Thursday, 28 February 2013

Compromise, Well-Being, and Action Behaviors in Young Adults in Career Transition

an article by Peter A. Creed and Kellie Blume (Griffith University, Queensland, Australia) published in Journal of Career Assessment Volume 21 Number 1 (February 2013)


The authors surveyed 186 first-year university students and assessed their level of career compromise associated with making the transition to university. Compromise was operationalised as the discrepancy between the job characteristics of ideal and expected occupations.

The authors also assessed career well-being (satisfaction, distress), action behaviours (planning, exploration), and goal adjustment (disengagement, re-engagement). The authors expected compromise to be negatively associated with well-being and positively associated with action behaviours, and the relationship between compromise and the outcome variables (well-being, action behaviours) to be moderated by goal adjustment.

Compromise was negatively associated with well-being, but not associated with planning or exploration, although the Compromise × Goal Adjustment interaction was significant.

Disengagement and re-engagement were not associated with well-being, although the Disengagement × Re-engagement interaction was significant.

Disengagement was associated with planning and exploration, re-engagement was associated with exploration, and both interaction terms were significant.

Hazel’s comment:
This sounds as though the research was rigorous and the results interesting. I’ve bookmarked it to try to read in the British Library at some future date.

Part-time working by students: is it a policy issue, and for whom?

an article by Erica Smith (University of Ballarat, Australia) and Wendy Patton (Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia) published in Journal of Education and Work Volume 26 Issue 1 (2013)


This paper uses data from interviews with representatives of national and state organisations that have a policy interest in student-working in Australia.

The interviewees included representatives from employer bodies and trade unions as well as government organisations. The data are used to discuss these stakeholders’ perceptions of the main advantages and disadvantages of working by young full-time students and the ways in which organisations in the business and educational sectors have adapted their policies and practices for student-working.

The analysis is then used to inform a discussion about whether this is a legitimate area for public policy formulation and if so, what principles might underpin such policy and what some policies might look like.

Structure, agency and career strategies of white women and black and minority ethnic individuals in the legal profession

an article by Jennifer Tomlinson (University of Leeds, UK), Daniel Muzio (University of Manchester, UK), Hilary Sommerlad (University of Leicester, UK) and Lisa Webley and Liz Duff (University of Westminster, UK) published in Human Relations Volume 66 Number 2 (February 2013)


The legal profession in England and Wales is becoming more diverse. However, while white women and black and minority ethnic (BME) individuals now enter the profession in larger numbers, inequalities remain.

This article explores the career strategies of 68 white women and BME legal professionals to understand more about their experiences in the profession.

Archer’s work on structure and agency informs the analysis, as does Emirbayer and Mische’s (1998) ‘temporally embedded’ conceptualisation of agency as having past, current and future elements.

We identify six career strategies, which relate to different career points. They are assimilation, compromise, playing the game, reforming the system, location/relocation and withdrawal. We find that five of the six strategies tend to reproduce rather than transform opportunity structures in the legal profession.

The overall picture is one of structural reproduction (rather than transformation) of traditional organisational structure and practice. The theoretical frame and empirical data analysis presented in this article accounts for the rarity of structural reform and goes some way towards explaining why, even in contexts populated by highly skilled, knowledgeable agents and where organizations appear committed to equal opportunities, old opportunity structures and inequalities often endure.

Problems in estimating composite reliability of ‘unitised’ assessments

an article by Tom Bramley and Vikas Dhawan (ARD Research Division, Cambridge Assessment, Cambridge, UK) published in Research Papers in Education Volume 28 Issue 1 (February 2013)


This paper discusses the issues involved in calculating indices of composite reliability for ‘modular’ or ‘unitised’ assessments of the kind used in GCSEs, AS- and A-level examinations in England. The increasingly widespread use of on-screen marking has meant that the item-level data required for calculating indices of reliability is now routinely available for most (but not all) units of unitised assessments.

Whilst it is relatively straightforward to obtain indices of reliability at unit level, it is far more complex to obtain indices at overall assessment level because of problems created by:
  1. the number of different possible ‘routes’ to the final assessment;
  2. the different knowledge, skills and understanding assessed in different units;
  3. the wide variety in item type and size within and across units;
  4. the fact that the item-level data required for calculating reliability indices is not available (or does not exist) for certain units; and
  5. the different intended weighting of different units in the composite total and the possible distortion of these weights by use of the Uniform Mark Scale.
We derive and compare several indices of composite reliability for, as an example, a three-unit assessment using both classical test theory and item response theory. We conclude that while it is desirable to derive and report indices of reliability at unit level, it is less appropriate at the level of the whole assessment.

Theorising the Spaces of Student Migration

an article by Gregory W. Stevens (Auburn University, USA) published in Human Resource Development Review volune 12 Number 1 (March 2013)


As an alternative to traditional job analysis, the practice of competency modelling may be appealing to scholars and practitioners of human resource development (HRD) to serve as the foundation for many HRD activities.

Among some of its advantages are a more explicit focus on performance and development that is aligned with organisational strategy, fuller integration with human resource systems, and a focus on broad work roles and functions instead of discrete jobs.

Unfortunately, the use of competency models is often hindered as a result of conceptual ambiguity, a lack of methodological rigour in the development of such systems, and psychometric issues.

The current integrative literature review seeks to clarify the practice of competency modelling within the context of HRD through a critical analysis of its foundations, conceptual and definitional issues, and potential barriers to use while providing the current state of the science and best practices.

Theorising the Spaces of Student Migration

an article by Parvati Raghuram (Department of Geography, The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK) published in Population, Space and Place Special Issue: International Student Migration Volume 19 Issue 2 (March/April 2013)


Student migration is a key component of knowledge migration. However, as knowledge becomes a central part of migrant selectivity, labour and family migrants too are involved in knowledge acquisition, both prior to and after migration.

At the same time, student migrants are involved in work and family, just like other migrants.

What then is distinctive about student migrants?

This paper attempts to address this challenge.

It begins by reviewing how migration theories have analysed student mobility. It then suggests that migration theorists need to extend existing analyses, which have primarily focused on the spatialities of migration, to take account of the spatialities of knowledge. It is argued that knowledge institutions need to reach out to people in different parts of the world and to produce in prospective students a desire to circulate. This is necessary if the institutions are to obtain a global presence and to maintain their legitimacy as knowledge brokers.

An analysis of student migration where the inducements that the higher education institutions offer to prospective students and the subjective responses of such students to these invitations will throw light on how the spatiality of knowledge is achieved and also highlight the distinctiveness of student migration in a knowledgeable migrant world.

Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Which method predicts recidivism best?: a comparison of statistical, machine learning and data mining predictive models

an article by N. Tollenaar (Ministry of Security and Justice, The Hague, The Netherlands) and P. G. M. van der Heijden (University of Utrecht, The Netherlands) published in Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A (Statistics in Society) Volume 176 Issue 2 (February 2013)


Using criminal population conviction histories of recent offenders, prediction models are developed that predict three types of criminal recidivism: general recidivism, violent recidivism and sexual recidivism.

The research question is whether prediction techniques from modern statistics, data mining and machine learning provide an improvement in predictive performance over classical statistical methods, namely logistic regression and linear discriminant analysis. These models are compared on a large selection of performance measures.

Results indicate that classical methods do equally well as or better than their modern counterparts.

The predictive performance of the various techniques differs only slightly for general and violent recidivism, whereas differences are larger for sexual recidivism.

For the general and violent recidivism data we present the results of logistic regression and for sexual recidivism of linear discriminant analysis.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Supporting Care Leavers to Fulfil their Educational Aspirations: Resilience, Relationships and Resistance to Help

an article by Jenny Driscoll (King’s College London, London, UK) published in Children & Society Volume 27 Issue 2 (March 2013)


Most children in state care do not do as well in school as their peers, but the period of leaving care and transition to adulthood may offer a ‘turning point’ for positive change.

