• Walking the Black Country tightrope: the development of white working-class males’ expectations toward (non) participation in higher education

      Karodia, Nazira; Gravestock, Phil; Dunne, Jackie; Blower, Alex (University of Wolverhampton, 2020-03)
      Over the last 25 years, a noted disparity in the levels of educational attainment between white working-class males and their more affluent counterparts, has been a common feature of discussion within research and educational policy in the UK. In more recent times, this discourse has widened to highlight a similar disparity in the rates of white working-class males accessing Higher Education. This study seeks to increase understanding of how, against such a backdrop, the white working-class males participating in this research accessed, accrued and mobilised available social, cultural and economic resource to form expectations for their future in education and work. In particular, the inquiry focused on how the participants’ expectations were negotiated in relational engagement with their specific social, geographic and historical context. Taking place at a school located in a small Black Country town, the research employed a qualitative approach to facilitate a richness of understanding. It analysed findings from semi-structured interviews with staff at the school, alongside data provided by several core participants and members of their social networks, to address three overarching research questions. Firstly, it investigated how the school’s staff deployed practices to develop the future orientations of students in alignment with certain educational and career trajectories. Secondly, the research examined how the study’s core participants drew upon social, cultural and economic resources when deciding what was ‘possible’ for their future in education and work. Finally, the study engaged with key individuals within the core participants’ social network, exploring how their experiences in education and work influenced the future orientations of those individuals who constituted the primary focus of the research. Mobilising the theoretical tools of Pierre Bourdieu (1977), alongside Hodkinson and Sparkes’ horizons for action (1996), the study contests notions of an ‘aspirational defecit’ amongst white working-class males in education. Instead, the study’s findings illustrate how future educational expectations are shaped in a relational engagement with intergenerational experiences of education and work in a de-industrialised Black Country town.
    • ‘We just have to get on with it’: Inclusive teaching in a standards driven system

      Duncan, Neil; Manktelow, Ken; Brown, Zeta (University of Wolverhampton, 2013-09-18)
      Q-methodology was used alongside semi-structured interviews with primary school teachers to explore their positions on two key areas of education ideology: inclusive schools and standards in education. The study explored in depth the views of 26 teachers in 6 schools, selected through purposive sampling to give a range of individual and institutional demographics. Key statements were compiled from the literature that offered a wide spectrum of personal and professional positions on the two issues of standards and inclusion in education. These statements were produced as sets of cards for participants to arrange in order of strength of agreement or disagreement. The results were factor-analysed via Q-method software to render visible factors of items that had statistical significance for the participants (Brown 1997). These factors were then interpreted in the light of subsequent semi-structured interviews and returned to the participants for discussion. The study found that teachers developed their own ‘practical’ notion of inclusion, in which specialist systems, such as p-scales, are needed for the inclusion of children with Special Educational Needs (SEN). These teachers held contrasting views on whether they felt constraints or experienced flexibility when implementing the strict standards objectives. Crucially, in considering the agendas simultaneously, these teachers suggested that the practical implementation of the inclusion and standards agendas is as disparate as their objectives. The agendas are seen as separate entities, with standards assuming an apparent dominance, ensuring that the inclusion agenda is implemented within a standards driven system.
    • Web Manifestations of Knowledge-Based Innovation Systems in the UK

      Thelwall, Mike; Musgrove, Peter; Wilkinson, David; Stuart, David (University of Wolverhampton, 2008)
      Innovation is widely recognised as essential to the modern economy. The term knowledgebased innovation system has been used to refer to innovation systems which recognise the importance of an economy’s knowledge base and the efficient interactions between important actors from the different sectors of society. Such interactions are thought to enable greater innovation by the system as a whole. Whilst it may not be possible to fully understand all the complex relationships involved within knowledge-based innovation systems, within the field of informetrics bibliometric methodologies have emerged that allows us to analyse some of the relationships that contribute to the innovation process. However, due to the limitations in traditional bibliometric sources it is important to investigate new potential sources of information. The web is one such source. This thesis documents an investigation into the potential of the web to provide information about knowledge-based innovation systems in the United Kingdom. Within this thesis the link analysis methodologies that have previously been successfully applied to investigations of the academic community (Thelwall, 2004a) are applied to organisations from different sections of society to determine whether link analysis of the web can provide a new source of information about knowledge-based innovation systems in the UK. This study makes the case that data may be collected ethically to provide information about the interconnections between web sites of various different sizes and from within different sectors of society, that there are significant differences in the linking practices of web sites within different sectors, and that reciprocal links provide a better indication of collaboration than uni-directional web links. Most importantly the study shows that the web provides new information about the relationships between organisations, rather than just a repetition of the same information from an alternative source. Whilst the study has shown that there is a lot of potential for the web as a source of information on knowledge-based innovation systems, the same richness that makes it such a potentially useful source makes applications of large scale studies very labour intensive.
    • What do therapists perceive are the enablers and barriers to working with transgender clients?

