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'We must put ourselves in the position of the subject who tries to find his way in this world, and we must remember, first of all, that the environment by which he is influenced and to which he adapts himself is his world, not the objective world of science.'

W.I. Thomas
and
F. Znaniecki

Qualitative Sociology Review
2011
Volume VII Issue 1


Author-Supplied Abstracts & Keywords


Robert Prus
     University of Waterloo, Canada

Defending Education and Scholarship in the Classical Greek Era: Pragmatist Motifs in the Works of Plato and Isocrates

As a broader realm of human endeavor and communication, education seems as fundamental as human group life itself. However, liberal education and scholarly ventures are much more problematic and fragile features of community life. Still, a liberal education is not the same as scholarship and some important distinctions are made between these two realms of activity prior to considering the ways in which they are envisioned and defended by two classical Greek authors Plato and Isocrates.
Although both Plato (c420-348BCE) and Isocrates (c436-338BCE) were students of Socrates (c469-399BCE) and share an emphasis on the importance of knowing, their approaches to human knowing and acting are notably different.
Clearly, Plato's depictions of the education and scholarship are considerably more extensive and are philosophically as well as theologically more engaging. Likewise, Plato has had vastly more impact on Western social thought than has Isocrates. Still, Isocrates addresses education and scholarship in distinctively more pluralist and humanly engaged terms.
Following an examination of Plato's analysis of education and his defense of scholarship as these are addressed in Republic, Laws, and Charmides, attention is given to Isocrates’ defense of educational ventures. Notably, Isocrates defends education and scholarship from the positions that Plato and (his principal spokesperson) Socrates promote, and – as well, – from the ignorance and disregard of the community at large.

Keywords:
Education; Scholarship; Plato; Isocrates; Pragmatism; Symbolic Interaction; Republic; Laws; Liberal Arts; Sociology
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Jeni Loftus
     Purdue University, USA
Paul Namaste
     Performa Higher Education, USA

Women’s Infertility and the Potential Identity of Biological Motherhood

Using the voices of 196 infertile women we analyze women’s infertility from the perspective of identity theory. Results illustrate how the potential identity of becoming a biological mother can have an extremely high level of salience, therefore women enact behaviors that attempt to make the potential identity of motherhood a reality. However, because a discrepancy exists between the potential and actual identities, these women experience harmful consequences until they either become pregnant or choose to stop infertility treatments. By understanding how these women create, interpret, and sustain the potential identity of being a biological mother while struggling to reject a possibly permanent infertile identity, this study offers new insights into both the social process of infertility and identity theory.

Keywords:
Identity Theory, Health, Infertility, Possible Self
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Annalisa Murgia
     University of Trento, Italy

"Flexible narratives" Discursive Positionings of Gender and Identity in Precarious Times

Studies concerning the transformations of work have long stressed how flexible work has affected the lives and identity-setting processes of individuals. A salient aspect of the current changes consists of the gender issues concerning the reality of work and its representations. The aim of this paper is to stress gender-identitary positionings in the context of the stories of women and men in non-standard employment. The specific question that the article addresses is whether the increasing distance from the "standard" working model – concerning full-time long-term employment – is also being accompanied by a change in the prevailing gender models. In particular, the stories of women and men with non-standard and precarious jobs are presented, in order to show how, by means of narratives, gender models linked to precarious work are constructed.

Keywords:
Gender Identities; Flexible Work; Precariousness; Narrative Interviews: Positioning Analysis
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Maritza Felices-Luna
    University of Ottawa, Canada

Anti-establishment Armed Groups as Total Institutions: Exploring Transformations of the Self

Based on an empirical research on the Irish and Peruvian conflicts, this article uses Goffman’s concept of total institution to analyse women’s involvement in the armed struggle. It contends that organisations presenting themselves as the legitimate army of an embryonic state are in fact total institutions attempting to produce a particular self and identity on its members through the use of the physical environment and the framing of all social interactions that take place within their purview. However, members demonstrate agency and self efficacy by mobilizing the same physical space and framed interactions in order to either facilitate their own transformation or resist it, which results in the emergence of an alternative self and identity.

Keywords:
Total Institutions; Identity; Self; Armed Conflict; Terrorism
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