BSJ

The Butler Scholarly Journal

Category: Sociology

  1. Queering Healthy Eating

    Challenges to assumptions about what it means to be ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’ are commendable, but usually rely on an understanding of sex as the fixed, biological basis upon which flexible, sociological ‘gender’ is constructed. Judith Butler asks us to question this understanding. She writes that “gender must also designate the very apparatus of production whereby the sexes themselves are established” (Butler, 2006, p. 10). Why should oestrogen define what it is to be a ‘woman’, especially when there are so many other complicating factors, and what does it mean to be a woman anyway? Similarly, why should calories (or fat…

  2. Identity and Emergence: A Radical Relationship

    The most useful piece of learning for the uses of life is to unlearn what is untrue – Antisthenes Throughout the twentieth century the social sciences underwent a shift toward symbolic and cultural studies, which placed the issue of identity at the core of these disciplines. The dismissal of identity as an essential property rooted in stable characteristics led scholars to focus on the social processes through which the self emerges, and the factors involved in them. Although this paradigmatic shift might seem obvious nowadays, it has had, and still has, profound and radical consequences in regards to how the…

  3. Social policy and evidence-based practice: Ne’er the Twain shall meet?

    Much like two pandas in a zoo, science and the law can often be reluctant bedfellows, to the detriment of quality output; be it informed policies or baby bears. Often it would appear that the law is in stark contrast with what research has shown to be effective, resulting in a system that fails many who pass through it. One such example is the employment of a youth justice system that has been shown to actively increase risk of reoffending in youths rather than reducing it. Youth offenders institutions act on the belief that the best way to deal with…

  4. HIV Stigma: The Importance of Talking About Sex

    When we think about HIV, what may immediately springs to mind is the situation in Sub-Saharan Africa, where the infection is spreading dramatically. Most of us will be aware of the devastating situation there, with extreme death rates and only a small percentage of people aware that they have the infection. Though rates of infection have dropped, around 1.2 million people in the area are dying each year, which is still an alarming and tragic statistic. This seems a world away from the situation in the UK and much of the Western world, where HIV has been controlled much better….

  5. The Roma Community: Prejudices and Inequalities

    The Roma people, a group that rarely enters the public consciousness in the UK, have hit international headlines over the past couple of weeks. It all started with “Maria”, the blond-haired, blue-eyed four-year-old girl in Greece who was taken away from her dark-complexioned Roma family by the police, largely on the basis that she couldn’t possibly be their biological child as she looked so different – and if she wasn’t their biological child, they must have kidnapped her. Maria was put into the care of an NGO while police carried out DNA tests, which confirmed that she was not biologically…

  6. A Critical Look at Video Games: a reinforcement of dominant ideologies or an emancipatory force for change?

    In an increasingly complex, interconnected and technological world, a plethora of debates surrounding the effects of technology and its implications are making their way into everyday life. The increasing prevalence of ocularcentrism, whereby the dominance of the visual is infiltrating and saturating every aspect of postmodern society (Rose, 2001), means that new media forms are contributing to ‘expanding geographic imaginaries’ (Ash et al, 2009: 472) serving as ideologically loaded representations of the world in which we live. In particular, as an increasingly prevalent media form within our postmodern, ocularcentric society, video games are often saturated with stereotypes, illusions, reproductions, imitations…

  7. Writing ‘Heroic workers and angry young men’ -Seminar

    On Wednesday 21st November, Dr Steph Lawler (Newcastle University) will be coming to Butler to speak about her work on nostalgia in relation to perceptions of class and gender as part of the joint Butler-Ustinov seminar series focusing on biographical research. Here she writes for the BSJ about why the subject interests her and how her research came about.  Steph’s seminar on Wednesday is in the Seminar Room (next to the Howlands shop). Doors open at 5.30pm for refreshments and the talk will begin at 6pm. This paper came out of work I’d been doing on representations of white working-class people…