• A qualitative investigation of the therapeutic relationship in the facilitation of empowerment in psychological therapy for adults with learning disabilities

      Chadwick, Darren; Wesson, Caroline; Alonso, Phoebe (University of Wolverhampton, 2019-11)
      Background Many authors in the field of adult learning disabilities have described the challenges experienced by clinicians in obtaining evidence regarding the effectiveness of psychological therapies for this particular client group (e.g. it can be a costly, lengthy, time-consuming process) (Taylor, Lindsay, Hastings & Hatton, 2013). Gaps also exist in the area of social justice and empowerment in relation to this population, which has historically experienced significant inequalities. This research intended to contribute to the current information available for researchers and psychological practitioners and to focus upon particular practical issues highlighted as important to the service-users, therapists and support workers within a single UK NHS service. The aims of this research project were: 1. To investigate what factors clients with learning disabilities find most helpful and empowering in the psychological therapy received from psychological therapists. 2. To ascertain how the therapeutic relationship affects psychological well-being within a learning disabled population, as facilitated by their therapists and support workers. 3. To explore the importance of support workers’ involvement in providing support with psychotherapeutic work for PWLD. 4. To consider how empowerment is experienced and conceptualised by the main stakeholders in the therapeutic encounter, between PWLD, their therapist and their support worker. Method Five triads were interviewed, each consisting of a person with learning disabilities, a psychological therapist and a support worker. Qualitative methodology was used to analyse the data obtained, via Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Findings The resulting research findings highlighted the importance of four super-ordinate themes: i) Values, Stigma & Social Equity; ii) Building Relationships, Collaboration & Trust; iii) Coping & Adaptations and iv) Positive Outcomes. Implications for various key groups including counselling psychologists, were considered and findings were contextualised with prior research findings. Conclusions The researcher’s original contribution to knowledge relates to the inclusion and exploration of the experiences and perspectives of three related stakeholder groups, including previously under-represented participants with learning disabilities, in order to voice what was important to them in terms of the therapeutic relationship and the facilitation of empowerment through psychological therapy.
    • Quantitative risk assessment in drill casing design for oil and gas wells

      Zhang, Xutuan (University of Wolverhampton, 2004)
      In the oil and gas industry the use of a reliability based design is becoming increasingly important because of the increasingly requirements for safety and economy. In contrast to the traditional working stress design (WSD), Quantitative Risk Assessment (QRA) provides the methodology for quantifying the risk of the design for a particular scenario. The full QRA methodology was discussed and a mathematical model, based on Generalised Pareto Distribution (GPD) and Asymptotic important sampling (AIS) techniques, was built to give more precise answer by analysing limited random data points rather than using the assumed pre-defined distributions. Particular attention is paid to the tails of the distribution to obtain a good fit. The methods developed are compared with the traditional methods such as First/Second Order Reliability Method (FORM/SORM), Monte Carlo Simulation (MCS) to assess the efficiency and accuracy. It is shown that, for the examples considered, the proposed methods provide accurate and efficient results for the probability of failure. Another important characteristic of this method is that it uses the random data and does not need the user to determine the distribution type of the variables. And the mathematical model built in the present research is a generalised method and can be use for other risk assessment.
    • Queering the Black Country: a critical and creative response