      Gutteridge, Robin; Thomas-Gray, Lisa (University of Wolverhampton, 2019-07)
      This research aimed to explore what therapists perceive are the enablers and barriers which can arise when working with transgender clients. Some research studies have previously been carried out exploring the client’s experiences of the therapeutic process, with a large proportion finding the counselling profession to be wanting. However, there is a dearth of literature exploring the reasons behind this from a clinical perspective, including potential ways of addressing the issues raised. This qualitative study explored the perspectives of five experienced clinicians, from varying backgrounds who work therapeutically with transgender clients. The participants recognised that while there is positive work occurring within the field, there remains room for growth and improvement across all services including medical, social, psychological and legal. Due to the role and impact of individuation, personal beliefs and experiences, background and therapeutic approach, a Thematic Analysis as carried out on the data gathered from semi-structured interviews. The resulting themes highlighted the role of self-disclosure, training, the theoretical approach utilised and the use of language were all considered to be key elements; which can have a significant impact on the therapeutic relationship and subsequent outcomes. These themes were considered with reference to the implications both as an enabling and barrier on therapeutic outcomes and for Counselling Psychology practice.
    • “When Christ and grime combine”: Gospel grime cultures in contemporary London

      Glover, Richard; Gregg, Stephen; Onafuye, Samson Oluwatosin Babajide; Faculty of Arts (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-08)
      Gospel grime is a Black-British religio-musical subgenre which emerged in London at the turn of the century. As a Black-British, street-credible musical brand of Christianity emerging from within grime musical culture, the manifestation of the genre reflects the dual identity formation of its social actors, who simultaneously identify as Christian and grime. As such, tied to London’s inner city street culture as well as the Black majority Pentecostal church traditions within the diaspora, gospel grime demonstrates how MCs (rappers) within the culture, navigate, negotiate, and explore their enmeshed subcultural identities; and how, in the process, they challenge, problematise, and disrupt false binaries imposed on them by the dominant cultures from which they emerge. Gospel grime is unapologetically evangelical. Yet despite its Christian evangelical identity, it is often rendered invisible within a range of institutionalised Black majority Pentecostal churches. Simultaneously, gospel grime is expressively grime. Yet despite its embodied grime formation, it is left out of existing scholarship and public discourses on grime music culture. Thus, given the omission of music in grime and Black-British gospel music scholarship and public discourses, this project makes a scholarly contribution by placing gospel grime within the lineage of grime and Black-British gospel music cultures. Through in-depth semi-structured interviews with MCs within the scene, online research, musical, lyrical and performance analysis, this multi-methodological project explores the ways in which London-based gospel grime MCs represent their Christianity through grime and grime through Christianity. Furthermore, given their shared heritage with Black Pentecostal and grime traditions, I explore the ways in which MCs display formal qualities of both cultures and how these qualities inform the construction of their enmeshed subcultural identities.
    • ‘Will you walk into our parlour?’: The rise of leagues and their impact on the governance of women’s hockey in England 1895-1939