Based on a small study of care leavers in England, this article employs the concept of resilience to explore the significance of supportive relationships in enabling this group of young people to make decisions about their future and encouraging them to overcome setbacks in educational attainment.

Effects of Regional Labour Markets on Migration Flows, by Education Level

an article by Fredrik Carlsen, Kåre Johansen and Lasse Sigbjørn Stambø ( Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim) published in LABOUR Volume 27 Issue 1 (March 2013)


European economies display large variations in unemployment rates across regions as well as between education groups.

Insufficient labour mobility is widely believed to contribute to higher regional disparities and overall unemployment, but few studies have compared mobility responses of different education groups to regional shocks.

This paper employs administrative registers covering the entire Norwegian population to compute annual time series from 1994 to 2004 of migration flows and regional labour market conditions by education level for 90 travel-to-work areas.

We find that regional disparities in unemployment rates are decreasing in education level, whereas the response of migration flows to regional unemployment shocks is increasing in education level.

The results suggest that low regional mobility of low-educated workers may contribute to higher regional disparities and higher overall unemployment among the low educated.

JEL classifications: J61, R23

Hazel’s comment:
Statistical proof of what those of us working at the coal-face already knew. The lower the level of education the lower the income and, therefore, nearer to home for work is essential!
Commute to London from Nottingham for a well-paid job but not to be a cleaner or a retail assistant.

Learning languages on the Web

an article by Seth Kershner (public services librarian at Northwestern Connecticut Community College) published in College & Research Libraries News Volume 74 Number 2 (February 2013)

To anyone who has ever used or heard about Rosetta Stone or Mocha Languages, it is clear how advances in technology have revolutionised language learning. The days of poring over conjugation tables and sifting through flashcards are over. It is now possible for the driven student to chat with native speakers via Skype, or submit their pronunciation of Arabic to collective critique on You-Tube; in this way one can become proficient or even fluent in the target language — the language one is learning to speak — without ever setting foot in the country where that language is spoken.

Those who fork over the money for the more sophisticated, fee-based learning tools see them as quite affordable compared to the high cost of college and university language courses. But more affordable still are the free, but lesser known, learning tools found on the Web. The following pages contain a selective list of freely available Internet resources for students, scholars, and the general public.

Seth’s list (which may not be comprehensive but looks to me to cover most areas) covers:

Getting started
  • BBC Languages
  • Deutsche Welle, Learn German
  • Italica: Corso di lingua italiana
  • Miraflores
  • Russia Today, Learn Russian
Reference tools
  • Like a Spaniard
  • Slangopedia
  • Thesuri
  • UCLA Language Materials Project, Language Profiles
Broadcasts and podcasts
  • Amnistía International, Informative Semanal en audio
  • News in Slow Spanish
  • RFI, Learn French Online
TV as teacher
  • UngusTV
  • WebTV
Less commonly taught languages (LCTLs)
  • Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA)
  • Center for Language Technology and Instructional Enrichment (CeLTIE), Recorded Materials Archive
  • FSI Language Courses
Full details here (excellent descriptions)

© 2013 Seth Kershner

Classification accuracy in Key Stage 2 National Curriculum tests in England

an article by Qingping He (Standards and Research, Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation, Coventry, UK), Malcolm Hayes (Regulation, Standards and Research Division, Edexcel, London, UK) and Dylan Wiliam (Institute of Education, University of London, London, UK) published in Research Papers in Education Volume 28 Issue 1 (February 2013)


The accuracy of the results of the national tests in English, mathematics and science taken by 11-year-olds in England has been a matter of much debate since their introduction in 1994, with estimates of the proportion of students incorrectly classified varying from 10 to 30%.

Using live data from the 2009 and 2010 administration of the national tests, this paper uses a number of models, drawing on both classical and modern test theories, to explore the relationship between test reliability, and the extent of misclassification when a student’s test score is reported in terms of one of a small number of discrete levels of achievement.

The results indicate that across the two cohorts (2009 and 2010) and six models, the averages of classification accuracy of the tests were about 85%, 90% and 87% in English, mathematics and science, respectively.

Moreover, the different models yielded very similar results; the standard deviations of the values of classification accuracy generated were 1.9% for English, 1.0% for mathematics and 1.3% for science.

Promoting social inclusion through community arts

an article by Peter Swan, (PhD Candidate at Durham University, UK) published in Mental Health and Social Inclusion Volume 17 Issue 1 (2013)


Using a case study of Artspace, a community arts and health charity, this article discusses how community-based organisations can successfully promote the social inclusion of people with mental illness and other disabilities.

A research project involved a year-long ethnographic engagement with Artspace, where the researcher participated within the organisation and worked closely with both staff and participants. It drew upon informal discussions and 43 semi-structured interviews with participants and staff.

Social inclusion was fostered through the positive and welcoming atmosphere within the building and also through the nature of the activities themselves. There was evidence that interactions between people with and without disabilities helped to challenge negative perceptions held by both groups. Artspace also offered a safe and non-judgemental environment for vulnerable participants whilst avoiding the downsides associated with services aimed solely at people with mental health difficulties or other disabilities.

Research limitations/implications
The case study approach was based on a single organisation and thus transferability of findings may be problematic.

This article has shown it is possible for a community-based organisation to meet the needs of a wide range of people whilst maintaining a safe environment for vulnerable participants. These findings may thus be of use to similar organisations seeking to diversify their user base.

Co-creation of value in higher education: using social network marketing in the recruitment of students

an article by Asle Fagerstrøm (The Norwegian School of Information Technology, Oslo, Norway) and Gheorghita Ghinea (Brunel University, London, UK) published in Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management Volume 35 Issue 1 (February 2013)


A social network recruitment campaign was prepared where applicants for information technology bachelor studies at a Norwegian university college were invited to join a Facebook group related to the subject of interest.

Each Facebook group was assigned a contact person who received training to facilitate activities and in answering questions from the applicants.

Analysis of the dialogues on the Facebook groups indicates value creation between the applicant and the university college, and between applicants.

Furthermore, results from the campaign showed that the conversion rate for applicants who apply for a Facebook group was 88.8 per cent, which is significant higher than for those who did not apply for a Facebook group (43.3 per cent).

We will argue that social network marketing in higher education gives a great opportunity to replace the passive view of customers with an active view in which applicants are invited to use their own initiatives rather than simply react to predetermined marketing activities.

Human Rights breached by disclosure of ‘spent’ offences

via FE News

Regular readers may recall an article published in October last year on the reform of the safeguarding regime and how this would affect the further education sector. Part of the aim of the Protection of Freedoms Act (the “Act”) was to transfer the activity of the Criminal Records Bureau to a new Disclosure and Barring Service and to make its scope less stringent.

Under the Act, non serious criminal convictions were considered ‘spent’ after a period of time, meaning that they did not need to be revealed to a prospective employer. Whilst a feature brought in to strike a balance between respecting civil liberties and protecting the public, this does not apply for those that wish to work with vulnerable adults and young people. In fact, under an enhanced CRB check all convictions and cautions should be disclosed even if ‘spent’.

This feature has been at the centre of a recent decision by the Court of Appeal. Three joint claimants brought a claim against the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis when they found that they were impeded from gaining entry to university or being offered employment because of cautions and convictions incurred several years before. Two of the claimants were a man aged 21 years who, when 11 had been warned for stealing two bikes, and a woman in her 50s who had been cautioned for stealing a packet of false nails 10 years earlier.

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Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Today is Sunday 24th February 2013 (who am I kidding?)

Armless Orphan: 1922
via Shorpy Historical Photo Archive – Vintage Fine Art Prints by Dave
Armless Orphan: 1922
July 28, 1922
“John Uslie, armless orphan”
I just know there must be more to the story
National Photo Company Collection glass negative
View original post

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
“Let’s be clear.” It’s a promise for our time, indicating that what follows will be neither clear nor even trustworthy... more

Unshakable memories
via Prospero by C.S.-W.

