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Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences

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Suicide? #2

  PART 2 The social construction of suicide Scientific and quantitative methods are completely rejected by some Phenomenologists. J Maxwell Atkinson (1978) does not accept that a ‘real’ rate of suicide exists as an objective reality waiting to be discovered. According to Atkinson, behavioural scientists who proceed with this assumption will end up producing ‘facts’ on suicide that have nothing to do with the social reality they seek to understand. By constructing a set of criteria to categorise and measure suicide – in scientific language, by operationalising the concept of suicide – they will merely be imposing their ‘reality’ on the social world. This will inevitably distort that world. As Michael Phillipson (1972) observes, the positivistic methodology employed by Durkheim and other researchers “rides roughshod over the very social reality they are trying to comprehend”. Suicide is a construct of social actors, an aspect of social reality. Official statistics on suicide, therefore, are not ‘wrong’, ‘mistaken’, ‘inaccurate’ or ‘in error’. They are part of the social world. They are the interpretations, made by officials, of what is seen to be unnatural death. Since, Phillipson argues, the object of Sociology is to comprehend the social world, that world can only be understood… Read More

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The Trouble with Tribalism…

7 July 2016 …is that most Western politicians don’t get it. It’s seen as something relevant to Pre-Modern ‘primitive’ communities but not to Modern societies. And, when Western-style one person/one (secret) vote Democracy is offered to tribal communities as part of the Modernisation process, so many Western leaders seem genuinely perplexed at the relative lack of enthusiasm for it. The Americans in particular seemed baffled that attempts to embed Democracy in the wake of their invasions of the Noughties produced the markedly-corrupt government of Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan and the corrupt and overtly-sectarian government of Nouri al-Maliki in Iraq. A Do-It-Yourself attempt to introduce Democracy in Egypt produced a government (of the Islamic Brotherhood) so unacceptable to the urban middle classes and the army that a ‘sort-of coup’ was instigated, followed by rigged elections, to return the country to neo-military rule as before. Highly-controversial and bitterly-contested ‘democratic’ elections following Libya’s revolutionary civil war resulted in 2 – and arguably 3? – would-be governments claiming the right to rule with their various militia, often organised on sectarian or tribal lines, slugging it out in a patchy, second civil war. Anyone versed in the Gravesian approach could have told the Western planners and the internet-inspired urban ‘democrats’ of Egypt that their campaigns to introduce Western-style Democracy would hit trouble. (See:… Read More

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Is Racism Natural..?

Updated: 9 November 2015 As a part-time teacher, teaching psychological and sociological approaches to prejudice & discrimination, every year I found myself confronted with this question from one or more of my A-Level students. With posters on some Internet discussion forums making statements like: “I think they [British National Party, Britain First, etc] is only saying what most people think but are too afraid to say” , it seems appropriate to me to revisit the students’ question from an Integrated SocioPsychology perspective. It was explaining Henri Tajfel & John Turner’s Social Identity Theory (1979) in relation to the formation of in-groups and out-groups that usually triggered the student’s question as to whether racism is natural. In essence, Tajfel & Turner say that, simply by identifying yourself with one group as opposed to another, your group becomes the in-group and the other becomes the out-group. According to Tajfel & Turner, this basic act of social categorisation – one group has one identity label and the other group has a different identity label – is enough to bring about prejudice and discrimination. Because we invest something of our self in the groups to which we belong, we need our in-groups to be at least… Read More

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Suicide?

Updated: 20 July 2013 Early in 2013 The Guardian’s James Meikle, based upon data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), reported that 6,045 suicides were recorded in the UK among people aged 15 and over during 2011. This figure represented a significant rise that, unfortunately, was part of an upward trend. (In 2001, Kevin Brewer noted that suicides in the UK were about 4,000 per year.) The suicide rate was 11.8 deaths per 100,000 people, the highest since 2004. In England, the suicide rate was 10.4 deaths per 100,000; highest in the north-east, at 12.9, and lowest in London, at 8.9. In Wales, the suicide rate was 13.9, up from 10.7 in 2009. Meikle acknowledged that suicide rates were slightly lower in Northern Ireland  – ie: 289 suicides in 2011, down from 313 in 2010 – and Scotland, though clearly still concerning. The ONS figures reveal an effect of age and gender:- The male suicide rate in 2011 was the highest since 2002, and among 45-59-year-old men the highest since 1986. For men, the suicide rate was 18.2 per 100,000 population. The rate was highest among males aged 30-44, at 23.5 per 100,000. Among 45-59-year-old men the figure was 22.2… Read More