      Williams, Jean; Porter, Dilwyn; Leflay, Kath; Halpin, Joanne (University of Wolverhampton, 2019-05)
      One of the main aims of this thesis is to supplement and further develop the very sparse body of academic work on hockey, and on women's hockey in particular. Despite being the premier team game for women and girls in England for much of the 20th century – as well as popular with men – the sport has been under-researched by historians. Another aim is to explore how the concept of amateurism influenced, and was moulded by, a team sport played by women. Much has been written about the ethos within British sport, but mostly in relation to men’s athletic pursuits. The AEWHA’s unique position as the first sport governing body in England to be run exclusively by women allows this thesis to redress the balance and offer a female-centric view of amateurism. By focusing on an aspect of hockey in England that has not been explored before – the emergence of women’s league competitions and their impact on the governance of the sport up to World War Two – this thesis makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of the philosophy. It chronicles the foundation of the Lancashire and District Ladies’ Hockey League (LHL) in 1910 and the reaction to this competition of the All England Women’s Hockey Association (AEWHA), which banned its members from taking part in leagues or playing for cups. The uneasy and constantly evolving relationship between those who wished to uphold these amateur ideals and those who wished to compete for points and prizes will be examined over three decades up to 1939. This thesis will posit that – in common with many other sport governing bodies – the AEWHA’s interest in, and attitude towards, leagues and amateurism changed according to its own particular needs. Unlike any other (male-run) governing body, however, its sustained resistance to competitive hockey was less to do with class differences and increasingly to do with a desire to prevent male administrators from being involved in women’s hockey. In support of this overarching narrative, this thesis will take a fresh look at the origins of the AEWHA, and a first look at the emergence of a rival governing body for women’s hockey in England – the English Ladies’ Hockey Leagues Association (ELHLA). New biographical information about many of the members and early administrators of both organisations will be revealed, in support of another aim of this work: to give a profile to women who played a significant role in the history of sport. As well their athletic achievements, this thesis will touch upon hockey players’ involvement in the war effort from 1914- 1918, and their support for the campaign for women’s suffrage. It will also examine the interconnections between women’s and men’s hockey, both nationally and internationally. As an amateur team game of significance to both sexes, hockey is well placed to inform the debates on gender and class in sport – but, surprisingly, it has attracted very little attention from academics. It is hoped that the wealth of new information in this thesis, and the fresh perspective it offers on amateurism, will prompt further research into hockey’s history and the lives of the women and men who played it.
    • Working the boundaries: a dialogical narrative analysis of social work practice educators' stories

      Lamond, Catherine; Jopling, Michael; Murr, Anthea (University of Wolverhampton, 2020-01)
      Practice educators facilitate and assess the learning and professional development of social work students on placement. Ongoing political dispute about the nature and purpose of social work in England creates complexity that impacts on the perception and positioning of practice educators in social work education. This thesis explores practice educators’ experiences with a view to gaining fresh insight into how they position themselves, and are positioned by others, in this landscape. Within a qualitative, interpretivist narrative research design, practice educators’ experiences were gathered in the form of stories during semi-structured conversational-interviews. The participants were chosen by purposeful sampling. Dialogical narrative analysis (Frank, 2010) was used to analyse and interpret the stories. Frank (2010) describes dialogical narrative analysis as a method of questioning. It is underpinned by the premises that people think with stories and not just about them (Frank 2010), and that they transmit their theories and explanations of experience through stories (Shay, 2006; 2008a). New understandings of practice educators have been developed from the research, including fresh insight into their roles as facilitators and assessors of learning, and evaluators of learning experiences. Their role as boundary workers is also explored and a better understanding of the boundaried nature of the practice learning landscape in which they work has been developed. The capacity of practice educators to deploy relational agency in their role as boundary workers is discussed, along with consideration of the ways in which practice educators’ capacity for agency can be impeded by structural forces. The implications of these new understandings have informed recommendations to enhance practice educators’ recognition, to support their activity as a collective and develop their capacity to exercise their agency.
    • Workplace resistance in a call centre environment