      McDonald, Paul; Colbert, Ben; Francis, Robert Mark (2018-09-01)
      This project explores the following research questions: How might Black Country fiction illuminate the possible connections – in theory and practice – between the post-industrial liminality of the region and queer identity or experience; and, in what ways might a close analysis of contemporary Black Country fiction function as an enabling or energising factor in the production of a new creative work about the region? Using Environmental Psychology and Psychogeography, I critically examine the ways the literature of the region depict its geography and the impact this has on the identity of its characters. Freudian and post-Freudian psychoanalysis is utilised to discuss ideas of liminal states of being - focusing on the uncanny, the abject and Lacan’s Lamella. These ideas are set within the framework of Queer Theory, connecting place and identity with non-normative sexualities. Psychogeography and environmental psychology illustrate how one’s culture, heritage and environment help form communal identity and sense of place. I examine sense of place in the region’s literature and investigate the liminal aspects of its geography and socio-politics, exposing how liminal place affects the inhabiting cultures and communities, and how liminal place forges liminal experience and identity. I investigate identity by looking at literary depictions of abjection and the uncanny; using Freud, Lacan and Kristeva, this project looks at notions of coming into being, and the anxieties formed from the return of the repressed. Queer Theory focuses on non-normative desire and sexuality. I discuss how queer experience and identity can be read as liminal, uncanny and abject. These theories are set against the landscape of the Black Country, examining how the region can be used as a fruitful backdrop for dealing with identity politics and how the Black Country, in its borderlessness, plays a significant role in specifically local types of queerness. An important thematic thread of contemporary Black Country literature deals with notions of identity in a post-industrial landscape. The region can be identified as post-industrial in several ways. I examine how Black Country writers deal with it as a borderless place – a place difficult to map, a place where new meets old, where rural life sits next to heavy industry, a place geographically and socio-politically liminal. This thesis is a piece of literary criticism of existing Black Country Literature, an original piece of creative writing and a reflective commentary on my creative practices. Queering the Black Country investigates the research questions through three different methodologies, resulting in an overall conclusion that draws on three distinct academic / creative practices. The critical output sets out how Black Country writing can be read as examples of liminal, post-industrial and queer literature. This also develops the theoretical framework the creative element uses. The creative output develops and adds to the existing dialogue of these ideas of liminality and queer experience, offering an original creative perspective on the traditions of this region’s literature. My reflective commentary explores how creative writing practices and processes, in terms of narrative devices, add to the ways one produces liminal and queer literature. This part critical - part creative project investigates slippery notions of liminality through criticism of existing Black Country literature and through production of an original piece of creative fiction.
    • Re-investigating coastal trade: the ports of the Bristol Channel and the Severn Estuary, c.1695 - c.1704

      Hussey, David P. (University of Wolverhampton, 1995)
      This thesis provides a fresh perspective on the coastal trade of a major domestic region centred upon the port of Bristol. It acknowledges that coasting formed a vital link in the economy of pre-industrial England and Wales. However, coasting has been seen as the eternally poor relation of international and transoceanic commerce in studies of economic growth, urban development, and industrial diversification. This imbalance is addressed fully. The thesis sheds new light upon the volume, nature, structure and mechanisms of both the coastal and internal trades, and exposes to a more critical analysis the extent to which Bristol, as the major regional centre, acted as a 'quasi-metropolis' in the direction of the internal trade of its hinterland. A central theme is the computerisation, and examination of a wide sample of coastal Port Books for the ports of the Bristol Channel, over a limited but coherent timespan. Port Book data are also integrated with data gleaned from mercantile accounts to enable a thorough reconstruction of the means and motives of regional commerce to be devised. The Introduction discusses the study of internal trade and argues that the lack of sustained research emanates from the absence of accessible and tractable quantitative evidence. With regard to coasting, problems surrounding the interpretation and manipulation of the coastal Port Books have limited many investigations. Similarly, the want of quantitative evidence has led many accounts of the region into repeating uncritically theories of the centrality of Bristol and its perceived metropolitan hegemony over regional patterns of trade. Chapter 1 analyses how Port Books have been utilised to date and provides a detailed methodological overview of the coastal Books for the Bristol Channel ports within the geographical and chronological parameters of the research. The Chapter also outlines the strategies of analysis and computerisation and the technical bases through which Port Books are structured for further study. The following Chapters use the datasets as case studies to shed new light upon the conduct of the coastal trade. Chapter 2 constructs a hierarchy of commercial activity at the regional ports and examines the spatial patterns of trade within the region; Chapter 3 provides an insight into the extent and range of goods carried, arguing that bulk staples did not wholly dominate coasting as is implied by secondary literature; and Chapter 4 analyses the level of mercantile organisation, boat provision and operation. In Chapter 5, Port Book data are combined with the accounts of Hoare and Company and William Alloway, two important Bridgwater merchant houses, to indicate how coastal, river and overland trade provided a complex, highly sophisticated transport system. The Conclusion suggests that the methods and techniques outlined in the thesis provide a basis for the re-interpretation of coastal trade, not only in the relation of Bristol to its nominally subordinate economic hinterland, but also in the wider significance of coasting to the development of the pre-industrial economy.
    • Rebalancing acts?: an evaluation of the changes to the right of silence and pre-trial disclosure

