News Focus

Gedzgem – Resilience: Researching Global Mental Health Multilingually

29th September 2017

Alison Phipps, UNESCO Chair: Refugee Integration through Languages and the Arts, University of Glasgow, looks at the power of language and performance in helping communities overcome trauma. Our first visit to Ghana, with our hosts Gameli and Naa Densua Tordzro, was part of the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Large Translating Cultures Grant: Researching Multilingually… Read more »

Is together always better?

7th September 2017

Dr Robin Miller, Deputy Director of the University of Birmingham’s Health Services Management Centre, looks at how to create successful partnerships in the NHS. How good are NHS organisations and the wider system at achieving the potential benefits of partnering? The opportunity to move away from current frustrations may seem attractive but there’s no guarantee… Read more »

Is it too late to build a better world?

2nd August 2017

Professor Sir Keith Burnett FRS explains why the UK should invest in the social sciences. The greatest challenge we face is to use our intellects to guide our actions in making the world a better place for us and our fellow human beings. This is no easy task and its history is littered with false… Read more »

Spotting the fake

31st July 2017

Marina Jirotka is Professor of Human Centred Computing, Associate Director of the Oxford e-Research Centre and Associate Researcher of the Oxford Internet Institute. Helena Webb is a senior researcher in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Oxford. Here they consider what can be done by government and social media platforms to tackle… Read more »

We need a new narrative around sexuality in the UK

10th July 2017

It’s been 50 years since homosexuality was decriminalised in the UK, marked by decades of progress made by the LGBTQ community in the push for equality. Here, Michelle Grimwood, PhD Scholar in the Faculty of Education Health at the University of Greenwich, looks at the quality of life reported by lesbian, gay, and bisexual people,… Read more »

Should we be worried about the US withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement?

27th June 2017

Last week’s Queen’s Speech confirmed that despite the path chosen by the US, the UK would honour the Paris Agreement. Here Shonil Bhagwat, Senior Lecturer in Geography at the Open University, looks at the motivations and implications behind the US decision, and how international action on climate change will go on. As the world’s second… Read more »

The DUP for early learners

13th June 2017

Theresa May’s ongoing efforts of forming a minority government with the Democratic Unionist Party following last Thursday’s hung parliament have propelled the Northern Ireland party into the national spotlight. Professor John Brewer of Queen’s University Belfast offers a ‘crash course’ in the DUP, the price of cooperation and risks for both parties, and how this… Read more »

Brexit, net migration and Eurochildren

31st May 2017

Dr Nando Sigona, Senior Lecturer and Deputy Director of IRiS at the University of Birmingham, looks at UK net migration targets and how the consequences of Brexit are felt more widely among EU nationals. The UK’s Office for National Statistics has released its quarterly update on net migration. This time the figure, 248,000, the lowest… Read more »

France’s ambiguous presidential election

12th May 2017

As a new president is inaugurated in France, James Shields FAcSS, Professor of French Politics and Modern History at Aston University, warns against seeing Emmanuel Macron’s election as a mandate to reform France or as a sign that the challenge from the Front National has been seen off. Does Emmanuel Macron’s victory over Marine Le… Read more »

Rights and repression: how leaders respond to violent and peaceful protests

2nd May 2017

Dr M. Rodwan Abouharb, Senior Lecturer in International Relations at UCL, looks at the multipronged approach of leaders in responding to both violent and peaceful protests. Clyde Beatty, one of America’s most famous lion tamers performing in the early 20th century, had a distinct approach to keeping lions and tigers at bay during performances. He… Read more »

Social science is key to tackling challenges facing UK healthcare

26th April 2017

Following the launch of The Health of People report on April 5, Alessandro Lanuto, Communications Manager at the Campaign for Social Science, looks at how the social sciences can relieve pressure on healthcare services and improve population health. There are nearly four million people living with diabetes in the UK. One in four British adults… Read more »

The Oscars and inequality that stubbornly persists

14th March 2017

As the dust settles on last month’s Oscars ceremony, Sara De Benedictis of City University London and the London School of Economics, and Dr Anne Graefer of the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Studies, analyse the event’s political undertones, as well as some of the social, racial and gender inequalities that persist in Hollywood.… Read more »

