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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
2005
Volume I Issue 2


Author-Supplied Abstracts & Keywords


Barry Gibson
     University of Sheffield, UK
     Jane Gregory
     Kings College, UK
     Peter G Robinson
     University of Sheffield, UK

The intersection between systems theory and grounded theory: The emergence of the grounded systems observer

The aim of this paper is to outline how a theoretical intersection between systems theory and grounded theory could be articulated. The paper proceeds by marking that the important difference between systems theory and grounded theory is primarily reflected in the distinction between a revision of social theory on the one hand and the generation of theory for the social world on the other. It then explores figures of thought in philosophy that relate closely to aspects of Luhmann's theory of social systems. An effectual intersection, an operational intersection, an intersection based on the concept of primary redundancy and a global/transcendental intersection between systems theory and grounded theory are proposed. The paper then goes on to briefly outline several methodological consequences of the intersection for a grounded systems methodology. It concludes by discussing the sort of knowledge for the social world that is likely to emerge from this mode of observation.

Keywords:
Systems theory, Luhmann, grounded systems theory, grounded theory.
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Pirkkoliisa Ahponen
     University of Joensuu, Finland

Precariousness of everyday heroism. A biographical approach to life politics

It is a special challenge for an individual to be the hero of his/her own life in the social conditions of reflexive modernisation. Autobiographies are not only descriptions of what happened during the life course, but they also reflect individual capacity to construct cultural identities in reflexive and reflective ways. To reflect on one's own success, personal gains and losses have to be compared with the competitive capacities of other community members of the hierarchically structured society. Reflexive capacity is the demand to become a conscious self and culturally identified member of a social group. Self-identity is reconstructed and coped with in light of meaningful others during certain transition periods in the life course. Life-political meaningfulness is checked by overcoming personal difficulties in order to manage life-challenges further. Self-respect gives the resources needed for overcoming alienating experiences, for controlling the risk of social exclusion and for mastering one's own life successfully. Narrative identification of self tends to produce life-heroes. But the problem considered relevant here starts from reflecting altruism with reflexive monitoring of the self. The question is whether heroic episodes of life can be narrated so that heroic everyday deeds are emphasised in autobiographies. Or is everyday heroism present only in precarious moments which escape ego-centrism because this kind of heroism can be placed only at the social margin, where surviving a difficult situation obliges one to turn unselfishly toward another?

Keywords:
Everyday hero, autobiography, reflexive self-identification, life politics, altruism.
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Tim J. Berard
     Kent State University, USA

Extending hate crime legislation to include gender: Explicating an analogical method of advocacy

This paper examines expert testimony advocating the inclusion, in proposed hate- crime legislation, of crimes motivated by gender bias. The design and rhetoric of such testimony evidences formal properties. Precisely because these properties are formal properties, not limited to specific cases or issues, their explication will contribute not only to the understanding of hate crimes discourse, but to social problems research and theory more broadly. Arguments for the expansion of rights to previously unprotected categories (1) can be designed with an emphasis on generic or formal principles, which allow for the inclusion of previously unprotected groups whose victimization constitutes additional social problems not yet institutionally recognized. Such arguments (2) can emphasize parallelism between protected categories and unprotected categories, and between recognized social problems and as-yet-unrecognized social problems, making similar institutional treatment seem rational, and making disparate treatment seem unjustifiable or insensitive. And such arguments (3) can propose limits to the desired expansion of rights, as a means of pre-empting "floodgate" arguments against expanding the scope of existing protections. More generally, membership categorization analysis is employed to study social identity and inter-group relations as these are constituted in social problems discourse. Special reference is made in this case to "hate crimes" and how they might be addressed by membership categorization analysis in the context of constructionist social problems analysis and qualitative socio-legal studies.

Keywords:
Hate crime, bias crime, gender, testimony, advocacy, analogy, ethnomethodology, membership categorization analysis, social problems, language in law.
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Constantinos N Phellas
     School of Humanities at Intercollege, Cyprus

Cypriot gay men's accounts of negotiating cultural and sexual identity: A qualitative study

This paper examines some of the key cultural concepts and relevant historical factors that may shape the development of Anglo-Cypriot gay identity. Accounts of sexual identity experiences provided by second generation Greek and Turkish Cypriot gay men in London are examined in the light of this analysis to explore how these men negotiate Anglo-Cypriot and gay identity. Twenty-eight self- identified second generation Greek and Turkish gay men living in London were recruited by advertising in the gay press, by writing to community groups, and gay groups and organizations and by 'snowballing'. In-depth face-to-face interviews were conducted with those men recruited through these channels. Data were subjected to interpretative phenomenological analysis. The personal accounts of these men demonstrate that their sexual identity does not always become their primary identity and that different identities are constructed by individuals at different places and times. Most men indicated that the translation of their sexual desires and behaviors into the 'political statement' of gay identity is not only difficult but is strongly resisted. Instead they chose to construct their identity in terms of their relationships with their families, their peers at work and other members of their community. The findings of this research may help develop an understanding of the complexities surrounding the 'sexual and cultural' identities of Anglo-Cypriot gay men, thereby reinforcing the notion that identity is multiple, contested and contextual.

Keywords:
Ethnic minorities, homosexuality, qualitative research, interpretative phenomenological analysis.
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