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Bibliography B

A    B    C    D    E    F    G    H    I    J    K    L    M    N    O    P-Q    R    S     T     U    V    W    X-Y-Z Badawy, Abdulla (2006): ‘Alcohol and Violence and the Possible Role of Serotonin’ in Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health 13/1 Baechler, Jean (1979): ‘Suicides’ (Blackwell, Oxford) Bagdikian, Ben (2004): ‘The New Media Monopoly’ (7th Edition, Beacon Press, Boston MA) Bailey, Heidi, Greg Moran, David Pederson & Sandi Bento (2007): ‘Understanding the Transmission of Attachment using Variable- and Relationship-Centred Approaches’ in Development and Psychopathology 19/2 Bailey, Rodger (1991): ‘The Language and Behaviour Profile’ (self-study manual and audio-tape set, Language and Behaviour Institute, Poughkeepsie NY) Bain, Jerald, Ronald Langevin, Ronald Dickey & Mark Ben-Aron (1987): ‘Sex Hormones in Murderers and Assaulters’ in Behavioural Science & the Law #5 Baize, Harold & Jonathan Schroeder (1995): ‘Personality and Mate Selection in Personal Ads: Evolutionary Preferences in a Public Mate Selection Process’ in Journal of Social Behaviour & Personality 10/3 Bakan, Joel (2004): ‘The Corporation: the Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power’ (Constable, London) Baker, Robin & Mark Bellis (1995): ‘Human Sperm Competition: Copulation, Masturbation, and Infidelity’ (Cambridge University Press) Baker, Robin & Elizabeth Oram (2000): ‘Baby Wars: the Dynamics of Family Conflict’ (HarperCollins, London) Baker,… Read More

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Is restricting Immigration discriminatory?

At last, it’s starting to become OK to talk about immigration. Of course, it’s been a hot topic for the British National Party (BNP), their British National Front predecessors and the far right for years – in fact, decades really, stretching right back to Enoch Powell’s infamous ‘rivers of blood’ speech back in April 1968. The GREEN vMEME’s staunch opposition to anything that could possibly be associated with prejudice and discrimination has inhibited rational discussion of these issues. Now, thanks to the emergence of the cross-party Balanced Migration Group (BMG) , led by Frank Field (Labour) and Nicholas Soames (Conservative), the barriers to acknowledging the problems that immigration is creating for the United Kingdom are at least beginning to crack. Over the past year, from interacting with Jon Freeman and Rachel Castagne at June’s A Regent’s Summit on the Future of the UK to dialogue with staunch BNP supporter Man of the Woods in the comments on Should the BNP appear on the Beeb?, I’ve come to have much more of an appreciation of how a number of people feel really passionately about this kingdom…as Man of the Woods calls it, ‘my ancestral land’. The real eye-opener for me, though, with… Read More

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Should the BNP appear on the Beeb?

There are few things guaranteed to get the knickers of the British ‘chattering classes’ in a twist more than the British National Party (BNP). It’s bad enough that they exist at all – that they are gaining significantly in electoral support in 21st Century Britain is simply unbelievable! And now the BBC are considering having them on ‘Question Time’…how utterly disgraceful!! People who vote BNP are clearly small-minded, uneducated, unthinking and immoral racists. It’s a harmonic of the BLUE and GREEN vMEMES which condemns the BNP and which condemns those who vote for them. It’s a variant harmonic of these vMEMES which has led the Equality & Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to take the BNP to court on the charge that the latter’s constitution is discriminatory as it does not allow membership to those of a non-white ethnicity. And it’s another variant harmonic of these vMEMES which has drawn up the forthcoming Equality Bill (2009). The problem with these approaches is that, rather than understand what it is about the BNP that gains support from substantial numbers of people, they attempt to suppress the BNP. However, Nick Griffin and the top echelon of the BNP are smart characters. They have got… Read More

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Abu Ghraib, Auschwitz and Mumbai

It is, of course, decidedly early to pronounce on just who is behind the terrorist attacks in Mumbai; but it is almost certainly radical Islamists of one persuasion or another. One senior Indian military officer has claimed that the attackers came from Pakistan – yet one of the gunmen in the Oberoi Trident Hotel managed to get hooked up to a TV channel and told them he was from the ‘Deccan Mujahedeen’, a (previously-unknown) group of Indian Muslim extremists.  Given the marginally-improved state of the usually-hostile/often-verging-on-war relations between India and Pakistan, one might almost be forgiven for hoping it was an internal Indian operation that could not so easily be a catalyst for open military confrontation between the two nuclear powers. However, in light of the Hindu orgies of violence against Muslim communities which have followed previous Islamist terrorist incidents on Indian soil, thousands upon thousands of civilian deaths might prove equally unpalatable.   Where ever the attackers originated from, few will be surprised if they didn’t have at least tacit assistance from radicals in Pakistan. And few will surprised, given the sophisticated level of organisation in the Mumbai attacks, if the hand of al-Qaeda isn’t to be found somewhere in the pulling of the strings.   What… Read More

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