      Quirk, Hannah (University of Wolverhampton, 2003)
      This thesis examines the direct and indirect effects of the curtailment of the right of silence, (ss34-38 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994), and the pre-trial disclosure regime created by Part 1 of the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996. The effects are explored through critiques of the debates surrounding the introduction of the Acts, associated research, analyses of the case law and a qualitative study of how criminal justice practitioners in one region of England view the provisions. It demonstrates the flaws, in both principle and practice, of the rhetoric of `re-balancing' a system tipped too far in favour of `criminals' that was deployed in support of these measures and subsequent initiatives that encroach further upon the rights of the accused. Whilst the direct effects of these Acts have been limited by the small number of cases to which they apply, it is argued that their insidious effects go beyond mere procedural change and have distorted the adversarial nature of the criminal justice system. Both Statutes have imposed quasi-inquisitorial expectations upon the defence, the results of which, the prosecution is entitled to deploy in an adversarial contest. The provisions undermine many of the protections guaranteeing suspects a fair trial, in particular legal advice at the police station, in such a way as to be almost immune from formal challenge. Rather than `re-balancing', the process may be more appropriately characterised as a series of crude "trade-offs" which have compromised the fundamental rights of the defendant and vitiated the fairness of proceedings.
    • Reflections beyond words: using auto-driven photo-elicitation to explore the pain management programme journey

      Cureton, Debra; Lawton, Megan; Ward, Gavin; Roberts, Suzanne (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-05)
      In the UK, around one-third to one-half of the population are estimated to be affected by persistent pain, a long-term complex condition which can have serious implications for an individual’s everyday functioning and quality of life. A biopsychosocial approach to care and pain management programmes can be adopted as a treatment option. A growing body of research supports the effectiveness of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy based pain management programmes. This research, however, is based on analyses of pre-post changes in pre-defined outcome measures. Limited qualitative research has focused on programme evaluation and the notion of acceptance. This study aimed to explore the individuals’ everyday experience of change as they progressed through a pain management programme to enhance understanding of the change process from the individuals’ perspective. This study also aimed to establish how auto-driven photo-elicitation can support participants to articulate their pain management journey. Nine participants who were part of a six-week online pain management programme were asked to generate weekly images representing a meaningful change in their pain management. These images were discussed in photo-elicitation interviews at week two, four and six of the programme. Transcripts were analysed using thematic analysis. The findings represented the way participants created meaning associated with changes in their pain management across the three timepoints of data collection. The significance of these time points in relation to pain management were constructed as: (1) Insight and Awareness, (2) Integration and (3) Reframing. All participants described a shift in their perspective towards pain, which appeared to be facilitated by factors of ‘acceptance’ and ‘empowerment’. Auto-driven photo-elicitation was found to ‘invite reflection’ and held ‘therapeutic value’ which facilitated the change process. Photography was found to be an engaging and valuable method for helping individuals articulate their pain management journey. This provides support for the adaptability of pain management programmes and the use of photography to create therapeutic opportunities.
    • Reflections from practice using the UK QAA Quality Code as a framework to assist in managing and subsequently closing an international branch campus

      Devlin, Linda; Houlton, Loraine Jennifer (University of Wolverhampton, 2019-01)
      This study is based on a single longitudinal live case study of an International Branch Campus The scope of this study relates to learning lessons from the current literature in relation to International Branch Campuses [IBC]. The review of the current literature allowed me to identify risks based on experiences from my fellow practitioners, which then allowed me to mitigate my own exposure to them. This related initially to the setting up of an IBC and thereafter the delivery at an IBC. The introduction of a Quality Framework, in December 2012, by the Quality Assurance Agency [QAA] is an independent body whose role is safeguard standards and improve the quality of UK higher education wherever it is delivered around the world. The Quality Framework was a unification of standards across the whole of the UK, whereas previously there were separate systems in England, Wales and Scotland and Northern Ireland. The framework introduced two key new concepts, firstly, a ‘risk based approach’, the first phase of risk management is risk identification according the Institute of Risk Management and by reviewing existing literature I was able to identify risks from learning lessons from existing case study examples. The second concept related to quality enhancement rather than just focusing on quality assurance. This encourages a continuous monitoring of processes rather than the previous concept of annual monitoring. This was piloted in the case study example in the form of a lessons learned log which identified risks at the earliest opportunity, which then fed into the Course Journal. A lessons learned log approach allowed students to be engaged in the quality process more and quality became a positive element, looking at what went well, and even better if…mind set rather than ticking a box in relation to compliance. This research is based in a lived in case study example of an IBC which opened in March 2012, prior to, and the subsequent introduction of the Quality Framework, and illustrates the lessons learned through the first year of operation providing an insight to examples of quality enhancement in relation to pedagogical examples of delivery, content and student engagement. In June 2015 a decision was made to close the case study International Branch Campus whilst reviewing literature in relation to closing an International Branch Campus there was a gap in relation to ‘how to’ close rather than providing data on how many had closed [although this appears to be lacking in rigor], and identifying the reasons for closure. This study will illustrate how to close an International Branch Campus using the QAA Quality Framework to ensure that student enhancement opportunities are identified to support student success.
    • Regional and Firm Level Determinants of International Competitiveness: An Examination of SME’s Role, Capability and Competencies