Some 100m red plastic easels, branded by the Ohio Art Company as Etch A Sketches, have been sold since 1960. Judging by Amazon reviews and online comments made following the death of Andre Cassagnes, its 86-year-old inventor, in Paris last month [January 2013], at least some of them now lie unloved in dark corners collecting dust, discarded by frustrated children in favour of other, less challenging, toys.
Even today the Etch A Sketch is commonplace in children's birthday boxes and Christmas stockings, with children both marvelling at its technology and cowering at its steep learning curve. Making anything passably artistic by dragging the orthogonal stylus through a fine coating of aluminium powder often seems nigh-on impossible. Some take to it and thrive, but many try it, struggle and consign it to the back of the cupboard.
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Why was he buried in a parking lot?
via 3quarksdaily by Morgan Meis
by Cynthia Haven at The Book Haven
The first question that everyone seems to ask is: Why was he buried in a parking lot?
Few people, apparently, have heard of the dissolution of the monasteries and the destruction of churches under Henry VIII and his heirs, one of the great legacies of the Tudors.
Remember Shakespeare’s “Bare ruinèd choirs, where late the sweet birds sang”? Some of the churches were merely stripped of anything valuable, others, such as the Franciscan monastery of Leicester, were levelled to the ground.
According to Wikipedia, “The church foundations, floor levels, and demolition layer were found under some 30 centimetres (12 in) of garden soil, itself capped by a further 45 centimetres (18 in) of mill waste used to create a base for the car parking area of recent years.”
When the experts announced today that they had definitively identified the bones of Richard III (the curvature of the spine was so pronounced that breathing would have been difficult and the pain agonizing), what astonished me most was the savagery of the attack that killed the king in the Battle of Bosworth Field, 1485, which put the first Tudor, Henry VII, on the throne.
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Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Anti-Judaism, which has always been at the centre of Western civilization, flourishes even without Jews, since its target is not people but an idea... more

1954 : Robot Orchestra
via Retronaut by Amanda Uren

Actually I did not include this in here for the wonder of the image but for the appalling use of the English language in its most unique fashion!

1959 : Buddy Holly and Waylon Jennings in a photo-booth on Grand Central Station, New York City
via Retronaut by Chris Wild
I won’t spoil the surprise – it’s typical of a couple of teenagers mucking around in a photo booth!
Images are here

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
In search of timeless art. Hear a song over and over again: the magic fades, the melody grates. What if you discovered an immortal song, painting, poem, novel?... more

1882 : The Automatic Toy Works Catalogue
via Retronaut by Amanda Uren

More images here

A Guide to Understanding Nothing
via Big Think by Daniel Honan
How could the universe be created out of nothing?
This question has so perplexed mankind that we have come up with a fantastic assortment of myths to explain the how and the why of existence.
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The survival half-life of firms and its effect on economic development

an article by James Derbyshire (Anglia Ruskin University, UK) published in Local Economy Volume 28 Number 1 (February 2013)


Shane (2009) has suggested that encouraging more people to become entrepreneurs is bad public policy because it is existing firms that bring jobs and productivity growth and not new firms.

To test this view this article shifts the perspective onto existing firms and away from start-up by examining firm survivability in the regions and countries of the UK and its relationship with employment and productivity growth.

The article provides some evidence to support Shane’s (2009) view that it is existing firms that are important for economic development.

Differentiation and discrimination: Understanding social class and social exclusion in leading law firms

an article by Louise Ashley (University of Kent and City University London, UK) and Laura Empson (City University London, UK) published in Human Relations Volume 66 Number 2 (February 2013)


For leading law firms in the City of London, diversity and inclusion has become an important human resources strategy over the past 15 years. A recent focus on social class within the sector has been encouraged by increasing governmental concerns relating to social mobility, which acknowledge that élite professions, particularly the law, have become more socially exclusive over the past 30 years.

Based on a detailed qualitative study of six leading law firms conducted between 2006 and 2010, this article asks: why do leading law firms discriminate on the basis of social class?

It argues that discrimination is a response to conflicting commercial imperatives: the first to attract talent and the second to reduce risk and enhance image.

The article describes these dynamics, emphasizing the role played by the ambiguity of knowledge. It argues that until these conflicting demands are reconciled, organizational and state-sponsored initiatives centred on the ‘business case’ for diversity may achieve only limited success.

Students’ use of extra-curricular activities for positional advantage in competitive job markets

an article by Nicolas Roulin and Adrian Bangerter (Institute of Work and Organizational Psychology, University of Neuchatel, Switzerland) published in Journal of Education and Work Volume 26 Issue 1 (2013)


With the rise of mass higher education, competition between graduates in the labour market is increasing.

Students are aware that their degree will not guarantee them a job and realise they should add value and distinction to their credentials to achieve a positional advantage. Participation in extra-curricular activities (ECAs) is one such strategy, as it allows students to demonstrate competencies not otherwise visible in their résumés due to limited job experience.

This article presents data from interviews with 66 students about their use of ECAs in relation to the labour market. It describes the reasons students got involved in ECAs, how they integrate them in their résumés, their perceptions of their peers’ behaviour and their beliefs about how employers will interpret their activities.

Our data show that especially students involved in associations use ECAs to distinguish themselves from competition. Implications for employers, students and further research are discussed.

The role of social networks in knowledge creation

an article by Julia Nieves and Javier Osorio (University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain) published in Knowledge Management Research & Practice Volume 11 Number 1 (February 2013)


It is a basic principle of literature that social networks allow their members to access new knowledge.

The exchange and combination of knowledge that these networks provide is widely recognised as an antecedent of knowledge creation. By reviewing the main contributions of literature that link social networks to knowledge creation and innovation, we intend to explore how different types of networks, as well as the different dimensions of their social capital, influence innovative performance.

An exhaustive coverage of prior literature has been carried out in order to locate all the relevant previous work. The analysis shows up the complex relationship between social networks’ diverse facets and their members’ capacity to create knowledge.

The strategies defined for knowledge searching can condition which is the most appropriate type of network. In turn, the type of network can determine the most suitable structural and relational embeddedness. Hence, the decision to participate in social networks requires taking into consideration the different environments of these networks and also the singular aspects they present.

Work-family conflicts, threat-appraisal, self-efficacy and emotional exhaustion

an article by Wendy Glaser and Tracy D. Hecht (Concordia University, Montreal, Canada) published in Journal of Managerial Psychology Volume 28 Issue 2 (2013)


The purpose of this paper is to examine associations between work-family conflicts, threat appraisals, self-efficacy, and emotional exhaustion. Threat appraisal was hypothesised to mediate relations between work-family conflicts (work-to-family and family-to-work) and emotional exhaustion. Self-efficacy was hypothesised to moderate relations between work-family conflicts and threat appraisal, with relations expected to be weaker for individuals high in self-efficacy.

University employees (n=159; 67 percent female) participated in this non-experimental study. Data were gathered via questionnaire. Two-thirds of participants completed measures of work-family conflicts and threat-appraisal a few weeks prior to completing measures of self-efficacy and emotional exhaustion; remaining participants completed one cross-sectional survey.

Observed relations were consistent with predicted mediation hypotheses. Contrary to predictions, self-efficacy did not moderate relations between work-to-family conflict and threat-appraisal and the relation between family-to-work conflict and threat-appraisal was stronger for those with higher self-efficacy. Self-efficacy was negatively related to emotional exhaustion.

Practical implications
Organisations should foster positive work-family climates to help alleviate work-family conflicts. Managers should demonstrate compassion when dealing with employees who have serious family concerns, as even efficacious individuals may find such situations threatening.

This research integrates stress theories with research on the work-family interface. The relevance of threat appraisal and the role of self-efficacy are highlighted.

The linkage of social exclusion and poor mental health in minority Asian groups in Britain and America

an article by Sue Holttum (Based at Canterbury Christ Church University, Kent, UK) published in Mental Health and Social Inclusion Volume 17 Issue 1 (2013)


This Research Watch aims to summarise two recent research papers on social exclusion and mental health within minority Asian population groups in the UK and USA.

