad, an IDP community meets under a tree. More than 100 persons had to flee from one of the small islands
in Lake Chad after Boko Haram insurgents attacked their village. Image: OCHA:Ivo Brandau

 

|| July 27: 2016 || ά.  To bring an end to the Boko Haram threat in the Lake Chad Basin region, affected countries must address the root causes that contributed to the emergence of the group, including the social, economic and political grievances of marginalized communities, the top United Nations political affairs official said today. “A military approach, while essential, will not bring end to the Boko Haram threat,” Jeffrey Feltman, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, told the Security Council in his briefing on peace and security in Africa.

He said the Boko Haram crisis must be addressed holistically and beyond “an exclusively security lens” and that Lake Chad Basin countries, Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria, need international support so that military operations are followed by stabilization measures and restoration of state authority. Attacks by Boko Haram continue, mainly in north-eastern Nigeria and southern Niger, and to a lesser extent, in northern Cameroon and the Lac region of Chad, he said. Terrorists persist in targeting innocent civilians, including through suicide attacks, often using young children. Despite commendable regional efforts, the group continues to threaten regional stability, as illustrated by the June 03 attack on a military base in Bosso town, south-eastern Niger.

The regional offensive involving Chadian, Cameroonian, Nigerian and Nigerien troops operating under the Multi-National Joint Task Force:MNJTF, has recaptured 80 per cent of areas once under Boko Haram control, freed thousands of captives and prevented terrorist attacks. Mr. Feltman said, however, that Lake Chad Basin countries have expressed their growing impatience over delays by international partners to support the MNJTF financially, as the Force’s success depends on timely and actionable intelligence as well as specialized counter-terrorism skills and equipment, given the evolving tactics of Boko Haram.

The UN and the five countries from the Sahel, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, will together produce the outline of a capacity building framework for counter-terrorism and prevention of violent extremism, including concrete regional projects, he said. The Second Regional Security Summit for the Lake Chad Basin held on May 14 in Abuja, reaffirmed the need to address the root causes. Among the noteworthy recommendations was the need to utilise the services of community and religious leaders to discourage impressionable youth from being radicalized and to lead de-radicalization programmes.

 On the human rights front, Mr. Feltman said the UN has received reports of increased incidents of sexual and gender-based violence among the displaced. States must adopt measures to protect civilians and respect due process when dealing with persons arrested for Boko Haram-related charges. Children used by Boko Haram should be treated as victims and dealt with in accordance with international standards for juvenile justice.

The Boko Haram crisis has devastated the region’s economy, he went on. Economic growth dropped sharply with the decline of oil prices and other commodities. Decreasing resources affects the states’ ability to deliver basic social services and to pay the salaries of security forces and civil servants. Insecurity has disrupted trade routes between Chad and Nigeria, interrupting the supply of basic goods and producing price hikes. Youth unemployment is at a worrisome high, providing recruitment ground for Boko Haram, Mr. Feltman noted.

Also briefing the Council was Stephen O’Brien, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, who stressed the need to urgently strengthen international attention on the “neglected” situation in the Lake Chad Basin, which hosts Africa’s fastest growing displacement crisis. Across the Lake Chad Basin, the UN estimates that over nine million people need humanitarian assistance, he said. About 2.8 million of these people have been displaced, fleeing violent attacks in their towns and villages. Children are particularly vulnerable, especially the 1.7 million children who have been displaced across the Lake Chad Basin.

Nigeria is bearing the brunt of the crisis, he noted. Nigeria accounts for seven million of the nine million people in need across the Lake Chad Basin. Last month, the Nigerian authorities rightly declared a nutrition emergency for Borno state. Direct reports from the field indicate that affected communities are rapidly running out of food. “We have no time to lose: the lean season, which puts millions in this region at real risk of hunger and malnutrition each year across the Lake Chad Basin, has already started,” Mr. O’Brien said. “If we do not act now, the human suffering will only get more extreme.”

In Niger, one single attack by Boko Haram left over 70,000 people displaced in Bosso town in June this year, bringing the total number of displaced people in the Diffa region to over 160,000. Niger is the poorest country in the world; yet despite living on virtually nothing, families there have welcomed the displaced into their homes, and shared their meagre supplies of food and water with the newcomers.

The UN humanitarian chief also said that needs are also dire in Chad’s Lac region, where there are over 60,000 registered displaced persons, and tens of thousands who have not yet been registered. In the Far North region of Cameroon, which has been under a state of emergency and lock-down for security reasons, the number of people in need of immediate food assistance has quadrupled since June 2015, to over 200,000 today, and the total number of internally displaced persons has increased in the same period to around 190,000.