      Ahmed, Pervaiz K.; Cook, Mark (University of Wolverhampton, 2008)
      In our increasingly globalised world, supranational regions, nation states and individual country regions are progressively more in competition with one another. How the nation state and region can become more competitive and how this competitiveness can be measured is open to debate. This thesis presents work based upon two aspects that have been proffered as to how competitiveness at the country and region level can be explained, that is through investment (via Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)) inflows and through the development of enterprise and in particular the enhancement of the small firm in international markets. The theme that runs through the thesis is one of competitiveness and competence. The competence of the region to attract FDI and the competence of the entrepreneur and the SME to undertake internationalisation. The thesis begins by examining the concepts of national and regional competitiveness. Two of the determinants of national and regional competitiveness are then considered - FDI and the level of small firm activity/entrepreneurship. The paper analyses the empirical and theoretical work on FDI and considers how regional competencies/factors can be used to attract FDI. SME internationalisation and its impact on regional competitiveness are then examined, focussing on the resources and competences, at the level of the entrepreneur and the firm, which influence SME internationalisation. The thesis contributes to the richness of understanding of the complex relationship between the range of explanatory factors at a regional, national and supra-national level that influence inbound FDI. In particular providing a much better understanding of UK regional FDI inflows. The section on internationalisation of SMEs contributes to the understanding of entrepreneurial and firm competences through the study of small firms at the county level of Northamptonshire. This county is a relatively under-researched area in the study of SMEs and in the study of the county's SME activity in international markets it has been even more sparsely investigated.
    • Regulation of VEGF-activated signalling by the plasma membrane calcium ATPase 4 in endothelial cells

      Armesilla, Angel; Immanuel, Reshma Naomi Ranjit (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-01)
      INTRODUCTION: Angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels from pre-existing ones. It is a tightly regulated processes involving pro- and anti-angiogenic molecules. Deregulation of this process is associated with aberrant blood vessel formation (excessive or insufficient) in several human pathologies. Among the many pro-angiogenic factors promoting angiogenesis, the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) has been characterised as a major regulator of both physiological and pathological angiogenesis. Therefore, the characterisation of the molecular mechanisms that regulate VEGF-induced angiogenesis is essential to develop therapeutic strategies that correct abnormal angiogenesis. In this sense, our group has previously reported a negative role for the Plasma Membrane Calcium ATPase 4 (PMCA4) protein in endothelial cells, acting via inhibition of the pro-angiogenic calcineurin/NFAT signalling pathway. However, we hypothesise that other intracellular pathways might be regulated by PMCA4 in endothelial cells during VEGF stimulation of angiogenesis. METHODS: To identify PMCA4 regulated pro-angiogenic signalling pathways, we have screened gene arrays related to Notch signalling or extracellular matrix-Cell Adhesion Molecule (ECM-CAM) pathway using RNA isolated from PMCA4-silenced (or control) HUVEC. Changes in gene expression after PMCA4 knockdown have been further validated by TaqMan-based qPCR in HUVEC or HDMEC. RNA levels of PMCA4 in aging HUVEC were analysed by TaqMan qPCR using RNA isolated from HUVEC cultured from different passages (from 3 to 15 passages). RESULTS: siRNA-mediated PMCA4 knockdown led to increased expression of Notch ligand DLL1 and Notch target gene Hey1 in VEGF-stimulated HUVEC. Expression of the transcription factor c-Fos was also elevated after PMCA4 knockdown in HUVEC stimulated with VEGF for 1h. Analysis of a gene array containing genes encoding extracellular matrix and cell adhesion molecules revealed that PMCA4 silencing alters the basal expression of P-Selectin and L-Selectin in HUVEC. The expression of other genes in the array like, ADAMTS-1, E-Selectin, and VCAM-1, was affected by lack of PMCA4, but only when cells were stimulated with VEGF. Examination of changes in the expression of these genes in PMCA4-silenced HUVEC or HDMEC showed differences indicating that PMCA4 might differentially regulate these genes in different sub-types of endothelial cells. In conclusion, our results suggest that PMCA4 negatively regulates Notch signaling pathway, and it is required for proper synthesis of ECM-CAM molecules. A first step to investigate the expression of PMCA4 in endothelial cells during aging has shown that PMCA4 mRNA levels increase along cell culture passage in HUVEC. However, this initial result requires further verification of changes in PMCA4 protein levels and/or in other cellular types to conclude that PMCA4 expression increases with aging.
    • Relationships between transport, mobility, sustainable livelihoods and social capital for poverty reduction