A search was carried out for research papers with a mental health and social inclusion focus published within the past 12 months.

The first paper summarises 12 recent research papers on the experience of British South Asians of accessing health care for long term physical conditions and depression. Gaining access to health care was a complex process of negotiation between those seeking it and health service representatives. This process was hampered by lack of fit between patients’ and clinicians’ cultural context and understandings. The second paper summarises 14 questionnaire-based research studies of the relationship between discrimination experiences and mental and physical health in Asian Americans, finding significant links between discrimination and mental and physical health.

The first paper’s authors used recently developed, rigorous methods of summarising findings from multiple interview and focus group studies, arriving at a new understanding of the processes experienced by British South Asians when accessing services for health conditions, including depression. The second paper extends existing knowledge about links between discrimination and poor physical and mental health in American minority groups to Asian Americans, a group relatively overlooked hitherto.

Careers advice and guidance should be a lifelong process

via More, Different and Better

In the fourth and final guest blog on the decline in part-time student recruitment, Tessa Stone argues that the potential of part-time study as a driver of widening participation and social mobility depends on access to good information, advice and guidance.

Continue reading

Monday, 25 February 2013

Parental Problem Drinking and Adolescent Psychological Problems: The Moderating Effect of Adolescent–Parent Communication

an article by Christine McCauley Ohannessian (University of Delaware, USA) published in Youth & Society volume 45 Number 1 (March 2013)


The primary aim of this study was to examine whether adolescent–parent communication moderates the relationship between parental problem drinking and adolescent psychological problems.

Surveys were administered to a community sample of 1,001 adolescents in the spring of 2007.

Results indicate that paternal problem drinking was associated with adolescent alcohol use, whereas maternal problem drinking was associated with adolescent depression.

In addition, open adolescent–parent communication specifically acts as a protective factor for girls but not for boys. These results highlight the need to consider both the gender of the adolescent and the gender of the parent when examining the adolescent–parent relationship.

Hazel’s comment:
There are so many things going on in the lives of many of our young people that need to be “sorted” before we can begin to help them realise their potential in terms of career. The excessive drinking of a parent is only one of these things that can ruin a young person’s life before it’s got properly started.

Do Video Games Promote Positive Youth Development?

an article by Paul J. C. Adachi and Teena Willoughby (Brock University, St. Catharines, Canada) published in Journal of Adolescent Research Volume 28 Number 2 (March 2013)


We argue that video game play may meet Larson’s (2000) criteria for fostering initiative in youth, and thus, may be related to positive outcomes such as flow, cooperation, problem solving, and reduced in-group bias.

However, developmental and social psychologists examining adolescent video game use have focused heavily on how video games are related to negative outcomes, while neglecting potential positive outcomes.

In this article we review the adolescent video game literature, examining both negative and positive outcomes, and suggest important directions for future research.

Employee alienation: relationships with careerism and career satisfaction

an article by Dan S. Chiaburu and Ismael Diaz, (Texas A&M University, College Station, USA) and Ans De Vos (Antwerp Management School, Belgium) published in Journal of Managerial Psychology Volume 28 Issue 1 (2013)


The purpose of this paper is to investigate the extent to which employees' perceptions of alienation (personal and social) are related to positive (career satisfaction) and negative (careerist orientation) career-related outcomes and to examine the mediating role of career satisfaction.

The paper used a cross-sectional design, with questionnaires administered to 165 employees working in organizations in the USA to test the relationship between alienation and careerism through career satisfaction.

Alienation was found to be a positive predictor of employee careerism, and a negative predictor of their career satisfaction. The data were consistent with a model positioning career satisfaction as a mediator of the alienation to careerism relationship.

Research limitations/implications
Future research should examine the relationship between alienation and career outcomes in other organizations and job families, to enhance generalizability. Data should be also collected longitudinally, to extend the current cross-sectional design.

Practical implications
Understanding the empirical link between alienation and career outcomes can provide useful information to reduce negative career outcomes.

The findings point toward a positive relationship between employee alienation and their careerism. In doing so, the paper adds to a body of work where careerism was connected with structural rather than individual predictors.

‘Beyond the golden triangle’: Biotechnology incubation in the East Midlands region of the UK

an article by David J Smith (Nottingham Trent University, UK) published in Local Economy Volume 28 Number 1 (February 2013)


Policy changes by the UK government in the 1990s led to the setting up of a large number of technology incubators specialising in biotechnology. A feature of these biotechnology incubators is that they were not confined to established life science intensive regions like the South East and East Anglia (Sainsbury, 1999), but spread across the UK.

This study presents an in-depth case study of one of these biotechnology incubators. It provides insights into the contribution of incubators to the development of the biotechnology sector in the regions outside the ‘golden triangle’ (Mueller et al., 2012; Mullins, 2005) of Cambridge-London-Oxford. It identifies service-based business models as an attractive entry-mode for start-up firms in these regions and shows services to be the main contributor to job creation.

The study contributes to closing some of the gaps in research into the relationship between technology incubation and economic development. In particular it identifies local factors conditioning the performance of local economies, business models, and incubation, particularly in the context of policies designed to promote the growth of technology-based start-up and spin-off companies as avenues for economic development and transformation.

Labour Market Statistics and Regional Labour Market Statistics, February 2013

Labour Market Statistics

For October to December 2012:
  • The employment rate for those aged from 16 to 64 was 71.5%, up 0.3 percentage points on July to September 2012 and up 1.1 on a year earlier. There were 29.73 million people in employment aged 16 and over, up 154,000 on July to September 2012 and up 584,000 on a year earlier.
  • The unemployment rate was 7.8% of the economically active population, down 0.1 percentage points on July to September 2012 and down 0.6 on a year earlier. There were 2.50 million unemployed people, down 14,000 on July to September 2012 and down 156,000 on a year earlier.
  • The inactivity rate for those aged from 16 to 64 was 22.3% (the lowest since 1991), down 0.2 percentage points on July to September 2012 and down 0.8 on a year earlier. There were 8.98 million economically inactive people aged from 16 to 64, down 94,000 on July to September 2012 and down 294,000 on a year earlier.
  • Total pay (including bonuses) rose by 1.4% compared with October to December 2011. Regular pay (excluding bonuses) rose by 1.3% compared with October to December 2011.
Full report (PDF 61pp)

Regional Labour Market Statistics

Key points
  • Employment rate highest in the South East (75.0%) and lowest in the North East (67.7%).
  • Unemployment rate highest in the North East (9.7%) and lowest in the South West (5.5%).
  • Inactivity rate highest in the North East (24.9%) and lowest in the East of England (19.6%).
  • Claimant Count rate highest in the North East (7.7%) and lowest in the South East (3.0%).
Full report (PDF 12pp) contains links to the data for analysis purposes

Why is the Work Programme failing?

via The Work Foundation News by Daniel Wainwright

The Work Programme is failing everyone. But it’s the most vulnerable that are being hit the hardest.

The report from the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) found that none of the providers contracted to deliver the government’s Work Programme have hit their target. In fact, fewer people moved into sustained work as a result of the programme than would have done if there had been no intervention at all.

It’s clear that the programme faces huge problems. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has blamed the providers, and some may stand to lose their contracts for poor performance.

Continue reading

Hazel’s comment:
There has, not surprisingly, been a lot of comment on the latest pronouncement from the Public Accounts Committee. This, I thought, was one of the least contentious whilst still providing the range of information.

Returning to Work After Maternity Leave: Childcare and Workplace Flexibility

an article by Margaret J Nowak and Marita Naude Gail (Thomas Curtin University, Australia) published in The Journal of Industrial Relations Volume 55 Number 1 (February 2013)


This article explores how responsibilities for childcare are managed as part of family decisions made around the return to work following a period of maternity leave.

We surveyed all women health professionals identified as on maternity leave on payroll records of the Health Department, Western Australia, and one private sector national provider of hospital services.

