Sociology. August 2008, 42(4)

The BSA's Sociology presents a series of pieces relating (at times quite loosely) to 'everyday life'. Crow & Pope introduce things.

Blokland presents an ethnography looking at how people (mainly black women) who live in rough 'no go' US housing projects experience and manage the risk of violence. The risks of harm, humiliation, 'chaos' and loss are real. Easier-said-than-done options include: leaving, being a shut-in and not dating into the drug trade.

Finchman casts doubt on sharp work/lesisure distinctions. Bicycle messengers (surely a job under digital siege) furnish the examples: it's a style, an identity, a community. They meet up and compete at the job in their 'leisure' hours. We are taken through some of the European events, Becker's Jazzmen are linked, and work and leisure slosh around with identity and relationships.

Wajcman & co. also think through work-leisure boundaries, this time via work's presumed mobile-phone powered reach into the home. Survey data suggests this is not such a problem. The phone plays a greater role in home life coordination than it does in work intrusion, with its various functions employed as a sort of home/work firewall.

Beagan & co. highlight persistent gender-role assumptions around housework and cooking in European-, Punjabi- and African-Canadian families. Women's disproportionate domestic workloads were a fact regardless of what excuses were mobilized. Popular ones: time availability, conflict reduction, competency and standards ('they wont do it right'), and occasionally an appeal to gender roles (mainly amongst the Punjabi-Candians).

We get stuck into (migrant social) networks with Ryan & co. Putnam's bonding-bridging network distinction is mobilized, with the basic takeaway being that vague theoretical notions of social capital do little to get at the complex, dynamic, transnational networks of migrant communities.

Rothon uses YCS data to show the import of including a mother's social class (or at least using a dominance model) in minority educational attainment analyses.

Finch talks names as family markers (mainly in the UK). Personal names bring together individuality, connectedness and continuity (or change) of self and identity. The relation-signaling uses of first and last names are discussed.

Why do people visit the Senedd? Housley & Wahl-Jorgensen inquired and got two basic answers: for political and tourist gazing (ie. a day out, or devolutionary fervor). The building comes off as consumable, democratic - but not directly democratic (shockingly, visitors can't join in debates).

Lee looks into modern squeamishness at death and dying. As much as it was ever really there, it is now on the wane. Thank re-enchantment: a growing incorporation of New Age beliefs, NDE research and related afterlife prattle (I'll thank them when I'm dead).