      Brannan, Matthew Joseph (University of Wolverhampton, 2005)
      The growth and development of call centres in the UK has been one of the most significant economic trends to emerge following protracted de-industrialisation and the associated decline of the manufacturing base. In the period of this thesis for example (1999-2004), the call centre sector was the fastest growing industrial sector and employment within the industry is now considered to be macro-economically significant. Call centres are characterised by the organisation of business activity conducted via the telephone, typically call centre employees are engaged in one-to-one telephone interactions with customers and are required either to make outgoing calls, thus contacting the customer to promote business, or receive incoming calls thus servicing customers. The nature of call centre employment presupposes a high level of technical sophistication; call centres have been made possible by advances in technology that allow for the simultaneous integration of telephone and computer based systems. The necessity of the complex and integrated technological systems that make possible individual one-to-one telephone interactions also mean that surreptitious, and even, in most cases, overt surveillance of that interaction is possible. In common with much service-based organisational activity, the one-to-one interaction between the worker and the customer forms the basis of production and hence the way in which business and ultimately profit is realised. Significantly therefore, and possibly for the first time in the history of mass production, the call centre offers the opportunity to monitor every aspect of the production process. Previously for example the extensive scale of production meant that total managerial surveillance was not feasible, therefore managerial strategies such as `quality control' were used as a surrogate, or proxy way of attaining, or attempting to attain, some degree of managerial control over the point of production. The possibility of complete surveillance of the point of production has led some authors to argue that call centres amount to control made perfect and as a direct consequence, workers under such regimes are effectively denied the possibility to engage in acts of workplace resistance. This thesis explores the possibility of worker resistance within a call centre environment. In order to understand and observe possible resistant practices in a naturally occurring and historically specific context an ethnographic research method is adopted. This involved the researcher gaining employment as a call centre worker for a period of 13 months, with the specific aim of investigating workplace resistance within the Call Centre. A detailed ethnographic account of the experience of being a call centre worker at the point of production forms a crucial part of this thesis. In order to produce a fully theoretically informed account however, this ethnography is augmented with critical realism. Critical realism is a recent development in the philosophy of social research. It argues for a refocusing of attention onto ontological (that which exits) issues as opposed to epistemological (that which is known) concerns. In pursuit of this objective, critical realist research takes its starting point as empirical observation, but crucially makes explanatory claims on the basis of a movement from an empirical to a causal level which may be obscured from view in terms of initial empirical investigation. In making this movement (through a process of retroductive logic) critical realist research claims to render empirical investigation theoretically sensitive. Utilising the combination of ethnography and critical realism, it is argued that Braverman's deskilling thesis can be partially revived to provide an explanatory account of the historical development of call centres. The ethnographic investigation reveals that opportunities for workers to engage in what we can think of a `classical' forms of resistance were indeed effectively denied through structural control such as the deployment of surveillance technology, but significantly, also through cultural control which involved the subtle manipulation of workplace subjectivities, the deployment of competition between workers, companybased training programmes, team-working, career progression and social activities away from the point of production. Crucially it is found that these cultural factors amount to the operation of an hegemonic ideology that pervaded call centre life and that effectively countered any capacity on behalf of call centre workers to engage in collective forms of resistance. The thesis goes on to argue, however, that the use of the term `resistance' has often been limited to the search for empirical examples of non-compliance and defiance. It is argued that resistance thus conceptualised is philosophically shallow. The thesis goes onto reconceptualise resistance as a process rather than an outcome, thus, through the theoretical resource of critical realism, presupposing a rich ontology of workplace relations which sensitises the ethnographer to the potential for the `production of resistance practices' which whilst falling short of overt defiance do continue to provide resources for divergent formations of worker identity within the call centre. Strategies of control cannot exert complete control over worker identity which opens up spaces of resistant practices manifest in the `production of differential subjectivities' which help to constitute what I term `semi-resistance' and the maintenance, at least, of zones of non-productive activity.
    • Writing formations in Shakespearean films