Survey questions were designed following a review of the literature and prior empirical work. The design enabled us to collect both quantitative information and interpretive qualitative responses from participants.

Over 50% of respondents expected to have childcare provided wholly by family members, while 15% anticipated the use of formal arrangements alone.

The planned arrangements for care can best be understood within a framework of a ‘family budget’ of time to be allocated between market-based work and childcare.

Attitudes to childcare are central to this ‘time economies’ framework.

Respondents experienced dissonance between the stated organizational family-friendly policy of their workplaces and practices at the management level. Employer-centred flexibility often disrupted their child-care arrangements.

We identify important employment policy issues for workplaces that would facilitate the optimal return to the workforce by professional women following maternity leave.

Hazel’s comment:
Oh yes, the difference between what the Employee Handbook says will happen and what your line manager actually agrees to can be immense!

Retirement incentives, individual heterogeneity and labor transitions of employed and unemployed workers

an article by J. Ignacio García-Pérez and Alfonso R. Sánchez-Martín (Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Spain) and Sergi Jiménez-Martín (Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona GSE, Spain and FEDEA, Spain) published in Labour Economics Volume 20 (January 2013)


In this paper, we analyse the sensitivity of the labour market decisions of workers close to retirement with respect to the incentives created by public regulations. We improve upon the extensive prior literature on the effect of pension incentives on retirement by jointly modelling the transitions between employment, unemployment and retirement, paying special attention to the transition from unemployment to retirement (which is particularly important in Spain and other European countries, and whose relevance is increasing as a result of the recent economic crisis).

Using administrative data, we find that, when properly defined, economic incentives have a strong impact on labour market decisions.

Unemployment regulations are shown to be particularly influential for retirement behaviour, along with the more traditional determinants linked to the pension system. Pension variables also have a major bearing on workers’ re-employment decisions. The quantitative impact of the incentives, however, is greatly affected by the existence of unobserved heterogeneity among workers. Its omission leads to sizeable biases in the assessment of the sensitivity to economic incentives.

We confirm the importance of this potential problem in the case of the change in early retirement provisions legislated in Spain in 2002 (which we analyse with a difference-in-difference approach).

JEL classification H55, J14, J26, J64

Full text (PDF 15pp)

Briefing on Children and Families Bill

via Resolution: Press Releases by Resolution – First for family law

Resolution has drafted a briefing on the Children and Families Bill which you can read in full here.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Saturday's Spectacular (no, it's not you that lost the plot it's me!)

Air Travel: 1902
via Shorpy Historical Photo Archive – Vintage Fine Art Prints by Dave
Air Travel: 1902
Iowa circa 1902
“Chicago & North Western Railway – steel viaduct over Des Moines River”
8x10 glass negative by William Henry Jackson
View original post

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Benjamin Britten, workaholic. Not even a need for heart surgery could pull him away from his desk. “My destiny is to be in a harness and to die in a harness”... more

Predicting group partitions in mobile ad hoc networks (MANETs)
I just happened to see this article in the International Journal of Communication Systems (26(2)).
A group partition in group mobility may cause communication interruption in MANETs. A group partition prediction algorithm is used to predict group partitions. This paper proposes such an effective algorithm to predict group partitions in MANETs.
The words didn’t mean very much to me but the visual ... aaah!
Thumbnail image of graphical abstract
And then I discovered that if you put MANETs as a search term into Google you find lots more patterns!

11 of the Most Beautiful Museum Libraries in the World
via Flavorwire by Emily Temple
We’ve shown you many beautiful libraries from around the world, and we’ve shown you some of the most fantastic museums, as well – so what about gorgeous museum libraries?
Well, because many museum libraries are strictly utilitarian, meant for easy browsing and not necessarily planned to be easy on the eyes. That said, some standouts manage to be both, and since we’re always on the lookout for lovely architecture, preferably lovely architecture that incorporates books, we thought we’d round a few of them up for you here. After the jump, check out 11 of the most beautiful museum libraries from around the world, and as ever, let us know if we missed your favourite in the comments.

The Library in the Charles Dickens Museum, London, England
And you can visit the museum online here
More images from Emily here

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
The Classical Tradition is an impressive work of great ambition. The trouble can be summed up in three words: “The”, “Classical”, and “Tradition”... more

The Cultivation of Fear of Sexual Violence in Women: Processes and Moderators of the Relationship Between Television and Fear
an article by Kathleen Custers and Jan Van den Bulck (University of Leuven, Belgium) published in Communication Research Volume 40 Number 1 (February 2013)
Even though sexual violence has become more prevalent on television and is the crime women fear most in real life, the association between viewing and fear of sexual violence has received scant attention.
Structural equation modelling of data from a random sample of 546 Flemish women supported a model in which fear of sexual violence was predicted by perceived risk, perceived control, and perceived seriousness.
Flemish crime drama viewing predicted higher perceived risk.
This relationship was stronger in women with high socioeconomic status and in those with no direct experience with crime. This suggests that identification may be an important mediator. News viewing predicted lower perceived risk.
It is hypothesized that the relative lack of exemplars in news and victim blaming gives viewers the impression that the risk of sexual victimization does not apply to them.

Hammermill Paper’s jobs-of-1950 collage
via Boing Boing by Cory Doctorow

I love everything about this old Hammermill Paper ad – it’s part Richard Scarry jobs-you-can-do collage, part propaganda for the wonder of paper, and all awesome.
Hammermill Paper
I wonder if any readers are old enough to understand the reference to 5,000 copies from one stencil or mimeograph paper.

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
From time to time, the god of fiction deserts Ian McEwan. His disbelief won’t – can’t! – be suspended. Then a detail, a phrase, a story returns him to the fold... more

decomposing in the sun
via 3quarksdaily by Morgan Meis
Aaron Gilbreath at the Paris Review

The entrance to Los Angeles’ original subway system lies hidden on a brushy slope next to an apartment building that resembles a Holiday Inn. Known as the “Hollywood Subway”, the line opened in 1925; ran 4,325 feet underground, between downtown and the Westlake District; and closed in 1955. After Pacific Electric Railway decommissioned the tracks, homeless people started sleeping in the old Belmont Tunnel. Crews filmed movies such as While the City Sleeps and MacArthur in it. City officials briefly used it to store impounded vehicles, as well as first aid and 329,700 pounds of crackers during part of the Cold War. By the time the entrance was sealed around 2006, graffiti artists had been using it as a canvas for decades, endowing it with legendary status in street mural culture, and earning it numerous appearances in skateboard and other magazine shoots. Now the tunnel sits at the end of a dead-end street, incorporated into the apartment's small garden area, resembling nothing more than another spigot in Los Angeles's vast flood control system.
Continue reading

Growing Up Gay in 2013: Joe Schwartz, the teen in Oddly Normal
via Boing Boing by Xeni Jardin
My friend John Schwartz at the New York Times wrote Oddly Normal, a wonderful book about how he and his wife Jeanne worked through challenges to learn how best to support their son Joe, who is gay.
In the Atlantic, Alice Dreger interviews Joe, who is now 17 years old, “to expand on some of the themes explored in the book and answer some questions raised by people who have commented on it”.
Joe is a really interesting person, and the interview is terrific. Go have a read.

Photo: John and Joe, shot by Ethan Hill for the NYT

Careers guidance for young people: the impact of the new duty on schools: …

House of Commons Education Committee seventh report of session 2012-13 (HC 632-I)


Access to good quality independent and impartial careers guidance is essential for all young people, particularly given factors such as the raising of the participation age, the expanding range of educational choices available and high levels of youth unemployment.

The Education Act 2011 introduced a statutory duty on schools in England to secure access to independent, impartial careers guidance for their pupils in years 9–11. The duty came into force in September 2012 and we decided to hold an inquiry to coincide with this, to see how schools were responding to their new duty.