      Davis, Annabel (University of Wolverhampton, 2004)
      The focus of contemporary development discourse has shifted from economic growth to poverty reduction, leading to development of the Millennium Development Goals. An estimated 1.1 billion people in the world live in absolute poverty, 314 million of whom live in Sub-Saharan Africa. Seventy five percent of the world's poor live in rural areas (World Bank, 2004a). This thesis addresses relationships between accessibility, sustainable livelihoods and social capital, and their role in alleviating poverty by reducing the vulnerability of isolated people. Isolation and inaccessibility to basic needs and services are a cause and symptom of rural poverty. Transport (including infrastructure and means of transport) and mobility (the precondition for people's physical movement) facilitate accessibility and bring people to services and services to people. Transport is nested within a complex mix of livelihood issues that affect mobility and access, including assets and coping strategies. Isolation can increase vulnerability to risk, through an absence of knowledge and communication among poor people, such that external shocks become difficult to manage and can perpetuate the poverty cycle. Social capital provides kinship and friendship resources for managing vulnerability and risk. Transport is a key agency by which social networks can be supported. Drawing on findings from participatory case studies in Zambia, Cameroon and Kenya, the thesis investigates how accessibility, sustainable livelihoods and social capital can be considered collectively by development practitioners to generate measurable improvements in access to basic needs and services. Social capital provides a catalyst for personal mobility and service delivery in the absence of conventionally measured economic benefits. Without the social capital argument the reasons for maintaining rural transport infrastructure and services remain weak. This thesis attempts to break down the boundaries between sociologists, economists and engineers, whose pursuit of development goals has traditionally been in isolation from one another. The thesis suggests that the transport sector move from a position of `isolation' and finds clear interfaces with other sectors delivering on poverty reduction.
    • Religion and spirituality within the Sikh religion: how counselling psychologists can help

      Kaur, Mandeep (2018-11-01)
      This study investigated the spiritual and religious experience of members of the Sikh community with a focus on how such an experience affects their sense of wellbeing. Consequently, the central aim of this study is to explore how Sikhs use religion and spirituality with coping. This was examined by exploring how Sikhs deal with stressful events and how these impacted on their wellbeing. The thesis was comprised of two parts. Study one comprised of the thematic analysis of questionnaires. 56 UK based Sikh participants (23 males and 33 females; age range 17-62) took part. The findings from study one speculated that the older age group appeared more accepting of their religion and spirituality suggesting maybe they are less occupied by a quest to explore their life through religion and spirituality than the 20-30 year old age group. Consequently, study two looked more closely at participants aged between 20-30 year olds to further explore their lived experience. In line with the IPA methodology, a small well-defined opportunity sample of six people (4 males and 2 females) in the Sikh faith, who have been practicing their religion for at least 2-3 years and between the ages of 20-30 were invited to participate in the interviews. Four superordinate themes were found which represented an overall story. The themes were namely, religious and spiritual struggles; religion and spirituality assisting with the development of self and identity; spiritual striving and aids to well-being: religious/spiritual coping. It is hoped that findings from this research will help to inform our understanding of how Sikh client’s religious and spiritual beliefs influences their wellbeing as well as incorporating this knowledge into the therapy process to make good clinical judgements. This study will enhance research in counselling psychology with regards to religion and spirituality and mental health specifically with regards to young Sikh’s.

      ALFALIH, ABDULLAH (2016-06)
      This dissertation provides a journey into the world of beliefs and values of Saudi Arabia’s organisations, people and society at large, and how these influence and shape HRM practices and the employment relationship in the country. Designed as a single country case study, the dissertation uses a multi-case research design where two large companies operating in Saudi Arabia (an indigenous and a foreign multinational corporation) are explored and compared through methodological triangulation in data collection methods (interviews, surveys and focus group). The main findings identify that institutional pressures (regulatory and normative) are strong catalysts facilitating the impact of Islamic teachings on the workplace in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The regulative forces represent the organisations’ rules, regulatory constraints (forced by regulatory bodies) and penalties for violations. They are a result of the KSA’s legal system and its political culture. The normative forces identify values and social behavioural norms which define how things should be done within the organisation. They are a result of the wider Saudi culture. Apart from its contribution to knowledge of the HRM practices of Saudi Arabia at micro- and meta- level, the dissertation also provides an analysis at two additional levels. it contributes firstly to the growing knowledge on the influence of Islamic beliefs in the workplace, and secondly, to the enlargement of theory on the subject of religion and its impact in the workplace. Moreover, the dissertation makes a contribution to the literature on HRM practices and approaches in Saudi Arabia. This extends to other countries of the Arab Gulf, holding strong potential to become a source of knowledge and reference for foreign organisations which operate and wish to operate in that region.
    • Religious attendance and provision in Birmingham and the Black Country and the surrounding rural areas during the mid-nineteenth century