      Geal, Robert (2017)
      This thesis addresses a methodological impasse within film studies which is of ongoing concern because of the way that it demonstrates the discipline’s conflicting approaches to ideology. This impasse arises because proponents of poststructuralism and cognitivism utilise methodologies which not only make internally consistent interpretations of films, but are also able to discount the theoretical criticisms of the rival paradigm. Attempts to debate and transcend these divisions have been unsuccessful. This thesis contributes to this gap in knowledge by arguing that both academic theories (such as poststructuralism and cognitivism) and filmmaking practice are influenced by the same historically contingent socio-cultural determinants. Academic claims about film’s effects can then be conceptualised as aggregates of thought which are analogous to the dramatic manipulations that filmmakers unconsciously work into their films, with both forms of cultural activity (academic theorising and filmmaking practice) influenced by the same diachronic socio-cultural contexts. The term that I use for these specific forms of filmmaking practice is writing formations. A filmic writing formation is a form of filmmaking practice influenced by the same cultural ideas which also inform academic hermeneutics. The thesis does not undertake a conventional extended literature review as a means to identify the gap in the literature. This is because contested theoretical discourses are part of the thesis’ subject matter. I analyse academic literature in the same way that I analyse film, conceptualising both 3 activities as being determined by the same specific historical and socio-cultural contexts. The thesis analyses Shakespearean films because they offer multiple diachronic texts which are foregrounded as interpretations, and in which different approaches to filmmaking can be clearly compared and contrasted across time. They clarify the complex and often unconscious relationships between academic theorising and filmic writing formations by facilitating an investigation of how the historic development of academic discourse relates to the historic development of filmmaking practice. The corpus of texts for analysis has been confined to Anglo-American realist film adaptations, and European and American debates about, and criticism of, realist film from the advent of poststructuralism in the late 1960s to the present day. The thesis is structured as an investigation into the current theoretical impasse and the unsatisfactory attempts to transcend it, the articulation of a new methodology relating to filmic writing formations, the elaboration of how different filmic writing formations operate within realist film adaptation, and a close case study of the unfolding historical processes whereby academic theory and filmmaking practice relate to the same socio-cultural determinants using four adaptations of Hamlet from different time periods. It concludes by explaining how filmmakers exploit and manipulate forms of filmic grammar which correspond to academic theories about those forms of filmic grammar, with both activities influenced by the same underlying diachronic culture. The thesis argues, then, that academic poststructuralism and cognitivism can be 4 conceptualised as explanations for different but contiguous aspects of filmmaking practice, rather than as mutually exclusive claims about film’s effects.
    • wtf? The role of netspeak on levels of distress in internet based therapies and subsequent impact on therapist understanding

      Fullwood, Chris; Daynes, Lu (University of Wolverhampton, 2012-10)
      Internet-based therapies are growing in number and popularity and cover a diverse range of practices for both individuals and groups. In concordance with the hyperpersonal theory and online disinhibition effect, people more readily disclose personal information when conducted via the internet. Due to technological constraints and social interactions, a non-standard language developed and has widely been termed “netspeak” (Crystal, 2006). Emotional words are processed differently to non-emotional words. Further, people do not connect with abbreviations on the same emotional level as they do when the words are written in full. Three studies were conducted: the first focused on assessing if a short emotionally evocative mini-biography had an emotional impact on participants. This material was then used in a second study which was a mass-testing of 62 young people on whether netspeak can change the impact on mood. The study used 3 conditions whereby participants re-wrote the mini-biography into either full English, using Netspeak or in their own words. A new vignette was created from the Netspeak condition to use as material for a third study. This final study was conducted via email into how much a psychological therapist understood what had been written in the Netspeak vignette. No differences were seen from re-writing an emotional biography in netspeak to English. Although psychological therapists demonstrated some understanding of the netspeak vignette, there was evidence of misinterpretation, presumption and misunderstanding suggesting that there may be some barrier to communication in internet therapy. The clinical implications of this research suggest that psychological therapists need to reflect on their practice in order to be aware of the level of assumption that can be made during therapy.
    • Young people leaving care: plans, challenges and discourses

      Lamond, Catherine (2016-09)
      This small-scale study explored plans for four young people leaving care and the perspectives of twelve key adults supporting them. Using Fairclough’s model of critical discourse analysis, the rationale for this research was concern about the difference in outcomes between care leavers and young people in general. Aims were to explore if contradictions in plans and ideas contributed to problems for the young people, and to examine explanations and justifications made by the adult participants. Data were collected by semi-structured interviews from an opportunistic sample. Findings indicated that the established problem of young people having to leave care too early persists in spite of initiatives to prevent this happening. Theories drawn from the psychology of child development influence the professionals’ constructions of the young people, thereby limiting the responses which adults can offer. It is proposed that neoliberal discourses of individual responsibility and continuous self-improvement constrain systems which encourage young people to leave care before they are ready. Two concepts of chop (abrupt change, such as end of school phase) and churn (disruption, such as staff turnover) are used to examine how frequent disturbance in the life of a looked after child is exacerbated by points of rupture which are caused by the structures of children’s services. This study adds to calls for increased stability for young people, and recommends earlier planning for the future of young people in care. Implications for educational practice are presented, including the need to ensure that leaving mainstream education for segregated provision is not an irreversible decision. It is suggested that educators should consider critically the labelling of looked after children as having Special Educational Needs, as this can lead to practices which encourage compliance by young people, and pathologise resistance which could instead be re-framed as self-reliance.
    • Young people’s perceptions of novel psychoactive substances