The government’s decision to transfer responsibility for careers guidance to schools is regrettable. We have concerns about the consistency, quality, independence and impartiality of careers guidance now being offered to young people. We heard evidence that there is already a worrying deterioration in the overall level of provision for young people. Urgent steps need to be taken by the government to ensure that young people’s needs are met.

We recognise that there must be room for innovation and variation, but we believe that all young people must have access to good quality advice and guidance. We believe that the government could do more to promote consistency in the offer to young people through central guidance and we recommend that the government’s statutory guidance and practical guide should be combined into a single publication to assist a consistent approach by schools.

We believe that vulnerable young people in particular need careers guidance support and that at present there is too much variation in which groups of young people receive the service. We recommend that the government promotes the activities of the best performing local authorities so that best practice in identifying and delivering services to targeted young people is shared.

We welcome the government’s decision to extend the duty to young people in year 8 and to 16 to 18 year-olds in school or college, which was announced during the course of our inquiry. The fact that some young people are now required to make decisions about their future in Year 8 — for entrance to UTCs and Studio Schools, for example — means that it is necessary for advice and guidance to be offered earlier.

The quality, independence and impartiality of careers guidance offered to young people was a central concern. To help ensure quality, we recommend that schools are required to work towards the Quality in Careers Standard, and to procure guidance services only from qualified providers and individuals.

We believe that face-to-face guidance is an integral part of good quality careers guidance and we recommend that a minimum of one personal careers interview with an independent adviser should be available for every young person.

There must be accountability measures to ensure that schools provide a good quality careers guidance service for their pupils. While we welcome Ofsted’s thematic review, we are not convinced that this offers sufficient incentive for schools to prioritise the provision of careers guidance. Furthermore, we do not think that either destination measures — as they currently stand — or Ofsted inspections are the answer. We recommend that all schools are required to publish an annual careers plan, which would provide transparency about what could be expected in terms of careers work and would set out the resources allocated to these activities.

We recommend that the National Careers Service’s remit be expanded to include a capacity-building and brokerage role for schools. This role would include assisting schools in designing their annual careers plan, the dissemination of local labour market information and the promotion of quality standards.

Independent careers advice and guidance has never been as important for young people as it is today. Too many schools lack the skills, incentives or capacity to fulfil the duty put upon them without a number of changes being made. Young people deserve better than the service they are likely to receive under the current arrangements. Schools cannot simply be left to get on with it.

Full report (PDF 56pp)

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Should have been Friday 22nd February!

Traver Circle Swing: 1905
via Shorpy Historical Photo Archive – Vintage Fine Art Prints by Dave
Traver Circle Swing: 1905
New York circa 1905
“Luna Park circle swing, Coney Island”
8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company
View original post

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Doer and dreamer, realist and romantic: Charles de Gaulle was an exceptional – and exceptionally arrogant – character...more

Quite a zoo
via Prospero by P.W. | NEW YORK
Despite the cold, the snow and the sleet, New York in late January becomes a hotbed of art and antiques dealers and collectors from around the world. During a slump in the tourist season, the city cleverly plays host to the Winter Antiques Show (from January 25th until February 3rd), Master Drawings New York (from January 26th until February 2nd) and a series of Old Master auctions at Sotheby’s and Christies.
Both the above sites were still available early in February but ...
Continue reading from the Prospero blog where you will find a number of pictures, including this one.

(It’s the second one in the slide show.)

Why put magnetic paint on ants?
via Boing Boing by Maggie Koerth-Baker

It seems like a weird past-time, magnetizing ants, but it has some practical purposes. At his blog, media engineer Andrew Quitmeyer explains how he mixed magnetic powder into insect-safe enamel paint, and what he was able to do with it.
The big benefit to something like this is that it could allow scientists to easily alter the populations of social insect groups. Each colony of ants functions, in many ways, like a single organism. So what happens to that hive mind if you remove all the ants doing one particular type of task? Instead of painstakingly picking out each worker with a pair of tweezers every time you want to try this, you could create a colony in which all the workers have had magnetic paint daubed onto their abdomens. Then, you could quickly and easily collect some of them, or all of them, using a magnet. Hunting ants with a tweezer once > hunting ants with a tweezer over and over and over.
Another, possibly less legitimate, use of the paint is demonstrated by Quitmeyer in this video. (Quitmeyer, for the record, is not a social insects researcher.) Using single painted ants in a population of unpainted ants, he plays around with the way colonies remove unhealthy members of their own community. When a magnetized ant starts flopping around erratically in response to a nearby magnet, nearby ants quickly react. As Quitmeyer says in the video, this demonstration quickly passes from science into mad science (or, at least, YouTube science).
Thanks to Leah Shaffer!

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Hallucinations can be brilliant, bothersome, even frightening. Imagine hearing Bing Crosby sing White Christmas for days on end... more

The LumiPotti® night-time toilet for children
via Steve van Dulken (Information Expert, BL Research Service)
I recently came across the LumiPotti toilet to help children use a toilet at night. I have written on the topic of toilets with aids for children before, in my post Toilet training aids for children.
The LumiPotti website says that two mothers, Rachael and Kerry, thought of the idea over “coffee morning banter”. The site announces that they have received a granted UK patent, Childs pot. Its main drawing is given below.
LumiPotti nightime training aid for children patent image
Continue reading to discover more information about the LumiPotti and its patent (or not as the case might be).
Then you could always read about the iPad potty

Hoare’s RIB
It is a cold January morning. A retired Rear Admiral stands on the parapet of some forgotten castle casting a glinty eye over the eternally churning grey swell of the Bristol Channel.
The wind is biting; perhaps it reminds him of other patches of treacherous cold water, other dark days at sea. One thing he is certain of - this piece of coast is one of the world’s worst.
The currents and eddies, the momentous slop as the Atlantic ocean slews from one side of its rim to the other, give the Bristol Channel and the Bay of Fundy, on the other side, the highest tidal ranges anywhere in the world.
St Donat's Castle The Wreck of the Rothsay Steam Packet 1832 (picture courtesy of National Library of Wales)
St Donat’s Castle The Wreck of the Rothsay Steam Packet
(picture courtesy of the National Library of Wales)
Continue reading

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
The Bell Jar was published in England on January 14, 1963. Sylvia Plath killed herself 28 days later. A good career move, Anne Sexton observed... more

Some notes on the Shia-Sunni conflict
via 3quarksdaily by Omar Ali
“Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living.”
Karl Marx
Sarmad 03-786777
Full article - very interesting and, to me, informative piece of writing.

Genetic evidence suggests that, four millennia ago, a group of adventurous Indians landed in Australia
via 3quarksdaily by S. Abbas Raza
Full story from the print edition of The Economist includes this lovely map.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Labour market recovery continues, but real wages still sliding

via The Work Founation News by Charles Levy

Commenting on today’s [20 February 2013] labour market statistics, Charles Levy, senior economist at The Work Foundation, said:

“The ONS have today confirmed that at the end of last year the labour market was continuing to recover strongly. Comparing the three months to December with the previous three months, employment increased by an impressive 154,000, taking the annual tally of new jobs created to 584,000. We should be particularly encouraged by the fact that our economy is now consistently creating full-time work – full-time employee jobs increased by 167,000 over the three month period. And the number of individuals reporting that they are working part-time because they can’t find full-time work is finally starting to fall.

“However, wage growth remains low, tempering what would otherwise be a very positive picture. Annual increases in total pay were only 1.4% in December, well behind inflation. This means that on average, living standards for those in work are still falling.

“The increase in long-term male youth unemployment of 16,000 also signifies just how tough the labour market remains for the 2.5m people who are looking for work.”

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

I know, I know

I've not quite had the day from hell today. In fact this morning was quite productive but not in a “get the information blog posts written” way.