Humanitarian actors have been scaling up their assistance, despite a dangerous operating environment. It is urgent to complement their efforts with increased development assistance. “We all know that the humanitarian response in itself is insufficient to re-establish people’s lives and livelihoods,” he said, stressing the need to move from delivering aid to ‘ending need,’ a crucial outcome for the World Humanitarian Summit. That means that, in parallel to providing life-saving assistance and protection, political actors must address the root causes of the violence, and development partners must address the drivers of vulnerability across this region.

The means to support the humanitarian response in northeast Nigeria, and throughout the Lake Chad Basin, does not match the staggering scale of need, he said, noting that the 2016 Humanitarian Response Plan for Nigeria is only 28 per cent funded, while those of Niger, Cameroon and Chad are similarly under-funded. He appealed again to Member States to increase their contributions to the ongoing humanitarian operation “rapidly, now.” ω.

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We Spoke About Migrants and Refugees During the Conference, But When I Looked at the Room of Around 150 People, I Saw Only One Person of Colour

Professor Heidi Safia Mirza: Image: University of Helsinki

|| July 17: 2016: University of Helsinki News || ά. A pupil in your classroom is voicing racist opinions. As a teacher, how would you handle the situation? Respect for diversity is fostered in the classroom, but teachers need both support and tools to tackle touchy issues in our schools. Skin colour, language and cultural background are just a few factors that can signal difference in a classroom. Respect for diversity is necessary, but it can be easier said than established, particularly if the teacher lacks the appropriate tools.

“If pupils are voicing racist opinions, the teacher must direct the discussion towards criticism of racism,” says Professor Heidi Safia Mirza from Goldsmiths College, University of London. Professor Mirza knows that tackling racist opinions in class is a challenge for many teachers.“Typically, teachers want to silence the racist commentary without processing it, but this solves nothing.”

Professor Mirza is one of the first women of colour to be awarded a professorship in the UK, and inequality in education is her area of expertise.

Europe’s Colonial Past Holds Us Hostage

Many immigrants have different ethnicities, speak different languages and grew up in different cultures than what Finns are used to. This poses a problem for teachers, who are teaching topics of race, religion and culture. “A running theme goes through our entire educational system, from preschool to university, and it is how we speak of and position ‘the Other’."

According to Mirza, this is based on the era of European colonialism, when white Europeans occupied other areas of the world. “When we study and learn about ‘the Other’ in school, the perspective is always that of the white man, who colonises 'the Other'. We think we are learning about other cultures, but we are looking down on others,” explains Mirza.

Immigrants Missing from the Debate

Professor Mirza was a speaker at a conference on social justice in education, organised by JustEd, the Nordic Centre of Excellence on Justice Through Education in the Nordic Countries. “We spoke about migrants and refugees during the conference, but when I looked at the room of around 150 people, I saw only one person of colour. Where are the people we were talking about?” she asks.

Mirza believes that the Nordic countries lack the capacity to unlock the skills that immigrants hold and the perspectives they could provide. “We must tell their stories, the true stories unadulterated by the dominant European perspectives, to expand our concepts of 'us' and 'them'."

To achieve this, Mirza believes we must first tackle our history and identity. She points out that Europe’s history consists of centuries of colonialism, oppression and exploitation, and that Europeans would do well to remember this.

“What’s happening now is that Europe is asking immigrants, ‘Why are you here?’ The answer is that we are here because you were there,” says Mirza.

Teachers, a part of the problem, a part of the solution

In her research, Mirza has met many teachers who have said that they would like to address difficult topics such as racism, if only they had the time. “All the teachers I have met have been wonderful. They want to work for social justice and fight racism, but they don't have the time and space in their everyday work to talk about and challenge racism,” states Mirza.

As a result, the teachers wind up supporting the system.

“Teachers need support and tools to tackle the difficult issues and to change attitudes.” Teacher education at the University of Helsinki can provide such support. A new class teacher education programme, which is launching at the University of Helsinki this autumn, places a significant focus on prospective teachers’ ability and tools to work in an increasingly multicultural school environment.

“We have researched diversity, multilingualism and social justice for many years. When the new teachers graduate, they will have the results of our research at their disposal to use in their classrooms,” says Professor Gunilla Holm, who suggested the new programme.
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 ||  First Published: September 24: 2015   ||

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