      McPhail, John Alexander (University of Wolverhampton, 1995)
      The aim of this thesis is an investigation of religious attendance and provision in the mid-nineteenth century for the region of Birmingham and the Black Country and its surrounding rural areas. Two distinct methodologies have been employed to establish general regional patterns of religious attendance and provision and, subsequently, to assess trends of religious attendance and provision in a number of settlements within the region over a longer period of time. Firstly, the returns of the 1851 Religious Census for the whole region have been analysed in terms of settlement type and denominational distribution. This facilitated a comparison between the identified regional patterns of attendance and provision with the established national patterns. Secondly, a number of contiguous settlements within the region have been chosen in order to carry out three case studies of the period between approximately 1840 and 1860. This used alternative local sources of evidence to discover whether the patterns of religious attendance and provision identified in the previous analysis were uniform throughout the region, and to locate the findings of the 1851 Religious Census within a wider period. Therefore, in chapter one, there is a survey of existing national and regional analyses of religious provision and attendance during the first half of the nineteenth century. In addition, the various interpretations of the findings of the 1851 Religious Census have been assessed. Finally, a Typology to identify the settlements within the region has been constructed. In chapter two, the returns of the eighty-seven settlements located within the nine Registration Districts which formed the region under examination have been examined, firstly, to obtain overall Indexes of Attendance (IAs) and Indexes of Accommodation (IAccs) and, subsequently, similar IAs and IAccs for each denomination. The level of free accommodation and the incidence of service in the region were similarly assessed. This regional analysis has been undertaken with reference to denominational distribution and settlement type. In the case studies of chapter three, local sources of evidence of religious attendance and provision have been located to provide a dynamic analysis over time. This evidence, such as Methodist membership records and Visitation records, has not been as complete or as extensive as the returns of the 1851 Religious Census. Nevertheless, they have offered an opportunity to engage in an assessment of the level of attendance and provision over time, with specific interest in the typicality of the 1851 results throughout the mid-nineteenth century. In chapter four, an evaluation of the methodological issues has beeni undertaken. In addition, the historical conclusions from both methodological approaches have been contextualised within the wider debate of the religious practice of the working class in the mid-nineteenth century, and some indication of further investigation has been made.
    • The remarkable everyday lives of people with hidden dis/ability: a material-semiotic analysis

      Goldschmied, Anita Z. (University of Wolverhampton, 2019-12)
      My research concentrates on conditions including autism, intellectual disability and mental health. I explore the ways they are used to establish the divisions required by diagnostic criteria in the separated health and social approaches to care. Defining conditions rather than performances has resulted in a neglect of the consideration of connectivity. My project employs Actor-Network-Theory, and Latour’s and Baudrillard’s philosophy, to reconsider the specific metaphysical and ontological issues of how, when and why we judge hidden dis/ability as a universal and essential thing, rather than one constantly formed and performed (perFormed), solved and dissolved (disSolved), produced and reproduced (reProduced) by diverse human and non-human actors in complex webs of connections. I composed the 6D material-semiotic network practice to offer a new ontological ‘seeing’ of how the associations and significations of hidden dis/ability are produced, represented and thus consumed. I found that exploring the everyday performances of hidden dis/ability with the 6D material-semiotic network practice might not verify the apparently universal, fragmented and permanent notions that the distinct categories imply. I conclude that hidden dis/ability can be considered as in a constant state of transformation which, when people are left to their own devices, composes capacities for shared cultural experiences and practices dismantling long-held ideas, and will be one of the benefits giving opportunities to rethink how we provide apposite care, services and inclusion for the conditions.
    • Representing Muslims: Islamophobic discourse and the construction of identities in Britain since 2001