From then on it was all downhill (physically rather than mentally thank heavens) so now it’s a double dose for tomorrow in between reading journals at the British Library.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Revisiting ‘mothers and sons’ preference formation and the female labor force in Switzerland

an article by Aline Bütikofer (Norwegian School of Economics, Bergen, Norway) published in Labour Economics Volume 20 (January 2013)


This paper analyses the interrelation between men’s gender role attitudes and female labour supply decision. Following Fernández et al. (2004), I argue that the recent increases in the female labour market participation rate are driven by the growing proportion of men who were brought up in a family with a working mother.

First, the paper re-examines the results of the cross-section analysis of Fernández et al. (2004) using the Swiss Household Panel 2005 to illustrate that married women whose mothers-in-law were working are themselves significantly more likely to be in the labour force.

In a second step, the paper attempts to test one of their model’s crucial mechanisms and show that the effect of a wife’s labour market integration on her husband’s well-being diverges depending on the former labour market status of his mother.

Taken together, this evidence can be interpreted as varying preferences for women with high labour market integration due to exposure to certain sexual stereotypes early in life.


► I analyse interrelations between marriage choice and female labour supply decision.
► Married women are more likely to work when their mothers-in-law were working.
► A wife's contribution to household income reduces her husband's satisfaction.
► The negative effect is only significant when the husband raised by working a mother.

JEL Classification J22, I31, J12

Full text (PDF 10pp)

‘Sticky Subjects’ or ‘Cosmopolitan Creatives’? Social Class, Place and Urban Young People’s Aspirations for Work in the Knowledge Economy

an article by Kim Allen (Manchester Metropolitan University, UK) and Sumi Hollingworth (London Metropolitan University, UK) published in Urban Studies Volume 50 Number 3 (February 2013)


Aspirations have been a key target of education policy, situated as central to meeting the needs of the ‘knowledge economy’.

In the UK, there have been calls to raise young people’s aspirations for careers in the creative industries – identified as emblematic of the new economic order and a key growth sector.

Yet, the sector is socially and spatially restricted, characterised by unclear entry routes, exclusionary working practices and uneven geographical concentration.

This paper draws on research with young people (aged 14–16 years) living in three urban areas of deindustrialisation in England to examine the geography of young people’s aspirations for careers in the creative industries.

The concept of place-specific habitus is used to problematise asocial and aspatial discourses of aspiration and to illuminate how social class and place powerfully and complexly interrelate to shape young people’s opportunities for social and geographical mobility through and for work in the knowledge economy.

Women and the Modernization of British Trade Unions: Meanings, Dimensions and the Challenge of Change

an article by Mark Stuart and Jennifer Tomlinson (University of Leeds, UK) and Miguel Martinez Lucio (Manchester Business School, UK) published in The Journal of Industrial Relations volume 55 Number 1 (February 2013)


This article examines the position of women within the modernisation processes of British trade unions, based on the first analysis to date of projects funded under the British government’s Trade Union Modernisation Fund.

The focus of the article on the Trade Union Modernisation Fund provides unique insights into the relatively under-explored ‘inner workings’ of unions, and allows an examination of the types of modernisation projects that may advance women’s interests within unions and the types of challenges such initiatives face.

The projects suggested that reflection and learning around women’s interests and equality agendas were taking place, along with a degree of mainstreaming and embedding activity within union structures.

However, projects had to face not only deeply entrenched constraints, but also a new set of challenges raised by the process of modernisation itself.

Karl Marx, Class Struggle and Labour-Centred Development

an article by Benjamin Selwyn (University of Sussex, UK) published in Global Labour Journal Volume 4 Issue 1 (2013)


Karl Marx has often been interpreted as formulating an economic determinist, Eurocentric and historically linear conception of human development. Where they exist, such interpretations understand ‘development’ as capitalist modernisation. If correct, this critique leaves Marxism ill-equipped to interpret and contribute to transformations of the conditions of labouring classes under neoliberal globalisation.

This article argues against such interpretations by discussing how, for Marx, the form and content of class struggles, their relations to the national state, and their articulation through the world system were the key to understanding divergent processes of human development.

Marx’s insights are particularly relevant under contemporary globalised capitalism. This article argues, further, that Marx provides us with the basis for formulating a labour-centred approach to human development and development studies.

Full text (PDF 25pp)

Alleviating the Burden of Emotional Labor: The Role of Social Sharing

an article by A. Silke McCance (Procter & Gamble), Christopher D. Nye and Kisha S. Jones (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), Lu Wang (University of New South Wales) and Chi-yue Chiu (Nanyang Technological University) published in Journal of Management Volume 39 Number 2 (February 2013)


Difficult customer interactions cause service employees to experience negative emotions and to engage in emotional labour.

The present laboratory study examined whether social sharing (i.e. talking about an emotionally arousing work event with one’s coworkers) can attenuate the residual anger lingering after a taxing service episode.

Participants assumed the role of customer service representatives for a fictitious technical support hotline and encountered either neutral or difficult service interactions. After fielding three easy or three difficult calls, participants were given the opportunity to engage in social sharing by talking about (a) the facts that just transpired, (b) the feelings aroused by the encounters, or (c) the positive aspects of the experience, or they were asked to complete a filler task.

Results from quantitative data revealed that participants who engaged in difficult (vs. neutral) customer interactions reported more surface acting and felt more anger.

Engaging in social sharing was beneficial: All three types of social sharing were effective in reducing the anger aroused by handling demanding customers.

Findings from qualitative analyses suggested that different mechanisms might have contributed to the effectiveness of the three types of social sharing.

Future research directions and implications for practice are discussed.

Monday, 18 February 2013


I've struck a bit of a bad patch but intend to be back tomorrow with my regular seven or eight posts (may be more since there will, presumably, be a backlog).

It's my own fault. I overdid things yesterday – too much walking round in Peterborough – and am paying the price.

Investigating A8 migration using data from the Worker Registration Scheme: Temporal, spatial and sectoral trends

an article by David McCollum (University of St Andrews, UK) published in Local Economy Volume 28 Number 1 (February 2013)


Since the enlargement of the European Union in May 2004, large numbers of migrants from the A8 countries (Poland, Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary and Estonia) have joined the UK labour market. A8 migrants were required to register under the Worker Registration Scheme if they took up employment in the UK for one month or longer.

The research presented here analysed this administrative data in order to shed light on spatial, sectoral and temporal trends in registration flows. The findings can help inform understanding of migration patterns, and responses to them, at the national and local levels.

The volume of labour migration flows from East-Central Europe has been substantial and has been concentrated in particular segments of the labour market, with most migrants engaging with the hospitality and agricultural sectors and often working through recruitment agencies.

The volume of new A8 arrivals has decreased since the onset of the recession in 2008 but still remained substantial at the end of the Worker Registration Scheme period. The demand for migrant labour has been relatively consistent in agriculture compared to other sectors of the economy during the recession.

Conceptually this points to migrant labour serving distinct ‘functions’ in the UK labour market.

Static incomes + inflation = falling living standards

via JRF – Combined Feed by Donald Hirsch

Why should we get so worried when the Governor of the Bank of England makes a modest adjustment in his inflation forecast, guessing that prices will rise by around 3 and then 2.5 per cent in the next two years, rather than about half a per cent more slowly?

Before the present economic downturn, most people would not have expected this to make much difference to their lives, partly because earnings or benefits were expected to rise at least by inflation. But today, where so many incomes are static in money terms, every percentage point rise in prices can represent a one per cent fall in living standards.

The link between inflation and falling standards of living has been particularly strong for people getting their income from public sources, since deficit reduction is being achieved partly by rigid cash limits. Public sector workers are undergoing a three-year pay freeze, which will see the real value of their pay shrink by over 10 per cent. And from this year, people on benefits and tax credits will see their income from the state rise by a fixed 1% a year for three years, regardless of level of inflation. In both cases, the faster prices rise, the harsher the real-terms cut will be.

Continue reading and despair!

Sunday, 17 February 2013

10 more items of miscellaneous interest.