      Freeman, Jodie (2018)
      Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS) also known as “legal highs” replicate the effects of illegal substances such as ecstasy and cocaine. The most common NPS reported are stimulants and synthetic cannabinoids. Despite the Psychoactive Ban (2016) recent reports identified the UK as having the largest market of NPS use anywhere in Europe. These substances have a short history of consumption and consequently little is known about their effects and health implications. Despite this, the sale of NPS is easily achieved through the internet and street dealers. Increased reports of negative health consequences from NPS consumption and research findings highlighting the willingness of young people to consume drugs without knowing what they are, mean it is vital that we investigate young people’s understandings and perceptions of them. At present there are very few in-depth qualitative studies on NPS. A series of 7 focus groups with a range of young people (40=N: aged 16- 24 years) across the Merseyside area were carried out. Research sites included colleges, youth groups, supported living accommodations, and youth drug and alcohol services. Focus group interviews explored participants’ perceptions of NPS and were followed up with a few semi structured interviews with selected participants. The direction of the study focused on mainly on synthetic cannabinoids which may reflect the age of the study’s population. Using thematic analysis informed by a social constructionist perspective, three main themes were identified around stigma and identity, attractive features of NPS and risk. Findings showed that young people’s perceptions of these substances were dependent on their level of experience with illegal substances and NPS. A novel finding was that synthetic cannabinoid use is employed in the normalisation of cannabis use. Local, national and policy recommendations are made on how youth and health services in both educational and specialised services could work more closely and effectively with young people NPS. They also identify a need among young people for specific guidelines on how to use the Internet and Print media in relation to previous knowledge and experience.
    • Youth Culture and the Politics of Youth in 1960s Cuba

      Luke, Anne (University of Wolverhampton, 2007)
      The triple coordinates of youth, the Sixties and the Cuban Revolution interact to create a rich but relatively unexplored field of historical research. Previous studies of youth in Cuba have assumed a separation between young people and the Revolution, and either objectify young people as units that could be mobilized by the Revolution, or look at how young people deviated from the perceived dominant ideology of the Revolution. This study contends that, rather than being passive in the face of social and material change, young people in 1960s Cuba were active agents in that change, and played a role in defining what the Revolution was and could become. The model built here to understand young people in 1960s Cuba is based on identity theory, contending that youth identity was built at the point where young people experienced – and were responsible for forging – an emerging dominant culture of youth. The latter entered Cuban consciousness and became, over the course of the 1960s, a part of the dominant national-revolutionary identity. It was determined by three factors: firstly, leadership discourse, which laid out the view of what youth could, should or must be within the Revolution, and also helped to forge a direct relationship between the Revolution and young people; secondly, policy initiatives which linked all youth-related policy to education, therefore linking policy to the radical national tradition stemming from Martí; and thirdly, influence from outside Cuba and the ways in which external youth movements and youth cultures interplayed with Cuban culture. Through these three, youth was in the ascendancy, but, where young people challenged the positive picture of youth, moral panics ensued. Young people were neither inherent saints nor accidental sinners in Cuba in the 1960s, and sought multiple ways in which to express themselves. Firstly, they played their role as activists through the youth organisations, the AJR and the UJC. These young people were at the cutting edge of the canonised vision of youth, and consequently felt burdened by a failure to live up to such an ideal. Secondly, through massive voluntary participation in building the Revolution, through the Literacy Campaign, the militias and the aficionados groups, many young people in the 1960s internalised the Revolution and developed a revolutionary consciousness that defines their generation today. Finally, at the margin of the definition of what was considered revolutionary sat young cultural producers – those associated with El Puente, Caimán Barbudo and the Nueva Trova, and their audience – who attempted to define and redefine what it meant to be young and revolutionary. These groups all fed the culture of youth, and through them we can start to understand the uncertainties of being young, revolutionary and Cuban in this effervescent and convulsive decade.