      Jackson, Leonie (2018-05-01)
      Employing critical race theory as a theoretical and analytical framework, this thesis explores the nature, structure and purpose of Islamophobic discourse, and offers two central contributions to the scholarly debate on Islamophobia. First, it contributes to the literature on the nature of Islamophobia by analysing the form and structure of discourse that seeks to represent Muslims and Islam in a number of social and political sites. Second, the thesis addresses a significant gap identified in the scholarly literature, which has largely overlooked the purpose that Islamophobic discourse serves for those employing it. In order to address the nature and structure of Islamophobic discourse, the thesis analyses representations of Muslims and Islam in dominant national community cohesion and counterterrorism discourses; rearticulation of these discourses at the local level in the West Midlands town of Dudley; the use of Islamophobic discourse by the English Defence League; and the ways in which Islamophobic narratives were used to mark national boundaries in Switzerland, Denmark, the Netherlands and France. I explain the convergence of narratives across these levels by extending Ghassan Hage’s theoretical formulation of racism as nationalist practices to Islamophobic discourse and argue that, as a cultural racism, Islamophobia can be conceptualised as upholding a system of Eurocentric supremacy, where Western subjects receive a better social, economic and political ‘racial contract’ and seek to defend these privileges against real and imagined Muslim demands. Whether employed for local, national or civilisational purposes, Islamophobia relies on the notion that space has been culturally compromised by Muslims and must be restored to authenticity by legitimate non-Muslim cultural managers. Islamophobia operates through a three-stage ideological process, and restores fantasised power to those who perceive Muslim cultural difference to be unacceptably changing the spaces in which they reside by representing Muslims as making incongruous demands of a territory, singling out a particular timeless value that is under threat, and reifying this value to an absolute. Through this process Muslims are put back in their place, while those employing this discourse experience a restoration of their cultural power to decide the values of a space.
    • Reproductive biology and ex situ conservation of the genus Restrepia (Orchidaeae)

      Baldwin, T.C. & McCrea, A.R.; Millner, Helen Jean (University of Wolverhampton, 2013)
      The genus Restrepia is well known to orchid enthusiasts but its micromorphology has not been described, and its pollination and breeding systems have not been investigated. The aim of this investigation was, therefore, to add to existing knowledge so that the resultant data could be used to facilitate ex situ conservation initiatives. A detailed electron microscopy study (SEM) of the floral organs was performed. This confirmed the structure of the dorsal sepal and lateral petal osmophores, their secretory nature together with that of the synsepal and the labellum. It was postulated how, by manipulating different labellar surface textures, the flower might use these ‘tactile guides’ to steer the insect (fly) through the flower. The cirrhi were postulated to help by destabilising the pollinator in flight, trapping it and bringing about pollination. The papillate structure of the calli was established and their optical properties investigated. Media comparison investigations established that Western medium supported the highest germination rates and, with the addition of banana supplement, the highest rates for seedling growth and development. This represented the first protocol for axenic germination of Restrepia in the literature (Millner et al., 2008) and provided a tested methodology for investigating breeding systems and producing Restrepia plant material for both scientific and horticultural purposes. Self-pollinations were found to produce fewer embryos compared to cross-pollinations. The operation of self-incompatibility (SI) was confirmed by the study of pollen tube growth which further confirmed the time interval between pollination and fertilisation. A time line from pollination/fertilisation to flowering was established. The type of SI in operation was best explained by gametophytic incompatibility. This demonstrated that it was possible to raise Restrepia hybrids and species from seed, by performing intraspecific crosses so helping to preserve them for posterity and relieve pressure on wild populations. Narrow endemic Restrepia species face combined threats from habitat loss, habitat degradation and problems of viable seed production due to the effects of SI and inbreeding depression (ID). Recently developed online resources, such as GeoCAT, were used to perform a Red List assessment in order to identify the degree of threat individual species faced, both globally and nationally. All species were classified as facing substantial levels of threat; although this was lessened for populations in protected habitats. Conservation is needed for cultivated collections as well as these wild populations by keeping alive existing knowledge and expertise in growing these species.
    • Republican ideals and the reality of patronage: a study of the Veterans’ Movement in Cuba, 1900-24

      Kapcia, A; Henderson, P; Hewitt, Steven (University of Wolverhampton, 2009)
      This thesis analyses the emergence of Cuba as a sovereign nation, and the political corruption that plagued the republic. It investigates in detail, not only the independence movement that established this republic in its various wars against the Spanish empire, and its fracture and fission under the emerging power of the United States, but also the impact that this had on Cuban politics, and the consequences for Cuba’s native would-be rulers. The aim is to develop an understanding of what became of the veterans of the wars of liberation, and further the somewhat neglected subject of the relationship of the official Veterans’ organisations with the political parties and associations of the republican period. A short conclusion summarises the arguments and suggests further avenues of research.
    • Research data sharing, reuse, and metrics: adoption and challenges across disciplines and repositories