Vendue Range: 1865
via Shorpy Historical Photo Archive – Vintage Fine Art Prints by Dave
Vendue Range: 1865
“1865. Charleston, South Carolina. Vendue Range looking east from near the corner of East Bay Street.”
Aftermath of the Great Fire of 1861 and bombardment by the Federal Navy
Wet plate glass negative.
View original post

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Stanley Cavell dropped out of Juilliard and joined a philosophy department, but its language was too abstract. He was determined to reclaim fleshy, everyday words... more

Cat with bomb strapped to it, 16th C
via Boing Boing by Cory Doctorow

A page from 16th C German manuscript (“Das Feuer Buch”) from the University of Pennsylvania’s collection, depicts a cat and a bird attacking a castle with bombs strapped to them. As if that wasn’t enough, the illustrator chose to depict these bombs in a way that made the poor critters look jet-propelled. The caption is “To ignite a castle with a cat”.
Beyond the novel inclusion of our rocket bird and turbo cat – up top – this 1584 treatise on explosive devices appears to illustrate weaponry seen in earlier manuscripts and offers no new technologies for the Renaissance commando types. The sketches show various types of barrel bombs, hand grenades, nasty fragmentation/shrapnel explosives, cannons, caltrops (anti-personnel ground spikes), unsophisticated spear and staff-mounted ‘rockets’ or bombs, catherine or pin wheel fireworks and your-guess-is-as-good-as-mine fire vessels and defensive emplacement stakes. Good to know that our modern evil ways build on the twisted imaginations of artistic forebears.
Early Explosives (Thanks, Nicholas!)

Solar Collage Shows Sun’s Different Wavelengths
via How-To Geek by Jason Fitzpatrick
This collage of solar images from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) shows how observations of the sun in different wavelengths helps highlight different aspects of the sun's surface and atmosphere.
When it comes to the Sun, we’re most familiar with the wavelengths in the visible spectrum it beams down to Earth, but when viewed with the right equipment a rainbow of diverse wavelengths emerge. Courtesy of NASA and their Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), we’re treated to a rather novel look at the surface of the sun.
They write:
Taking a photo of the sun with a standard camera will provide a familiar image: a yellowish, featureless disk, perhaps coloured a bit more red when near the horizon since the light must travel through more of Earth’s atmosphere and consequently loses blue wavelengths before getting to the camera’s lens. The sun, in fact, emits light in all colours, but since yellow is the brightest wavelength from the sun, that is the colour we see with our naked eye – which the camera represents, since one should never look directly at the sun. When all the visible colo’rs are summed together, scientists call this “white light”. Specialised instruments, either in ground-based or space-based telescopes, however, can observe light far beyond the ranges visible to the naked eye. Different wavelengths convey information about different components of the sun’s surface and atmosphere, so scientists use them to paint a full picture of our constantly changing and varying star.
Hit up the link below for the full article and a more detailed look at how they capture the images and what observing the different wavelengths tells us.
Sun Primer: Why NASA Scientists Observe the Sun in Different Wavelengths [NASA]

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Truman Capote described In Cold Blood as “immaculately factual”, which was in fact not true. He never let reality interfere with a good story... more

How Alcohol Literally Steals Your Dreams
via Big Think by Orion Jones
Despite the apparent sophistication of having a nightcap – those in the know recommend only imbibing top-shelf brown liquids, never a clear eaux de vie – the effects of alcohol on sleep and restfulness make late-night drinks a losing proposition, says James Hamlin, MD.
Continue reading

This is the biggest mirror on Earth
via io9 by Esther Inglis-Arkell

This guy is standing on the flattest, shiniest place on Earth. It takes over a large section of Bolivia, and it’s so flat, dry, and reflective, that it’s used for satellite calibration.
If you ever travel to Bolivia, and want to take pictures that will freak out your friends, go to the Salar de Uyuni. Because of an interesting confluence of geography and physics, this place has formed the world’s largest mirror.
Continue reading

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Her dresses – strange colours, wondrous sleeves – were a sensation, but her husband, Oscar, wrested the limelight. The life of Constance Wilde... more

Gadget maker OXO turns cleverly-designed table on competitor’s copycat claim
via Boing Boing by Rob Beschizza

Quirky, a collective for inventors of clever household gadgets, recently accused OXO of ripping off one of its popular designs, the Broom Groomer, whose toothed dustbin may be used to strip the brush of debris. It turns out, however, that the design was patented almost a century ago. OXO’s detailed description of the designs history – which includes a winking comparison between longtime OXO products and some of Quirky’s own recent variations – turned the table with class and style.
[OXO and Quirky via Gizmodo]

1733 : William Cheselden’s Osteographica
via Retronaut by Amanda Uren
Great fun – if you’re interested in bones!

See the rest here

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Saturday's trivia for you (some of which is NOT trivial)

Rufus Rides Again: 1864
via Shorpy Historical Photo Archive – Vintage Fine Art Prints by Dave
Rufus Rides Again: 1864
April 1864 “Brandy Station, Virginia. Gen. Rufus Ingalls on horseback. Photograph from the main Eastern theater of war ” winter quarters at Brandy Station”
Wet plate glass negative by Timothy H. O'Sullivan
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Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
The king and the parking lot. He was small in stature, weak in strength, with a curved spine and a face “little and fierce”. The myth of Richard III meets reality... more

You’re actually awful at multi-tasking
via Big Think by Kayt Sukel
A few weeks ago, I was in line at the grocery store and overheard the following exchange.
“The cop gave her a ticket for texting and driving. She wasn't speeding or anything.”
Continue reading

What would happen if an unstoppable force met an immoveable object?
via Boing Boing by Maggie Koerth-Baker

Minute Physics tackles the greatest mystery in all the Internet and solves it with the power of science (and pedantry).

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Literary criticism has become a way to pursue tenure, complains Joseph Epstein. “Literary culture itself seems to be slowly if decisively shutting down”... more

Legos and green army men show you how cold sores work
via Boing Boing by Maggie Koerth-Baker

Anne of Green Gables had herpes. And now, you can learn a little more about how herpes hides out in your body and how it causes cold sores with the help of University of Texas professor Chris Sullivan, a bunch of legos, and a platoon of green army men.
Many thanks to Joe Hanson!

Why Tolerate Religion?
Robert Merrihew Adams in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews via 3quarksdaily by S. Abbas Raza
Brian Leiter, Why Tolerate Religion?, Princeton University Press, 2012, 192pp., $24.95 (hbk), ISBN 9780691153612
The book itself may be beyond anyone who is not a philosophy student or who has a specific interest in the subject but I did find Adams’ review interesting.

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Moral intensity, bizarre charisma, lack of political imagination: Elaine Scarry is a representative thinker of our time... more

December 1954 : James Dean holds up Ronald Reagan
via Retronaut by Chris Wild

“An episode of the General Electric Theater called The Dark, Dark Hours featuring James Dean in a performance with Ronald Reagan was originally broadcast December 12, 1954,”
More images here

A Few Side Notes on Tudor Extraordinaire Henry VIII
via Britannica Blog by Gregory McNamee
A few months ago, a photograph went viral on the Internet: It depicted a sign tacked to a telephone pole advertising someone’s “tudoring services”. The possibilities are endless, ranging from specialisation in a kind of bygone architecture to marriage counselling to lessons in behaviour befitting the peerage, but alas, I fear it was a mere typo.
Even so, it cannot be denied that the best known of the Tudors, King Henry VIII of England, frequently needed the services of clerics and lawyers. He instituted the practice of divorce in his realm, after all, and if he had a wandering eye and a firm belief in the rights of royalty in such matters, he had a practical reason for it: He needed to produce a male heir, lest his lineage get all tangled up and, heavens, give a Catholic a shot at returning to the throne. What he got – or begat – instead was Elizabeth I, a historical and biological fact that, as history tells us, turned out to be no small thing.
King Henry VIII of England, c. 1540, by Hans Holbein the Younger. Credit: Spectrum Colour Library/Heritage-Images
King Henry VIII of England, c. 1540, by Hans Holbein the Younger
Credit: Spectrum Colour Library/Heritage-Images