Martin McGuinness’s resignation and the prospects for change in Northern Ireland

12th January 2017

Martin McGuinness’s resignation has prompted reactions ranging from accusations of political sabotage to speculation about his ailing health. Here, John Brewer, Professor of Post Conflict Studies at Queen’s University Belfast, examines what this means for Northern Ireland’s future, and whether the current power-sharing agreement that privileges the largest parties will be maintained, or if this… Read more »

‘Fake news’–why people believe it and what can be done to counter it

13th December 2016

In the wake of Brexit and the election of Donald Trump in the US, “fake news” has emerged as a pervasive, and potentially subversive, phenomenon. In an article promoted by the Campaign and originally appearing in The Conversation, Professor Simeon Yates, Director of the Institute of Cultural Capital, a strategic collaboration between the University of… Read more »

From Rabbits to Ubers: What the ‘new’ gig economy means for employment, education and politics

7th November 2016

The ‘#gigeconomy’ has rapidly transformed how people work. Professor John Bryson, Professor of Enterprise and Economic Geography at the University of Birmingham, traces the evolution of these transformations and their effect on the capitalist system, while setting out how education and political structures need to respond to ensure long term benefits. A new term –… Read more »

New constituency boundaries for the House of Commons: gerrymandering or independent process?

7th October 2016

With Jeremy Corbyn’s re-election and ever-louder whispers of a possible snap election before 2020, the impact of last month’s new constituency boundary proposals could redefine the political landscape sooner than expected. Here, Dr Alistair Clark, Senior Lecturer in Politics at Newcastle University, examines the history and possible impacts of the proposals, while highlighting how social… Read more »

A second Corbyn victory will have significant consequences, both for the Labour Party and for British politics

22nd September 2016

With Jeremy Corbyn’s widely-expected landslide victory to be announced on Saturday, Dr Judi Atkins, Lecturer in Politics at Coventry University, assesses the implications of his re-election both for Labour and British politics more broadly. Following the EU referendum result and the subsequent vote of no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party embarked on its… Read more »

Terror, Republican values and a very French paradox

15th September 2016

As France comes to terms with a series of major terrorist atrocities, its core Republican values are being tested by a prolonged national state of emergency and an increasingly security-driven public agenda. Professor James Shields FAcSS, Professor of French Politics and Modern History at Aston University, reflects on the political implications of the intensified terrorist… Read more »

The need for a whole system approach in prison reform

2nd September 2016

Professor Martina Feilzer, Senior Lecturer in Criminology and Criminal Justice in the School of Social Sciences at Bangor University, looks at the challenges that lie ahead for the sweeping prison reforms announced in last May’s Queen’s Speech, and what the new Justice Secretary can do to tackle many of the pressing issues that persist. It… Read more »

Understanding the (Rio 2016) Olympics

3rd August 2016

With the Rio Olympics kicking off this Friday, Professor John Horne FAcSS, Professor of Sport Sociology at the University of Central Lancashire, and author of Understanding the Olympics, looks at the challenges facing the Olympic brand and discusses some of the underlying criticisms exposed by the 2016 edition. Following the Olympic and Paralympic Games in… Read more »

Driverless cars and the society of traffic

27th May 2016

Last week’s Queen’s Speech set out bold new technological initiatives that seemed reminiscent more of science fiction than practical policy. In the first of our series of responses to some of the government’s proposals, Dr Eric Laurier, Reader in Geography and Interaction, and Deputy Head of RTD: Social Sciences Recruitment at the University of Edinburgh,… Read more »

Study indicates immigration not to blame for terrorism

18th February 2016

Migration is overall not a source of terrorism according to new research from the University of Warwick. In fact the study indicates that more migration could create a decrease in the number of terrorist attacks, not an increase. The research was designed to establish whether migration helps spread terror attacks between countries. The lead author,… Read more »

Four billion people affected by severe water scarcity

17th February 2016

There are four billion people worldwide who are affected by severe water scarcity for at least one month a year. That is the conclusion of University of Twente Professor of Water Management, Arjen Hoekstra, after many years’ extensive research. This alarming figure is much higher than was previously thought. His ground-breaking research was published in… Read more »

Media scepticism sows doubt, not progress, on climate change

11th December 2015

In the third and final article of our COP21 commentary series, Dr. Catherine Happer, Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Glasgow, looks at why climate change still hasn’t captured headlines in the UK, and how the interplay between media and politics fuels scepticism and apathy, despite increasing popular support for action. On November 30,… Read more »

What do belief systems have to do with climate change?