      Thelwall, Mike; Khan, Nushrat; Faculty of Science and Engineering (University of Wolverhampton, 2021)
      Data sharing is widely believed to be beneficial to science and is now supported by digitization and new online infrastructures for sharing datasets. Nevertheless, differences in research cultures and the sporadic development of data repositories, support services, guidelines, and policies have resulted in uneven data sharing and reuse practices. An overall understanding of the current situation is therefore needed to identify gaps and next steps. In response, using two case studies and two surveys, this dissertation explores the current landscape and identifies challenges within data sharing and reuse practices. The results demonstrate how present systems and policies could be modified to support and encourage these activities. The researcher survey found that the type and format of data produced, as well as systematic data sharing varied between disciplines, with Physical Sciences and Earth and Planetary Sciences leading and Business and Economics, Engineering, and Medicine lagging in some respects. Surveys and observations were frequently produced in most fields, with samples and simulations being common in science and engineering and qualitative data being more prevalent in the social sciences, business, and humanities. Researchers who had prior data reuse experience shared data more frequently (56.8%, n=1,004) than those who only used their primary data for research (32.6%, n=396). The biodiversity case study and surveys show that secondary data are valuable for many purposes, but most struggle to find datasets to reuse. Data citations can incentivize data sharing, although a lack of appropriate data citations and reliable technologies make it difficult to efficiently track them. In biodiversity, where the sharing and reuse of open data via mature infrastructures is common, citing secondary datasets in references or data access statements has been increasing (48%, n=99). However, users simultaneously exploiting many data subsets in this field complicate the situation. This thesis makes recommendations for handling large numbers of biodiversity data subsets to attribute citations accurately. It also suggests further enhancements for the article-dataset linking service, Scholexplorer, to automatically capture such links. Based on responses from data repository managers, this research further identifies nine objectives for future repository systems. Specifically, 30% (n=34) of the surveyed managers would like integration and interoperability between data and systems, 19% (n=22) want better research data management tools, 16% (n=18) want tools that allow computation without downloading datasets, and 16% (n=18) want automated systems. It also makes 23 recommendations in three categories to support data sharing and promote further data reuse including 1) improved access and usability of data, as well as formal data citations; 2) improved search systems with suggested new features; and 3) cultural and policy-related issues around awareness and acceptance, incentives, collaboration, guidelines, and documentation. Finally, based on researcher feedback, this study proposes an alternative scoring model that combines a dataset quality score and a data reuse indicator that can be incorporated in academic evaluation systems. The outcomes from this research will help funders, policymakers and technology developers prioritize areas of improvement to incentivize data sharing and support data reuse with easily discoverable and usable data.
    • Research with children under three : their rights to participate in planning the curriculum in early years settings in Greece and England

      Waller, Tim; Bitou, Angeliki (University of Wolverhampton, 2010)
      This thesis poses a number of questions about research and pedagogy with young children under three, with a particular focus on the opportunities for children’s ‘voices’ to be heard and for them to participate in the planning of the curriculum in early years’ settings. The persistent division between education and care has been an issue in many European countries for a long time (OECD, 2006). The thesis reports on the findings of a research project in both England and Greece. The research aims were to consider how the meaning of children’s participation is defined in the settings in the two countries; whether children use the resources provided according to adult expectation and initial planning and how practitioners react to children’s choices by supporting, ignoring or disapproving them. The theoretical underpinning for the thesis is drawn particularly from the work of Rogoff and Corsaro. Research focused on six children in both England and Greece who were observed during their involvement in both adult directed and child initiated activities in the settings. An ethnographic approach together with a range of ‘participatory’ methods were used including data gathered through video recordings made by both children and adults.This study has found that children express their perceptions during an activity in a very complicated way, elaborating and examining all the parameters that could place them in trouble. Additionally, the findings have shown that what the child is doing during an activity is not always what he is thinking, while many times children appeared to have their own agenda, thus ignoring or subverting adult plans. The main finding is that no matter what the differences and similarities in early years’ education and care between the two countries are, there is an urgent need to promote the children’s participatory rights, as adult’s authority and power is generally taken for granted. This thesis argues for ethical tensions in research with young children and for balanced pedagogy where both adults’ and children’s voices influence the curriculum.