7th December 2015

In the second article in our COP21 commentary series, Shonil Bhagwat, Senior Lecturer in Geography at the Open University, looks at the similarities between belief systems and climate change, and how their interconnectedness helps reinforce climate change as an idea, while influencing public opinion and triggering public action. The world is waiting with baited breath… Read more »

The ‘issue from hell’

2nd December 2015

From November 30 to December 11, the eyes of the world will be on Paris as leaders from around the globe convene to agree historic measures aimed at reducing carbon emissions. With COP21 now in full swing, the Campaign takes a look at the role of social science in understanding the causes and impacts of… Read more »

We need to invest in early intervention services to improve lives and save money

7th May 2015

Dr Sajid Humayun, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Greenwich, writes about a recent letter in the press from charities saying that early interventions to stop young people getting into serious difficulties could save £1.7bn a year: Persistent antisocial behaviour is remarkably common. In its most severe form as a diagnosable mental disorder,… Read more »

Schools need to do more to tackle bullying

1st May 2015

Dr Loretta Trickett, Senior Lecturer in Criminal Law, International Criminal Law and Criminology, at Nottingham Trent University, writes about a recent important study on the effects of bullying, and her own childhood experiences It is perhaps unsurprising that a longitudinal study by Warwick University  has found that the effects of bullying by peers is more… Read more »

European governments are responsible for the Mediterranean death toll

24th April 2015

Dr Tom Vickers, Lecturer in the Department of Social Sciences and Languages at Northumbria University, writes about the recent migrant deaths in the Mediterranean: 24.4.15:  The deaths of at least 1,200 people in the last week, as they attempted to cross the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe, have caused outrage in the European media, and… Read more »

Sex crimes not being recorded: the police need to believe allegations

18th November 2014

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) has today published a damning report on police crime recording. It estimates that, each year, almost a million crimes are missed out of official figures. It points particularly to violent and sex crimes that are not recorded. In this article, Dr Kate Cook (right), Manchester Metropolitan University, looks at… Read more »

Multiculturalism promotes better exam results

Dr Caroline Howarth, of the London School of Economics, argues that multiculturalism itself is part of the reason for good exam results in London: Recent research discussed in The Guardian last week shows that schools with higher numbers of ethnic minority pupils do better than more mono-cultural schools. While some commentators and politicians seem miffed… Read more »

Plebgate: Andrew Mitchell was right to resign

2nd September 2014

Professor Saville Kushner has 30 years’ experience working with the Home Office and the police service on policing culture and national police training. He has served as advisor on a ministerial working party on police training. He has worked at the University of the West of England and is now at the University of Auckland.… Read more »

Sexual exploitation of young people in Rotherham

28th August 2014

Professor Robert Dingwall, a part-time adviser to the School of Social Sciences at Nottingham Trent University, writes about the Rotherham sexual abuse scandal: Alexis Jay’s report on the sexual exploitation of young people in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013 has rightly attracted a good deal of media attention and public concern. The experiences described are… Read more »

Harassment, monitoring and verbal abuse are not readily recognised as criminal offences

21st August 2014

The Government has begun a consultation process on changing the law surrounding domestic abuse to establish whether we might move towards a specific offence covering this commonplace crime. Feminist groups have long emphasised the prevalence of verbal abuse and controlling behaviour as a part what used to be termed ‘domestic violence’. The consultation will explore… Read more »

Israel and Gaza

15th August 2014

The death toll in the conflict in the Gaza Strip has risen to over 1,000, as Israeli forces undertake military operations in response to Hamas rocket attacks. As part of a series of News Focus articles, in which we draw upon the expertise of social scientists to throw light on important events, we talk to… Read more »

Social sciences ‘will become more unified over next 10 years’

16th July 2014

The social sciences will become more unified in their methods and conclusions under the influence of big data, software developments and innovation from STEM subjects, Professor Patrick Dunleavy told the Academy of Social Sciences annual lecture. “A lot of new methods are coming in from the STEM sciences [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] that are… Read more »

Social science is needed for social change

16th January 2014

In this article Dr Lok Bhattarai, of the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, Leeds Metropolitan University, uses his expertise on Nepal to show how policy advocacy fails to deliver the desired outcome when social science is not made an important part of decision-making: All attempts at social change and economic development need to make… Read more »